Bed wetting - 10 year old boy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 09-13-2009, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 10 y.o. DSS wets the bed. I have done a lot of reading about this and I know that it tends to be more common in boys, tends to be more prevalent in children who've had trauma in their lives, and usually can't be cured, only outgrown.

I am curious, however, if other parents have used successful techniques to reduce the frequency of bed wetting for their sons. DH wakes up DSS at least twice a night to pee and he still has wet sheets about 75% of mornings.

Has anyone else had experience with this? Did anything help?

I have 2 other questions:

1. At this point, DH or I still take care of DSS's sheets. If he wakes up wet in the middle of the night, DH gets up and changes his bed for him. In the morning, we go into his room, strip his bed, wash the sheets and re-make his bed for him. At the age of 10, is there any part of this that DSS should be responsible for himself? Should we set up a sleeping bag for him to get into in the middle of the night if he's wet? Should we have him strip and/or make his own bed when he has wet sheets in the morning? DH and I want DSS to take some responsibility for this, but at the same time, recognize that it's completely involuntary. About a year ago we had a few weeks where he was good about using a sleeping bag in the middle of the night, but somehow we've regressed back to DH changing sheets in the middle of the night. I don't really know how this happened. Does anyone have any advice on this?

2. How can we help him with self-esteem? He won't play in his bedroom at all until we remove the wet sheets and re-make his bed. He can't go to sleepovers with his friends and has, so far, missed out on quite a few fun birthday parties as a result. The other three kids in the house don't know that DSS wets the bed, but they do notice that he's the only kid who is "allowed" to take a shower in the morning. As he gets older, managing the self-esteem issues around bed wetting are getting more and more challenging.

I think that's it for now. We're just not sure what to do....

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#2 of 25 Old 09-13-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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We used an alarm, it was the only thing that really worked. The mattress had a vinyl cover on it. We used a regular sheet over that with a mattress pad over that. The mattress pad we used was a layer of vinyl with flannel on each side. If they peed once we'd have them take off the mattress pad and change pyjamas. If they peed again we'd have them put the pad back on with the wet side down over the wet sheet and change pyjamas again. In the morning we'd wash everything.

In the beginning for our DD she didn't even hear the alarm, we'd have to go in and wake her up. She was such a deep sleeper. I think it took about a month for her to be consistently dry.

With DS he was consistently dry faster but he's had a few relapses since. With DS's relapses I noticed that it seemed to be when we had supper later so now I try a lot harder to have supper ready by 5:30. When we have supper around 6:30 I think he just doesn't have enough of a chance to get the mealtime fluids out of his system.

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#3 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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This is a very long post and directed at the general issue of bedwetting in older children. You are doing a wonderful job OP by focusing on the fact that this is involuntary. Just take what you can use from my post and leave the rest.

Ds was a bed wetter from birth until 12 years old. He did have a lot of medical trauma and is also hypotonic and sleeps like he is in a coma. He was on lasix (a diuretic, for his heart condition) when he was young--so the idea of him having bladder control at night was very unlikely.

Pull ups are worth every penny! They make them in a boxer style for kids this age. We never had any of this upheaval over bedwetting as a result. None. It was a total non issue. I did not even think of him as a bedwetter, because it just was never a problem for us.

When you consider the cost of all the laundry you are doing, the stress, loss of sleep, disruptions in the night, etc. , even when we were VERY limited in terms of income, the pulls up were still worth it. And environment be darned, we made up for the use of them in other ways (recycling etc. other materials).

I'll put it this way: if I were a chronic bedwetter, there is no way I would subject myself to constantly waking in the night soaked in pee. I would buy and use some kind of depends or adult diaper so I could sleep in peace! It would be like having your period and using no pads or anything, and waking up in a mess. How upsetting! I am not surprised your son wakes up disoriented and upset. I think that is natural to be upset, and distressed, and embarassed, if you always wake up soaked. I never wanted ds to feel that way,kwim?

