Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coping with bedwetting

We have a bedwetter. I've mentioned that before so that's not particularly interesting news. It's one of the boys which is not uncommon given his age and the fact that he is an amazingly sound sleeper. Up until recently, he wore pullups to bed at night. We had tried a few different options and those were definitely the easiest. There were no punishments for wetting his pullups even though we thought that at least some of the time he was waking up but not getting up to go to the bathroom.

A couple of months ago I had a conversation with this particular boy that changed how we handle the bedwetting. It was bedtime and I was reminding/encouraging him to get up and go to the bathroom if he needed to go in the night.

"Why? I can just pee in my pullup."

That didn't sit so well with his mama.

Within a couple of days the pullups were completely gone (although I have a few saved for trips so don't worry if we're coming to visit you ;)) and we now have a new system in place. If he wets the bed, he strips his sheets, wipes down the plastic mattress pad cover with a wipe, and puts the wet sheets and pajamas in the bathroom. Then as soon as we get home from school, he has to go upstairs and make his bed with clean sheets before he can play.

We've had some tears over this new system but only over the making of the bed. I showed him how to do it but I do not help him make the bed in the afternoons. He is old enough and perfectly capable of making his bed. We are not treating this as punishment for wetting the bed; rather, it is taking responsibility for your actions (intentional or not). He is still wetting the bed--I would say 3-4 times a week. But I have also heard him get up and go to the bathroom at night which was pretty rare before. I'm really hoping that he is waking up at least a little when he wets the bed so that his body can start training him to wake up when he needs to go.

While it may sound like this new system puts a lot of burden on the boy, let me mention that it has increased my laundry load tremendously. It would be much easier to use the pullups. But I don't think that would be helpful to him in helping his body learn when it needs to wake up. And his future wife will be amazed at how well he makes the bed someday--he's getting lots of practice!

11 comments:

his wife, their mama said...

I think it's tremendous for wee ones to have to be responsible for their actions, good, bad, intentional or not. I think you are doing a great thing for him and yourself by having him be responsible in an age appropriate way for his bed wetting. Hopefully he'll continue to wake in the night on a more regular basis. We have been so fortunate, so far, with not having this issue, but we still have one more to go. I appreciate all the advice and tips you share about what goes on in your home... thanks!

Winnie said...

Making the bed is a great consquence, paticularly if he is aware that he is wetting the bed. However if he is such a deep sleeper and can't help it maybe some other tools are in order like an alarm that goes off when he wets, there are some that go in underwear that are almost an immediate response therefore making the need to urinate and waking up go hand in hand and training his body to wake up to the urge instead of just relaxing and letting go.

Jane said...

Ben's pull-up is soaked every morning, but he's borderline Diabetes Insipidus so I suspect he doesn't concentrate his urine at night at all. On top of copious urine at night, he now seems unable to empty his bladder in the day. He may have an infection or a sphincter problem. What a nightmare.....

Missy said...

One of my boys had the same problem, and I simply made him change the sheets. It wasn't long before the problem stopped. ;O)

Courtney said...

We've looked into the alarms, but from what I saw they all made noise and he would end up waking the whole house up. It might be something we could try during the summer when everyone could sleep in a bit, but it's just not an option during the school year.

Leah said...

My daughter has Down syndrome, and her meds cause her to sleep like a ROCK at night. We got an awesome alarm last spring that worked fantastic (until she broke it. LOL) And within a week she was staying dry at night. Here's a link to the one we got
http://bedwettingstore.com/category_alarms.htm
the other thing that helped was her going to the bathroom every 2 hours during the day. We got her a vibrating alarm watch (so nobody but her knows it's going off) to remind her to go to the bathroom. She just wasn't going enough during the day so she still had a lot of voiding to do at night! We got it from the same place as the bed alarm. She is now back to wetting the bed, though we've discovered an underlying medical problem. Anyway, I just can't get all this bedding washed every day (sometimes 2 full sets per night! UGH!) So we have gotten soaker pads to put on top of the sheets. That way if she wets, she pulls the soaker pad off, and puts a new one on. Saves A LOT on the laundry work load!

Anonymous said...

Courtney,
It's great to see parents teach their children responsibility for their actions. At St. Elizabeth's in Belleville, they have a Dry Days Dry Nights program. There might be one your side of the river. Just another resource that may or may not work for you.
Kristin

Tina said...

I don't have kiddos (unless you count our kids with fur), but I love reading about your journey as a parent to these 4 unique humans, who each have their own issues that require a specific response on your part. You and Mark are consistently loving and firm, and most importantly - you're teaching them about responsibility, regardless of intention - which so many adults I work with don't get. You're helping me hone my parenting skills - in case that's a role God wants me to play down the road. Thanks!!

Kevin and Tammy said...

They also have an alarm that goes in their underwear. When the first sign of wet appears the alarm goes off and reminds them to go to the bathroom. We used this with Jaryd and he quickly changed his habits. You can search for it on the internet. I can't remember right now the exact name. Great practice of making him clean up his mess. Jaryd said they had to do that at his "internat"
Tammy

Katie and Pete said...

We use the bedwetting alarm that Leah talks about and it it doesn't wake anyone else in the family up except for Ella and me. It stops her from wetting the bed and if anything, she might have to change her underwear. We went from wetting the bed average of five nights a week to almost not wetting at all. Highly recommend it.

June Berger said...

We did the same thing as you. It did take a few years for our son to be completely dry all the time, but the wetting dramatically decreased to only once or twice a month. An alarm might have worked, but since it decreased so much we didn't bother.