Any words of advice concerning child bed wetting?

reno_fanDecember 20, 2005

Okay you guys, I'm at my wits end. My youngest (DD, age 7.5) manages to wet the bed about every other night.

We've tried limiting fluids, sugar, salt, etc before bed.

We've tried waking her in the middle of the night. (She would often stumble to the bathroom, sit down, do nothing, then proceed to wet the bed the moment she was back asleep in bed, and have NO recollection at all the next morning.)

We've tried setting an alarm for her.

None of this has worked, and it's becoming more and more of an issue, for both of us. She's embarassed, I'm tired of doing laundry every day. I *know* it's not her fault, but I can't help feeling exasperated, and I'm sure she can pick up on that.

Trouble is, the bed wetting doesn't wake her at all. She sleeps right through it. I've had other moms tell that when their bedwetters wake in the middle of the night, they make them change the sheets. Our DD doesn't even realize it till the morning. Needless to say, this makes sleepovers, slumber parties, etc touchy.

I've researched a bit on those bed wetting alarms that are supposed to wake the child at the first sign of wetness, supposedly to trigger the "brain/bladder connection". I suppose I'm skeptical, and also leary that it really *could* wake her, as she's such a heavy sleeper.

Has anyone used such a device? Or have any other advice to give?

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Could there possibly be a medical problem? I'd start at the pediatrician's. If not, I'd work from there.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 11:10AM
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Ped says there's nothing wrong with her, well, other than the fact that she wets the bed. (Gee, thanks!!) He doesn't seem concerned at all, which I guess is good, medically speaking. He suggested the device, but only said that it works for some, and not for others.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 11:13AM
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reno, that device worked for my best friend when I was growing up. She wet the bed until 5th grade (not trying to scare you). Her father bought that device and she stopped right away. I'm not sure how deeply she slept, but I know she never realized she wet the bed until the morning.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 11:45AM
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Well, I think you have a right to be concerned. You certainly don't want her to be ashamed about it or get any negative body issues as a result.

Have you spoken to a psychologist about this to see if you could treat the cause (provided there is one) rather than try to modify the behavior since she's obviously asleep and isn't doing it on purpose?

Incontinence pants would certainly be a solution to the changing the bed and laundry but I'd want a psychologist's opinion before I went down that road.

Or, there must be a pad you could put down on the bed over the sheet for her to sleep on until you get it figured out.

Perhaps someone will have just the thing that works to suggest. Hope so.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 12:56PM
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This might help

Here is a link that might be useful: Good Nites

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 1:11PM
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Nocturnal enuresis (Children wetting the bed frequently) is a more common problem than most realize. I would definately try the good nites OR the alarm.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 1:27PM
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Take her to a pediatric urologist. If there is nothing else amiss, he/she might prescibe a drug that can be inhaled at bedtime that is basically a hormone that is made by the body--ADH. Most of the time, the kids do outgrow this problem--although it can really hurt them socially in the meantime.

My middle child had the same problem until she was about nine.

I am not giving medical advice. Only your health care provider can determine what is the right treatment for your dd--but this is an option.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 4:21PM
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My nephews were delayed in this area as well. My sister in law found a nasal spray, Desmopressin, that her boys used before bed solved the problem fairly quickly with no relapsing. Here's a link to an article discussing this issue, scroll down for info on the nasal spray. You can google on it for more information, I just did a quick search. This research is about three years old. Talk to your pediatrician for current information, including side effects. Good luck, Reno!

Here is a link that might be useful: Nasal Spray Drug Treatment

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 4:27PM
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I'm going to share my unusual experience with this.

We have a 7.5 year old boy here, he had the same problem. (My kids are 19 and 16 and both girls so this is new to me.)

We got him the day before his 4th birthday and he came with a bottle and diapers.

The bedwetting I chalked up to being a 'boy' thing and tried everything.

The pediatrician recommended that it may be more psychological than physical. (totally against whats popularly thought).
He could fall asleep anywhere and wake up dry except his own bed!

Anyway I've tried everything and I've managed to get it down from 6 days a week to about 1 day in 10. This is what I did.

Bought a new mattress, new sheets, new pillows, everything.
Explained that he could sleep on just the mattress pad cause 'new sheets can't smell like pee". I explained that after 2 dry mornings he could get the bottom sheet. After two more dry mornings he could get the top sheet, etc etc etc.

Suddenly we started hearing the doors opening in the middle of the night! ! ! ! !