Puberty cured ds, which is what EVERYONE told me would happen, and that is exactly how it worked. Approaching age 12 he was staying drier and drier and there came a day where ds mentioned only using pull ups more or less out of laziness sometimes, so I said for every pull up he kept dry he saved us a quarter, and he could have the quarter or the pull up. He started collecting a lot of quarters.

Then, around that point, he stopped using the pull ups. There were a few accidents over the first few months but as long as he didn't drink much before bed, and got up once in the night, he was fine. Approaching 13 the bedwetting stopped completely.

Also, ds TOTALLY went to sleepovers during this time! He just changed into a pull up before bed, and that was it. Nobody EVER teased him. And we talked to him about what he could say if anyone did comment. Ds was always very confident about the issue. In fact I think he once just announced point blank "I use pull ups, and you should be glad, because if I don't, you will regret it!" *lol*.

I realize that because of what ds had going on medically, there was a layer of 'justification', in a sense, for his bedwetting, and it gave me 'permission' to look at the issue without any embarassment or anxiety. And from that experience I realized SO many parents were investing years of doctors visits, night waking, stress, rewards, punishments etc. into 'curing' their boys of this issue, and the chances were, in most cases, the parents could have spared themselves all of that fear and worry, and time would have fixed a lot of this.

And I do think in many cases, when parents say 'but my son is upset by it', a huge part of it is that the child senses the parent is viewing this as a problem. Very, very, very few parents get to a place of being totally supportive and accepting of it, just as though the child were diabetic or had asthma. Society does not tell parents "This is okay, if your kid is a bedwetter".

And I do want to clarify that a genuine medical problem (a kidney infection, etc.) OF COURSE needs a doctors attention...bedwetting can certainly be a symptom of an underlying medical problem, and OF COURSE a doctor should be seen and treatment used.

Also, I think it is certainly good to look at whether obvious changes should be made--less water at night, waking the child once to use the toilet etc. Certainly there is a level of intervention a parent may consider, which springs from knowing what works for their own child (because it actually does WORK), and which to the child is no different than being told to brush their teeth or carry their insulin. I am not saying any steps to prevent bedwetting are shaming--I am saying the first step is a mindset of acceptance, from which nobody is feeling embarassed, or worried about the issue. It feels like a non issue. I can't explain it any better than that.

Ds was NEVER dry at night for almost 12 years and he felt no embarassment at all, and while some of that his personality, I do think a lot of it is that we decided very early this was totally okay, this was his 'normal', and there was not going to be any embarassment over it. We were able to do that faster than most parents BECAUSE ds did have some very obvious differences (lack of energy, very clumsy from hypotonia, lots of scars on his body from surgery). The bedwetting was the least of our worries. You will be amazed what children can learn to accept about themselves if parents are truly showing them their body is fine just the way it is. Kids are born every day with very embarassing medical problems, scars, limps, feeding tubes, kids with no bowel control, you name it. They are not all basket cases living in shame, kwim? Parental attitude goes a LONG way towards instilling confidence and acceptance in kids with 'issues' like bedwetting.

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#4 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 11:37 AM
 
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i dont really have any advice. i liked heartmamas post. but i offer sympathy. i wet the bed until i was 11. my mom got some pills from the doc and i stopped. i dont know what they were. i do remember being a real deep sleeper and not even waking up when i peed. i would have loved some of those pull ups that look like shorts.

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#5 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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My 9 year old ds is in the same boat. I absolutely buy him Good Nights or equivilant. I see no need to mess with changing sheets all the time. For awhile I was waking him at 1-2 a.m. to go potty and that worked great a few nights and I really though we were getting somewhere, and then it stopped working. He would already be wet when I got there.

His grandmother said she wet the bed through her college years, and while I don't anticipate this, I think it just shows that it's not the end of the world. I have never heard about it stopping during puberty but that gives me a little hope.

