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From Wet to Dry

by: Dr. Dathan Paterno

Does your child struggle with nighttime wetness? If so, he or she is not alone. A surprising percentage of children continue to wet the bed into their early teens.

The good news is that nighttime wetness will likely resolve itself on its own, sooner or later, without drugs, bells, whistles, or therapy. The better news is that parents can equip their children to take control of the problem and greatly speed up the process of becoming dry at night, every night.

Here’s a sneak preview on how to get your child dry at night. There are three keys (I’ll explain all three in greater detail in my next post):

1. Have your child drink more water during the daytime, through dinner.

It may seem counterintuitive to have your child drink more water; many parents have been taught to restrict water intake, thinking that this will make the child less likely to need to urinate during the nighttime. The reality is that this makes the problem worse!

Drinking more water during the daytime stretches out the bladder (not dangerously; we’re not talking about a balloon that’s about to pop), making the amount of urine that accumulates during the nighttime seem less than it would otherwise. This avoids the cue to the brain to release urine.

2. After dinner, make sure your child voids (empties the bladder) at least twice before bedtime. Get it all out!

3. Have your child practice mind-body control exercise that helps the child gain control of his/her bladder.

Your child can understand that the brain controls many organs and functions during the nighttime, including heart, lungs, digestion, and dreams (yes, dreams!), so he or she can control the bladder during the nighttime. All it takes is time and devoted attention to making the right connection.

Again, I’ll explain this more in detail next time. But take heart: your child can become dry every night, sooner rather than later!

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