Patient Education

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Motivational Therapy for Bed-Wetting

Treatment Overview

Motivational therapy for bed-wetting uses praise, encouragement, and rewards to help a child gain bladder control. It's about telling children that they have control of their bodies and encouraging them to take steps that bring about more and more dry nights. For best results, keep a record of your child's progress.

And work with your child to design a reward system (such as a star chart). You know your child. If you think a reward system will help your child, then try it. If you think it may make your child feel worse, then do not use a reward system.

You can reward your child for reaching both big and small goals and tasks. For example, you could reward your child when he or she:

  • Uses the toilet before going to bed.
  • Helps to change wet sheets.
  • Has a dry night.

As part of this therapy, it's important to not punish, blame, or embarrass your child for wetting the bed.

Motivational therapy can help children gain some degree of control over their bed-wetting. But if it doesn't help your child in 3 to 6 months, think about trying other methods.

This therapy may involve a series of counseling sessions with a trained professional. During the sessions, the counselor encourages the child to take responsibility for the bed-wetting and to be very involved in the treatment. The counselor, parents, and child decide what reward (praise, stickers, or trinkets) the child will be given for dry days and/or nights.

  • It is unclear exactly how many children gain complete bladder control through motivational therapy alone.
  • Children who do gain complete bladder control with motivational therapy are less likely to return to accidental wetting after treatment than children who are treated with other therapies.
  • This treatment works best for children who want to take part in it. It may be used in combination with other treatments.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: September 23, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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