I really just try not to make a big deal. I'm sure your dh feels bad and helping him take charge by getting him Good Nights or something might make him feel like he's has a bit more control.

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#6 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Heartmama: what a wonderful post, thank you. It made me feel a lot better.

All of the adults in DSS's life (me, DH and DSS's mom) have been very careful over the years not to stigmatize bed-wetting. We treat it very matter-of-factly and follow DSS's lead.

*I* love the idea of big boy pull-ups, but we've been there done that and it dodn't go over well at all.

I came into DSS's life when he was almost 6 and by then, his parents had been in "sheet-changing mode" for a couple of years (since he'd legitimately been out of diapers). I don't know why they didn't continue to use pull-ups as DSS got older, but they didn't. I haven't pushed the issue.

All four kids went to Florida this summer to visit their grandparents (my father and his lovely wife) without us. It was the kind of vacation kids dream about! Disney, SeaWorld, GatorLand, a week at a beach house on the Gulf Coast, etc. All of the kids were *very* excited to go, even DSS, but he did have a lot of worries about bed-wetting, obviously. He didn't want us to share with grandpa that he wet the bed.

DH and DSS sat down to talk about what they could do. I had prepped DH re: big boy pull-ups before he talked to DSS. When DH brought up the idea of the boxer-style pull-ups, DSS broke down into hysterics, proclaiming that he's not a baby and only babies wear diapers and do we think he's a baby or something?

Sigh.

In the end, DSS agreed to wear the pull-ups in Florida because it was better than the alternatives (i.e. not going or telling grandpa that he wets the bed).

Within 10 minutes of returning from Florida, DSS was out in the driveway, dumping all of the remaining pull-ups into the garbage can.

We were back to wet sheets.

He won't wear pull-ups. It's just not going to happen. DH brought it up with him one more time a couple of weeks ago and it was the same hysterical accusations of us thinking that he's a baby.

I honestly don't know why DSS feels so very strongly about this. Like I said, we've all worked very, very hard to make sure that we don't stigmatize bed-wetting, we don't make a big deal of changing his bed, we never talk negatively to him about it, etc.

DSS's "trauma" has to do with suffering through a *very* difficult time while his parents were divorcing, followed by a period of time when his mother was not present in his life (between the ages of 5-7). As you can imagine, this was very difficult for a little boy.

We do have the pediatrician involved. There are no physical reasons for DSS's bed-wetting. Doc tells us that he will likely outgrow it in puberty.

Aside from the pull-ups, does anyone have any suggestions regarding whether or not we should involve DSS in managing a wet bed in the middle of the night and/or taking care of sheets in the morning? Or would it be less damaging for him if we just continued to do it ourselves? (DH would be very, very happy not to have to get up in the middle of the night to change sheets, FWIW.) Is there a lesson in personal responsibility here or is this not the issue to address personal responsibility with?

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#7 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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Dd10 manages her sheets all by herself including starting the washer and deciding if they go on the line or in the dryer and putting them back on her bed.

If he doesn't want pullups because they are for babies what about incontinence aids for the more geriatric population? I got her some depends pads for a sleep over. Being a girl she thought she could pass those off as a mentrual product if need be which probably wouldn't be any better for your son but the packaging might not offend him; they make male specific products.

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#8 of 25 Old 09-14-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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I don't see any reason why he shouldn't participate in changing the sheets. While it's not his fault that he's wetting the bed, it isn't yours either. It's not a punishment, while not the most pleasant thing in the world someone has to do it. At age 10 he should be old enough to manage. Perhaps you could get a couple sheet protector type mattress pads. That way instead of changing the sheets he could just take off the pad and put it on the floor. If you had a few then he could replace it with a fresh one in case he wet again. Of course, that's assuming that he even wakes up when he pees. My children slept so deeply, they were usually oblivious to it till they woke up in the morning.

