How Come No One Talks About This?
“I don’t know if it’s normal…” One of my good friends confided in me.
A few years back one of my friends quietly confided in me saying her child was still experiencing bedwetting. I honestly didn’t know the answer to her question.
Our kids were the same age, but it wasn’t something my child had experienced. I tried to give her encouraging words. I assumed it was just a phase and something her little one would outgrow. That’s what I told her, but I honestly had no idea what she was going through or what I was talking about.
Fast forward a few years. Now I do have a child experiencing the same thing and I know exactly how she must have been feeling.
You doubt yourself and your parenting. And you wonder if your child is somehow behind the developmental curve. Add the fact that no one talks about it and it compounds all of these emotions.
I’ve recently shared a few Instagram posts opening up about nighttime wetting and almost instantly got private messages of solidarity and questions about it being “normal”.
I also got one comment asking why I was so willing to put my child’s embarrassing business out there for his future girlfriend to see. A few ideas for retorts crossed my mind. From “what girlfriend? I’m the only girl in his life!” And “oh, this is nothing!” But honestly, I think it’s an important conversation that we’re making worse by making it out to be a dirty little secret. I want to be an advocate to help others who may be feeling confused and alone.
I’ve collaborated with GoodNites NightTime Underwear to share some of our story and what I’ve learned. The team hooked me up with child development expert Dr. Heather Wittenberg and I got to chat with her and pour out all my concerns and what she told me was really reassuring. She also talked to me about how to have a productive, meaningful conversation with my child about nighttime wetting.
4 encouraging tips about nighttime wetting
1. Nighttime wetting is more common than we think. But we don’t hear about it much because there’s often a shame component attached to it. It’s characterized by unintentional urination during nighttime sleep, and it is caused by the brain and bladder not communicating correctly while a child is asleep. Again for the people in the back… It is developmental, and in nearly all cases, will go away in its own time.
2. Kids develop differently and bladder control while sleeping doesn’t happen at the same time for every child. Trust yourself and don’t put too much pressure on how you think it’s supposed to go. Every child is different, and they have a different developmental timeline too. If your little one is still wet at night, just know you are not alone and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about – they will grow out of it!
3. There’s no need to bribe your child or bring it to his/her attention because it’s a matter of biological control. So resist the urge for shaming/punishing or even rewarding. The best thing you can do for your child is to make them feel comfortable. Consider products like GoodNites, which can help ease the stress of bedwetting and provide a management solution so you and your child can rest easy. They come in an extra small size for little guys and gals who are recently potty trained but still experiencing some wetness at night.
4. It’s important to keep conversations positive and calm with your child. For me, my conversations with Big T focus on avoiding stress and anxiety, even when he experiences regression. Dr. Heather also taught me that some kids wet the bed every night, while others may only wet the bed a few times a month. This can be confusing for kids when they’re dry for a few weeks then one morning they wake up wet. If the subject comes up, I always stay positive and use calm language. Since Big T isn’t concerned about it, my only job if and when he is curious is to focus on more of what I learned from Dr. Heather: emphasizing that his body is still developing and he will grow out of it naturally.
Your conversation might look different though, so make sure to check out for GoodNites Guides with different tips and talking points for many different situations.
Parenting is hard enough. The comparison game is so real, even between our own children. But I’m glad to know this is one of those things I don’t need to stress about. And like my friend who reported later that her daughter outgrew that bedwetting stage, I know my little one will too.
This post is sponsored by GoodNites® Nighttime Underwear.
Tags: GoodNites, motherhood, parenting, partner
My oldest was wet nearly every morning until he was almost six! I think he stopped just before his birthday and well visit, when it would have started to be an “issue” medically. His brain and bladder just couldn’t get on the same page! And just like that, it was over and I don’t think he had more than an accident or two after that. It really showed me how it just takes time! My youngest was potty trained by about 2-1/2 and I think nighttime took another 6-12 months. He rarely ever has accidents now, but he keeps us laughing with his random sleepwalking to the bathroom! Sometimes I’ll hear him “panicking” in his room, almost like he doesn’t know where to go, so I have to guide him down the hall. Sometimes he’ll wander there on his own, pee, and go back to bed with only being about half awake. It’s sort of funny, but I’m just glad that one way or another we get him there and he stays dry!
Someone once told me, “He won’t go to college wearing diapers,” and it’s true. Everyone has their own path there, no doubt!
That’s a nice way to look at it. Definitely puts things in perspective.
My son just turned 8 and is still wetting the bed. And…my husband was a bedwetter, as were all three of his siblings. My husband’s parents used a punishment strategy with him, which a) did not work and b) made him feel horrible. He just eventually grew out of it, though not until he was 11. It was great to read Dr. Wittenberg’s points, because that’s been our approach – use pull-ups and a bed pad, and focus on making it no biggie.
I’m so sorry to hear that but SO happy that these points were helpful for you and that you’re already following these tips. I’m sure your child will appreciate that.
My pediatrician told is it is hereditary and could go on until puberty. My oldest is almost 11 and still has the occasional accident and his dad and grandmother wet the bed til they were 12
Yes it can be! I definitely had that issue when I’d hit a deep sleep when I was younger.
I was 12 when it stopped and there were no Pull-ups back then. My poor mom! My niece was 10. My husband and his sister’s where all late to the night time dryness party, too. Our son is almost 7 and Pull-ups are still a necessity. It’s all in the family, it’s totally normal and there is no shame in something you just need time to grow out of. As my hubby always points out, they don’t make night diaper sizes up to age 14 for no reason.
Thanks for putting it out there and reminding us that, no matter the situation, we are almost never alone in what we are dealing with in life, big thing or small.
Haha, I didn’t even think about that. We didn’t have all these awesome tools when we were growing up. Just a lot of sheet-washing. So happy that you found this helpful!
My oldest is 10 and just recently started waking up dry. He wasn’t day time potty trained until just before starting kindergarten. He does have developmental delays so I tried not to stress too much about it but it’s still rough.
I know it can be rough mama. Parenting is no joke. You’re doing great. ((hugs))
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see these replies! I had been wondering about later age bed wetting & the possibility of heredity as my daughter is 7 and still has the occasional nighttime accident, and her dad still had them at an older age as well.
She potty trained for daytime super early bc she did EVERYTHING early, but then hit a regression at about 3/4 and nighttime wetting became an almost nightly occurrence. Now, we double void before bed, and it only occurs maybe once or twice every 2-3 months if she’s EXTRA tired and forgets to empty her bladder fully before bed. SO glad to know it’s not just us!
I’m so happy you found this post and the responses helpful! I’m still to this day blown away with how common this is. We definitely don’t talk about it like it is.
My wife and I have three boys and had a different experience with each kid. Oldest son (now 21 and a senior in college) was potty trained by 2 but wet the bed every night until age 10. Thankfully Goodnites were becoming available around the time he was having his issues — they saved us all a lot of headaches! Middle son (now 15 and a sophomore in high school) never had a problem with bedwetting. Our youngest (about to turn 8 in January and in second grade) has occasional accidents but is mostly dry. Still, we use a mattress protector just in case and keep Goodnites around for traveling, sleepovers and any time he’s sleeping away from home.
Neither me nor my wife ever had a bedwetting problem as kids, so I guess sometimes it’s just random. I’m just glad there are products like Goodnites around to make things easier for the kids AND the parents!