Practical Advice to Help with Bedwetting

3 Simple Steps for Preparing for Bedtime

Because bedwetting occurs in the middle of the night, children and parents might be a little groggy when accidents happen. To reduce middle-of-the-night confusion and to make the evening hours more peaceful (in spite of accidents), follow these three simple nighttime preparation tips:

  1. Prepare the bed: Make sure that the waterproof mattress pad, underpad, or any other protective bedding items are positioned correctly. After all, what's the point of using a protective product if it can't do its job?
  2. Involve your child: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, getting children involved in cleaning up nighttime messes gives them a sense of responsibility and can lessen embarrassment. Show your child where clean linens are and, if he's old enough, how to replace them himself. Aside from making your child feel like he has some control over his situation, this can also reduce your workload.
  3. Be prepared: Have plastic bags and stain removers close at hand so that you can get the stain removal process started as soon as possible. Spot-treat any non-disposable fabrics and let them soak in a plastic bag overnight (always follow the manufacturer's instructions before using any stain removal product).

Bedwetting in the Family Bed

If your child sleeps in your bed occasionally, take steps to keep everyone dry and comfortable.

Whether your child is using a moisture-sensing alarm or protective undergarments, using a waterproof mattress pad or vinyl cover will ensure that your mattress stays dry. If you'd prefer not to use a full mattress cover or change your bedding on nights when your child sleeps in your bed, there are products that offer effective and temporary protection.

Instead of a mattress pad or vinyl cover, look for waterproof overlays or disposable underpads. These protective pads can be placed right on top of the fitted sheet so that you don't have to remove and replace your bedding. When soiled, simply swap the pad out for a clean one.

When taking steps to protect your mattress and bedding from nighttime accidents, don't forget your pillows. While these might not seem vulnerable, some children are restless sleepers and tend not to sleep in one place. Protective pillow covers are zippered to protect the entire pillow. Vinyl covers are easier to clean, as they only need to be wiped down when soiled; however, covers made with waterproof fabric are more breathable and comfortable.

For Parents: Coping with the Effects of Bedwetting

Some unfortunate side effects of bedwetting include anxiety, loss of sleep, and feelings of failure. It's normal for both bedwetting children and their parents to be affected in this way. If you're the parent or caregiver of a child who wets the bed, take steps to try to alleviate your stress.

  • Think positively. In most cases, bedwetting is a temporary problem that can be corrected. If you have a good attitude, your child will pick up on it and hopefully follow your example; if your child feels like there's an end in sight, her anxiety level will go down as well.
  • While active parent participation is essential for successful bedwetting treatment, especially at the beginning of the process, giving your child some responsibility can both empower her and help alleviate some of your stress. If your child is old enough, and once she becomes able to wake up to a moisture-sensing alarm on her own, encourage her to get up to go to the bathroom and change her protective bedding and undergarments independently.
  • Be prepared. Make sure that you have an easy path to your child's room and the bathroom and keep protective bedding, undergarments, and towels close at hand. Having everything you need at the time of the accident will make the cleanup quicker and easier.

Planning for Travel

Travel can be stressful, but it can be even more of a headache if your child wets the bed at night. Whether your child's headed off for a weekend at grandma's or it's time for a family vacation, packing smart will make the event go much more smoothly for everyone involved.

First of all, stock up on protective undergarments. Because they don't require washing and drying, disposables are ideal for travel. It's a good idea to buy more than you think your child will need, just in case.

Disposable underpads are also a great product to have when traveling. They have an absorbent layer and a waterproof layer and can be placed right on top of the fitted sheet. They can also be used with moisture-sensing alarms, so they're a good option if you intend to use your alarm through the vacation. Again, it's a good idea to pack more than you think you need, especially since these aren't available in most stores.

Despite your best efforts, sometimes urine makes it past your protective products. Be prepared by packing a urine stain and odor remover. This will ensure that your host or hotel's bedding stays as clean as when you found it.

5 Tips for a Dry Bed

  1. Start a bedwetting alarm treatment plan. Over time, these moisture-sensing alarms can improve your child's sensitivity to the feeling of a full bladder. Keep in mind that these cannot be used with absorbent undergarments like disposable underwear or vinyl pants, so it's especially important to protect the mattress and bedding when using them.
  2. If you're not using moisture-sensing alarms, have your child wear protective undergarments to bed. Disposable pull-ups can be disposed of easily and conveniently, and reusable absorbent undergarments are machine washable and dryable.
  3. Whether your child uses a bedwetting alarm or protective undergarments at night, protect his mattress and bedding. Try a waterproof mattress pad, a vinyl mattress cover, or washable or disposable underpads, depending on your preference.
  4. Keep extra protective undergarments and mattress protectors near the bed for convenient swap-outs at night. Because disposable underpads and washable overlays can be placed right on top of the fitted sheet, they're particularly easy to change. It's also handy to have towels on hand to absorb excess fluid.
  5. While you shouldn't restrict all fluids, make sure your child avoids caffeinated beverages, milk, and juice before bedtime and encourage him to empty his bladder before retiring. Also, encourage him to double void before bedtime. This means that he should urinate, wait several seconds (about 15), and then urinate again.

Bedwetting Protection for Camping

When your child experiences bedwetting, fun activities like camping can seem out of the question; however, with a little bit of planning, you can make an outdoor adventure possible (and virtually headache-free).

The first must-have on your packing list is waterproof sleeping bag liners. They're very absorbent and anchor securely to your child's sleeping bag. Their forest-green color makes the liners look like part of the sleeping bag, which can help make your child feel less self-conscious. They're also reusable, so if your child has a nighttime accident, just put the soiled liner in a plastic bag and wash it when you get home. Remember to pack lots of plastic bags.

Disposable underpads are another good option if you'd rather not carry soiled laundry home. All you have to do is fold up a small-sized pad, fit it into the sleeping bag, and throw it away if it becomes soiled.

If there are no facilities in your camping location, the Travel John disposable urinal can help your child feel more comfortable going to the bathroom. The Travel John is easy to carry and converts liquid into a gel that won't spill. All you have to do is throw it away when you're done.

What’s an Economical Way to Protect My Mattress?

If your child struggles with bedwetting, you're not alone. You're also not alone in being concerned about protecting your child's bed from stains and odor.

Disposable waterproof pads are a quick, inexpensive solution. They can be placed underneath your child while he sleeps and will protect his bedding and mattress from urine stains. The specialty style of disposable underpad is particularly helpful for children, as these have adhesive strips or tuck-in tails that keep them securely in place, even underneath the most restless sleepers.

Disposable underpads are wonderful for those busy weeks when you don't have a lot of time to do laundry. They're also great for travel, as they don't require washing and eliminate the hassle of putting on and taking off a whole mattress cover. Priced around $7 or less for a pack of 15 (or less than $50 for a pack of 150), they're an affordable solution as well.