Wetting the bed...

Xero

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Bedwetting is a common, and also very normal, problem among young children. Whether it be because the child isn't physically able to hold their urine while sleeping, or perhaps because they are too comfortable to want to get out of bed, there can be many reasons for bed wetting. Sometimes kids just sleep too deeply to be aware enough of themselves to wake up and go to the bathroom. Some kids can even be afraid of going down the hallway in the middle of the night when things are dark and everyone is in bed.

Let me start by saying that bedwetting is very common. More than five million children in the US wet the bed at night. Bedwetting is also genetic. Doctors will not even treat bedwetting as a medical problem, in most cases, until the age of seven. It is also not considered an actual problem until the age of five. Before that age, it is expected that only some children are night time toilet trained, because they are still at the age of potty training. A lot of parents are concerned when their children are still not staying dry at night around the ages of three and four, but the fact is that it really shouldn't be an "expected" thing yet. You can definitely encourage it, but don't get stressed out or frustrated if your child isn't progressing the way you would like. Some kids night time train very young, but others take a longer time. Every kid is different. My four-year-old wasn't fully night time trained until he was about three and a half, and that was without much effort from us.

There are several helpful tips to preventing bedwetting, but none of them can work until your child is actually physically and mentally ready to stay dry through the night. Try not to ever get frustrated if you feel you are trying it all, and nothing seems to help. Everything will correct itself in good time. This isn't a preventative measure, but one important thing would be to protect the mattress by using a mattress cover underneath the sheets.



One major thing that I have always done with my oldest ever since he was daytime potty trained is having them go to the bathroom right before bed. Even if they say they don't need to go, ask them to please try. That way they are emptied out and they have a better chance at being able to hold it. It might also be good to withhold drinks for an hour or two before bed to help keep their bladders from filling up. Let the child help you change the sheets, to take a small measure of responsibility for the situation. Also, a lot of times you can start a very good habit of waking up to use the bathroom if you go in late each night and wake the child up to go. If they are afraid of the hallways or the bathroom when it's dark at night, install some night lights (my son loves these). As a last resort, things like bedwetting alarms and medications to treat bedwetting do exist as well.

One thing I can't stress enough, is to be understanding with the kids that have more trouble, and are still wetting past the normal age (5+). They have so much expected of them, and sometimes it can be a lot on their little shoulders. Make sure you let the child know that it is not their fault, and that someday they will be able to stay dry through the night. It is just as disheartening, if not more, for them when they have accidents. Do not let anyone else in the family tease them, and don't put them down or make a big deal out of it. Always be supportive and positive of the future - "it's alright, it was an accident, we will keep trying to stay dry."
 
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IADad

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We're struglling/working on this. DS2 was making it through the night's okay as long as we restricted liquids a while before bed and emptied out right before bed, then he started haveing wetting accidents, which we approached by me getting him up and additional time later in the evening before I went to bed, then again first thing in the morning before he'd normally get up, and even that didn't work all the time,

So we had a talk and put him back into pullups just at night, a thing he at one time resisted (who wants to go back to a diapeer afertall) but we talked about how this was just between us, and it was just so those surprises don't happen and since we've gone back to the pull up, he's only wet it once (and that was bizzarre, because I took him late at night, first thing in the morning, and then within the next 45 minutes he soaked the pull up to its capacity...not sure what was happening there.) Anyway, he's been dry most all of the time, and we've scaled back so the only additional measurte is to get him up early to go and it's been going pretty well. Just not really sure when we're going to try be without a pull up again, mostly because I don't want him to "fail" and have to go back after he's gone back out of them. Any thoughts on sealing the deal?
 

Xero

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Sally is right on that note, I think, IADad. I remember with ODS I didn't take him out of his diapers (screw Pull-Ups, he soaked right through those every time lol) until he was dry all on his own for a good month I think. It even got to the point where he was getting up in the middle of the night to go, taking the diaper off, and waking me up to put it back on haha. Finally I decided that it was obvious that he was ready to be out of them. I really do think it just takes some kids longer than others. I would definitely keep him in Pull-Ups until he has been 100% dry for at least a month or so, and then ask him what he wants to do, and if he thinks he can do it. :) Another good idea would be to maybe get him a new bed set with a favorite theme or character on it and make a big deal out of how we want to keep them clean and dry. ODS seemed to go for that when we bought his new Lightning McQueen set lol.

Sally - waking them up is a great idea, and like I said get their minds set on that good habit of waking up when they need to go. Oddly enough, it didn't work for ODS. I tried that before he was really ready to be night time trained and he still wet his diaper some of the time when I did. It's funny, I gave up trying and stopped waking him up and all that and he just trained himself out of nowhere. I don't even limit liquids with him, he gets a big cup full of milk every night before bed LOL. He just figured out all on his own to get up to go pee if he needs to. Ever since I took him out of diapers he has had maybe two accidents and it's been several months now I believe.
 
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Xero

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I am not a big fan of elimination communication. I have definitely heard about it and read about it, and I personally would never do it. I have heard from many people (and it seems obvious) that it's the parents who are trained, not the babies. You have to dedicate your life 24/7 to learning how to tell when your baby is about to go. I imagine it must be so messy, and the thought grosses me out. Not only that but I think babies should be allowed to be babies, and they should be focused on playing, developing their minds, and reaching milestones. Not being run back and forth to the bathroom frantically all day. That's just my personal opinion though.
 

