Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Hi Jay, unfortunately whether or not your child wets the bed at night has very little to do with how well you prepare them or teach them to stay dry at night. Primary bedwetting can result from a number of factors with the three most common causes being (1) an overproduction of urine overnight – children who have low-levels of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) produce four times the amount of urine as those who have the hormone and are therefore at a greater likelihood of exceeding their bladder capacity overnight. If this is the cause children generally stop wetting their bed when their ADH levels return to normal; (2) Difficulty arousing from sleep in response to a full-bladder – these children are unable to detect the signals sent from their bladder to their brain telling it it is full and needs emptying. These children will stop wetting when their body matures to a point where they can wake-up in response to their full bladder; and (3) a genetic disposition – children who wet the bed are more likely to have a family member who also wet the bed as a child. The fact that your stepchildren both wet the bed into their teens suggests that there certainly may be an underlying genetic predisposition. When genetics are at play we typically find children become dry around a similar age to their family member(s). If however you would like to see this achieved sooner you can certainly look into introducing a conditioning alarm. Conditioning alarms are currently the safest and most effective means of treating bedwetting. Children who experience variable or less frequent wetting like your son tend to respond better to the conditioning alarm. Conditioning alarms work by helping your son learn to recognise the need to pass urine and either wake-up and go to the toilet or learn to hold on until morning. They come in two main forms. One is a body alarm with a small sensor that can be worn inside her DryNites. The second type of alarm is a bell and pad alarm that is placed like a mat over the bottom bed sheet of her bed. It is essential that you speak with a continence specialist before introducing the alarm, as the more support you receive, the more likely you will experience a positive outcome. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine