Q&A: Bedwetting

My 4-year-old son is still wetting the bed. How can we help him overcome this?

First, place yourself in his position. Certainly it wouldn't be pleasant to wake up cold and wet in the middle of the night. Interrupted sleep patterns profoundly affect small children. Make sure he gets adequate rest. Being overly tired could contribute to the situation just as much as anything else.

My son had a similar experience. I looked for patterns in the cycle and found that staying in the soapy bathtub playing with toys contributed to the situation. It was causing an irritation similar to a bladder infection. As soon as my son began taking showers, the bed-wetting stopped. -- A.C. of Jupiter, Fla.

I have a 6-year-old son who will soon be 7. I was concerned about his bed-wetting until I met many parents with children of the same age or older who still had not stopped wetting the bed. The majority of these children are boys. My son has been wearing ``pull-ups'' to bed until recently, when the bed-wetting was down to about once a week. I truly don't believe anyone can train a child to stop wetting when he's fast asleep, so we decided to let nature take its course. We limit his fluid intakes before bedtime and never show disappointment when he has an accident. Being impatient with a child just leads to hurt feelings. When he announced that he felt he was ready to stop wearing the pull-ups, I bought a waterproof pad at the drug store to cover his bed ``just in case.'' The problem seems to be taking care of itself. -- E.M. of Pickering, Ontario, Canada

After trying everything the doctors told us, my 70-year-old aunt gave us the best advice. She suggested we wake our daughter up every morning around 1 a.m. to go to the bathroom. Within one week, she went to the bathroom by herself. -- J.W. of St. Louis, Mo.

From Jodie: Unfortunately, this is a common parenting challenge. It needs to be treated with kindness and thoughtfulness. Do not spank for this mistake. It will only make matters worse. Make sure he is checked by his physician for any medical problems. There could be several other reasons this is happening: Too much caffeine, salty foods, excitement right before bed, arguing between siblings, parents and other household disruptions. Monitor his diet and home life. Ask questions about school including gym and recess. Don't forget to look at outside activities as well.