Xero

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rocknrollmommy - That's what my mom did with all of her kids! :)
 

IADad

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Well, I failed to get him up to go "one last time" last night and he was wet when I went to get him up early. And yes, he soaked right through the pullup, so he's obviously holding lot's of fluid, just not forever.

He is getting a new bed set for Christmas, but I don't think that will do the trick. The problem is that he doesn't wak up. He doesn't even wake up after he's wet...so I think the only thing to do is dry him out well at night, have him wear the pullup (sorry, going back to a diaper would be degrading to him. I agree, probably should have kept him in diapers at night longer, but we can't go back now.) and wait for him to grow enough to control all night. I really wish I could train him to wake up when he feels the urge to go, but I don't know of any way to do that. I don't think the "pride in his new sheets approach would work, because he's simply not aware that he's even done it.

I'll tell you, whoever figures out a perfect solution to potty training will be a multi millionaire.
 

Ruben Padilla

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My son Knight had a bit of trouble with this even as late as age 7, and I remember my looks of disappointment and frustration whenever it would happen.

Sadly, he remembers those looks as well.

It's vital that you handle the situation with grace, love, and patience.

Remember, you're both on the same team.
 

Xero

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Ruben - I completely agree. It is so important to be understanding and empathetic when these things happen. Their self esteems are so fragile when they are young.
 

W.M.

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Just wanted to post my perspective from having grown up with this issue in the late '70s to 1985:

I didn't stop wetting the bed until the very week I hit puberty when I was 11 years old. Back then, my parents were being told it was a mental problem, but that wasn't true. I never knew I was wetting the bed, and would wake up the next morning in a puddle of urine. My parents handled the problem with frustration and both physical and mental abuse. I have several blackouts in my childhood memories from very bad moments back then over the stress I was put under. One of them was my father demanding in a rage that I strip in front of him and put on a diaper at the age of 10. I blacked out and never could remember what happened after that.

When I hit puberty at 11 (causing the wetting to instantly stop by itself), I discovered I had a new problem: I now had to get up 4 to 5 times a night as the pain in my bladder would prevent me from sleeping. I'm now almost 40 years old, and ever since I've had to get up this many times to urinate. I now know that it must be a physical defect from birth. Unfortunately the mental damage cannot be undone, so my message to those dealing with this is to please don't take your anger out on the kid. My childhood was destroyed by this and other abuses at home.
 
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momandmore

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I'm so sorry to hear about this. My younger sister went through t he same thing. I would try to help her cover it up. It was later revealed that hers had something to do with being molested. She also stopped around 11yo. This is so sad. And a very important message!
 

IADad

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We're realizing that this is just a timing thing. Our 6 yo, is a part-time nighttime wetter. He'll be dry for 2 or 3 nights then wet, or wet for two nights in a row. We've put him into pullups as itjust not worth the mess and stress of dealing with the wet bed.

We're trying to deal with itwith compassion, and realize that he doesn't even know it's happening. He has woken up a couple of times to go to the bathroom, so we're hoping this signals a change in his awareness. We tried getting him up to go, about 11:00 before I turn in for the night, and while this is effective in keeping him dry, I'm not so sure it does anything to help him (i.e. if he never feels the urge at night, how can he learn to respond to it?) So, we'll be patient, keep buying the pullups and wait. We're hoping sleepovers don't start for at least another year....
 

Xero

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I am sure he will come around, IADad. :) That is a really good sign that he is waking up randomly on his own sometimes to go!! Very awesome. That was what ODS did right before being ready to be in underwear at night. I never did wake ODS up at night to go (well I tried it a few times before he was really ready and it didn't make any difference), although I know a lot of people that say it works/worked for them. I think when they are ready then they're ready, and they wont need you to do that.

I wet the bed till a really late age haha (much older than he is), so don't feel bad. :) I remember how he feels and it definitely does suck for the bed wetter too!
 

stjohnjulie

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With both my boys, getting them up before lights went out for the grown ups worked well. With my youngest, the thing that seemed to stop bed wetting accidents is NO PANTS, or bottoms, or underwear, when he goes down for a nap or the night. Even for the daytime, when we were starting, he didn't wear underwear. I think he was able to notice his body a little more without the restriction of clothing that was so much like the diaper for him. He's 2.5 now, fully potty trained, and hasn't had an accident in a while (knock on wood :) ) He still gets up in the night, but he wakes up, calls us from the crib, we take him to the bathroom, and he goes back down. We never made a big deal about an accident. "whoops!" was about all he got out of us. But he will try and say he has to go when he doesn't so he can get out of bed. Still working on that one. Next step is out of the crib into a bed. That will be a struggle for him! And us!
 

IADad

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I guess timing is didn't on didn't things for everyone.

We had both our boys in an adult full size bed shortly after age one. I don't think i could have lifted mine it of a crib at that age and there's no way they would have slept comfortably on a crib"mattress."

I get that waking him up will"work"to keep him dry, but it seems like him training me to remember to get up and take him to the potty rather than him to wake up and take care of it himself.