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  • By Steve Hodges, M.D.

No, Waking Your Child to Pee Won’t Stop Bedwetting

The following question was posed during a free webinar on bedwetting and accidents that Dr. Hodges presented with Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. You can post-register for the webinar here.

It’s tempting to wake up a child in the middle of the night to pee, but this approach doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

Q: My 6-year-old and 8-year-old still wet the bed a few times a week. We usually wake them up to pee before we go to bed, which seems to help, but only a little. Should we stick with this strategy?

A: Most parents of children who wet the bed try this approach. But I advise against it for two reasons:

•It’s hard to time the wake-up exactly right. So, kids are often escorted down the hallway half-asleep — and they end up wetting the bed, anyway. This can compromise both the parent and the child’s sleep.

•Even if you can keep your children dry overnight this way, you haven’t solved anything except a laundry problem. You’ve simply adapted their sleeping patterns to their poor bladder capacity.

Ultimately, it’s a mug’s game (one of my favorite British expressions, meaning “a futile endeavor”).

It’s highly likely that your children are constipated. If you’re skeptical, I advise having them X-rayed for constipation (yes, X-rays for this purpose are safe and warranted!). Then, do the MiraLAX cleanout or, better yet, the enema protocol, and follow up with a maintenance regimen for at least six months.

Don’t wait around for your children to “outgrow” the bedwetting. They may — or may not. I treat many tween and teen bedwetting patients whose families were told to “wait it out.”

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Must-read books for kids by Steve Hodges, M.D.

• Bedwetting and Accidents Aren't Your Fault

• Jane and the Giant Poop


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