Monday, February 14, 2011

Dealing with Bed-Wetting

by Sally Chambers

Glimpses and Guidance from Grandma’s Garrett

Here’s a question that weighs on a busy mom’s heart.

“How did you deal with a child fully potty trained that still occasionally wets the bed at night?”

Here’s a little bit of help, hope, and encouragement.

Having washed a ton of sheets, rinsed off two little bottoms a gazillion times, dried buckets of frustrated tears, my own included, I can tell you both my two children and I survived without dragging the little problem into adulthood.

How do you deal?

With patience, pull-ups, pads—soft waterproof ones—and prayer, a silent one, for peace of mind and guidance for you and your little one. All will help both of you through the occasional sieges of nighttime bed wetting.

Before anything, know that this isn’t at all unusual. Check with your doctor, limit late liquids, overrule unusual stress, try taking them to the bathroom before you go to bed, and above all, assign no blame to either yourself or your child.

Put it in perspective. You don’t have a loving relationship with the sheets—but you most certainly do with your little one. They’re growing in every way there is to grow. They play hard and sleep hard, and nighttime just doesn’t offer the instant potty break that daytime does.

Something you might try is to put her to bed (with a waterproof sheet) wearing daytime underwear instead of a pull-up. It can sometimes be a psychological reminder not to wet her regular underwear. Rewarding for success with sticky stars on a calendar and similar rewards? I’m not so sure that doesn’t backfire, causing stress and disappointment when there hasn’t been a good night, and, as she goes to sleep, anxiety that she might not earn a star. Always reassure to encourage, and never shame as it only heaps on the stress. Mistakes happen and we pick ourselves up and go on from there.

As difficult as it might be for you, I believe it’s much more distressing for them. Just remember it’s a rare grownup that still wets the bed at night. Your little one will eventually grow up and out of it.

Your comments and questions are welcome, and we’d love for you be become one of our Making Home Work blog-followers.


  1. Thanks for the encouragement! This can be such a frustrating time for both parent and child!

  2. What an encouraging take on bed wetting! My four year old wet the bed just last night, and you're right. He was more upset over the accident than I was. Thanks for reminding us that this is just a normal childhood experience.

  3. Thanks for your kind words and comments, Doula Brandi and Naomi! So glad you were encouraged by the article. ☺