Sensory-Friendly Ways To Introduce Bedwetting Underwear to Kids with Autism & ADHD

Jul 25, 2023 | 5 Minutes Read

Boy picking out bedwetting underwear

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) can make it difficult for kids to function if they become overwhelmed by any or all of the five senses. Itchy tags, scratchy or rough textures, bright lights and loud noises are all common triggers. Even bedwetting can be a trigger, due to the change in temperature and uncomfortable feeling of wetness.

The condition is known to be closely related to Autism, with 80% of Autistic kids also experiencing SPD according to a study in Autism Parenting Magazine. Research also shows that sensory overload and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also go hand in hand with 40% of kids with ADHD also experiencing SPD.

Even without sensory processing disorder, many children experience hypersensitivity to certain foods, fabrics, or textures.

Experts Share Sensory-Friendly Strategies for Introducing Bedwetting Underwear

Because parents and caregivers of children with Autism and ADHD have told us that introducing bedwetting underwear to their child is a make or break moment, we worked with doctors and ADHD and Autism specialists, Dr. Kerry Magro Ed. D. Member of ASA’s Council of Autistic Advisors, and CEO & President of KFM Making a Difference), Jack Scott, PhD, BCBA-D Chair of the Autism Society’s Panel of Professional Advisors and Executive Director at FAU Center for Autism Related Disabilities, and Dr. Sasha Hamdani MD, Psychiatrist to share some strategies for introducing Goodnites® Bedwetting Underwear to kids with ADHD and Autism in a way that avoids sensory triggers or overload.

Start Slow

Predictability is a big issue for most kids with Autism and ADHD, and your child may even be skeptical at first. Try talking to them a few days prior to use to let them know what to expect. Show them a picture of the underwear. Then on the second night, let them touch the underwear. Let them feel how Goodnites® are soft and stretchy like regular underwear, and alleviate any of their concerns about texture. Finally, when your child is ready, move to wearing them on the following night.

Clearly Explain the Benefits of Bedwetting Underwear

Position bedwetting underwear as an option that will allow them to sleep comfortably through the night, without having to wake up and change sheets or experience the really uncomfortable feeling of wetness. Think of it like an assurance policy that can help your child feel more comfortable and confident right now, and as they grow and develop, the hope is eventually they won’t need it any longer.

Validate Their Feelings

Some kids will still have strong opinions, especially as they get older kids can be sensitive to “wearing a diaper.” It’s important to understand how they are feeling and try to normalize or reduce the stigma around bedwetting. Explain that it’s something that some kids struggle with, and bedwetting underwear is something that can help right now.

Find the Right Size

Materials that are sensory friendly can go a long way to reduce resistance that some children with Autism and ADHD will have toward any new item of clothing.

“When you are putting on [bedwetting underwear], especially in an area that is delicate in the first place, kids are going to have strong opinions. It’s nice that Goodnites thought about that, and included it as part of their design,” Dr. Sasha Hamdani said in reference to Goodnites’ comfortable, tailored fit.

Caregivers can also buy clothes that are larger, so they aren’t too tight on a child’s skin due to sensory challenges. Goodnites offers more sizes up to XL, fitting up to 140 lbs.

Goodnites are hypoallergenic and free of harsh ingredients and fragrances.

To find the size that it right for your child, take our product finder quiz.

Try Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping kids cooperate and bolster their self-esteem. Praise them for their cooperation. Celebrate the mornings they wake up dry.

Be Patient

Be gracious with your child, AND with yourself as a parent. A lot of people feel like bedwetting is a training issue or a behavioral issue, but it’s just something that some kids struggle with a bit longer than others. There’s nothing you are doing wrong. It’s okay to feel frustrated if things are not progressing as quickly as you’d like, but don’t let your child see it. It’s important to remain as positive and supportive as possible.

The main thing to remember is that every child is unique, and some strategies will work better than others. As a parent or caregiver, you know what will work for them better than anyone.