Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Hi J. S.,it is not that unusual for boys to still be wetting at night at age 6, however we do find the chances of children outgrowing bedwetting on their own do diminish, as they get older. The best approach to the treatment of children’s bedwetting is the conditioning alarm. Bedwetting alarms work by setting off an alarm when your son starts to wet, waking him up so that he gets up and goes to the toilet. Over a period of time this conditions the body into recognizing the signs of a full bladder, your son will eventually learn to wake on his own without the need for the alarm. It is not unusual for the alarm not to work at first and may take up to 6 months of constant use. Children may experience one or two relapses, when this occurs you need to reintroduce and repeat the process. It may be helpful to get your son to practice setting the alarm off during the day (with a drop of water) so that way he will become familiar to the sound of the alarm. Alarms are certainly harder to implement initially with children who are particularly deep sleepers, with parents needing to wake children themselves at first until they become more conditioned to responding to the sound of the alarm. Before travelling down this route I would strongly recommend speaking with your GP or continence specialist to ensure you select a type of alarm that is bets suited to your son. With respect to nighttime waking - we know that lifting or taking children to the toilet during the night is really a form of management and does little in the way of helping children to stop wetting the bed, and can at times prolong the bedwetting process. As I am sure you are fully aware – children continue to wet the bed at night until they either learn to wake or their bladder learns to hold onto the amount of urine their kidneys produce. Lifting at night means children do not get the chance to get used to the signals that the bladder sends to the brain telling them to wake-up and empty their bladder nor does the bladder have the opportunity to stretch and develop. If you do want to pursue with this approach I would recommend that you try and vary the time which you take him so that his bladder does not get conditioned to needing to empty at the same time each night; perhaps try taking him a little earlier to see if his bladder is capable of storing urine for extended periods. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine