How NOT to Handle Bedwetting: Mystery Blogger

by | Sep 10, 2015 | Mystery Blogger, Parenting | 14 comments

I’m terrible at taking blog breaks, or relaxing in general. But
just in case I do happen to feel like relaxing with this new baby when
the time comes, I’ve asked some of my favorite bloggers to guest post
for me. But not in the usual way.

Blogging is a great way to share insights and experiences. But,
sometimes, as much as we’d like to start a discussion, it’s not our
story to share, or feelings could be hurt, or relationships damaged. So,
for my guest posting series, I asked some of my favorite bloggers to share here,
anonymously, posts they felt they couldn’t put on their own blogs.

I hope you’ll find them as compelling as I have.


Not one of my children has night trained easily or early. They have all worn pull-ups well into elementary school, and some into middle school. I feel like it’s the dark secret of my parenting. But it shouldn’t be, because it’s not my fault. And I’ve come to realize that it’s not their fault either. But it’s not something you want to go around discussing on the internet. So, I’m glad to be able to talk about it here, as a mystery blogger.

After my oldest son had been successfully day potty trained for about six months, I was still waiting for him to start waking up with a dry pull-up from naps or overnight. And it just wasn’t happening. Ever. A friend told me that she had forgotten to put her three year old son in a pull-up one night, and he just woke up dry. So she never put him in one again.

That didn’t happen with MY three year old son. It didn’t happen when he was five, or nine, either. He was nearly twelve before he could stay dry overnight. And it was never as simple as forgetting to put on a pull-up. After years and years of well-meaning (but in retrospect quite mistaken) efforts, we finally found a plan that worked to get him night-trained.

The same system worked on my middle son at nine, but has so far been unsuccessful with an eleven year old daughter and a seven year old son. I have confidence that it will work eventually, it just hasn’t worked yet.

I’ll tell you about it. But first, I’d like to share some things I learned that hard way . . .

1. It’s not his fault.

Day potty training accidents for my kids are almost always preventable. He doesn’t feel like getting up, or stopping what he’s doing, or he thinks he can make it a few more minutes . . . and he has an accident. So most of those accidents can be avoided by vigilant mama reminders, and rewarding successes.

But night training is not the same. Bed wetting is NOT a result of laziness or poor planning. It is completely out of his control. Whether or not a kid wets the bed is a function of his physiology (bladder size, etc) and how deeply he sleeps.

It doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent. It doesn’t mean he’s a lazy kid. Making him feel in any way guilty about it does not help. Allowing him (or me) to feel guilty about it isn’t right either. He needs to understand that it’s just a thing that’s a particular struggle for him. It’s not anything anyone is doing wrong. We just need to keep a positive attitude and sort it out as early as that’s possible.

2. The standard advice doesn’t work for everyone.

We tried all the standard stuff: limiting liquids, waking him up at night to go, just getting rid of pull-ups and hoping for the best, having him do his own laundry, pep-talks, stern talking-tos, big potential rewards. None of it had ANY effect at all on his nighttime wetting.

You can’t be motivated out of behavior that isn’t in your control.

Even if we woke him up to go he would wet again, later in the night (and waking him up enough to go was nearly impossible).

I’m sure that those tips work for some kids, or they wouldn’t be so ubiquitous. But they definitely don’t work for all kids. They definitely don’t work for mine.

3. It takes time, but time’s not necessarily enough.

When I finally talked to our pediatrician about it when my son was seven, he really encouraged me not to worry about it. He said that most kids who wet the bed will grow out of it on their own eventually, usually by around ten.

My son didn’t have any physical problems, and we weren’t interested in using medication except as a last resort.

So, we decided to just wait it out. But ten came and went, and it hadn’t taken care of itself. My son really didn’t want to miss out on being able to go to summer camp for yet another year.

It was at that point that our doctor recommended a book called Waking up Dry
, that we could use in conjunction with a nighttime alarm
(<< that’s the one we’ve used previously, but I just ordered this one
, to see if more expensive means louder and more able to wake up very sleepy sleepers).

And that did the trick, in the blink of . . . almost three months.

It’s not an easy solution. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication from both kid and parents. It’s disruptive to the sleep of kid, parents, and any siblings who don’t sleep like rocks. But the book is really sweet and encouraging and scientific and empowering and the program was eventually completely successful. My son no longer has night wetting issues.

