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Bedwetting in Older Children

How One Mom Is Guiding Her Son through Bedwetting

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That seems to be the theme of Betsy's son's nighttime wetting experience.

Mike, Betsy's 11-year-old son, has been wetting the bed for as long as he can remember, and Mother and Son have tried a range of techniques, only to find none really solve the problem.

Treatment after Treatment

In an effort to help her son combat bedwetting (or nighttime wetting), Betsy of Minneapolis, MN, has tried numerous treatments. First, she purchased an alarm that clipped on to his underwear to alert him when he was starting to wet, but during his sleep, Mike would unknowingly pull it off, rendering it useless.

Betsy also tried waking him periodically to use the restroom, but because he is such a deep sleeper, that method was unsuccessful as well. "We had a lot of arguments when trying to wake him in the middle of the night," she says.

And as a last resort, they tried medications, but unfortunately Mike suffered unpleasant side effects. "He always had a dry mouth, which meant he always wanted more to drink," says Betsy. "It didn't make sense."

They've also visited the doctor numerous times over the years, just to confirm there is nothing medically wrong with Mike.

Help, Finally!

After trying all sorts of treatments, Betsy came upon a technique that did not "solve" the problem, but helped her and her son effectively manage it until it goes away. "The only thing that seemed to work was the GoodNites® Bedtime Pants," says Betsy. It helped her son feel more confident, and now, she says, "You can't even tell he has them on. It is easier for the parent when it comes to washing sheets."

Keeping Self-Esteem Intact

Wetting the bed affected her deeply. She says she had little confidence as a child and felt like an outcast. "I felt 'lesser' than anyone else, which is never good when trying to make friends," says Betsy. "There was not really anyone to talk to about it back then, and there wasn't anything that could be done either."

To make sure her son does not experience the emotional issues that she did, she works hard to maintain his self-esteem throughout the trials of nighttime wetting. Betsy says she first explained to him that it is a problem that has run in their family for a long time and that he would eventually grow out of it. "I tell my son all the time how important it is to understand he is not the only one with this problem and that he is very intelligent, good-looking and fun to be around," she says.

She also helps him deal with the challenges of sleeping at friends' houses. "He has one friend that he chose to tell, and that friend is very understanding and accepts him the way he is," she says. "He has some friends that, if he had an 'accident,' would let everyone in the neighborhood know, and then he would be teased. I don't let him sleep over with those friends very often. I guess I am trying to protect him."

She also talked with Mike's 9-year-old sister about his nighttime wetting to clear up any concerns and to try and prevent any teasing. "I explained to my daughter that this could have happened to her too," says Betsy. "I explained that it is not something she gets to talk about or tease my son about, and I also explained that I had the problem and so did her uncles. She has been really good about it."

Advice for Parents

Though getting through the nighttime wetting years can be a trying time for both parent and child, Betsy advises being patient. "Just [be] patient and [understand] your child's situation," she says. "You cannot get all worked up about it. You just need to accept the problem and deal with it the best way you can."

"I believe that he will grow out of [bedwetting] just like I did," says Betsy. And when that day comes, she's already got a surprise in store: a new bedroom set.

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