Lifting when parents go to bed

ND writes to ask about walking her son to the bathroom when she goes to bed at night. Her 9 year old son typically voids before going to bed at 9pm. ND goes to bed at 11pm and gets her son up to urinate at this time. He does not remember this in the morning. Occasionally, he has already wet by this time, but usually this enables him to have a dry night. The problem is that he still has wet nights when she isn’t there to take him to the bathroom. Is this the right thing to do?

The technique that you mention is called “lifting”. Even though he is too big to actually lift out of bed, he is not waking up when he is being walked to the bathroom. Even though he does empty urine out at this time, it may not be when his body physiologically needs to go the bathroom. He is urinating on your schedule, not his own body’s schedule. Since he is not putting together the feeling of “bladder fullness” with waking up to urinate, he isn’t making progress to toileting independently.

When he is ready to take the next step to becoming dry independently, a bedwetting alarm will help alert him precisely when he needs to urinate. Over time, he’ll begin to make the association that helps him to alert when his bladder is full. When he begins using a bedwetting alarm, you should stop waking him when you go to bed. Let the alarm do the waking for you.

Whether or not you continue the lifting is up to you. It does help with the laundry burden but it does not “teach” him how to wake up when his bladder is full.

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