Finally one morning he announced that he promised not to make the sheets all nasty anymore. Now he attempts to make his bed, he fabreezes his blanket, and i'm not finding his wet underwear everywhere (he thought by hiding them we wouldn't figure out).

This child has lots of problems so its hard to pinpoint exactly how his mind works, his whole life is based on routine. We think he equated waking up wet with "getting" to take a shower. Once he was assured that he could take a shower in the morning whether he needed to or not he was ok.

Next trick, getting him out of the shower in less than 20 minutes! ! ! ! ! !

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 5:19PM
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My son had a good friend that often came for sleep overs when they were younger. His mom warned me was a bed wetter, so I'd put a rubber pad under his sheet and she always gave him extra pj's to change into. Then one time he brought a nasal spray with him and used it (openly) before bed, being very upfront about it's purpose and even joking about how "this amazing new spray is the only thing that stops me from watering the bed at night." He had good self esteem and a great sense of humour. Sure enough, that stuff worked, he never had another accident at home or at sleepovers and outgrew the problem by the time he was eleven. If you do decide to ask your doctor about this, he might mention that boys often lag behind girls in this aspect, so your daughter might not need the spray for too long before she's able to make it through the night. At least there are solutions now, whereas the kids in our generation just had to suffer through it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 6:29PM
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I was just going to make the same kind of recommendation, concerning medication. My oldest son and daughter both had bed wetting problems until my son was 11 and my daughter was 8. Both stopped at the same time, thanks to some kind of pill their pediatrician gave them. What it does is intensify the body's natural "bladder alarm system", so that it would wake them up. My entire family sleeps very heavily, and with my kids, they slept even heavier than the rest of us, and as a result, just like Reno_Fan's daughter, they wouldn't even wake up til the next morning. Once they started taking this pill, though, those days were over, almost immediately. I wish I could remember the name of this stuff (this was about 13 years ago).

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 6:41PM
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Talk to your daughter about the possible solutions, drugs, wetness alarm system, or Goodnights and ask what she thinks might help or just what she might like to try. My DS #2 (10 y/o) struggles with this same problem and he's fine with the Goodnights. DH and I both have a brother who had this issue until their early teens so we figure it's in the family. We live in a very small town, so small that even if I go to a town 20 minutes away, I still might see someone I know while buying his Goodnights. Check out; they usually have a free shipping for a reasonable minimum dollar amount order (it's a good thing).

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 7:38PM
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You guys are the best. Really. Thank you all so much for such great suggestions, and also for sharing your own stories.

We've tried the Good Nites things...and that did not work well for us. Looked and felt too much like a pull-up, in DD's estimation. Plus, she's a tummy sleeper, and we found that frequently they would leak out the front, wetting her bedding and clothing. And we also noticed that instead of every other night, she'd wet *every* night with those things on. I guess some sort of mental "release" occurred.

My son did this till he was in the first grade (6-7yrs), so I just assumed she'd grow out of it by then as well.

And it's funny that you mention the shower thing, DataDiva. She loves baths, and of course, she gets them when she wakes up maybe we should tweak the bathing routine to ensure she knows she'll be able to soak every morning whether she's wet or not. Or better yet, only agree to a sponge bath if she wakes up wet, but a full bath if she wakes up dry.

I will ask her Ped about the spray, and I may go ahead and just order the sensor thing.

Thanks again!!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 8:11PM
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Our son, who is now 23, suffered as a child with bedwetting as well. We tried everything, waking him up several times a night, rubber mattress pads and an alarm system that went off when the sheet got wet. Nothing worked, so we asked his Dr. and she prescribed a nasal spray, I believe it was DDAVP. She said that some children's brains are slow at secreting the hormone that stops urine production at night. He used 1 or 2 sprays in each nostril at bedtime, and it seemed to do the trick. Most nights just 1 spray, but if he'd had an especially tiring day (playing sports) or had a large amount of liquid during the day, he used 2 sprays. He used the spray for several years, with no side effects. I am so thankful that the Dr. prescribed this as I can't tell you how much better it made him feel about himself. Please investigate this treatment for DD.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 8:36PM
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My daughter is 6 and still does it. She is a LOT like your daughter-- a VERY deep sleeper. My mother and sister both wet the bed until age 8. I VERY rarely wet the bed. My twin brother did it until around age 5, every night he'd change his pajamas and get in bed with me! My daughter sleeps right through it as well. The Good Nites have been a lifesaver. My ped said to try an alarm if she is still doing it at age 7.5--- but I just started a behavior-reward sticker chart (a sticker for every night she's dry, and when she fills the entire page she gets a Bratz doll-- something I loathe but she reeeeeally wants.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 9:38PM
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A pediatric urologist told me that if a child has ADD (perhaps ADHD) it is more common as the gene that controls bedwetting is adjacent to the ADHD gene and it will mature in time. It took a long time, but it did subside.

