Stopping bedwetting: a ‘Team’ effort
Posted by Karen Radford on
I guess most of us have experienced that it is easier to achieve something if you have the support and encouragement of people you love or respect. Others can inspire you to keep going when the goal posts seem distant, they can empathise when your spirits are flagging, they can offer guidance based on their own experience, and finally they will celebrate with you when you cross the ‘finish line’.
The same goes for helping your child stop bedwetting.
The best results occur when there is a team to back and support their endeavours. ‘Team bedwetting’ includes the bedwetter, Mum and Dad, and the experts at Anzacare. So, what roles do members of the team perform and what strategies should we employ to ensure that the goal of stopping bedwetting is achieved in the most effective way? Mum and Dad are pivotal in empowering their child to take action to stop bedwetting. Kids who wet the bed often feel abnormal and worry about upsetting or disappointing their parents. These feelings can be exacerbated by taunts from siblings. The result is that bedwetting starts to define who the child is, in a negative way.
Reassuring the bet wetting child
Mum and Dad need to reassure their bedwetter that they are not a disappointment or abnormal – plenty of kids suffer from bedwetting. It can also be a boost to the bedwetter’s self-esteem to list the things they are good at and to ask other members of the family (siblings and Grandparents) to focus on these qualities. Encourage your bedwetter to verbalise his or her feelings and acknowledge these feelings. A great, short video entitled ‘How can I make my child more resilient' by Professor Paula Barrett, one of Australia’s leading scholars in child psychology, gives tips on how to develop emotional strength in children who are dealing with challenges in their lives:
Preparing your child for the bed wetting alarm treatment programme
It starts with explaining how an alarm can stop bedwetting by training the brain to respond to the feeling of a full bladder. An animated video, prepared by clinical psychologist Dr Baruch Kushnir, can be very helpful in teaching children how alarms work:
It is important that your child is committed to the treatment programme and wants to cure their bedwetting. An incentive may be considered if you think it is appropriate, however, the prospect of being able to do sleepovers or school camps without the fear of wetting the bed is usually enough of an incentive for most children.
When your child is ready and motivated to start using the alarm, practise the routine they need to go through when the alarm triggers during the night to prime them about how to react. When your child settles down to go to sleep have him or her lie in bed pretending to be asleep. Take the alarm and trigger it by putting something metal (a stainless steel knife) across the raised black sensing strips on the Urosensor™. Ask your child to get up, turn the alarm off, go to the bathroom and pretend to pass urine then come back to bed. Practice this three or four times so that your child’s brain is more ready to respond when he or she hears the alarm.
You will also need to explain to siblings that they may hear an alarm during the night and what this means.
Supporting your child during the programme
During the first week or so, you will probably need to get up when the alarm sounds to ensure that your child is waking and going through the toileting routine and preparing the alarm for re-use.
Your child’s role is to be diligent in the use of the alarm. Training is best if the alarm is used consistently every night, until 14 consecutive dry nights have been achieved. Your child should not decide that he or she will turn the alarm off after going to bed because they do not want to be disturbed during the night. They should also be prepared to use the alarm after an initial bedwetting event to alert for subsequent bedwetting events during the night. The more training your child gets in waking to the alarm the faster his or her brain will attune to the feeling of a full bladder and the need to wake up to go to the toilet.
Your child may also keep a record of his or her progress towards dry nights. You can download a DRI Sleeper® chart here. It is important that the chart is seen as a measurement of progress, not of success or failure. If your child gets despondent about lack of progress at some stages, explain that it is often just a matter of time and persistence.
We're part of your team to stop bed wetting
Anzacare’s role on Team Bedwetting includes providing technical advice on the DRI Sleeper® alarm and ongoing guidance and support during the treatment programme, based on over 30 years of helping children cure their bedwetting. A free call number is provided with alarms purchased from the DRI Sleeper® website or you can email us from the Contact Us pages.
Working as a team we can help your child join the ranks of the thousands of children who have cured their bedwetting with a DRI Sleeper® alarm.