Most children begin the gradual process of potty training when they are somewhere between the ages of two and three. Before those ages bladder control is largely involuntary. Daytime bladder control is simpler to achieve and therefore tends to occur earlier in a child’s life than does nighttime bladder control. Some children master both day and nighttime bladder control quicker and easier than other children. This has nothing to do with intelligence at all. Bladder control function only becomes to be within a child’s voluntary control when they reach five or six years old.
Bed wetting before age six is not viewed as a problem but if it happens after age six and is frequent it might signal a problem. Of course it also might not. Children who wet their beds are not lazy, stupid, abnormal or unhealthy. There are many misnomers surrounding bed wetting and these are some of them that are simply untrue. There are many components that go into the process of learning bladder control and these include the synchronicity of the kidneys, bladder, nerves, spinal cord and brain. All children’s minds and bodies do not have everything working in happy harmony all at once. Some children have a bladder that takes longer to mature; other children may produce more urine from the kidneys than those in the general population and still other children may simply have a small bladder that can only hold a small percentage of urine at once. As a rule of thumb most doctor suggest that it is time for intervention if your child is six years of age or older and wets his or her bed an average of two to three times (or more) during a weekly basis.
It is not often the case but sometimes bed wetting is the result of a medical problem. The most common include kidney infections, bladder infections, constipation and the onset of juvenile diabetes. If your child suffers pain or discomfort upon urination, has very dark or foul smelling urine or experiences pain in his abdominal area or lower back it could be the result of a physical problem. If the doctor suspects that this is the case, he or she will send the child for a urinalysis (a urine test) and perhaps even x-rays to help isolate the cause of the pain, which could in turn be causing the bed wetting to occur.
Bed wetting is extremely common in children, although it is more widespread in boys than it is in girls. It is estimated that on average five to seven million children experience bed wetting on a regular basis in the course of a year. The likelihood that a child will wet his bed decreases with age. For example studies show that while ten percent of six year olds wet their beds, only three percent of thirteen and fourteen year olds do so. In the meantime if the problem is bothersome enough there are a variety of treatment options and these include everything from bladder retraining exercises, moisture alarms, medications such as Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) and Imipramine (Tofranil) and behavioral treatments such as behavior modification and psychotherapy. As well there are alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and hypnosis that can be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments.