Any Ideas for Re-occuring Bed Wetting

Updated on September 28, 2008
R.B. asks from Highland, MI
10 answers

My 5 year old son has started bed wetting again after almost a year of rare occurences. I think it's because he's starting kindergarten this week, and is very excited. It's the only new event that could possibly be bringing this on. Last night it happened twice. We've told him we may have to try "big boy" overnight pants (which upset him---because "pull-ups are for babies--not kindergartners"--his words. Any other ideas, besides getting him up 3 times a night? We're already taking him to the bathroom before we go to bed and again early in the morning before he gets up.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your ideas! The first thing we did was added another "wake up call," we were already doing bedtime around 8:30, before we went to bed around 11 and again about 5 or 6 am, so around 2 or 3 depending when me or my husband woke for our own potty run. We also discussed with our son that there was nothing wrong with him and that wearing pull ups was okay. Once the initial excitement of starting school died down the problem corrected itself and we are back to our old routine.

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answers from Detroit on

Try wearing the Pull ups over the underwear. So underwear first then pullups. This works with kids having problems potty training too he will feel them get wet and then he can go and take everything off and get dry pants. In this case they can be just in case and he will have the control he thinks he is loosing. He is a big boy after all......he is in Kindergartener!

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answers from Lansing on

Hi R.,
I don't know if this is true or if it will help at all. My sister has a child that has bedwetting problems as well. She was told that it could be low potassium in the childs body. She started out giving her 2 bananas a day and then worked her way down to one. Her daughter has not had any problems since. Now, I don't know if that is true or not or if it was just perfect timing. Any things worth a try.



answers from Detroit on

nothing to drink after six (maybe a small drink of milk if he's dying but nothing else!) and we got white generic non baby pull ups and called them night time underwear and they went for it :) it will pass :)



answers from Grand Rapids on

I have a 6 year old daughter that is having a similar problem. She gets up a couple of times a night and still has an accident here and there. We have cut off drinks at dinner time and no soda then. We have gotten her back into night jams though. There are larger kids on the package and they are kinda different.

I can't explain why this is happening to her except that she is growing like crazy right now. I told her that her "belly" hasn't grown as fast as the rest of her and this is only temporary. That is the only thing I can think it is because she checks out otherwise with the doctor. Their bladders just don't grown as fast as the rest of their bodies some times. It has happened to at least one of my older children also.

I hope it helps you both to know that you aren't in this alone.




answers from Lansing on


We had this problem last year with our son as well, he is going into first grade today. We talked with our son about using Pull-ups again even though he was a big boy, and we told him his body sometimes has problems doing what it is supposed to do. We told him that wearing pull-ups was not a big deal and that he was still a big boy and we were proud of him. Eventually he calmed down and stopped needing to wear the "protection" at night.

We just had to keep reminding our son that the pull-ups were not punishment and that we were very proud of his first days as a kindergartner.

-Good luck!



answers from Benton Harbor on

will he let you put a super absorbent maxi pad in his big boy underwear for a few nights until he gets settled into kindergarten and gets back under control
you probably are already limiting fluids at night and making sure he goes before bed
maybe make sure he hasn't started just playing around in the bathroom and coming out saying he peed
maybe a reward for staying dry like a cool new school pencil with fancy designs
also meijer's sells cloth pants covered in plastic that can be washed. they come in 3 packs. They are not diapers. They are night time pants.



answers from Detroit on

My son is 5 and starts the big K this week too. He has had problems keeping dry at night. Waking him up before we go to bed and around 5 am usually works. We have trouble with him wetting the bed when he gets overtired though. I buy the under jams(or similar brand) and we call them night-time unders. We started by telling him if he wet the bed he would have to wear one the next night. They make some of them like boxers which might make him feel better.
Good luck!
P.S. in case you haven't tried it, Oxi clean gets the smell out of bedding and pj's.



answers from Grand Rapids on

Dear R. B.,

I have a granddaughter who had recurring bed wetting but I remembered what a doctor told us when we took in my own daughter as a child. Bedwetting is basically a sleeping problem. The child sleeps so deeply that he/she does not hear the brain telling him/her to get up and sit on the toilet to empty the bladder. We just put a pull up on her until she outgrew it.

I would tell your son that there is likely many other kids his age in your area that also wear pull ups at night time. Try not to make a big deal of it because he should eventually outgrow it.

When my granddaughter spent the night at one of her friend's houses, she found out that her friend wore a pull up as well. Too bad you could not talk to the parents of his friends and find one who also wears pull ups at night so he would not feel like it is for babies.

I wonder if you could talk to all of his friend's moms and find a friend who also wears a pull up at night time so he would see first hand that he is not the only one in the world who has to wear a pull up at night.

L. C.



answers from Detroit on

It could just be that but if it keeps recurring than he may have a sleep disorder.
Here is the link to the Enuresis Treatment Center. My friend's 10 year old son went through the program about 1 1/2 years ago and he is no longer wetting the bed. They have a 100% money back guarantee to stop bedwetting.

