Train the Brain Not to Drain
Earlier this week, I described the three keys to help nighttime wetters stay dry:
Drink lots of water during the daytime, stopping after dinner.
Void twice before bedtime.
Train the bladder by adding it to the list of organs that the brain controls at night.
I’m going to explain these a bit more now.
First, imagine your bladder is a balloon. If it is empty or has only a bit of air in it, it does not “feel” much pressure. If it is full or near-full, it stretches and “feel” full. Similarly, the more you stretch your bladder during the daytime, the more your bladder will connect that stretching with a need to void (urinate). If your bladder is used to being stretched to a greater degree, then it will not perceive the need to void when it is stretched to a lesser degree. This is what drinking during the daytime provides your bladder. Have your child drink a large glass or bottle of water first thing in the morning, frequent sips throughout the day, and right when he/she gets home from school.
Second, some children do not take the time or concentration needed to properly void their bladder before bedtime. Sometimes patience is key. It is best to try voiding about a half hour before bed, then once just before bed; sometimes letting out that little bit right before bed makes a big difference.
Third, your child can train his/her bladder. It can be trained to do one of two things.
The bladder alerts the brain that it is somewhat full. The brain responds by increasing alertness, becoming semi-conscious, at least enough to get up to void.
The bladder alerts the brain that it is somewhat full. The brain responds by telling the bladder, “Don’t worry, you can hold it until the morning. You know how to do that.”
The child literally speaks to the bladder (I know this sounds nuts, but believe me, it works), telling it that he/she is the boss: “Bladder, listen up! You obey the brain during the daytime. All the other organs obey the brain at night; it’s time for you to follow suit. You need to wake me up if you feel full. Sound the alarm and I will wake up and empty you. Or, I will just tell you to be quiet and stay full until the morning. I know you can do it.”
Over time, the child’s conscious messages will become unconscious and embedded in the bladder’s connection to the brain. It will start to “obey” the brain.
If your child does ALL three of these, he/she can become dry at night, every night. I have seen it many times in my practice.