How to Manage Bedwetting: Multiple Bedwetters
Last Updated: 2/15/21
Read Time: 3 minutes
Bedwetting can be a challenge for both parent and child. And when there’s more than one child wetting the bed, it can become even more difficult to manage. But with a little advice and the knowledge that it commonly runs in families, you’ll be well on your way to better mornings and fewer worries about staying dry.
Bedwetting in Children: A Family Affair
Nighttime wetting is a common occurrence among children and young teens — an occurrence beyond their control. It is even more frequent if one or both parents wet the bed as children. “Studies show that if one parent was a bedwetter, then 40% of their children will also wet the bed,” says Dr. Michael Ritchey, a pediatric urologist at Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX. “If both parents were bedwetters, then 60–70% of their children will experience the condition.”
Karla Giramonti, a nurse practitioner in the Division of Urology at the Albany Medical Center in New York, says she is not surprised when a parent tells her that more than one of their kids experiences nighttime wetting. “I tell parents that if one child wets the bed, chances are the other children will experience the same problem,” she says.
However, if you have some children who wet the bed and some who don’t, it can be difficult for kids to understand. Glynda, a mom who had two out of three children wet the bed, says she had trouble trying to explain to her children why it didn’t happen to them all. “There tends to be a ‘Why us, not him?’ mentality,” she says.
Though her children do not talk to each other about the problem, they are supportive of each other. “They respect each other not to discuss it,” Glynda says. “My middle son and daughter have never blabbed that their big brother wets the bed.”
How to Manage Bedwetting
Dr. Ritchey explains that treatment for families with multiple nighttime wetters is no different than if only one child wets the bed. “However, it is usually easier to treat the second child,” he says. “Parents tend to be less concerned if an older sibling has already been treated and outgrown the problem.”
Siblings may also have varying responses to different treatment methods.
“I’ll try anything regardless of past experience,” says Giramonti. “I treat each child as a new patient.” So what may not work for Big Brother might be the perfect solution for Little Sister.
There’s no specific end of bedwetting age. However, we do know that children are more likely to outgrow nighttime wetting the older they get. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nighttime wetting occurs in 20% of 5-year-olds, 10% of 6-year-olds and only 3% of 12-year-olds.
Sarah is the mother of two children who wet the bed. “Our son, Alan, who is in elementary school, continues to have trouble staying dry at night,” she says. But her older son outgrew the condition when he was 5.
Special Challenges: Multiples and Bedwetting
If you have multiples, meaning twins or more, you may experience the added challenge of having children of the same age wetting the bed. If the children are identical, sharing the same genetic code, there is an even greater chance that, if one wets the bed, the other will. Parents of multiples become experts at doing everything several times, and helping children through nighttime wetting is no exception. Whatever you do for one child, you will do for the other, whether it be monitoring fluids at bedtime or taking each child to the bathroom before you go to sleep at night.
When you have three kids, laundry is always going to be a challenge, and with more than one waking up to a wet bed, it can become overwhelming. “On the occasion that both my son and daughter have accidents on the same night, it becomes a large amount of laundry to get the beds remade,” says Glynda.
“Our kids wear disposable undergarments at night,” says Amy, the mother of two children who wet the bed. She notes that they probably cost the same as doing laundry each day. “It is also less stress for everyone,” she says.
Jessica, the mother of identical twin boys, says she has become stronger because of her experience. “I have to be stronger than some of my mom friends who don’t have twins who wet the bed,” she says. “I mentally prepare myself to keep their self-esteem strong by constantly explaining that this is a natural thing they are going through and they are OK. It’s tiring, but that’s my life right now. I know that this, too, will pass!”
One of the toughest challenges Glynda faces is getting support from others. “When the subject comes up with my friends, they look at me with disbelief,” she says. “It is as if they think I am doing something wrong to have two bedwetters.” Which, of course, is not true. It’s important to seek support from people who understand that nighttime wetting is not anyone’s fault. The Goodnites Parent to Parent Network, a private group on Facebook, is a great place to start.
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, consult your doctor as needed.