For sleepovers, she should take her special sleeping bag--a Barbie or whatever--that can be washed in the washing machine. Stow extra jammmies and/or undies inside and she doesn't have to let her friends know about this problem.
I understand about the laundry, but just go with it. Don't make it big issue, most likely it's out of her control.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 2:53AM
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I have to add that while it worked for Data Diva to have her child earn his sheets, I think that it was humiliating. Kids don't want to be wet, usually its a physiological problem solved by physical maturity or medication.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 2:57AM
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I can speak from experience. I was a bed wetter as a kid. My mom tried all of the methods - nothing worked. I remember it well - I'd be so horrified, so ashamed, yet, I could do nothing to stop it.

Finally she took me to a pediatric urologist, who ran tests. I was 8 years old. Turns out that I had excess scar tissue (for unknown reasons) in my urethra, which prevented me from holding my urine in my sleep. I had a minor surgery in which they scraped my urethra. Problem solved. No more bed wetting. I'm 36 now and have not had a problem since.

The moral of my story is to run, don't walk, to a urologist and rule out any medical causes before trying anything else.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 6:58AM
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I completely agree with compumpm and snookums!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 8:07AM
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Wow. Thanks again.

I'm calling her Ped this morning to inquire further about treatment options.

In our last appt with him, we talked about the problem, and he pointed out that she can go long periods of time with no problem. Like when visiting Nana's house, she can go a whole week with no accidents. But at home it's another story. Based on her medical history with him, and the fact that she *can* go without accidents, he really didn't feel she needed to see a specialist, but I'll pursue it if it will help.

So far, sleepovers haven't actually BEEN a problem, as she's been accident-free for every one. But the threat of an accident looms overhead and is a bit stressful.

Thanks again all. I'll let you know what her Ped says.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 8:11AM
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Just to clarify: He didn't have to earn sheets period. Just the brand new ones that he picked out himself.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Another big vote for the pediatric urologist. I had the same problem as a kid, saw a urolgoist, had surgery, voila! All was well.

It may be something else, but I'd rule out the physical issues first with a specialist. It also sends a good signal to your child that you care and it's important to be thorough. If you can, find a woman -- she may find that more relaxing.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 10:30AM
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My son now 27 yrs had a bedwetting problem until he was 7 or 8. When I took him to the doctor's the ped told me he would outgrow it. So everynight when he wet the bed I would change the sheets, blankets, etc. without ever complaining to him. I didnt want to cause he any more distress. One night lo and behold he finally didnt wet the bed and when we talk about it now he thanks me for never embarassing him. I just think although it is very hard they will outgrow it.But I must agree you should go to the urologist.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 5:00AM
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My 7.5 year old son wets the bed...I got one of those alarm things -- it is LOUD. It will wake her up. I got the one recommended by my ped -- it was about $55. We used it for about a week with pretty good results but then my son decided he hated it and wouldn't use it. But, he now wets much less frequently -- maybe once every five days. He wears Good Night pull-ups some nights (but they can leak) and that helps with laundry. Although I know what you mean about that (washer is running now). Also what's been helpful is talking to him, sort of a running mantra -- "I will wake myself up...blah blah blah -- that type of "self-talk", which sounds goofy but I think has helped.

I wet the bed until I was's a very common problem. The alarm may help, when used right they are supposed to be very effective. They really need to train themselves to train their bladders. I will look for the info about my alarm and a reference article my ped gave me. Basically, it senses wetness and puts out an immediate racket, which gets you and the child up. They finish emptying their bladder (once they've calmed down from being so rudely awakened) and go back to bed. We've been talking about using ours again...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 8:35AM
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Absolitely get in to see a ped urologist. I worked for urologists for years and I can tell you girst han how proud those children were to not be having any accidents after WHATEVER treatment they received was. Mind you, this was nearly 7 years ago, and there are even MORE options out there now. Bedwetting is also genetic, so if either parents had trouble staying dry for longer than most kids, they could possibly face the same problem. DS (who just turned 4 Monday), wets the bed 3-4 nights out of the week. He potty trained himself at 2 (as I was potty training his older twin sisters at 3!), but always had trouble keeping dry. The more I thought about it, I REMEMBER wetting the bed... so I must have been at least 5 or so!!

