bedwetting after potty training

Bedwetting in children who are potty trained is common. Get the information you need to help your child overcome this challenge.

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Just when you thought potty training was all over and it was okay to throw away the nighttime pull-ups, suddenly you're faced with wet sheets again. Take heart: This is normal. Many kids abruptly wet the bed a few times after it seems they've achieved nighttime dryness, according to Los Angeles child psychiatrist Charles Sophy, M.D., medical director of the L.A. County Department of Health and Family Services.
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When to & When Not to Worry

If your child is physically healthy and has been dry for less than six months, you needn't worry too much about the occasional accident, according to Edward Christophersen, Ph.D. Call your pediatrician if your child suddenly starts wetting the bed after being consistently dry for at least six months, to rule out any physical problem such as a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or a bladder problem.
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Possible Culprits

Many experts believe that starting to wet the bed after being dry may be related to emotional stress, such as a new brother or sister, moving, or a divorce. They warn that children who are being physically or sexually abused also may start to wet the bed again. Most experts believe that about two-thirds of children who starts to wet the bed after staying dry for more than six months are experiencing some kind of stress, according to Los Angeles psychiatrist Charles Sophy, M.D., medical director the Los Angeles County Department of Health and Family Services. "Most of the time, it's emotionally tied to something, such as a new baby or a divorce." Dr. Sophy recommends that parents check five areas for possible problems:
  • Sleeping--Is there a routine?
  • School--Is your child having a problem with a teacher or with homework?
  • Eating--Is your child eating regular healthy meals?
  • Exercising--Is your child getting enough exercise?
  • Social interactions--How are your child's interactions with friends?
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Other experts don't see a link between stress and bedwetting. "I don't know of a single study that links bedwetting with stress," insists Dr. Christophersen, a well-known expert in the field of enuresis. "Usually, it's more likely that the parents were so hoping for the child to be dry that if he lasts two or three weeks they think the enuresis is cured." Instead, Dr. Christophersen recommends waiting for six months of nighttime dryness before assuming your child is really trained.
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What You Can Do

Whether the backsliding is due to stress or not, the treatment is the same: Go back to the methods you used with your child when you worked together to stay dry at night. If your child had a previous bedwetting problem and you used alarms, reassurance, and nighttime awakening, try these solutions again. And make sure to build in time just to chat with your child around the dinner table, during a walk, or while watching the game on television, Dr. Sophy says. He also recommends working with your child to come up with a plan for "success"--whether success means staying dry one night, one week, or one month--and backing it up with a chart or calendar and an appropriate reward. Most important, parents should be sure that the child doesn't feel any shame for bedwetting.
Important Disclaimer: This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a doctor with questions about your or your child's condition. NickJr.com does not recommend or endorse specific tests, products, procedures, opinions, or other information provided by any sponsors or other third parties. Please also see NickJr.com's Terms of Use.
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