Mattress Protection Must-Haves When Potty Training

Every family goes through potty training ups and downs. Daytime potty training is messy enough, but nighttime potty training can be fraught with loads of extra laundry, and ruined mattresses and pillows. Fortunately, there are many inexpensive ways to protect your mattress and keep your child comfortable and dry.

Here is a list of must-haves for families who are helping their child work on nighttime dryness.

A zippered vinyl mattress cover – This stays in place at all times and protects the mattress from wetness, allergens and stains. It is just wiped clean with a disinfectant spray. It is not absorbent and is not comfortable to sleep on directly. A heavy duty one can stay in place for many years.

An absorbent waterproof mattress pad – A fitted absorbent mattress pad makes sleeping more comfortable while trapping and absorbing large amounts of fluid. The breathable waterproof covers can be washed in the same load as the sheets.

Reusable waterproof overlay – These waterproof pads lie on top of the sheet, making them easy to remove and replace, even in the middle of the night. The overlays with the tuck-in sides prevent them from moving when your child rolls from side to side. Choose from 4 sizes to cover the middle of the bed where the wetting would most likely occur. These are not easy to find in bedding stores and parents love them once they find out they are available. Pet owners also find these to be invaluable.

Pillow cover – Using a breathable zippered cover that is waterproof protects your child’s pillow from any allergens as well as any liquid, from a bloody nose, a drooling mouth or spilt juice. Simply remove the cover, then machine wash and dry to keep the pillow in perfect condition. The breathable covers are comfortable to sleep on and do not increase sweating. Many families use these on every pillow in their home.

By protecting your mattress and pillows from the beginning, you increase the longevity of these items and will not find yourself continually replacing them.

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12 Year Old with Bedwetting

“My daughter will be 13 in June and is still wetting the bed. We bought a wearable sound and vibrating alarm around 5 years ago and tried it then. She hated it and has convinced herself that it won’t work. I believe that your system works, it makes sense, but how do I convince a 12 year old that this is the solution? I wake her every night to go to the bathroom, but sometimes that doesn’t work.”

I think you can begin by discussing how her body has matured and changed in the last 5 years. Her response to a bedwetting alarm will most likely be very different from what you observed when she was 7 years old.

Next, you might try a different style of alarm. Since she did not respond well to a wearable alarm, try a wireless alarm. The Rodger wireless alarm has no wires, and features specially designed sensor underwear that fit and feel like regular underwear. She simply puts on the underwear at bedtime and turns on the receiver, which is plugged into the wall. The receiver sounds when moisture is detected anywhere on the underwear.

Your (parent’s) response is still important, even at this age. She may not hear the alarm, even though it is loud, or may not be able to process what needs to be done. Go to her room when you hear the alarm and make sure she gets up, turns it off and walks to the bathroom. (If your room is far from hers, you can buy a second receiver for your room or even use a baby monitor.) Over time your role will be less important and she will learn to do this by herself.

Lastly, discuss normal progress and what to expect. The average child takes 10-12 weeks to become completely dry. She needs to commit to using the alarm every night for a few months. Patience and persistence are important, but using this bedwetting alarm now will save her from dealing with this problem for years to come.

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Teen Bedwetting Remedies

Bedwetting can continue in 1-2% of teens. This does not sound like a lot, but if your son or daughter is in this 1-2%, it’s a big deal. He or she may begin to feel alone and hopeless, and worry that they will never have a dry night. Puberty does not “cure” bedwetting, so there is no reason to wait for puberty before you start treatment. Missing out on fun overnight outings with friends can cause self-esteem to plummet. Daily laundry can stress even the most understanding families.


Simple strategies
Most families have tried these strategies but they bear repeating to make sure they are in place.
• Regular routine and bedtime
• Double voiding 30 minutes before bed and again immediately before falling asleep
• Drink throughout the entire day. This may mean taking a water bottle to school. Drink enough so that the bathroom needs to be used at least once, if not twice while at school.
• Insure regular bowel movements
• Do not punish or ridicule

Solving the problem
The best solution for bedwetting is using a bedwetting alarm. Alarms are perfect for sound sleeping teens who have no idea when wetting happens. Moisture sensing bedwetting alarms sound when urine is detected. The teen and parents are alerted so they can begin to make the brain-bladder connection. Your teen may sleep through the loud alarm initially. That is how most users begin.

A parent’s job is to go to their room, wake them, have them turn off the alarm and walk to the bathroom. Over time, the teens are able to learn what a full bladder feels like and that they must be in the bathroom before the urine is released.

The good news is that bedwetting alarms work as effectively in teens as they do in younger children. It usually takes teens a little longer to get to complete dryness, but a few extra weeks to change a behavior that has been going on for years is quite manageable.

Recommended alarm for Teens
The Rodger wireless alarm is my recommendation for teens. The sensor underwear fit just like regular underwear and is easy to put on, no matter how tired you are. A positive feature of wireless alarms is that your teen must get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Since the receiver is located across the room, it will continue to sound from that location until it is turned off.

Some tech savvy teens quickly disconnect the sensor from the alarms that are worn on the shoulder, then roll over and go back to sleep. Wireless alarms prevent this from happening. If your room is on a different floor from your teen, you can get an additional receiver for your room so you can insure that he or she is getting up when the alarm sounds. A vibrating cushion can also be added to this alarm to shake the bed or pillow when the alarm sounds.

Even if your teen has used some type of alarm in the past, it is worth retrying this method with a good product. My book, Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, outlines what to expect along the way and has a section devoted to teens. Your teen should wear the alarm every night when in your own home, until 14 consecutive nights of dryness are achieved. Finish by using the alarm every other night until an additional 14 dry nights are achieved. Patience and persistence are important but research demonstrates that bedwetting alarms are the most effective cure.

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