Bed Wetting in Kids–Won’t they just outgrow it?
I wanted to share a few stories and some resources today that are a bit different from my normal blog content. I’m talking about bed wetting. I just thought that if what I share can be of use to ANYONE out there, I’ll be grateful.
This post contains links to books I have found very useful. If you order from these links, I will receive a small commission, which helps to support this blog.
Why write about bed wetting anyway?
To start out answering this question, just imagine you’re a kid. You are having trouble going through the night dry, and you’re not a toddler–you should have outgrown it by now, right? I can tell you, I was one of those kids. Not every night, but sometimes, I’d find myself waking up to that uncomfortable warmth, and know that I’d done it again–I’d wet the bed.
I’d have to either try to pretend it didn’t happen and go back to sleep in a puddle, or get up, go through the process of waking up my mom, admitting my little problem, and stripping the bedsheets, blankets, and get cleaned up. Not fun in the middle of the night. Really not fun when it happened night after night.
Nobody really did anything about it in my day. I’d grow out of it. And, I largely did. Except for when I was pregnant, with a baby pressing in on me. And occasionally during my growing up years, I’d be baffled to discover that it had happened again, but I never connected the dots as to WHY?
Or something else…
Another Bed Wetter
Well, turns out a couple of my sons were/are bed wetters. One turned out to wet the bed because of a gluten sensitivity. Remove the offending food, and the bed wetting stopped.
Another of our boys has struggled more. This isn’t a story about the struggle, but about the solution.
Potty Training Champ!
This boy potty trained very young, and very easily. He just learned to hold it!! We were thrilled when at less than two years old he was dry all night and potty trained so easily! It’s just like he learned to hold it, and that turned out to be part of the problem for him! But we didn’t know that until much later.
When our son was 5-6, we had some concerns about his continued bed wetting. We talked to his pediatricians, and they just said he’d outgrow it. He was young. But still in diapers at night.
By the time he turned 8-9, no change had occurred. It actually seemed WORSE. Hardly a dry night, we couldn’t go on a road trip without immediate stops because of what we thought was his tiny bladder!
At that point I started doing some of my own research. I found the following book and downloaded it onto my Kindle, so I could read it immediately. It made so much sense, so I assumed all the docs knew this stuff. It’s No Accident
Turns out not all doctors do know, and so when I’d ask them about the information, they’d just basically give me the “He’ll grow out of it” line. So we waited.
Tackling bed wetting myself
Basically, what the book is saying, in a small nutshell, is that many (most) cases of childhood bed wetting are due to the child being constipated. The poop in the colon presses on the bladder, leading to less capacity, among other problems. Also, holding the poop, which children seem to do a lot, contributes to the poop remaining in the body too long, leading to more water getting absorbed from it, leading to firm stools, pain, and, in turn, more holding of the poop.
To make matters worse, when you hold your poop, you tend to hold your urine as well, since the same muscles are used for both. I am explaining in very simple terms what the excellent book explains in great detail.
We began, on our own, some of the recommended treatments mentioned in the book, and for awhile, we were making progress with more dry nights.
Then we moved into our camper, with little privacy or space, and our protocol got more relaxed, and we found ourselves dealing more and more with frequent wet nights.
Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go…
Recently, I went to my son’s doctor, and basically insisted that we get an abdominal X-Ray, to really find out what was going on inside. He pressed on my son’s abdomen and told me that he doubted he had any issues with constipation. After all, he was pooping just about every day, and the doc couldn’t feel any problems. The X-Ray showed a colon full of poop, pressing on the bladder.
We started a short round of stool softeners, and moved on.
Problem not solved, but life got a little crazy, so all that moved to the back burner.
Finally, when our son was about to turn 14, we mentioned to the doctor AGAIN about the bed wetting. Got the whole, “He’ll grow out of it” routine, but he said they do START treating kids around age 14, so we could go ahead “if it is really bothering him.” YES, IT WAS REALLY BOTHERING HIM!!! What 13-14 yr-old kid really WANTS to still be wetting the bed?? None!!
Get a Pediatric Urologist
Only at that point did we get a referral to a pediatric urologist. And LET ME SAY, that we have seen two to date, and what they are doing to treat the bed wetting is SPOT ON with what Dr. Hodges outlines in his book. In fact, the urologist we saw yesterday said that she basically challenges any parent to “PROVE TO ME THAT YOUR CHILD IS NOT CONSTIPATED” when they get referred to her. Over 90% are plugged up!!
So…I just wanted to share a few tips that we are learning. I’m no doctor, and can’t say exactly what you’d need, but I can make a few recommendations if your older child still wets the bed.
- Get the book below, by Dr. Steve Hodges. I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link. It explains just about everything.
- Ask for an X-Ray of the abdomen. This tells a lot.
- Ask for a pediatric urologist referral as early as they will give you one. No real need to wait until your child is in his teens. They can start right away and help before things get really out of hand! The urologist will perform an ultrasound of the bladder and bowels. Ours showed a full bladder even after peeing out what he thought was everything, plus a full colon.
- Pee on a schedule, like every two hours. This prevents the holding, over stretching, and losing sensation of fullness of the bladder.
- Drink lots of liquids (water)
- Ask about laxatives and stool softeners, and lots of high fiber foods. Gotta keep the bowels cleaned out if you want to train the bladder. They are very closely connected, physically, and muscle-wise.
- Go when you need to–don’t hold it in! Don’t hold pee, and don’t hold poop!
- Talk to the teacher so she lets them potty when they need to!
- Arrange for stress-free times to potty for 15 minutes. Just sit there and let it all come out while the body is relaxed. Put feet up–it helps! .
- Be patient. If it took them years to develop a super bladder, then know that it may take a long time to re-train the bladder to be sensitive again!
- Be encouraging of your kiddo. It’s not their fault.
A Great website from the author of the books on bed wetting, Dr. Steve Hodges, has many resources and suggestions, scientific evidence, and case studies. It’s a very important resource. I have no affiliation with him, but his book has helped me a lot!!
These books are available on Amazon.com. The original book I read is for the parents. The colorful smaller books are for you to read and explain to your kids. The pictures of rabbits hosing down a giant clump of poop in the colon will make your child laugh, but it gets the point across.
The Bottom Line
I hope that this has been useful for at least one person. No child, especially an older one, wants to wet the bed. All kids want to be comfortable, healthy, and dry! And they deserve it!
As a side note, something also clicked with me when I learned this information. As a child, I often struggled with abdominal pain, and had to drink prune juice, if you know what I mean. As an adult, working 12-hr shifts as a nurse, I learned to be a super urine holder! Sometimes I’d go the entire shift without making the time for a potty break, because babies rarely wait ( I worked Labor and Delivery)! I know now that this has contributed to urinary problems in me, and just meshes with what we are learning in children. Holding urine is no bueno for old OR young!!
Keep learning, keep sharing! I’d love to hear your experiences.
To see what else we find helpful around Ridge Haven, check out how we tackle the common cold/flu, which also is how we try to keep healthy during this Covid-19 pandemic time. Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu