“He’ll eventually grow out of it, you have to give it some time,” my son’s pediatrician told his father and me at his physical when he was maybe about 5 years old. When my son transitioned from diapers to pull-ups at bedtime, it seemed that we would never transition to just wearing underwear to bed.
My mother worked at another pediatrician’s office and I would go to her for little tricks and advice from time to time. She had mentioned they often prescribe a medication for kids to help them wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, instead of sleeping through it. I didn’t think medication was necessary. I kept digging.
People on forums and even in person would say limit drinks before bedtime. We tried that. That never seemed to work — the only thing that resulted in that was the sad deprivation of my child whining before bed, “One last sip, Mom please? I’m dying of thirst!”
He stopped wearing pull-ups to bed at about 7 years old. I was determined that was going to work. Maybe the feeling of being wet would wake him up, even if he did have an accident, he’d at least wake up, right? No.
I saved money by not buying pull-ups. However, the water bill and laundry detergent definitely went up. I was doing extra laundry. Every. Single. Morning.
The confidence level from my son definitely took a toll as he got older and was still wetting the bed. Any time we slept at someone else’s house I’d bust into the emergency package of pull-ups and he’d wear one. He had no problem coming straight out and saying, “I gotta wear a pull-up. I wet the bed.” I would always tell him he didn’t need to tell people that unless he really wanted to — it’s no one’s business. He didn’t seem to mind much, but you could tell it frustrated him.
I mean, waking up and doing the penguin walk to the bathroom to jump right into the shower the second you wake up isn’t fun for anyone.
“Maybe try hypnosis?” his doctor told us at his physical at 8 years old. For real? He was for real. We entertained the idea and watched a couple YouTube videos on hypnosis for kids who wet the bed. To be honest, it wasn’t our thing. I really didn’t see how we would be able to make it work.
But one miraculous day, we went to a specialist for a completely different situation with my son. I knew I wanted to bring up the bed wetting to see if his behavior issues he was having had any links to that.
It didn’t, but the specialist did recommend something that did finally work for us….
So there is this thing that’s called the bedwetting alarm. No joke. It’s a device that clips onto your child’s shirt, then has a clip on the other side of the wire that clips onto the underwear in the area of where you pee. Once the child starts to pee, the tiniest droplet of moisture hits the part that’s clipped onto the underwear and sends off an alarm that has a “alarm clock” noise and a vibration.
Now, if your child is anything like mine who is such a heavy sleeper, this will take some time. Our therapist had said that it may take up to a few months. Unlike my son, I wake up to everything. So I had to wake up with him when the alarm went off and helped him to the bathroom. He was mostly in a daze for the first week or two. Sometimes waking up angry, frustrated, and exhausted, just wanting to go back to bed.
Don’t give up! It was rough, but the first night I heard the alarm go off and the sound of shuffling feet in the hallway, then the porcelain clink of the seat followed by the pee waterfall, I thought, “that’s my boy.”
It took about a month and a half with almost every night being “hooked up” for him to wake up every single night dry. And most nights the alarm didn’t even go off, he didn’t have to pee. So not only did the alarm help him wake up when he starts to pee, it also helped his body to hold it if he didn’t really have to go.
It’s called Malem Ultimate Bedwetting Alarm. It was about $100 and for us was worth every penny. We save in water and laundry detergent and of course my son’s sanity and confidence level is boosted.
My biggest advice as a parent is to keep asking and keep talking about certain issues you may have with your child that you’ve never heard of before. I highly doubt your child is the only one. It took us years to find this information, so I hope this finds someone else in need of some guidance. My boy is just a heavy sleeper, which isn’t an abnormal thing. He just needed a little help in that developing area to make him not wet the bed. Now he can lounge on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons in his PJs without having to rush to the bathroom to shower immediately. The little things are what make the biggest differences.
Jennifer Levesque can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.