A mom contacted our clinic regarding help for her nine-year-old son. She announced the need to work with an expert who only treated bedwetting and also understood how to deal with the sleep problem.
Mom claimed, “We have tried everything”. She explained the last failure was an alarm she purchased from the bedwetting store. Four months later she called the help line and spoke with a nurse. Mom said the alarm was not ending the bedwetting. The nurse advised her to begin a reward system for dry nights – what dry nights?
“Why would I set him up with reward system? That implied he was in control. She said it became very obvious during that conversation with the nurse, that she and the bedwetting store did not have any understanding of how to treat bedwetting.
Mom, herself an Occupational Therapist, realized this advice was useless as her son did not hear the alarm. He repeatedly told his mother he was dead to the world when he slept.
Also, mom quoted from the University of Michigan Health System’s information on bedwetting, as “useless and misleading”. She forwarded the information from their website stating it was just as confusing as the so called expert at the bedwetting store.
The University of Michigan advised, “don’t punish your child for wetting the bed, your child cannot help it”. Then they offer a tip: use a reward system, such as a sticker chart on the bedroom wall for dry nights.
A frustrated mom said “if it is not a child’s fault, how does a sticker chart help”? She said additional advice included hypnosis and guided imagery as a possible solution. Again, she challenged their tips as unfounded, misleading and contradictory.
The U of M website content she sent us is the following.
University of Michigan’s Tips
Remember: Don’t punish your child for wetting the bed. It will not help! Your child cannot help it. There are many different treatments, and things you can do. Your child’s doctor can help you decide which would be best for your child. Here are some tips and treatments:
Be patient and understanding—most kids will become dry without treatment.
If an adult in your family used to wet the bed, have them talk to your child about it. Then your child will not feel so alone or ashamed.
Respect your child’s privacy, and do not talk about the bed-wetting in front of others.
Have your child change their pajamas and the wet bedding themselves. (But just have them do it in a matter of fact, “taking responsibility for themselves” kind of way—not as a punishment.)
Use a reward system, such as a sticker chart on the bedroom wall for dry nights. Put the focus on being dry, to keep the tone positive.
Make sure your child drinks lots and lots of water early in the day.
Have your child go to the bathroom to empty the bladder right before bedtime.
Make sure your child is getting enough sleep.
Eliminate caffeine and allergy-causing foods, which can irritate the bladder. Restrict fluids after dinner—but make sure your child drinks very well throughout the rest of the day, especially in hot or dry weather.
Wake your child up in the middle of the night, a little earlier than they usually wet the bed, and walk them to the bathroom to pee, then back to bed (called “night lifting”). This doesn’t teach the child to be dry, but does keep the bed dry, until the child develops the ability to stay dry themselves.
Use hypnosis and guided imagery (see the recommended book below—Dry All Night, by Alison Mack.). This is both very safe and very effective.
Reference Source: http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/enuresis.htm