Dr Catherine
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8-15 years

Hi Crystal, firstly with respect to your 9-year-old daughter, while it is true many children do outgrow bedwetting on their own, some children do benefit from more focused intervention. Given her age and the frequency of her wetting it may be time to look at introducing a bedwetting alarm. Conditioning alarms are currently the best option and come in two main forms. One is a body alarm with a small sensor that can be worn inside children’s underpants or used with DryNites. The second type of alarm is a bell and pad alarm that is placed like a mat over the bottom bed sheet. This is connected to an alarm box placed at the end of your son’s bed. The success of the alarm is highly dependent on how motivated your daughter is to become dry, correct instruction, as well as the level of support you receive so it is important that you discuss this with your doctor or ask to be referred to someone with expertise in this area. Consistency is the key when it comes to treating your daughters bedwetting so it would be important that whatever is adopted in one house is also followed at the other. With respect to your 3-year-old … Child resistance or refusal is the most common toilet training challenge experienced by parents. It is important however to differentiate resistance or refusal from ‘readiness’. For signs of toileting readiness please visit the Huggies website and click on the toilet training guide. If young children are not developmentally ready to begin toilet training, they often exhibit behaviours that may be misinterpreted as resistance. True toileting resistance is typically seen among children who are at least 3 years of age, are capable of getting themselves to the toilet or potty, and have most likely done so in the past, but instead choose to wet or soil their pants. These children are unlikely to independently take themselves to the toilet and often refuse to do so even when asked by their parents. Unfortunately this type of behaviour often leads to power struggles between parents and children, turning the toilet training process into an emotional battlefield. If life has turned into one long battle then it is time to have a break, just for a week or two. Put toilet training on the back burner and enjoy your child. Use this time to celebrate all the wonderful things your child has achieved in their few short years of life. Big toilet seats can be quite daunting and young children often fear falling in. If you think this is a contributing factor try using a potty, perhaps take her shopping with you so that she can select one that she likes. Let her practice sitting on this fully clothed. Sometimes the extra splash of water that occurs when using a larger toilet can be a bit frightening. You can reduce this by lining the bottom of the toilet first with toilet paper. In order to encourage your daughter to use the toilet the desire has to come from within. While star charts and rewards may be helpful in the initial stages of toilet training they really are no longer appropriate. While verbal praise is fine it is important not to overdo this, as it can be as damaging as punishment to children during the toilet training process. While it is fine to celebrate each success, make this about their behaviour, “Keep up the good work” or “It’s great that you were able to tell that you needed to wee”. While it is common for parents to tell young children they are “proud of them” when they wee in the toilet, this can also give children the message that you are not proud of them when they do not succeed. An overly celebratory response while good intentioned can actually result in ‘resistant’ children feeling greater pressure to perform and can lead to avoidance, which is often motivated by fear of failure. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine