Most children begin to stay dry at night around three years of age.
However, bed-wetting, whose medical name is 'enuresis'
(en-yoo-REE-sis), can be a problem for some children, even after
they've been toilet trained. Bed-wetting isn't a disease; it's a symptom
of a possible problem, either physical or emotional.
Occasional accidents may occur, particularly when a child is ill or under
stress. Children rarely wet on purpose, and they usually feel ashamed
about the incident, so parents need to encourage children and show faith
that they'll soon be able to stay dry. You can help the problem in
general by not giving the child lots of water or other fluids before
bedtime, especially those containing sugar, salt, or caffeine. Encourage
the child to wake up during the night and go to the bathroom. More
boys than girls wet their beds, and it may run in families, but it usually
stops by puberty. It may sometimes be related to a sleep disorder, or it
could be caused by an infection or an allergy to chemicals found in soap
or bubble bath. Frequent urination is also one symptom of juvenile
diabetes. In most cases, however, it's because the child's bladder control
has developed slower than normal. When a child resumes bed-wetting
after several months or years of dryness, it may be linked to recent fears
or insecurities triggered by events such as moving to a new town,
parents' separation or divorce, or the arrival of a new baby. Sometimes
the child may show additional symptoms of emotional problems, such as
ongoing sadness or irritability, or a change in eating or sleeping habits.
If this is the case, or if the bed-wetting persists, you may want to talk
with a healthcare professional to evaluate any physical or emotional
problems that may be causing the bed-wetting.