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Dr Catherine
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2-4 years

When we tried no nappy she was quite excited about being a big girl. I took her to the loo before going to bed myself, but she was very sleepy. Sometimes she would wee, sometimes not. Either way she would still wet the bed. As soon as she wets, she wakes. I bought those mats so as to not have to change the whole bed, but my problem is that I cannot get to sleep after attending to her, and after a week of this we went back to nappies. I could not function on three hours sleep every day and go to work. Did I give up too soon? My son ( 5.5) was night trained at 3. We put him in dry nites and after two weeks he said he didn't want to wear them and was dry. I know kids are all different and lots of people have said its normal until 6 years of age, but I'm also getting a lot of pressure from my parents as I was night trained at a very early age and they put this down to waking me religiously every hour until I got it. I'm not really willing to do this. I struggle to go back to sleep after attending ,to her once, let alone every hour!!! I've cut out fluids, milk before bed but it makes no difference!! Do I just wait it out and hope she grows out of it?

Dear H.M., Managing children’s bedwetting can be incredibly tricky; partially because we often do not understand the underlying cause and partly because there are so many mixed messages out there about how best to proceed. Unfortunately there are lots of misunderstandings and myths surrounding bedwetting and feeling pressure to help your child to become dry really only adds to the anxiety surrounding the situation. It is often helpful to keep in mind nighttime wetting is mostly unconscious and therefore the kinds of techniques we used in training children during the day (like sticker charts and rewards) do not apply to the nighttime situation. Nighttime wetting at this age is considered to be perfectly normal, with about 15-20% of children continuing to wet at night up to the age of 7 years. Bedwetting has nothing to do with poor management, poor parenting or childhood laziness. In terms of looking out for signs of ‘readiness’, one of the best indicators that your daughter is moving toward achieving nighttime continence is an increase in the number of consecutive mornings where she wakes-up dry – until then it is perfectly fine to continue using DryNites. DryNItes are designed purely to help manage bedwetting and avoid the stress associated with dealing with constant wet sheets. By far the most effective means of treating children’s bedwetting is the conditioning alarm. Unfortunately strategies like lifting at night and reducing fluids do very little to help children to stop wetting. Lifting at night means children do not get the chance to get used to the signals that the bladder sends to the brain telling them to wake-up and empty their bladder nor does the bladder have the opportunity to stretch and develop. Conditioning alarms are designed to wake-up your daughter when she begins to wet. The conditioning approach is based on the theory that by repetitively waking a child at the time of urination the child becomes conditioned into recognising that urination is about to occur. This method requires a great deal of commitment on behalf of the family, as parents need to take initial responsibility in ensuring their child wakes in response to the alarm. Treatment can take up to 6 months, with about a third of children experiencing relapse. If this occurs you need to reintroduce the alarm, with most children being treated in a much shorter period of time. It is important to discuss this with your GP first as the more guidance you receive the better the outcomes. and that with some help he will become dry. The more support and encouragement you both receive, the better you will feel about the situation. In the short-term make sure she drinks water regularly throughout the day, eats lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and limits fizzy drinks – particularly before bedtime. It’s fine to reduce the amount she drinks in the evening although you need to let her drink if she is thirsty as failure to do so may lead to constipation, which will only contribute to her bedwetting. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine