Bed wetting does happen at summer camp! Since bedwetting affects about 5% of school aged children, chances are that at least one or two children in each 20 person cabin will worry about waking up wet. What can you do to help?
1. Make sure your child knows that he or she is not alone and most camps are very helpful in discreetly handling any wetting episodes. Double voiding (urinating two times) in the hour before going to sleep is helpful. In some cases, you can make arrangements with the camp counselor to continue a lifting routine if this is used successfully at home. (Lifting is when a caregiver walks the child to the bathroom at a designated time.)
2. Fluid of choice after dinner should be water. Staying well hydrated in the daytime is important so your child is not so thirsty later in the day. Drinking throughout the day allows frequent urination and fluids to be processed by the body during daytime hours.
3. Wear disposable pants, with a plan for putting them on discreetly and disposal in the morning. Disposables come in all sizes, even small through extra large adult sizes. If your child has outgrown traditional children’s pull-ups, there are still many options. Disposable underpads that lie on a sheet or in a sleeping bag have tape strips to hold them in place.
4. Use washable bedtime pants to preserve dignity. These can be a nice back-up for kids who are dry most nights but want to make sure there is no leakage onto bedding.
5. Waterproof sleeping bag liners fit into a regular sleeping bag. They provide a comfortable, waterproof surface for sleeping without raising questions from other campers. Mattress overlays can be used on top of a sheet or used inside a sleeping bag. The overlays can be discreetly pulled into place when your child is ready to go to sleep. The new blue cloud overlays are colorful and look like a regular piece of bedding.
6. Medication, such as desmopressin, can be used temporarily to decrease the amount of urine produced at night. The correct dosage should be determined a week or two before camp begins. One, two or three tablets may be required to keep your child dry at night. If three tablets do not provide a dry night at home, this medicine will not work at camp, either. Have a backup plan in place. Only a small amount of liquid (2-4 ounces) should be ingested once this medication is given. It works best when given close to the time of actually going to sleep.
Work out a plan using these tips before your child leaves for camp and he or she will have one less thing to worry about while they are away.