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Bedwetting

images Have you ever dealt with a child who wets the bed?  We are dealing with the issue of bedwetting right now, and I gotta tell you it is stressful.  Our oldest child has trouble staying dry all night.  We had him in pull ups at night until this summer when we decided to give it a go and take off the pull ups.  We would take him pee at night right before we went to bed and he would stay dry the rest of the night.  He was waking up very early because he had to wake up and pee and then couldn’t go back to sleep–but we thought it was great that he was waking up to go.

Then we moved to England.  Once we arrived in Enlgand everything started off fine.  Until school started.  Our oldest is in public school and the adjustment of going to school for 6 hours a day and being very tired by the end of the day made bedwetting a bigger issue.  He was wetting the bed two times a night most nights.  We armed oursevled with washable  puddle pads that we put over his flat sheet so that if he did have an accident we could take that off and replace it with a fresh one.  That way we weren’t having to change sheets in the middle of the night.

Here is his nightly routine:

  • Books before bed.
  • Last pee of the night
  • Lights out and songs.
  • Sleep.
  • We take him pee before we go to bed sometime between 10 and 12.  We usually try to aim for 10:30 because the chances of him having an accident after 10:30 increase by the minute.
  • If we are too late then we change jammies, change the puddle pad and have him empty his bladder.  Occasionally, depending on how he is sleeping the accident may get on his comforter, sheets, or blankie.  Throw those into the kitchen where the washer is so they can be washed the next morning.
  • Sometime between 2am and 4:30, whichever parent wakes up first, will take him pee again.  Occasionally we are too late and we have to repeat the above step.
  • Rejoice in the morning if he stayed dry all night (and I have no more laundry to do).

Now, this may not be the BEST way to handle bedwetting at night but it works for us for now.  I don’t enjoy having interrupted sleep in the middle of the night and dealing with taking him to the toilet but I dislike even more dealing with wet jammies and extra loads of laundry.

A few weeks ago I was getting concerned that maybe there was something else going on with him–a medical problem.  I started doing some research (talking to other parents and reading on the web) about bedwetting in school age children.

Here is what I learned:

  • It is common for boys especially to struggle with bedwetting.
  • Some children don’t produce the hormone that supresses the body from making urine at night until they are older.  In some cases, not until puberty.
  • It isn’t their fault.  They aren’t doing it on purpose.  They can’t help it.  They aren’t lazy.
  • Using things like sticker charts won’t really be helpful because bedwetting is not something that children can control.  It isn’t the same thing as using a sticker chart for thumb sucking or doing chores.
  • Use empathy and love when your children have an accident.  Use all your might to not show any anger toward your child if they have an accident.
  • Stress makes bedwetting worse.  (In our case starting school was making it worse for our child.  Showing anger and frustration about bedwetting can also make it worse.)
  • If you suspect a medical problem, take the child in for a check up and talk to the pediatrician.
  • Some websites said that taking them to the toilet at night doesn’t really teach the child anything–it more trains the parent than anything else.
  • If your child is old enough for sleepovers you can ask your doctor about a prescription the child can take to not wet the bed.  Or teach your child how to discreetly use pull ups to avoid being embarrassed about needing them at night.
  • Encourage your child when he has an accident and tell him he will grow out of it.  (It doesn’t bother our child that he has accidents at night.  He isn’t embarrassed about it for the time being but I suspect that he will get there if this issue doesn’t resolve itself in the next year.)
  • Take heart, you aren’t the only parent out there dealing with extra laundry due to bedwetting!

How have you dealt with bedwetting?  What has worked for you?

7 Responses to Bedwetting

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Breanna
    November 12, 2009 @ 7:36 am

    My 5 year old still struggles with this. Over the summer we decided we were done with pull ups and tried waking her up in the middle of the night to go, but it was such a struggle waking her up. She got so upset when we tried to get her up and make her go. Sometimes that helped and sometime she still had accidents even after that. I finally realized that she really had no control over it and we went back to Pull Ups. I got so tired of washing sheets and blankets all the time. Where did you get the puddle pads you were talking about? I’m looking forward to the day when this is no longer an issue, but it’s a comfort knowing there are other kids out there who still struggle with it.

  • Comment by Amelia
    November 12, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    We got 2 from One Step Ahead and my mom found some at Target. The ones from Target come in a package of 2 and are a really good size. I think they cost a lot less than the ones from One Step Ahead and I actually like them better. I’ll have to ask my mom what section of target she found the puddle pads in and get back to you.

    I get tired of washing the sheets too but our boy is 6 so the fight for getting him back into pull ups is seriously not worth fighting–Plus, the good night time pull ups are uber expensive–especially here in the UK. Otherwise I might consider it again.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 12, 2009 @ 10:42 am

    My 7 yo DS still wets the bed. He is an extremely hard sleeper. He wears pull-ups, but I always take him potty before I go to bed, around 10:30. He NEVER fully wakes and will not remember if I’ve taken him. Most mornings he is dry, but occasionally he’ll wet, even if I’ve taken him to the bathroom. I do get tired of the extra laundry, but I feel for him. Really the only reason I take him to the bathroom before I go to bed is for his self-esteem. He gets pretty bummed that he still wets the bed but his 5 yo sister and 3 yo brother can stay dry. Thankfully it is no longer a big deal around here. We finally figured out that we can’t fight it, so we just go with it!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Allie
    November 12, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    Oh we struggled with this for so long with my now 6 yo son. He was fully trained in the day by the age of 2 1/2 but could not go all night without very heavy diapers. His bedtime is 830, he is a very heavy sleeper and he loves his milk! We tried night time training at age 4, 5 and were finally successful at age 6.

    His last liquid was dinnertime and we sleep late so we’d take him at midnight. And he’d still wet every night! So we started taking him in the middle of the night too and even then sometimes, he’d wet. It was so hard to be encouraging at 3 or 4am with wet sheets and pjs to change! I later read that it wasn’t very effective to take them while they were asleep. So we began waking him up and making him walk to the bathroom himself. And we’d talk to him so he’d be more conscious. Finally, he had gotten the hang of it and is now able to wake himself up to go. YAY!

    For a short time after this breakthrough, we had to deal with a hypersensitivity to the urge to “go”. At bedtime, he would go two or three times before settling into bed and we’d have two or three night time wakings where he’d call out to say he had to go and then be too scared to go back to sleep because it’s dark and everyone else was asleep. Thankfully, we are growing out of this phase too.

    Hang in there moms!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Breanna
    November 13, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    How do you handle it if your kids sleep overnight with family or friends?

  • Comment by Amelia
    November 13, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

    We haven’t had to deal with sleepovers yet. I’m not eager for that rite of passage. While we were at my mom’s house over the summer we had puddle pads. I think if/when we visit the US to see family I’ll probably have my mom pick up some more puddle pads to have at her house.

    I’m curious about what others have done?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jess
    November 14, 2009 @ 6:28 am

    Girls do it to. My 5 yo is wet 4 or 5 mornings a week. I switched to reuseable bedwetter pants from Motherease. They have made her much more comfortable with it all. Doctor has found nothing wrong and they don’t really want to do anything before age 7. At that age they seem to want to go with alarm systems like Potty Pager or one of those. On summer vacation we used Underjams.

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