Question: “My 8-year-old son has never been dry. He knows other kids have accidents too, but he is deathly afraid of sleepovers. What can I do?”
Wetting the bed every night at 8-years-old is definitely not unique, but it can create a lot of stress for both your son and your family I’m sure. At 8-years-old, your child is starting to become aware that wetting the bed is something most other kids don’t do, and since sleepovers are becoming more and more common, the stress of wetting the bed can cause sleepless nights, anxiety, and other sleep problems as well that spill over into the daytime.
An 8-Year-Old Bedwetter Is Not Alone
Certainly reassure your son that other kids still wet the bed at 8-years-old and older. From your email, you say your son is never, or seldom, dry and he wakes up every night or morning wet. Have you had a physical and seen your doctor? Bed wetting before age 7 is often seen as “normal” by doctors and pediatricians, but if he hasn’t been dry for more than a couple of nights by that age, you should definitely consult your doctor and possibly see a specialist such as a urologist to make sure everything is ok.
Bladder Exercises To Help An 8-Year-Old Bedwetter
For many kids, the bladder muscles just haven’t developed, or the bladder is very small. Exercises to both stretch the bladder and improve the sphincter muscles may help. A good exercise is to have your son try and “stop the flow” several times when he uses the restroom, hold it, let it go, hold it, etc. He can do this on his own without supervision. This will help build up the sphincter muscle and make him practice holding it once urine starts flowing.
Having a small, immature bladder can also contribute to bed-wetting. Just because your son is a certain height or weight doesn’t mean that his bladder is growing in proportion to his body. A urologist will be able to check the size of the bladder and see if there are any problems internally.
Wetting the bed for an 8-year-old is definitely stressful, and you should do whatever you can to let him know that wetting the bed is something he will eventually outgrow. This age is perfect for trying a bed wetting alarm since he is old enough to being sensitive at wearing underpants, and yet not old enough to be overly embarrassed by using an alarm. If you do not use a bedwetting alarm and just try and “wait it out” you can use regular underwear and a plastic pant to keep the bed protected. Still, an alarm such as the Malem bed-wetting alarm or the Wet-Stop 3 is highly recommended.
Protecting the bed itself is also a necessity. You can use either a plastic waterproof mattress cover (plastic sheets) or you can even buy absorbent pads with a plastic bad, sometimes called chux, to place under him at night.
The happiness of your child is directly related to how you deal with the issue of bed wetting in a child of this age. Your patience, understanding, care and giving him a little privacy to let him clean up after himself, can go a long way. Try an alarm and get a professional checkup before giving in to disposable underpants or other products. Some kids who have never been dry at night show almost instant success the moment they try an alarm. Give it a try!