My daughter and second son both wanted to try as well, at nine and ten. The program was successful for my son in about two months, but a year later, my daughter is still having frequent wet nights, even when using the alarm. Our doctor doesn’t believe she has health issues. Our plan going forward is to just keep at it, keep using the alarm and keep encouraging her and being understanding, and figure success will come eventually.

Our seven year old also wanted to try it, but it was SO impossible to wake him . . . by wet alarm, or alarm clock, or vigorous shaking by his parents, that we decided to hold off for a few months and try again.

So, one thing I have NOT learned through this process is a fail safe cure for bed wetting. But I HAVE learned to be more patient and understanding. And I have a plan that seems to work eventually. And that’s going to have to be enough.

Me (Kendra) again . . . 
 Just in case anyone is interested, here’s my DAY potty training method:

Potty Training in Three Days, Or Bust


  1. Charlotte {WaltzingM}

    I was so terrified to bring this issue up to my pediatrician when it happened to one of my kiddos because I was afraid of the shaming that child might feel, the stigma that I remember surrounding it when hearing about it happening to other relatives when I was a child, and the blame he might place on me as the mother. When I finally worked up the courage to ask my pedi about it, he reassured me of many of the things you mentioned here. It is not the child's fault. It is completely outside of their control. It takes time. There is even a chemical component in the brain that has to kick in. You can't force that! My child was almost 10 when they did outgrow it and because we didn't stress out about it or make a big deal out of it, there has been no indication of trauma or bad feelings about that time. Thanks for speaking about this problem (somewhat) openly. 🙂 I hope more parents take comfort from hearing it talked about like I did.

  2. Michelle

    We had great success with a night time alarm. I think the alarms are the only thing that will help the deep sleepers. The brand we use is Dry Buddy.

    • Anne Paschen

      Hello Michelle,

      I am a stay at home Mom and home schooler as well as a product developer for a luxury foam manufacturer.

      I have invented the first machine washable, machine dry-able memory foam mattress for kids. I am not kidding!

      This is a brand new product and we need to do a case study.

      We want to get our twin mattress into the hands of 10 Moms who have children between the ages of 2-12 who bed wet .

      In exchange for a $489 washable mattress, we only want feedback on a twenty question questionnaire.

      Our product has passed the FR 1633 standards as well as the CSPA standards for children's products.

      If you are interested in participating please email me or call me directly 208 881 7761. I can send you pictures and lots of info.

      God Bless you.

      Anne Paschen

      Saint Katharine Drexel- Pray for us.

    • Anne Paschen

      Hello Michelle,

      I am a stay at home Mom and home schooler as well as a product developer for a luxury foam manufacturer.

      I have invented the first machine washable, machine dry-able memory foam mattress for kids. I am not kidding!

      This is a brand new product and we need to do a case study.

      We want to get our twin mattress into the hands of 10 Moms who have children between the ages of 2-12 who bed wet .

      In exchange for a $489 washable mattress, we only want feedback on a twenty question questionnaire.

      Our product has passed the FR 1633 standards as well as the CSPA standards for children's products.

      If you are interested in participating please email me or call me directly 208 881 7761. I can send you pictures and lots of info.

      God Bless you.

      Anne Paschen

      Saint Katharine Drexel- Pray for us.

  3. Kris

    I LOVE this post! All my boys also had this issue and NO ONE talks about it. My pediatrician recommended the book to us and we used the Malem alarm. Three of my sons were successful by about age 7 or 8 but one had accidents well into ages 12 and 13. Our doctor did give us medication when he was about 11 but only for him to use to go to camp or feel comfortable spending the night.

  4. Angie Strobel

    I have bed wetters and discovered that low B12 or B12 deficiency is linked to nocturnal enuresis (nighttime bed wetting)! There is a product called Mineral Rich, by Maximum Living that is a liquid mineral supplement. The main ingredient is B12. It has made a HUGE difference in my girls bed wetting. And, by the way, I do NOT sell this product. We started using it and the bed wetting almost went away. Then I did the investigating and found out about the B12 link to bed wetting. Angie Strobel

  5. Schafergal (Ashley)

    Thank you Mystery Blogger!! This was so great to read.

    The other commenters are right – nobody talks about this! As a mom dealing with this right now, it's nice to have a little solidarity. I was pretty sure we just had to wait it out for a bit (she's only 6) but good to hear from those with more experience and older kids. As our daughter days "I can't help it. I'm just sleeping SO hard!"

