Presented by GoodNites
Having two of my three kids potty trained was really exciting, especially since all three of them wore diapers at the same time. So when our third struggled a bit — especially with bedwetting — I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong.
We tried everything. For a few weeks we didn’t give him anything to drink after 5 p.m., but it didn’t work. We tried waking him up at night to go, which was impossible. He literally would not wake up and would kick us instead.
We tried letting him wear regular underwear at night, hoping maybe the wetness would wake him up. Nope. He needed to wear nighttime pants every night for nine years.
I started to become really concerned as he approached his 6th birthday. I felt like I was trying everything. Was something wrong with him? Clearly, I was missing something, doing a horrible job, and not giving him what he needed.
I was beyond frustrated, exhausted from talking to him about it, sick of washing his sheets every day, and would feel helpless when I tried to wake him up every night before I went to bed to see if he would go.
I started making him wash his own sheets if he had an accident and found myself getting after him about it. I was at the end of my rope around his 5th birthday, two years after he was able to use the potty all day without incident, and went to his pediatrician to talk to her, hoping she could give me the magical formula that day.
Turns out I was doing everything wrong. She explained to me that most of the time bedwetting is genetic. If you or your partner wet the bed at night as a child, you may have a child who struggles too. It is normal, it happens often, and it is not happening because you or your child are doing something wrong. They have no control over it and are not waking up enough to get up and go when they have the urge.
She advised me to keep having him clean his own sheets, but to turn it into something positive and empowering instead of a punishment, since bedwetting is out of his control.
She also assured me I was not alone — one in six children between the ages of 4 and 12 experience nighttime wetting. It’s just not something people talk about often.
She said it would last until he was able to make the connection and wake up on his own, since bedwetting is a developmental issue rather than a behavioral one. There was no quick fix, no rushing it. When his body was ready, it would happen.
It finally did, and he was so proud, and so was I.
It only happened after we stopped focusing on it and even then, it was a very slow progression. He would have dry weeks, then a few nights where he would have an accident.
By reassuring my child I was not upset or disappointed in him, he was able to relax a bit more.
So after nine long years, we have turned the corner. If your child is struggling, don’t be frustrated, don’t make them feel ashamed. Give yourself and your child a break.
When their body is ready to tell them it is time to wake up and go, they will, and nothing you say or do can rush that. And when that happens, I promise you, you will dance.
This post was sponsored by GoodNites Bedtime Pants. They are discreet and easy to use, and they are designed for kids like mine who need extra nighttime protection. To learn more about bedwetting and hear tips from other parents and pros, visit GoodNites.com.