Bed wetting (enuresis) for child
It is estimated that 15 per cent of boys and 10 per cent of girls are still wetting their beds at the age of five. But by the age of nine, however, only about five per cent still have the problem. So, although common, it is a problem usually outgrown in time. Meanwhile, however, it can cause embarrassment and anxiety to both parents and child.
An understanding of what is needed to achieve bladder control can help parents accept and handle any problems that arise.
To achieve bladder control the child’s nervous system should have matured sufficiently to enable her to have voluntary control over the sphincter muscles that hold or release urine. This is usually managed by about 30 months, but night-time control can usually be expected only some time afterwards. (See p. 166 for toilet training.)
Regression. Emotional factors can also influence bladder control and sometimes a child who is trained regresses either because of emotional turmoil caused by the arrival of a new baby, a move to a new house or other major changes in the normal routine. Children who have been potty trained at an early age often regress and have ‘accidents’ when they get to the age of two and their natural need to assert themselves becomes prominent. Either way the child who has lost her bladder or stool control needs sympathetic handling. She is not being ‘naughty’, and scolding or spanking will not help matters at all. Firstly, you must try to pin-point the cause of the regression. Is she jealous? Is she under too much pressure? Does she appear to have other problems such as hyperactivity or minimal brain dysfunction? (See p. 200.)
Medical problems such as threadworms (264), diabetes, urinary tract infections (227), blockage or narrowing of the neck of the bladder, and petit mal epileptic attacks (238), may also result in bed wetting. Therefore a thorough medical examination is essential before you conclude that it is an emotional or maturation problem.
Once you have sorted out the cause and corrected the problems as far as possible, you can reintroduce her to the potty. If she will allow it, you can put her in nappies again for a time if you feel you cannot remain cool when ‘accidents’ happen. If you cannot eliminate the cause of regression, you will still have to handle her tactfully and gently. If she can see someone she admires using the potty confidently she might be persuaded to imitate her and begin using it again.