Twenty percent of 5 year olds wet the bed at least some of the time, according to HealthyChildren.org, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If washing urine-soaked bed sheets has become a routine household chore, it can be tempting to ask your older bed-wetter to wear diapers. Although diapers would be a practical time- and energy-saving solution, you may be rightfully concerned that your 5 year old would find the idea embarrassing and regressive. Finding the right type of diaper or protective underwear can make your child more receptive to the idea.
The vast majority of kids who wet the bed have bladders that have yet to fully mature, according to HealthyChildren.org, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sluggish bladder maturation can be inherited. Bed-wetting or enuresis can sometimes stem from emotional problems, such as feeling anxious, stressed out or overwhelmed. Emotionally induced bed-wetting typically strikes after a child has been consistently dry at night.
Asking your 5 year old to squeeze into extra large baby diapers is probably not the best course of action. Disposable underpants or youth-size diapers are better suited for an older child's physical and emotional comfort. Diapers for older kids don't have babyish, colorful designs on them, which can help lessen the blow of wearing nighttime protection.
If your 5 year old doesn't seem particularly concerned about wetting the bed, don't despair. Most kids start to care about the problem by age 6 or 7, explains the website of the National Association for Continence. Shying away from sleepovers, protesting the use of diapers or disposable underwear and growing weary of waking up wet are all signs that your child may be ready to get serious about staying dry at night. Your child's brain must be able to hold a full bladder or receive a signal from the bladder that's strong enough to wake him up. In the meantime, a bed-wetting alarm can help your child’s brain keep tabs on his bladder while asleep. The alarm can sense small amounts of moisture. Limiting liquids after dinner can also help your child stay dry.
Offering encouragement and support will help your 5-year-old bed-wetter get through this stage with her self-esteem intact. Be sensitive to the fact that your child may worry that her friends or classmates will learn of her dilemma. Reassure your child that she's not to blame for wetting the bed and that the problem will improve over time. Talk to your health care provider if bed-wetting persists. He will determine the unlikely possibility that kidney or bladder infections, diabetes, or congenital irregularities of the urinary system are the underlying cause of your child's bed-wetting (See Ref. 1.)
- HealthyChildren.org: Bed Wetting (Enuresis)
- Ask Dr. Sears: 10 Bedwetting Facts Parents Should Know
- Mayo Clinic: Bed-Wetting
- National Association for Continence: Pediatric Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting)
- Bedwetting Children: Question: Do People Use Pampers Cruisers Size 7 for Bedwetting?
- HealthyChildren.org: Waking Up Dry: Helping Your Child Overcome Bedwetting
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