Again, an alarm may be worth a try. I will admit that before I researched it I was extrememly skeptical and I thought that there was no way I was going to subject my child to an alarm. We completely understood that it wasn't their fault that they were wetting the bed and were careful to not make them feel ashamed or anything but DD was tired of the pull-ups.

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#9 of 25 Old 09-19-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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What a shame your dss refuses the pull-ups. My 5 yr old still wears them and my 9 yr old wore them until just before his birthday. He chose to stop wearing them on his own. I don't think he had any accidents.
If your dss is sleeping so deeply maybe going to bed earlier would help him. Restricting fluid intake in the evening will only help a little but it will help.
Using layers of waterproof covers and sheets will make disturbed nights a lot easier on everyone. Sleep deprivation does no one any good. Your dss is definatly old enough to strip the bed on his own.
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#10 of 25 Old 09-19-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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My almost 9 year old son still wets every night but he wears Good Nites. In our house it isn't an option - if you wet, you were the Good Nites. Dealing with wet sheets every night would really upset me. I am still waiting for him to grow out if it, so I don't have any good tips in that regard.

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#11 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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My daughter wet until she was ~8 1/2. I found the alarm helped.

Other than that, I would likely give him a choice - the boxer-type pull-ups, or he is responsible for changing his sheets when he wets them. Yes, leave a sleeping bag and change of clothes for middle of the night issues, but then in the morning, he's responsible for stripping the bed, tossing the sheets in the washer (not necessarily running it, as you may have other stuff to toss in), and remaking the bed with clean sheets.

In some ways, it's being made easy for him. If there's no medical issue involved, and he refuses to take reasonable steps to help... he needs to be made to take some responsibility. Dad shouldn't lose sleep 'cause the boy refuses pull-ups. It doesn't need to be a matter of shaming, but one of working on solving the problem so EVERYone can get a good night's sleep.
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#12 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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Just time for a quick post - but the alarm worked wonders with my DS. He had NEVER gone through the night without wetting the bed. Once he was on board with wanting to stop bedwetting (wanted to go camping with the scouts without fear of wetting his sleeping bad), we ordered an alarm for him. He picked out the color he liked. We got one that had several sounds plus vibrated.

He wore the alarm attachted to his underpants, then he pulled a Goodnight over them. When the alarm went off, he only had to replaced the Goodnight and not remake the whole bed.

I offered to slept in his room the first night in case he freaked out by the noise, but when it went off (it was early, I was still up) he just took care of things himself and went back to bed.

Within two weeks he was staying dry consistantly. That alarm was a miracle for DS. It was expensive, but cheaper than continuing to buy Goodnights and definitely an improvement over doing laundry and remaking the bed every single day.

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#13 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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My youngest child currently deals with this, she's 7.5. Her problem is two-fold, she sleeps too heavy to realize she needs to wake up and go potty and she wants to sip on water or milk too close to bedtime. She gets physically upset if we refuse to give her anything so we usually give in. I know the fluids close to bedtime are what really causes the problem because on nights when she doesn't have them too close to bed she is fine and wakes up dry. We use Goodnites. It's frustrating. It really is. I don't want to tell the pediatrician about it because I know they will suggest putting her on a drug and I don't want that. I'm so hoping she will just grow out of it - soon.

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#14 of 25 Old 09-20-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by darcytrue View Post
I don't want to tell the pediatrician about it because I know they will suggest putting her on a drug and I don't want that.
Or maybe s/he will suggest that you more strenuously refuse to give her liquids close to bedtime like you do?