Here is info from the website:

Don’t …Use Alarms
Studies indicate deep sleepers rarely hear smoke detectors and can sleep through fire/burglar alarms. Alarms alone are ineffective as the key component for ending bedwetting. Because the bedwetter is in such a deep sleep, they cannot be expected to hear anything.

Don’t… Use Drugs
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, less than 1% of bedwetting cases are caused by a medical problem. Drugs are merely a temporary fix for a complicated problem, and, of course, have side effects. Therefore, why would drugs be prescribed as often as they are? Drugs do not get to the core of the problem – the sleep disorder. Additionally, drugs cannot increase the size of an underdeveloped bladder.

Don’t…Use Pull-Ups
Disposable diapers, (Pull-Ups and Goodnights), simply prolong a child’s suffering from bedwetting. They serve to keep the sheets dry, yes, but the child remains wet all night long. Wearing diapers does not address the underlying and most important issue: the deep sleep disorder that causes the bedwetting. Most importantly, an older child wearing diapers tends to feel ashamed, and they are at risk for being humiliated if “discovered” at sleepovers.

Don’t…Reward or Scold for Wet or Dry Nights
The child is not wetting the bed on purpose. It is unfair to reward or scold for something that is totally out of the child’s control. The bedwetter is in the same deep sleep as a sleep walker, or a person with sleep apnea. Imagine being blamed for something that you can’t control.

Don’t …Wait To Outgrow Bedwetting
Advice to wait for your child to outgrow bedwetting is the worst advice you can get. While the child waits, they continue to feel different, burdened by shame and secrecy. Bedwetters can suffer with emotional pain and damage to self-esteem, especially when it continues well into adulthood. Most importantly, if a child were to outgrow bedwetting, then they are left with a sleep disorder that can no longer be changed. Symptoms of the sleep disorder will continue to manifest into adulthood, such as sleep apnea, sleep walking, and not feeling rested.

And that’s not all…

TBT Poison – (tributyl tin) This environmental pollutant, (found in disposable diapers), which has been in headlines for months because of its extremely high toxicity, has a hormone-like effect. It is absorbed through the skin, and the smallest concentrations of TBT can damage people’s immune systems and impair their hormonal system.

Environmental concerns – In the US alone, 20 BILLION disposables are dumped into landfills each year! It takes about 500 years to decompose-only if exposed to air and sun. Since most diapers are wound up tight and put in garbage bags and then capped at the landfills, the diapers, in essence, mummify. 30% of the disposables are not compostable. Disposables take up one third of our landfills, making them number three behind newspapers and beverages containers.

Here is how the business got started:
In 1974, Barbara Moore had a challenge to meet. Her daughter Gaile, then 6, was wetting the bed, and the frustration was mounting. She had taken Gaile for ongoing visits with a therapist, having been told that this condition was psychological in nature.
Then she admitted Gaile into the hospital for surgery (stretching the urethra), having been told it was a physical issue that could be immediately remedied. At her wits end, Barbara considered the prescription for Tofranil (imipramine), until she discovered it was an anti-depressant with serious side effects.
The final piece of advice was to give it time, that Gaile would outgrow it by puberty (8 years away). That was not an option for Barbara. She had an adult uncle who was still wetting the bed, and she could see Gaile was clearly being affected... she was hiding her wet sheets, denying her bedwetting, and was awakening sluggish and irritable. Gaile’s daytime hours were disrupted by her urgent and frequent needs to urinate, for which Gaile was prescribed Ditropan (Oxybutynin). This had no effect other than causing dry mouth. Equally alarming for Barbara, Gaile was often difficult to awaken in the morning, and would be prone to outbursts and easily frustrated as the day wore on.
So after exhausting all medical and psychological resources to no avail, Barbara took matters into her own hands. Determined to find a solution, Barbara embarked on a mission, eventually uncovering an internationally-recognized sleep study that changed everything. Based on this study, Barbara and her consultants created the treatment program, which is centered around correcting a sleep disorder known to be the root cause of bedwetting. Gaile was the first child to receive this treatment... and the first of many to awaken every morning in a dry bed.
Over the years, the treatment program has developed into an exact science to ensure that the outcome is consistently achieved and in the least amount of time. Together, Barbara and Gaile have built an internationally-acclaimed treatment center.



answers from Detroit on

If he stays dry during the day, that's a lot more important, because being in school and 'losing it' will make the other kids make him uncomfortable. And the school has its standards too.

At night, limit the amount of water after dinner. Put plastic on his bed under the sheets. Offer some warm milk in the evening. It does work. He's too young for chamomile tea, probably. So warm milk. That's a double benefit because during the night he's not using up the calcium by running around. It'll help his bones. But calcium does act as a sleep aid.

You as a parent need to realize that sometimes kids' insides don't develop at the same rate of speed as their outsides. My one son went through this. His bladder just developed at a slower speed. And being a deep sleeper, that doesn't help with getting up to go, whether in bed or in the toilet. It just happens.
But I wouldn't threaten him with Pull Ups. Or whatever is seeming like a threat. Maybe he's just anxious about school; new environment, new faces, new schedule, away from you.
He's only 5. Trust me; my son had a nighttime problem well past 5. Show love and patience.

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