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The ultimate goal for parents is just getting your child to wake up or hold it. It’s a normal discipline until the child is  about six-years-old. After that they should be using the bathroom like grown-ups.  What if your child still hasn’t graduated their potty training days? Don’t punish them. It’s not that they’re lazy.  There are several reasons they haven’t mastered it yet.  It could be weak bladder control, sleep problems or even genetics.  If you or someone in the family was a bit of a late starter to those dryer nights then it’s quite normal for your little one to need a little more time.

When to Talk to a Doctor


It’s important to know that training is one thing, but your training may only go so far if your child requires a visit to the doctor for their bedwetting. If you answered “yes” to any of the following   we recommend consulting a doctor.

  • Is my child tired?
  • Does my child snore?
  • Does my child stop breathing at night?
  • Is my child overweight?
  • Does it hurt my child to urinate?
  • Is there pink discharge when urinating?

Bedwetting and Sleep

If you answered “yes” to snoring or sleep apnea then you might have a solution to those bedwetting nights.  It could be that your child is so exhausted at night that their mind doesn’t tell their body it’s time to get up to go. Another indicator is if it’s hard to wake your child up.  Why? If your child snores or stops breathing at night then there’s a good chance that this is disrupting their quality sleep and that’s a cause for concern.  A sleep disorder like snoring or sleep apnea could be to blame. Don’t ignore your child’s symptoms.  If your child has a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or snoring it could require treatment.  This is when the issue becomes more serious than just a bedwetting problem.

Your child’s doctor might decide to order a sleep study to see if your child has a sleep problem that requires treatment.  Treatments could vary from a mask therapy at night to help your child breath to an operation to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy).

In one study, 417 children who wet the bed had their tonsils removed because of sleep apnea.  Half of these children stopped wetting the bed.  The children are able to get better sleep and wake up dry!

For parents who have already done their detective work and have kids who have stopped snoring and appear to be free  of apnea the question remains:  What else could it be?  What can I do to teach them better?  There are other methods aside from taking medications.  Once you’ve ruled out the possibility of a sleep disorder there are a few ideas that can help.

5 Bedwetting Tips

No fluids before bedtime: This goes for anyone who drinks liquids before sleep.  If you’re drinking fluids then you might be waking up frequently to use the bathroom.

Get in a routine: Establish a bedtime and make sure your child goes to the bathroom just before turning in for the night.  This helps the body recognize when it’s time to go and when it’s time to sleep.  Another way to think about this is to think about when you normally go to bed.  When that bedtime approaches, your body starts to get tired.  It helps prepare your body for potty and sleep times.


Reward dry nights:  It’s easy to blame your child for being lazy when you’re scrubbing their sheets, but this won’t get you anywhere.  Make the training a rewarding one by creating a potty training calendar and having your child keep track (with your help) of those dry and wet nights.  You could reward a full week of dry nights by taking them out for ice cream!  Of course, not too close to bedtime.

Hold it!:  It’s hard for anyone to hold it when they’ve really got to go, but try having your child hold it for about 5-10 minutes longer.   This will help teach the bladder not to just go but to hold it.


Bedwetting alarm:  It’s a device that detects the moisture at night and sounds to wake up your child.  It’s important to note that if your child has a sleep disorder it doesn’t properly address the need for a sleep evaluation.  The alarm might be a helpful way to train your child to sense the need to wake up without the use of it later.


Did we mention, Don’t punish?

Be patient and don’t scold your child if they don’t catch on as quickly as you’d hoped.  It’ll make the whole process easier for you and your little trainee if you’re both in this together.  Don’t tease and don’t bring it up to others.  Your child might get discouraged and embarrassed.  Your child should feel comfortable confiding and talking with you about it.

About Valley Sleep Center:

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900;

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