see also Toilet Training Problems
Towards the end of their second year most children begin to know what a full bladder or bowel feels like and either ask to go to the toilet immediately or delay going until a convenient moment. Daytime control of the bladder is usually achieved between the age of eighteen months and three years, and night-time control a year or so later, between the age of two and a half and three and a half. Dry nights should come naturally after this. However, some children take longer to develop bladder control than others. About 10 per cent of four- and five-year-olds regularly bedwet, and a further 10 per cent do so on occasions.
Doctors distinguish between primary bedwetting and secondary bedwetting. Primary bedwetting means that a child has never been completely dry for very long. This may be purely physiological, the nervous system not being mature enough to signal urgency or close the sphincter from the bladder, or it may be psychological, the child never having learned to like being dry because nappy changes were infrequent.
Secondary bedwetting means that the child has been dry for a significant period, but has started to wet again. Causes include Anxiety, problems in the family or at school, food Allergy, food additives, a slight degree of spinal maladjustment, urinary infections, and worms. If infection or infestation is suspected consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 48 hours; a urine test may be necessary. Constitutional treatment can help to boost the child's general resistance to infection.
Specific remedies to be taken at bedtime for up to 14 nights
- Wetting during dreams Equisetum 6c
- Wetting early in night, especially if child goes to bed cold after a hair wash Belladonna 6c
- Child sleeps deeply but wets during dreams in early part of night and cannot wake fast enough to get to toilet Kreosotum 6c
- Wetting in first sleep, worse when child has a cough, and worse in dry, clear weather Causticum 6c
- If above remedies fail, and there are no indications for any other remedy Plantago 6c
Self-help: With older children, it is important to make them feel that they can handle the problem; one way of doing this is to encourage them to change soiled sheets themselves, leaving fresh sheets out for them each night. If the cause is spinal maladjustment, osteopathy or chiropractic may produce improvement.