  6. Jane

    Thanks for offering those resources! My son is 5 and we're not worried at this point, but he sleeps so deeply it wouldn't surprise me if he learned to stay dry at night in his later years rather than early. I'm definitely bookmarking this for if he or the younger two need it at any point. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. Karla Baca

    My daughter was night time bed wetting and we found a solution that worked for her by accident! Because of her medical condition we needed to drastically increase her water consumption( she wasn't a big drinker) to safeguard her kidneys. To make sure she consumed enough water She had to "glug" 10-12 ounces of water when she woke up, another 10-12 ounces mid morning, another 10-12 ounces after lunch and another 10-12 ounces at her late afternoon snack. Side effect of glugging that much water, that often, stretched her bladder. We noticed within 2 weeks she was no longer wetting the bed!

  8. Kristen

    This was a reassuring post. Our second son had the same trouble and I did all the things that this mom did, but nothing helped. Finally, we just learned to be nonchalant about it and wait it out. We were so relieved when he finally outgrew it after he turned ten. I wish I would have heard about the B12 deficiency: it's the only advice here in the comments that I never thought to try!

  9. Bruxa Mimi

    Thank you, Mistery Blogger! I felt I could have written this: "I feel like it's the dark secret of my parenting." It's not my fault, it's not my children's fault – I should ALWAYS keep this in mind.

    This post also makes me realize that I haven't been that unlucky… my two girls stopped bedwetting in the summer when they were five. I seem to be surrounded by people whose children overcame that issue at 2 or 3 years of age, so I used to feel so unlucky… now I don't feel lucky, but I definitely do not feel unlucky anymore!

  10. Maria Bowles

    Not sure why some blogs are this way but they WILL NOT let me finish what I wanted to type if I try to paste something or type in a wed address if I do it on my ipad. Not all blogs are like that, but for some reason it's only blogs and only a few of them. So I won't link the article I copied on my ipad, since I'm now on my computer. But AN E WAYS, what ive tried to type a few hundred times (slight exaggeration 😉 ), is that I read an article on about a year ago, and you will find similar article if you google "bedwetting and constipation" or "bedwetting and gut issues", but the article I read, from what I remember, was that around 90% of bedwetting issues are from undiagnosed constipation or gut issues. My daughter at the time was getting close to three, and I cloth diapered her and felt like two has to be the time to potty train for a cloth diapered child. Ba ha ha! It didn't happen at two and I was beginning to wonder. I think all moms know that a good chunk of what you "thought' was going to happened raising kids, is completely blown out of the water. I never had her checked by our ND (Naturopathic Doctor), but I did make sure she was getting foods that were supportive and healing to her gut. Maybe it was the timing (although she had been showing the signs of being ready to potty train just before she turned two), but the results were pretty instant. Then if we went on vacation or I wasn't making sure her diet was on par (example eating too many sugary foods, processed foods, white startchy foods), she'd start wedding the bed again. So that may not be the issue with your kids, but that has been life changing for mine! And maybe you've already exhausted that issue. But just in case, I thought I'd throw that out there!

  11. Kathleen

    Thank you for writing about this issue! I am a mom of four young kids ages six and under and while three of them are daytime potty trained, none of them wake up dry in the morning. I remember my brother struggling with it growing up and know it's a genetic thing, but when {it seems} all the other kids nighttime train at the same time they daytime train, it's hard. Recognizing it's a problem that is out of my control is hard. Letting go is even harder. Especially when all the money you saved using cloth diapers is now being blown on nightly pull-ups to hold all the extra fluid.

    Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for telling me that it's going to be OK. Thank you for opening up your heart to us. Now if only I can learn to have patience.

  12. JenF

    Bed wetting runs in our family too. Growing up, all 3 of us kids had it, and one of my siblings had it up until Jr. High. My parents tried everything too, until one day my mom found a (somewhat shady looking) pamphlet that guaranteed a cure to bed wetting. It was a program run by some guy who dedicated his life to helping kids get over the bed wetting issue. My mom called the man, and program consisted of a nighttime alarm, and a phone call each morning from this man, who asked my sibling how it went. For some reason, it worked really quickly! Strange, but it was the only thing that worked for my sibling!


  1. So You Guys Are DONE, Right? How having the right friends changed my answer. - Catholic All Year - […] How NOT to Handle Bedwetting: Mystery Blogger […]

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