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November 28, 2012


My son stayed dry at night starting the first time he slept without a diaper due to a laundry situation. So... try letting him go to bed without the garment a couple of times?

No advice. None. Unusual for me, but what can I say? But oh dear, my face hurts with the trying-not-to-laugh. It seems so mean to laugh--I sympathize with Edward, really I do--and yet...you wrote it in such a way that laughter is irresistible.

Plastic sheets and laundry detergent?

My only suggestion is to try waiting until 3 hours after he has been asleep. My 6 year old started having nighttime accidents in August because of a neurological condition and has been very resistant to going back to pull-ups. So, if I'm awake 3 hours after he fell asleep I wake him up to go potty. If not, he has an accident in the middle of the night, changes himself and climbs into bed with me. Not an easy fix, but it will work until we can do surgery.

They make disposable pads for use in beds. You can get them in the adult disposable undergarment section of Target or CVS. You could put them under a lightweight blanket but on top of the sheet and it should help a lot.

Total lurker here but I had to pipe up. My daughter was never, I mean never, dry overnight while in diapers/pull ups at night, even when we tried all of the tricks you mentioned. Ultimately, when given the freedom to go to the bathroom as much as she wants before bed by herself, she peed about 1000 times every night between 7:30pm and 9pm, and stayed dry overnight. She's now dropped down to 2-3 trips to the bathroom in that same time frame and stays dry. Might work for Edward, if you're lucky and it's that "easy" of a fix!

You can get large disposable waterproof pads from a medical supply company, and then make the bed with a pad, a fitted sheet, another pad, another fitted sheet. If something happens in the night you just strip off the first set and put them aside for morning.

But also...and I swear I have no business relationship with this company:


It worked for us, and pretty quickly too. Don't let the idea of an alarm turn you off. He will be happier when he has this licked.

From Wikipedia:

"Desmopressin (trade names: DDAVP, DesmoMelt, Stimate, Minirin) is a synthetic replacement for vasopressin, the hormone that reduces urine production. It may be taken nasally, intravenously, or as an oral or sublingual tablet. Doctors prescribe desmopressin most frequently for treatment of diabetes insipidus, bedwetting, or nocturia."

No first-hand knowledge, but it is in my mental parenting arsenal.

Is he wearing pullups? Because you could maybe switch to GoodNites. They cost a small fortune but they do look more like underwear. But if it comes down to that or washing sheets every night....

There are also various non-disposable options, which really are very like diapers, but if HE doesn't think they are diapers then it might work.

My son wet until he was about 8. I don't think there was anything I could have done, short of getting him up every hour to pee, that would have kept him dry. Luckily he didn't mind about the pullups so it wasn't a big deal.

Ditto for the sheet-they actually have plastic lined pads that fit over 1/2 the bottom sheet. I know this because my youngest had the bladder of a pregnant woman. We would have to take a travel mug with a lid on any journey over an hour so we weren't constantly stopping. I was just too cheap to go the pull-up route as long as it probably would have been helpful, but he woke up wet more often than not for a long time.
Give him a shot. If there is laundry to do, have him help.
Your not unreasonable to give him a logical standard to meet. There is your sanity at stake. Kids are always going to have something to hold against their parents. It may as well be worth your while. He'll get over it.

No advice -but avidly reading-my little one who is the same age is also never dry at night. My older two it wasn't an issue-so....

When my Emmie (same age as the twins, within a few weeks I think) was refusing to poop in the potty at age 3 (and waiting us out until bedtime to do so), we started putting her in a pair of underwear underneath a pullup. (She refused to soil underwear.)

So maybe if you put underwear under a pullup he will know he's wet/going/has to go, but it won't be a huge mess to clean up.

I have full-width washable pads that are about 1/3 the length of the bed (hand-me-downs from my SIL). I would make the bed, then put the pad over the target area - if he wet the bed, I could just switch the pad out without changing the whole mess.

My kids were like that too, and I just bit the bullet and let them wet the bed. I figured the sensation of waking up in a puddle would teach them fairly quickly, and it worked for my two boys. Yes, it's a huge pain to have to fuss with sheets in the middle of the night, but I think it took all of a week before they were waking themselves up to go pee. I think pull ups and good nights and whatever other non-diaper diaper product you use is designed to keep them dry, so they may not even realize they've peed. So I say give him a week to see how he does. He may surprise you. Good luck, and remember that vinegar is great for getting the pee smell out of laundry.

