I get asked this often and it’s probably one of the most common questions on any parents mind. So when is the right age to intervene and seek treatment for your child’s bedwetting?
If it makes you feel any better, bed wetting is very common, in particular with school aged children. Many doctors or GP’s will say you should only start worrying about treatment once the child turns seven or eight. Personally, I believe for the sake of the child’s confidence and all things that follow once they start school, e.g. sleepovers, camps etc, treating the bedwetting should begin sooner rather than later. And I know there are a lot of parents out there that would agree! And of course some would disagree…
According to Professor Guy Bogaert, Chief of Paediatric Urology at the University of Leuven in Belgium, bedwetting should be treated, or at least diagnosed, when the child is five years of age. For children that are five years old and still wet the bed, he recommends families seek advice from their own GP to begin with. However, there is still a notion that it is a condition that you just have to wait and see if it goes away by itself. In many children this is true perhaps, but definitely not all children. This is why many GP’s and their families are reluctant in diagnosing or treating the condition at an early age.
He suggests that parents that do have children that wet the bed at five years or more then they should seek advice from their GP, or prior to that begin a home treatment program.
Studies have shown that at five years of age approximately 15-25% of the classroom will have children that wet the bed. That’s about 3 to 5 children in a class of 25 children. Some children will wet every night where as others will only wet about 2 or 3 times a week. It goes to say, bedwetting is very common at this age.
This then decreases as they get older. So approximately 10% of seven year olds wet the bed and there is still approximately 0.5-1% of adults that suffer from bedwetting.
So what should YOU do?
You can either do nothing and keep insisting your child to wear pullups at night and wait until the problem goes away, which has worked for some families. Or you can seek advice from your GP. The other option, which is the most common, is to purchase or hire a bedwetting alarm device to help train your child’s brain to wake up when their bladder is full. This is what I’d recommend in the first instance.
According to Professor Konstantinos Kamperis of Aarhus University Hospital, it is very important to try and involve your child in whatever treatment you decide. Most of the time it’s the parents who are looking for treatment, so they bring their child to the GP in the hope that the doctor will make their child dry. Professor Kamperis believes that if you just tell the parents what the treatment is, it won’t work. The child really has to be involved in the treatment.
Considering the psychological, social and emotional consequences of wetting the bed is really very important when it comes to deciding at what age intervention should begin. Some children become isolated and get anxious over sleep overs and school camps because they associate wearing pullups with feeling like a baby. Bedwetting can have a huge effect on the child and it really does affect their self-esteem and quality of life. To us as parents, this is the last thing we want to happen!
As Professor Kamperis says, involving your child in the whole process is of the utmost importance. I couldn’t agree more! The Parenting Garden Bedwetting Alarm Success Package is an alarm treatment program you can do in the comfort of your own home and involves the child from start to finish. They receive their very own letter from another child, record their progress on the chart each morning and take responsibility to reach their goal of achieving 14 consecutive dry nights.
So ultimately it comes down to asking yourself, how much is bedwetting affecting my child’s quality of life? If it’s having an impact on their self-esteem, how they are doing at school or how it affects their relationships with their peers, then you be the best judge. Home treatment may be all that is needed to help your child stop wetting the bed.
Then if home treatment is unsuccessful you may wish to talk with your GP as the bedwetting may be caused by a medical condition. In this case then medical treatment may be necessary.