Tips for older bedwetter

My 7.5 year old wets the bed every night.  He sleeps in an overnight pull-up with a men’s overnight diaper over that and still leaks most nights.  I cut him off liquids at 6 pm and try to get him up at 10 pm to use the toilet but he’s already wet, very heavy to zombie walk to the bathroom and usually pees all over the place when he gets there.  The bed wetting alarm does not wake him.  Has anyone dealt with this? It’s bad enough at home but vacations are horrible.  Any tips for products or solutions are greatly appreciated. 

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RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

Is there any underlying constipation? If his bowels are full, then his bladder will be compressed. Of course I’d discuss with his pediatrician as well. 

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

We haven’t dealt with this but I read recently that bed wetting for boys is highly correlated with constipation. Look up articles on this and try some prunes or other things to clear up the constipation if you think this might be it. Good luck!

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

We had success with guided imagery -- we saw Dr. Michael Cantwell in San Francisco. (This was many years ago, so I don't know if he's still doing it.) He worked with my son, helped him understand the whole process of how the body deals with pee and poop at night, and made a recording that my son listened to before sleep. The recording had to be tweaked before they got it just right, but then my son mastered bladder and bowel control during the night.

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

If you haven't already, I recommend conducting a sleep study and associated medical exams. I know a family who dealt with something similar until the son was in 8th grade, when they finally figured out that his adenoids were overgrown and disrupting normal sleep patterns by obstructing nasal breathing. This also made him susceptible to frequent bouts of strep throat. An adenoidectomy solved the bed wetting within days (and then the kid had a growth spurt from finally sleeping well)! Hopefully there's a simpler solution for you, but since your behavioral interventions aren't working, maybe you can find out what you can about their sleep.

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

My boss’s 7 yo son did this as well- they recently sent him to an orthodontist where they released a tongue tie and started expanding his arch. Since his breathing has improved, so has his bed wetting. I understand this is one case, and there could be many reasons why your son is experiencing this, but may be worth looking into! Good luck. 

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

Have you looked into constipation or even encopresis? If things are backed up then he can't feel when he needs to go and it can lead to bedwetting. Good luck!

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

I have no special knowledge, just my experience with my own when he was younger.  You might consider getting rid of pullups and diapers entirely and trying something like the saddle style bed wetting pads on top of the fitted sheet.  They use them in hospitals for all the beds.  You can just yank one off and put in another very quickly.  The pullups can be warm an cozy, even wet.  Discomfort is your greatest ally.  

Also, start the walks to the bathroom as early as you need to to catch him before he pees.  If he's wet at 10, get him at 9.  Too late?  Try 8, then again at 10.  Good luck.

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

Have you had a sleep study done? My brother had a similar issue and it turned out he had sleep apnea, causing poor sleep for much of the night, and exceptionally heavy sleep for the rest. Once he started using a CPAP machine, he was able to wake to use the restroom almost immediately after first use. 

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

I'm sorry to hear about your 7.5-year-old's challenges. Our son was a similar deep sleeper, and he & his cousin wet the bed off and on until their early teens before growing out of the condition. When he was 7 or 8, he as referred to UCSF, which has specialists focused on this issue. The appointments were expensive and didn't ultimately work for us, but I'll share the link just in case it helps. The site now recommends medication as a first approach, whereas with our son, they'd focused on Miralax cleanouts and alarms.
Bed-wetting | Conditions | UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals (ucsfbenioffchildrens.org)

We also tried the Therapee system (Bed Wetting Solutions, Bedwetting Treatment, TheraPee (bedwettingtherapy.com) ) when he was a little older. It's basically a pad-based alarm, which was easier to manage than the underwear clips. That alarm helped reduce the frequency and had an online progress tracking tool, which he bought into, but this also ran its course due to the challenges of all of us waking up in the middle of the night a few nights per week. We still have the unit, which I'd be happy to pass on to you if you want to have the moderator put us in touch.

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

Our 7 year old is still in diapers, too, and we're doing our best to not make him feel self conscious about the whole thing.