My oldest boy needed discreet undergarments at night until he was about 6. Waking him up at 11 to pee didn't work. The pediatrician said, "it's so common it's normal." When our son started objecting to the nighttime attire, we told him ok but if he wet the bed, he would have to deal with it himself because we needed our sleep too. We laid out a bath towel and clean pajamas just in case and left him to it. It took a couple of weeks of him wetting the bed, waking himself up in the process, and cleaning himself up, but eventually it stopped and he was dry. (I washed his sheets in the morning; he slept on the towel in the meantime.)

They have a pad that has an alarm that sounds when it senses moisture - theoretically training the body to wake up before they urinate. I'm not sure of the price but your doctor may know. There is also a medication called desmopressin that can help kids stay dry

Doesn't really help the frequency of laundry situation, but maybe pull up style cloth diapers? Looks like you can request special sizing if he's a little bigger than the 4t she has listed. http://www.etsy.com/listing/100642368/pocket-cloth-training-pants-2t-4t-20?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=pull+up+cloth+diapers&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all

Also, my sister wore overnight diapers until she was like 8 or 9, MUCH to her embarassment. The only thing that finally worked was the bed wetting alarm, and my mom spent years resisting that because she didn't want to pressure her. Now she always says she wishes she had done it years earlier.

I second the GoodNites option, or any of the other nighttime options (http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=537244&parentCategoryId=85180&categoryId=86184 -- if the link doesn't work search the One Step Ahead website for Dri Nights). . It's all about limiting laundry while maintaining dignity. My 3.5 year old wakes up SO MAD when he is uncomfortably wet, whereas when it's all contained he sleeps. And if he's sleeping I am sleeping, ergo happy.

My son (now 6) doesn't make it through the night -- super sound sleeper and so he'll just sleep wet for hours. The pad on the bed idea that others are suggesting wouldn't work for us, because he always manages to soak his blanket, too, and I am not fond of 1:00 AM changing boy + bedding.

Currently we can wake him between 11:00 and 12:00 and usually he can them make it through the night. If he's at someone else's house, we still ask him to use a pullup.

We did consider a mositure alarm. I can't remember if they say wait until 5 or 6. My friend who is a child psychologist said it's the only thing known to work. Right now we are all okay with our arrangement so we haven't done it. But you could explain it to Edward and see if he would want to try it. It's expensive, though, if ends up not wanting to do it.

One of mine night trained long before the other twin. A few months later, pull up kid says to me: "I'm wearing underwear tonight." Same situation as Edward, stayed dry maybe once in his little life. But sure enough, that night, he was dry. We've had a handful of accidents since then, but nothing bothersome.

I however developed the "sheet lasagna" of layering a fitted waterproof sheet with the regular fitted sheets for 3 or 4 layers, just in case. So easy to just rip off a layer and go!

Even if he has regular bowel movements, he could be constipated, which would cause this. We had this problem with my son. Found this article around his 6th birthday, started regular Miralax, and it was fixed in two days, no exaggeration. Every time we get lazy with Miralax and making him poop regularly, it comes back. Obviously it isn't the answer for everyone, but it was for us. We also didn't need to get the x-ray to prove it. Pediatrician could tell by touching his stomach, and he had issues in the past that lead me to not be surprised anyway.


I resorted to the alarm for my 7 year old (it may be too soon for Edward, who is just adorable wet or dry!). It was the only thing that worked. Just be prepared to be scared out of your wits that first night/morning when your kid with wet pjs stumbles into your room in tears with a beeping, flashing, vibrating box attached to him! That said, it was VERY effective. Dry within a week. Just a little traumatic at first.

I had one out of three children who required night time "help" after age two. I couldn't figure out what to do/say to help her stay dry at night because the others did it on their own - tried cutting off liquids after 7pm, waking her up, etc. etc. Until one day I said to her, "When you're sleeping, if you feel like you have to potty or if you're having a dream that you have to potty, wake up, then go to the bathroom all by yourself, then go back to bed." She seemed so surprised to hear that she could do that. She asked, "You mean open my eyes, then sit up, then walk to the bathroom and go? Then go back to bed? And don't even tell you?" I said, "Nope! Just do it!" It was the funniest thing but she never wet the bed again. She still always had to go in the middle of the night, but now she knew that she could get up and go rather than go in her...apparatus.

