Most parents get frustrated, worried and exhausted when their children can’t seem to stop wetting the bed especially if they are in school already. Some haven’t found any luck even after trying different alternatives like waking them up at night to use the bathroom or eliminating intake of liquids before bedtime.
Bed wetting in children is a condition that is described as – involuntary urination that occurs in children aged 5 and beyond. However, in reality, a huge percentage of kids in the United States still wet the bed at 5 years.
Here are some insights from Dr. Charles Kwon and Audrey Rhee pediatric nephrologist and urologist respectively to help solve this issue:
Should parents be worried if their 14-year-olds still wet the bed?
According to Dr. Kwon, bed wetting shouldn’t be a concern unless the child is 7 years and older. When the child is still wetting the bed at 14 years, you can consult a doctor as the underlying issue may be a pre-mature bladder. You should also remember that each year a number of children in the US stop wetting the bed.
Additionally, boys are more likely to wet the bed as compared to girls. It can also be associated with genetics whereby a member of the family stopped wetting the bed at an older age.
How to Stop Bed Wetting at Age 14
Try out the following as it can help stop bedwetting from a doctor’s point of view:
- Shift drink times – Increase intake of fluid during the day and reduce or eliminate completely during the night.
- Schedule breaks for using the bathroom – Get the child to use the bathroom at regular intervals say after every two hours and before retiring to bed.
- Encourage the child – Reward the child for dry nights for motivation
- Get rid of any bladder irritants – Eliminate caffeinated drinks at night such as cocoa and chocolate milk as it causes frequent urination in children. If this fails, cut artificial flavorings, sweeteners, citrus juices and dyes (especially the red ones). Most parents don’t even know that these things tend to irritate the child’s bladder.
- Avoid potential thirst overload – Let the child carry a water bottle to school if it’s not against the policy so that they drink steadily throughout the day. This helps prevent excessive thirst later.
- Constipation – This can affect the bladder at night since the rectum is positioned right behind it. Constipation is a major issue that usually affects most children who wet the bed although they are unlikely to share or identify this problem.
- Don’t wake the child up to use the bathroom – Waking up the child randomly at night and asking them to use the bathroom will not work. It instead leads to frustration and sleeplessness.
- Going to bed early – Most children sleep deeply because they don’t sleep enough.
- Reduce screen time before bedtime – This will help slow down their brains for quality sleep at night.
- Don’t punish the child – Getting angry will not help the child learn. The entire process should not involve conflict.
Medications: Not Recommended
There are medications to stop bed wetting including a hormone in synthetic form but is not usually recommended unless another provider put the child on the medication. It has side effects and is typically a temporary solution.
Does the Child Want to Stop Wetting the Bed?
Some parents often wonder if their child is wetting the bed on purpose. However, you should know that it’s not anyone’s fault, neither the child’s nor the parent’s. Be patient and don’t stress out as the issue usually gets better with time.
You can also talk to the child to see if they are motivated to change. In this case, a bedwetting alarm will come in handy. You can place the alarm on a pad or clip it at the front of the child’s underwear. See the best bedwetting alarms here.
The alarm will go off once it detects any wetness. However, it may not be beneficial if the child is not motivated enough and can instead cause more frustration.
Don’t invest in an expensive bedwetting alarm if the child tends to sneak drinks during the night. Therefore, it’s important to talk to the child directly about the bedwetting issue and find out if it bothers them.
Bedwetting can affect 14-year old’s social life, confidence and self-esteem especially if they go for sleep-overs and weekend trips. This will help motivate the child to get a solution to avoid the embarrassment that comes with bedwetting when out with friends.
Bed Wetting Can Be a Signal of More Severe Issues
Bed wetting can also signal something more serious like:
- Diabetes – Urine samples help detect diabetes
- Sleep Apnea – You can seek medical attention if the child snores loudly although it’s usually not the first evaluation course of bedwetting issues of a child.
- Urinary Tract Infection- A sample of urine will detect the infection. The test is typical for children with bedwetting issues.
Age is also considered for those with daytime incontinence. But generally, children always outgrow the bed wetting issue on their own.