How to help
- Limit drinks after dinner, and keep caffeinated beverages to a minimum all day (they irritate the bladder and make the kidneys produce more liquid).
- Start the habit of using the bathroom right before bed.
- Explain that it's okay to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. (And leave a nightlight on in there.)
- Consider stationing a portable potty (and a nightlight) in your child's bedroom.
- Don't wake your child to use the potty before you turn in -- it won't teach him to get up on his own.
- Never push him, shame him, or make him sleep in a soggy bed. It could have the opposite effect, causing daytime accidents and lowering self-esteem.
- Offer simple reinforcement -- a sticker, say, and words of praise -- when there's a dry night.
- Expect accidents. Retire the diapers once your child's able to stay dry five nights in a row (it's fine to bring them back out if his streak doesn't last), but don't take the plastic cover off the mattress for another year or so.
If the problem persists and your child has not outgrown his bed-wetting by the time he turns 6 or so, you might ask the doctor about a moisture-sensitive pad that fits in underwear and sounds an alarm at the first trickle of pee. He may also prescribe DDAVP, a tablet or nasal spray that slows the production of urine at night.
Most kids outgrow bed-wetting without treatment. The best thing you can do is support your child by being patient. Don't let siblings tease him. Reassure him that lots of other kids have the same problem even though they don't talk about it, and that things will get better as he grows. And in the meantime, offer plenty of encouragement and a pat on the back for dry nights.