First of all, a distinction should be made as to whether the wetting at night occurs with children that have not yet learned to contain their urination (primary wetting) or whether a child that has already had dry intervals for six months is wetting itself at night. In the second case, the child has learned to control its bladder, urinated before going to sleep and then again after waking up in the morning. In medical terms, bedwetting in children also includes naps in the afternoon.
Generally speaking, a rule of thumb states that children should begin being introduced to the potty at around the eighth month. At this age however, reflexes mature later on and the activity is more of a subconscious matter than something that the child is fully aware of. The second approach focuses on observing the child and beginning to introduce the potty when the child is sufficiently mature. Both methods tend to reach success, but it should be noted that the second tends to be less stressful for both the baby and the mother. A doctor can assist you in determining whether a child is mature enough to begin using the potty.
It is usually expected that by the age of three (when in preschool), the child is capable of communicating that he/she wants to use the toilet and can control his/her stool and urine. This is however variable, because of the differences in development among children. It is true that most children can make sure that they do not “wet themselves”, but it does not automatically mean that it is wrong when a child is not able to do so by that stage. Theoretically, a child should be able to fully control it by the age of five.
If the child has passed its third and fifth year of age, the probability as opposed to secondary bedwetting means that he/she will likely have a medical problem. The child does not usually wet itself during the day, but has problems controlling the bladder at night. If after numerous repeated training, the child is unable to cope with it, it is advisable that a pediatrician is contacted to carry out any further necessary examinations.
Secondary bedwetting means that the child begins to wet himself/herself again after approximately six months of having a dry interval, i.e. following having full control over the bladder. In the majority of cases, this of a psychological origin and often concealed. The child can appear happy and joyful. It can be caused by stress from attending a preschool which the child enjoys going to but is stressed by someone/something there. It is therefore good to look for problems in this sphere as well as it can be caused by unconscious stress.
This text was prepared by lead pediatrician of Canadian Medical, MUDr. Silvie Knoppová.
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