I suggest the lasagna as mentioned above because taking off a layer and presto, ready for sleep again is magic.

We have my son in "Nikki" training underwear at night. We call them his sleep underwear. If he has an accident it is largely contained so cleanup is easier though things do get wet (usually just his pajamas as he is a side sleeper). But if Edward wants to go commando I don't know if any coverage as acceptable.

Have you thought about putting him in underwear with the plastic pants over it? Do they still sell the plastic training pants? Anyway, if you went that route, you wouldn't have to change sheets in the middle of the night, just underwear. He'd also be wet and uncomfortable, which may help things along. Good luck!

*Not* wearing pullups worked for our oldest, who was never not once dry when he wore them. We also, still limit his evening beverages and still sometimes he has accidents (thank goodness for waterproof mattress pads!). I'm sure this doesn't need to be said, but is there plenty of light for Edward to see his bedroom door, the way to the bathroom, and in the bathroom without blinding himself at night? That was a hangup for my youngest, who'd rather pee in the bed/pull-up than get lost on the 5' walk to the bathroom or get out of bed and not be able to find a) the door or 2) his bed *evar again!*.

Good luck to you and Edward!!

I don't have twins, but my experience with my son and daughter was the same. I eventually questioned why i was putting my 3 year old daughter in the not-corset as every morning she woke up dry. The reason, of course, was that my son needed it.

There was the hideous summer when he, age 7, decided he didn't want not-corsets. I was completely exhausted, because although we limited drinks, had him use the toilet before bed, took him to the toilet at 10pm, got him up again at 12pm, again at 2am, he still woke up wet at 3am. And then there was the laundry. After a month of this, we just went back to the not-corsets.

Fortunately, after really trying, it wasn't so hard to convince him to put off the project. As much as I would have liked to have been done with the not-corsets, they made life so much more manageable. The laundry and the interrupted sleep were awful.

Interestingly, our doctor explained that it isn't a small bladder that's the problem, it's that the body can't tolerate the sensation of fullness in the bladder. Until it can, the bladder releases at the first sensation of fullness. I actually don't remember when exactly this stopped, but it did. I don't think he bears any scars, but your post immediately brought me back to my exhausted self and sense of helplessness.

That same summer, a friend had a son with an attitude like Edwards, and they had some success with the moisture sensors or "pee alarm." It worked in the sense that it woke her up to drag her son to the toilet. There are a bewildering array of these available on the internet, so I think it's safe to say we are not alone. My husband felt it wasn't advisable to attach an alarm to his son's crotch.

In sum, my experience was: we tried to control it, we were defeated by my son's body's immaturity, and we could do nothing but manage the problem until he grew out of it. However, maybe Edward's commitment to big boyness will make all the difference!

So, pretty much all the good suggestions have been said. If it makes Edward feel better, my 5 year old needs diapers at night, and his 3 year old brother stays dry. Since I wet the bed until age 7, I can't blame him. 20% of five year olds wet the bed regularly, so it is normal. My grandmother believes taking me to the chiropractor cured my bed wetting. I have no scientific basis to verify that claim, except that I did stop.

We used to take our son (then about 5) to the bathroom for a kind of "dream pee" about the time he would have otherwise peed. For us that was about 12- sounds like for you it would be about 11? We did it to train him to wake himself up, and it seems to have. It took longer than I hoped, though- a couple months.

He also sleepwalks and used to have these huge, unconscious rages when he woke up from naps, and our doctor told us it was all related, the inability to move out of sleep with the same stimuli (in this case full bladder). He also said that Simon would be wearing pull-ups until he was 8, though, and he stopped at 5, almost 2 years ago now. So who knows what that quack knows.

My now 7-year-old was like this.

It just took him forever, and I was not interested in sleep walking him to the toilet. Kudos to you for trying that.

We tried going commando but he would always wet the bed, and because of how he moved around he'd miss the pad, get the mattress, feather duvet and almost always... feather pillow too. All at 3am. It made me want to cry.

I did what you did in terms of logic, you know, once you can stay dry, we ditch the insurance policy, but that's the final ruling. So sorry. And he didn't like it but he dealt.

I am feeling a little run over by my children right now, and I'm starting to take back some surrendered ground. Yes. This may hurt his feelings, but you have the right to a decent night's sleep and just the regular amount of laundry. Which, God knows, is laundry enough.

Good luck.