Does you insurance require you to get a referral to a specialist? Some insurances (like ours) no longer require a referral, so maybe you can just go ahead and make an appointment for her!

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 2:09PM
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Sorry about the typos... juggling two kids on my lap sin't working out so well. that should read "first hand", not girst han! LOL!!!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 2:10PM
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My best friend has two children that BOTH wet the bed every night until they were about 12 or so. It was humiliating when the poor things wanted to spend the night with friends, and would sneak to the bathroom to hide a "pull up."

Finally - her doctor prescribed an oral medication. It worked!
The best to you and yours Steph! :)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 7:08PM
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My oldest wet his bed almost nightly until about 6 months ago. He's 13 1/2.

I'd wake him up and literally walk him to the bathroom, where he'd stand there and sway back and forth, go walk into his closet, pee in there, then head back to bed. Sometimes he'd use the trash can. He'd have no memory of it in the morning. He was such a heavy, heavy sleeper.

Sometimes it was best just to leave him in bed, at least I knew where he had the accident. We all laugh about it now, but he had the same problems, couldn't have sleep outs or sleepovers. Even now if he's going to sleep out, he won't drink anything after 7:00.

He's still a very heavy sleeper.

I had the same problem as a kid, so did his dad. And we were both heavy sleepers as kids. My son, also, unfortunately inherited my bladder size, so that doesn't help.

The pediatrcian just advised that we wait it out and didn't give medication. I worry so much about my kids taking medications, and since this wasn't anything physically painful, we decided to wait it out. It took awhile, but things are fine.

My younger two never had a problem, and both have bigger bladders than I do, I swear. They're not as heavy sleepers as the older one.

Good luck. I know how frustrating it can be (daily stripping of the bed, frustrated child). Personally, I'd try to wait it out if you can, although I don't believe the medication has any side effects you should be concerned about.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 2:57PM
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LOL, I am snorting about Lori's son peeing in the closet!

You know, Steph, she won't go to college wetting the bed. Do check with a ped. urologist but she's only 7- for a child with a genetic component of late noctural bladder control, that's still an immature nervous system. Small consolation, perhaps, when you're changing sheets at 2:30 am!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 9:53PM
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Actually, I dated a guy in college who... At least I'm not the squeemish type.

My older son used to have night terrors and sleepwalk. I once found him peeing on his little brother's bedside table. I think he just mistook it for the toilet...

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 10:28PM
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I agree with the other who have said to take her to a pediatric urologist and have her checked out. Some kids (more than you would think) don't outgrow it until they are 10 or 11, but sometimes there is a physical cause behind it. However, if she wants to do sleepovers, bedwetting is a problem. There are medications that she can take to help her get past this. My son took these medications for years (he had daytime and nighttime incontinence problems), but is now finally past that at the age of 12 (actually, when he was 11 he finally stopped the medication). Our pediatric urologist was great.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 12:24PM
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My daughter was/is a heavy sleeper, too. Her pediatrician recommended an alarm that vibrates rather than makes noise. I think it looked like a pager. It has been about eight years (when she was about four), but I think she set off the alarm about four times in ten days, and hasn't wet the bed since. After reading about the side effects of the meds available then, I wanted to avoid them if possible. The vibrating alarm was probably $15-25 and was something I was able to pass on to another kid. I recommend it highly.

My friend's son was a bedwetter for many, many years -- until he was finally properly diagnosed and received minor surgery.

Best wishes to you both. Those sleepover invitations will only increase. Of course, the kids don't sleep much and probably don't sleep well, so the accident possibilities are probably minimized.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 9:26PM
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Update: The bedwetting has been just mysteriously decreasing. It's gone from every other night to about once every 2 weeks. DD has been counting "dry" nights, and gets so excited when they start to add up! She's had 2 sleepover parties, both without incident. (In addition, she did go to summer camp this last summer, and had no incidents there either.)

Also, telling her she could shower/bathe every day seemed to really have clicked in her. It was as if (like posted above) she allowed herself to wet, knowing that it would surely lead to a bath in the morning. We started letting her take baths before bed, etc.

So far so good!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 9:37AM
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That *is* good news! I'm sure your daughter is thrilled --

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 3:39PM
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