This really is a problem partly of your own making.
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#15 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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I don't have an older kid bedwetter, but read your post because my cousin wet the bed until he was 12 or 13 and I have been doing EC with my 13 month old... I read the bit about no pull ups, I agree with him... what I did for my daughter was put down a wool blanket and let her sleep on top of it, they make some really soft wool blankets these days. The great thing about wool is that its naturally antibacterial and it doesnt usually smell even after its been wet, so all you have to do is line dry it and wash it once a week... if you got 2 wool blankets, he could just swap out the wet one if he woke up wet in the middle of the night and hang the other one to dry in case of another accident. The other cool thing about wool is that unless he pees A LOT... he might not even feel wet at all.
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#16 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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she wants to sip on water or milk too close to bedtime. She gets physically upset if we refuse to give her anything so we usually give in. I know the fluids close to bedtime are what really causes the problem because on nights when she doesn't have them too close to bed she is fine and wakes up dry. .
Many sources I've read do NOT recommend restricting fluid intake. I think bed-wetting like is being described by most here is way more than just too much liquid. It's a separate problem.

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#17 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 09:34 AM
 
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Or maybe s/he will suggest that you more strenuously refuse to give her liquids close to bedtime like you do?

This really is a problem partly of your own making.
I disagree.

Prolonged bedwetting is about more than too much to drink at bedtime. I can drink a liter of water at bedtime and no wet the bed; I either wake up and go to the bathroom or I hold it until morning.

Nocturnal enuresis is usually related to physical maturity or a physical problem of some sort. As it has been described to me, many if not most people produce a hormone that decreases urine production at night. This usually occurs by age six. Often time if it does not happen by then you are waiting for puberty to change things. This is why heredity is a factor in bedwetting. Problems can be exacerbated by having a small bladder and/or sleeping very soundly or other physical issues. My dd has a bladder on the border between small/normal at last testing and sleeps very soundly.

If daytime frequency, sudden urges or other continence problems are present your situation may warrant more research.

HTH

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#18 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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My very first child patient during my chiropractic internship stopped wetting her bed when she began getting chiropractic adjustments. When her mom told me that, I researched it and found it to be a condition/issue that often clears up with chiropractic care. Since then, DH and I have seen many kids stop wetting the bed after receiving adjustments. Most of the time it was incidental..."Oh by the way, Johnny hasn't wet his bed since our last visit."
Check out icpa4kids.com for a referrel to a doc who has specific pediatric training.
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#19 of 25 Old 09-25-2009, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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These posts have been so informative to read; thank you everyone!

Seeing as how I am not DSS's parent, I do have to be careful about how I suggest changes in parenting patterns. DH and I have some disagreements about parenting values (another post for another forum! ), but generally nothing insurmountable.

About a week ago, I did suggest to DH that perhaps DSS should be responsible for stripping his bed in the morning and putting the sheets in the washer. He liked the idea. We have four kids (ages 8-12) and we've been on a "more personal responsibility" kick for a few months now.

DH chatted with DSS and said that he would not be getting up in the middle of the night to change DSS's bed anymore. DH gave DSS his camping sleeping pad and sleeping bag and I think DSS actually likes the idea of "camping out" in his bedroom, so that went well.

The suggestion that DSS strip his own bed in the morning didn't go over as well. DSS feels like this is not fair; that it's a punishment. Our washer/dryer closet is in the kitchen, and I suspect that DSS is also worried that one of the other kids will see him putting his wet sheets in the washer.

DH kept talking with him though, and finally DSS agreed.

Here's the problem though, he doesn't do it. He said he would, but he doesn't (he did the first day). So, it's kind of business as usual. I've stopped stripping DSS's bed in the morning, but when DSS doesn't do it, DH just steps in again.

Maybe it's time for me to just let it go and recognize that as long as I'm not the one changing the sheets, it's not really any of my business. It's up to DSS's parents to figure out how to handle this issue.

I just think it's a shame.

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#20 of 25 Old 09-25-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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I disagree.

Prolonged bedwetting is about more than too much to drink at bedtime. I can drink a liter of water at bedtime and no wet the bed; I either wake up and go to the bathroom or I hold it until morning.