Oh - as to when he made the leap to dry. Hmmm. It's a blur. 5 maybe? And he had been accident free by day since before he was 2.

We did the alarm with my son when he was in kindergarten (so about 5 1/2). He is a very deep sleeper. He was peeing so much at night that even a pullup with an extra pad was wet through to the sheets every morning and he didn't wake up at all. Even when we woke him a few hours after he went to bed.

It took a week with a couple of alarms and he has been dry ever since. If you do decide to go the alarm route, get the one that clips onto the underwear. We tried the one with the pad you put in the underwear and it malfunctioned after 3 uses.

Heres another option you might be able to call nighttime underwear: http://www.superundies.com/p-41-nighttime-undies-booster-pack.aspx

Both my kids were four before they slept without the undergarment. What worked for me was putting an extra mattress pad under them (so when the inevitable happened, it's not such a big deal to dry the bed, just whisk away the extra pad), no drinks after 6:00 or so, and taking them to the bathroom when I went to bed, around 10:30-11:00. Some kids just don't catch on easily, and have to have some accidents to catch on.

Everyone has listed everything worth considering, so I will just offer a datapoint.

In my ... uh, NOT my experience, no one in my house ever dealt with this, of COURSE not, but from what I HEAR, if someone isn't ready to be dry, there's not much you can do about it. You can try the medication, you can try the pills, you can try the "we'll just change the sheets a lot because being cold and wet will do the trick" but if the body isn't ready, it just isn't ready. Even the medication might only have a 50-50 success rate.

Theoretically. I personally had no reason to discuss this with any pediatrician ever. And also theoretically, some people don't outgrow this issue until they are seven.

I would say, try all the options (except maybe the medicine, because ... yeah, that's really overkill at Edward's age) but I would have found it helpful (I mean, theoretically I would have found it helpful) to know that it's a nice thing to try those things, but it's also OK if they don't work. Great if it works, great if it doesn't.

It's so hard to know when a habit is something we helped form (by using ultra-absorbant diapers or offering too many liquids or being helicopter parents or whatever the heck it is that we're always Doing Wrong), and can therefore change, and when a habit is a biological thing. I wish there were some way of knowing in advance.

I have to de-lurk to say that I had a similar situation with my boy-girl twins except neither of them could stay dry at night. I kept waiting & waiting & waiting for that magical dry night to happen. And, then I got tired of buying pull-ups or we ran out or something (they're 11 now so my memory is a bit hazy) so I put them to bed without pull-ups and they never had an accident. Ever.

Now, I do recall that we did carry them to the washroom before we went to bed for awhile but we soon gave that up and there were no problems at all. Ever.

I wish you the same luck.

We tried the pads. We tried the alarm (I woke up with her crying next to me with the alarm shrieking and hanging off her soaked underwear). She got to be eight and wanted to go to overnight camp. The doctor gave her something to shoot up her nose. She took it herself for two weeks, and was dry from the first day. After two weeks, the doctor said her body would be used to staying dry, and it worked like a charm. She never looked back (and she is still my heaviest sleeper at 15).

My oldest son stopped wetting the bed a couple of weeks after having his tonsils, adenoids, and some extra nasal tissue removed. He had sleep apnea from this that caused the bed wetting. I never would have connected that so I just wanted to bring up that possibility. Good luck!

I myself didnt outgrow this issue completely until I was 14!!!!
My son is following the same path and my dsughter has no issues.
In my experience.... whatever heredity says plus luck of the draw will provide your answer.

Our daughter wore pull-ups until she was almost five. Taking her to the bathroom when we went to bed and ditching the pull-ups (with a handful of really soaked nights did the trick. Our son stayed dry and ditched nighttime diapers by age 2, but could not stay dry during the day until about age 3. Edward's determination should help your cause.

i know i have read with todays diapers and night time 'sleep pants' or whatever kids never even know they have wet themselves.. try the underwear (with bed protection) and see if him being wet helps his body 'get it' and helps him stop.. and maybe telling him that he needs to get up by himself when he feels the need or has the dream (like the one mother suggested) might help too. i would try the alarm too if the other 2 didn't help. good luck..

Seriously, thank you for posting this, and for your amazing readers!!

To the one who suggested Miralax, you may have just saved my sanity. Thank you, thank you thank you.

I am almost in tears here, reading this, knowing I'm not alone, and knowing there might be "something" that might help my son.

Thank you.