He wears the "Goodnites Nighttime Bedwetting Underwear" that's appropriate for his size. I was so glad to find them and see that they have The Hulk on the diapers so that it's still kid oriented and not like a boring adult diaper. We leave a spare near his bed if he wakes up in the middle of the night NATURALLY (without us waking him up), and the one he is wearing feels full. In those cases, he knows to change into a new diaper and go back to sleep. We're slowly working on getting him to get up and go to the bathroom, but it's a little scary to do the walk in the dark. We've tried several times before, a few months apart, to go the route of waking him up when we think he should wake up to go pee, but all those times did not work out.. 

We also put a "pee pad" on his bed. Don't bother with those disposable flimsy paper and plastic film ones. We buy the kind that hospitals and nursing homes uses, and it basically covers the whole kid sized bed. If it gets wet one night but not saturated, I'll lay a a bath towel over it for the next night so that I don't have to wash the pads every day. If you need a hint on what to look for, this is the title of what we buy on Amazon "100% Cotton Big Size Washable Bed Pad / XXL Incontinence Underpad - 36 X 72 - Mattress Protector - Blue". I have three of these pads in rotation.

You can probably get by with a pad that's half size if your son doesn't roll around all over the place at night like ours does. When we go on vacation, we bring the half size and have him sleep in our bed between us so that he's wedged and can't roll. If the pad gets wet, I put towels over it to cover it up if I don't have a way to wash and dry it. 

Lastly, we never say to him "you wet the bed" or "you peed the bed". We always say "the diaper leaked". It's just a different way of framing the situation so he doesn't feel bad about himself and his body. We also tell him that everybody grows at different rates, and everybody's BODY PARTS grows at different rates, and that his bladder just so happens is still trying to grow and catch up with the rest of him. 

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

the first thing is to make sure there is no constipation (all the poop is out with soft squishy poops daily) as any hard poop or not pooping daily will compress the bladder and make it harder to be dry at night. 

the other thing is that few kids who bed wet will wake themselves with the alarm and the parent has to help by sleeping in the room and waking the kid at the first noise for the first few weeks. a great book that helped us a lot is: Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Bedwetting, by Renee Mercer. my kid went from overflowing pullups to being dry within a few weeks when we followed the book to the letter. hope it helps!

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

That sounds rough! I found something called a Peapod mat, which I use as backup for blowouts and dribbly milk with bed sharing with my baby, but it’s designed primarily for bed wetting (and we might need it for that later!)

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

I come from a family of bed wetters. For one sister, this lasted until she was ten years old. Somehow we all outgrew it. I don’t know what the theories and treatments are now , but my mom handled it with a lot of patience. There were no pull-ups in those days and she just washed the sheets. I do remember her getting my sister a thick washable sleeping bag so she could go to sleepovers without shame. It sounds like your child is a very deep sleeper. 

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

Our daughter wet the bed till she was 9. She was just an incredibly sound sleeper. After all the limiting of liquids, getting her up to pee, etc. for years, I finally did my own guided imagery approach because she was so worried about still needing pullups by the time she went to summer camp for the first time. Every night for almost 3 months, as she was going to sleep, I would sit on her bed and talk to her very soothingly, having her imagine that she was very relaxed, that she was going to sleep, that she was falling asleep, that she was sleeping, that she was dreaming, and then that she started feeling a little feeling like she had to pee. Then I'd have her imagine wanting to stay in bed but paying attention to that little feeling, and then OPEN HER EYES to wake up, then get out of bed, go to the bathroom, get on the toilet, and pee. At each step, I'd have her confirm she was imagining it so she didn't *actually* fall asleep. After a week, the bed wetting decreased, and it was completely done after about 3 months. And she had no accidents when she finally went to summer camp! Looking back, it seems pretty miraculous. I know 3 months sounds like a long time, but if you're like I was, you do a bedtime routine anyway. Good luck!

RE: Tips for older bedwetter ()

This sounds very familiar - our deep sleeper wet the bed until she was 8. People told me to ride it out but I wanted her to be fully able to do sleepaway camp, sleepovers with friends, vacations, etc. We tried a bunch of different things but the Therapee system was actually what worked, so I would definitely recommend it. I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone, and like someone else said, it does involve waking up in the middle of the night for at least the adult going to help, if not everyone else in the house. But it was worth it.