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It seems that most questions on this site about bed wetting involve toddlers. My 6-year-old daughter (almost 7) still wets the bed almost every night. After she was potty trained (a long, difficult process), she wore night time diapers for years. For about the past year, we've had the same routine:

  • Before she goes to bed (around 8:30 pm), she always goes potty. I sometimes let her have a little drink because I feel guilty making her go to bed thirsty.
  • We wake her up around 10:30 or 11 (when we go to bed) to go potty. If we wait until after 11 she is usually wet already.
  • We wake her up at 3:30 am to go again.

The 3:30 potty time is the most problematic. We used to set our alarm and wake her up ourselves, but this was always a battle because she's groggy and uncooperative at that time in the morning. Over the past few months or so, we've been setting her alarm for that time. This was working for a while, but sometimes she sleeps through the alarm, or the alarm malfunctions, or we forget to set it.

We have a plastic cover over her mattress but we're constantly running out of sheets. We've changed her sheets almost every night this week. What should we do?

Edit

I'm also wondering: is it okay to make her change her own sheets? This seems like a pretty natural consequence to me, but it also feels a lot like punishment.

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    you can ask the child to help clear up. Make sure you do this in a supportive way that's helping her learn some life skills and showing that you love and support her even during this difficult time in her life. Most certainly avoid all hints of punishment. – DanBeale Nov 21 '14 at 17:47
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    In response to your edit only, I'd avoid making her do something as a consequence for something she might not even be able to control. If you view this as a medical condition instead of a behavior, it my help you through this time. – user11394 Nov 23 '14 at 23:13
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    maybe my questions and the answers are interesting for you: parenting.stackexchange.com/q/9186/1092 and parenting.stackexchange.com/q/16591/1092 ; you do not tell us, if you already contacted a doctor because of this issue. – BBM Nov 25 '14 at 0:28
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    Making her change her own sheets is a bad idea (in my opinion). It smacks of punishment for something she has no control over. She can help, but this isn't her problem, it's a family problem you all have to deal with. Be matter-of-fact, entirely non-judgmental, throw in some humor if you can, but help her, and make sure she knows you're with her, not against her. – Marc Nov 25 '14 at 18:25
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Bed wetting, even at 7 years old, is common. About 1 in 40 children at that age wet the bed. Children usually grow out of it.

Stop waking her in the night. That doesn't help.

Make sure she is drinking plenty in the day time. This will help her train her bladder. She should reduce the amount she drinks in the evenings. Make going to the loo last thing at night part of her bed-time routine.

Buy an alarm that wakes her up when she wets the bed.

She's over 5, and you are finding the bed wetting distressing, so you can go and get medical advice. This will involve checking for other problems (constipation is often associated with bedwetting). Then you'll be asked to try some self-help techniques; then you'll try a bed-wetting alarm; and finally they might suggest medication.

It's useful to get medical advice to rule out underlying illness.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Bedwetting/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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    "Stop waking her in the night. That doesn't help." What do you mean? If we don't wake her, the bed will definitely be soaked. Waking her helps to keep the bed dry. Are you saying it's not helping in the long run? – David Kennedy Nov 20 '14 at 23:12
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    @koveras - it doesn't help in the long term. It is covered in the link I posted. – DanBeale Nov 21 '14 at 17:41
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    Fun fact, bed wetters are more common than redheads! – user11394 Nov 23 '14 at 23:14
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    I do agree with the "drink plenty during daytime". One of my kids had the same problem and after we protocoled what goes in and out, it turned out the child drank 60% of her daily liquids after 5pm. Changing this habit (with the help of the teacher, BTW) helped a lot. – sbi Nov 28 '14 at 9:33
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    @sbi - waking the child at night so they go to the loo does not help them to learn the signal of a full bladder and to wake themselves. – DanBeale Jan 14 '15 at 22:10
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My wife is the school nurse at an outdoor school (sixth grade camp) and this problem is very common among the sixth graders (10-11 year olds) she sees. They've developed procedures so these kids can attend successfully without the other kids knowing.

As annoying as this is, it will pass. Adding shame, even unintentionally, will help nothing and hurt a lot.

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My son was a bed wetter until he was 8 and his father and I split. I mean it stopped as soon as he left. Maybe stress?

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    While stress can definitely be a cause of intermittent bed-wetting, it's not the most common cause of primary enuresis, which has heavy genetic and hormonal components. – anongoodnurse Nov 25 '14 at 10:34
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    For me it was 7, and also stopped immediately when father left. The fights and arguments are unsettling. Never happened again. Parents love to come up with medical explanations for the severity of their own problems. That's much easier than learning to keep your word. You know. Till death. Like your bladder. Till morning. – paIncrease Nov 29 '14 at 8:39
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It really should pass, however I know that the addition of shame can prolong and even make the issue worse. Waking her up with break up her sleep and make her more tired.

My experience is that bedwetting is best solved with rewards and celebration of success. Ultimately if it continues to 10+years old there may be trauma that is contributing to the problem.

You know your daughter is amazing. Yes, she is late going through the night dry, but it's not the end of the world. Manage it as best you can as it will pass and above all take the pressure off; she'll have enough of that from people at school.

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