My husband has still not given me all the details of when he started staying dry all night. I know his family did the alarms and stuff and none of it worked. My MIL had to have him sleep near her with the alarm because he slept so soundly and it would wake her who would wake him.

My 7 year old boy is still in pull ups at night. He is also an incredibly heavy sleeper. There was some friction when my now 5 year old daughter lost her corset a couple of years ago. I know that the medication (up the nose spray) will be an option when sleepovers become an issue.

I really think heredity will help tell the tale- Maybe Steve is more forthcoming with the details of how old he was than my husband. One of the things you don't think to discuss when dating...

Super Undies! Cara posted a link above and I've heard awesome things about them. They will save you tons of money on the pull ups and they will let him feel it when he's wet so hopefully he will wake up and it will train his body a little bit. I would also try the sheet lasagna if he is a heavy wetter because we cloth diaper but have a 19 month old super soaker who goes to bed in a Huggies night time diaper with a cloth training diaper over it and still soaks through everything at least once a night. Some waterfalls just can't be contained.

Long time lurker. Just skimmed most of the comments and I didn't see mention of the frequently successful M&Ms. My daughter didn't like pull-ups but was also wetting the bed. I promised her M&Ms with breakfast for every day she woke up dry and it definitely provided the inspiration for her to get out of bed and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 3 weeks of M&Ms and we are just now starting to cut back. I think it is much more effective than a sticker chart and long-term goal.

And no, I never thought I'd be serving my kid candy before school ...

When we were in the process of potty training my kids (girls, both, so I have no experience with night wetting after the age of 3, sorry), my stepmom (3rd of 10 kids) had me put layers on the bed - standard moisture-proof mattress pad, a fitted sheet, a felt-lined tablecloth, another fitted sheet, another tablecloth, another fitted sheet and so on. When Kiddo woke up in the night wet, I stripped the wet sheet and the tablecloth and tossed them downstairs to be dealt with in the morning. Everyone went back to sleep quickly, as long as the blankets weren't involved. It might help with the midnight laundry at least.

I agree with Wendy above. When my oldest was about 7, the use of goodnites made sleepovers impossible. We researched and chose the Malem alarm for our needs. We followed all the directions and he was trained within the week. Used it much sooner for child #2. It is ridiculously inconvenient at first, but so worth it.

My twins are a bit younger than yours and we're not at that point yet, plus all my advice has already been offered, but just to reiterate, my two suggestions were to look for cloth diapers for an older child rather than disposable pull-ups, since they probably look more like regular underwear, and if you try to go without diapers, to do the sheet lasagne technique that was mentioned above, i.e. to layer mattress pads and sheets so that you don't have to remake the bed in the middle of the night, you just pull off the top sheet and mattress pad. Good luck!

Not for you, but for the commenters with tiny-bladdered children - have you seen the NYT article about chronic constipation and bedwetting? Basically if your child is chronically constipated it puts pressure on the bladder and reduces its size. Diagnosis is by x-ray. http://children.webmd.com/news/20120130/study-constipation-may-cause-bedwetting

Camden didn't potty train until 5 (global developmental delays due to trisomy 9). Days were fairly quick but he didn't wake up dry in diapers ever. But a couple months into potty training he decided he wanted to wear underwear to bed. I dreaded the outcome. But once he knew/felt he had to hold it all night he started doing it. I am grateful for our luck - and luck it is as it had nothing to do with any parenting skill on our part.

Although I never had / have problems with actually wetting the bed it did take me years to realize that when my dreams get very wordy - when the people in them just keep talking and talking and talking - it means I need to get up and pee. It's so weird to wake up and think "man, my brain just won't shut up. I must need to go to the bathroom."

I hope the situation resolves quickly for you!

Ok I have to tell you this even though it does not seem believable. We had a similar problem with the twins. They were totally potty trained during the day but always woke up with wet or soiled pull ups. However they never seemed to care that they were not "real" underwear. Well they were like, almost 4 and I just didn't know what to do. I waited to see if they would wake up dry, and it didn't happen. So one night I put them in regular undies- as I'd ran out of options and was tired of shilling out cash for the pull ups. That morning they woke up dry. I kid you not. I thought it must be a fluke! So I kept putting them in undies at night. And I can still! To this day count the times they have wet the bed at night on one hand.
There is no rhyme or reason to this- at all. But that is just my experience. Enjoy!

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