wewomen Newsletter
Bedwetting in children: your questions answered
Article in images

Doctor's advice for coping with bedwetting


Dr Georges Picherot
Dr Georges Picherot
Paediatrician Dr Georges Picherot shares his advice.
When should parents seek medical advice?
When the child is older than 5. Up to the age of 5 there's not a lot that can be done, it's often just a case of the child's bladder being immature. You need to give it time to mature.

Enuresis, or involuntary urination, is something we really start talking about after the age of 5. And then, it's important to visit your GP. First of all, the doctor will check to see if there are any underlying health conditions causing your child's symptoms.

Next, the doctor will ask questions to find out how both child and parents are coping. The child is often very distressed, while the parents often feel responsible and guilty or they become angry with their child in response to their stress.

The doctor will explain to the child and parents what is happening inside the child's body. He will help to make the situation seem less alarming and provide some practical answers. He might also recommend treatments depending on your child's age and on how much the bedwetting is affecting them.
For a long time people have said that bedwettting is the result of a psychological issue. You don't share that opinion?
That can be the case, of course. But I don't think that bedwetting is a psychological problem. It can, however, create real psychological problems. If you imagine a child who no longer dares to stay over at his friend's house or daren't go on school trips, through fear of everybody mocking him, then that's real suffering. He can end up with a really distorted image of himself, and that can lead to severe emotional inhibitions or even depression. It can even affect his progress at school. Therefore it's important to take bedwetting seriously. There are solutions adapted to each child, you should discuss these with your GP.
What should parents not do?
They shouldn't turn it into a source of conflict, even though it is stressful for everybody: for mum who has to do additional washes, for dad who would like to take his child to friends for the weekend. However, the worst thing you can do is mock your child or tell them off. Parents must remember that it's not the child's fault.

You should also avoid talking about it all the time so it doesn't become a reason for your child to dread the evening and bedtime. You should congratulate him when he manages to hold it in and stay dry, but don't  tell him off when he doesn't manage to.
So what actually works?
Rewarding your child and making him feel worthwhile give the best results. As does explaining things to him. Your child needs to understand what is happening and also that he's not the only one who it happens to. He needs to be reassured. He's the one who needs to put himself on the road to recovery. To do that, he needs to understand how his bladder works.

Treating him like a baby isnt the right solution. Often, parents lose patience because they're not confident themselves. They feel like the bedwetting will never end. But they must remember that yes, it will end eventually.

Also in Parenting:
> The age of nightmares
> Overcoming fear of the dark
> Why is my child so restless?


Parenting Editor
Rank this page: 

Don't miss...
SAG Awards 2014: Stars on the red carpetDecision-making: A guide for the indecisive
Celebrity Men with GlassesCelebrity silver foxes: hot men with grey hair
Latest… 2018/01/05
Travelling while pregnant
Everything you need to know about your waters breaking
A difficult mother daughter relationship?
Water birth: Is it right for you?
See all Parenting guides
Video: Dr Chris Steele on preparing for pregnancy
See all Parenting videos