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Easing bed-wetting anxiety

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It’s 2 am and your 5-year-old is standing at your bedside. ... again. “Mommy, I wet the bed.” Changing your child’s pajamas and sheets has become a nightly ritual.

Mark Zaontz, MD, Virtua pediatric urologist, can ease your angst with advice on how to keep your child – and the sheets – dry.

Myth: My child is too lazy.

Fact: Laziness is not a part of bed-wetting. Some children under age 6 may have small bladders and can’t hold their urine through the night. However, the major issue is that the child’s brain is not receiving sensory input from the bladder when it is full. As a result, the bladder overfills and the child wets the bed.

Myth: My child will never outgrow this.

Fact: The older children get, the less likely they will continue to wet the bed. At age 5, 15 percent of the population wets the bed. By age 10, the number dwindles to five percent.

Myth: Medication will fix this.

Fact: For children age 8 and up, medications can prevent the bladder from overfilling at night. But Dr. Zaontz recommends behavior modification first. For example, implement bed-wetting bell alarms that go off at the time the child wets the bed. Then, wake the child. This will reset his or her internal clock so that the child will wake up before the accident happens. Eventually, the child will outgrow bed wetting.

Myth: I’ll take television privileges away.

Fact: Parents need to understand that bedwetting is common for a child under age 6, and not the child’s fault. Punishing or reprimanding children will not help curb the problem.