Nocturnal enuresis is usually related to physical maturity or a physical problem of some sort. As it has been described to me, many if not most people produce a hormone that decreases urine production at night. This usually occurs by age six. Often time if it does not happen by then you are waiting for puberty to change things. This is why heredity is a factor in bedwetting. Problems can be exacerbated by having a small bladder and/or sleeping very soundly or other physical issues. My dd has a bladder on the border between small/normal at last testing and sleeps very soundly.

If daytime frequency, sudden urges or other continence problems are present your situation may warrant more research.

HTH
However, the poster I was responding to said that (a) she doesn't want to mention it to the doctor and (b) when liquids closer to bedtime are restricted, the child wakes up dry. Nor does she mention any other continence problems.

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Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post

The suggestion that DSS strip his own bed in the morning didn't go over as well. DSS feels like this is not fair; that it's a punishment. Our washer/dryer closet is in the kitchen, and I suspect that DSS is also worried that one of the other kids will see him putting his wet sheets in the washer.

DH kept talking with him though, and finally DSS agreed.

Here's the problem though, he doesn't do it. He said he would, but he doesn't (he did the first day). So, it's kind of business as usual. I've stopped stripping DSS's bed in the morning, but when DSS doesn't do it, DH just steps in again. :
I can understand his reluctance to bring the sheets down - how about providing him with a hamper in his room? And talk to Dad about working on the boy to take responsibility. It's not a punishment.
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#21 of 25 Old 10-01-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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I didn't read any replies but my son wet his bed until a couple of years ago. He'll be 16 in three weeks.

At ten he was TOTALLY old enough to handle his own sheets. Period. It's not a punishment, but I pointed out if DD wet her bed, or if Dad or I did...is it reasonable to expect HIM to change OUR sheets? He got the point. Definitely get him a hamper and work with him on it. Also we invested in a factory sealed heavy cover on the mattress, it made a huge difference. Man that smell is unreal!

Good luck mama!

GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
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#22 of 25 Old 10-02-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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I wonder if you could have a neutral 3rd party like a doctor revisit the pull up idea? My oldest ds wet until he was probably 15, and my younger was about 11, I think. For my oldest, who was NEVER dry until he was in his teens, using pullups was a great help. He was worried a lot about being teased and having issues with sleepovers, and camp and what not. He even went to camp for a week a few different times - he's keep a stash of pullups in the bottom of his sleeping bag, and change into them after he was in bed, and no one was the wiser. It made it possible for him to do things he would otherwise have been too uncomfortable to do.

We also had some luck with the alarm system. I think it can sound really negative to some folks, but basically, its a biofeedback system. At first the alarm wakes you because you've wet, and later, you start to wake on your own before. It has the highest "cure" rates of any medical type treatment. It's time intensive when you are starting it, because often kids sleep so heavily that you have to get up and get them out of bed when you hear the alarm, but it does work.

I say definitely he can take his own sheets off at least. At 10, my kids sometimes still struggle to get the bed completely made, but they could certainly pull the sheets off and stick them in a hamper or washer. Again, it is totally not a punishment, just a matter of taking some responsibility for your own self, just as my older dd takes her own allergy medication, and my youngest puts her undies in the hamper if she has a didn't-quite-wipe-right experience.
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#23 of 25 Old 10-02-2009, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to thank everyone for the helpful responses. It's also very refreshing to see that our experience isn't really all that unusual!

Thanks again, you've given DH and I a lot to talk about!


+ = (4/97) & (1/99) & (8/99) & (2/01), with , the prettiest pup this side of the Mississippi.
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#24 of 25 Old 10-03-2009, 09:09 PM
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Make sure his room is warm enough at night--being too cold can cause bedwetting.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#25 of 25 Old 10-05-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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My friend's 6 year old frequently bed wets. He sleeps naked so pj's aren't an issue. He climbs into a sleeping bag on the floor in the middle of the night if he wets, and "helps" his mom do laundry every morning.

Basically, no way in heck would I be changing sheets in the middle of the night!

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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