This post is sponsored by GoodNites®
Rob Watson was raising two boys as a single dad. He needed to find a way to take bedwetting in stride.
I have always worried too much. I fretted most particularly about things I wanted to do, but had no knowledge of how to do them. I remember as a young teen worrying about driving a car. I observed a woman drive down the street, stop at the stop sign — her tail lights lit up, she put on her blinker and turned right—in a two minute timeframe. I was overwhelmed at the sight. I was not sure I would ever be able to do that. I was quite sure I would not remember to switch on the tail lights every time I came to a stop.
When the prospect of becoming a parent came into my life, I worried about similar “how to’s”. How would I teach a child to walk, to talk and the big one… how to get potty trained. In practice, none of these worked out to be the biggest challenges I faced as a parent.
I decided to go the foster parent/adoption route in becoming a parent. By doing so, there were other challenges with my two sons that far outshined the regular rites of passage. My oldest son was born six weeks early to a heroin addicted mother. He had to be monitored through heroin withdrawal and force-fed nourishment to prevent brain damage.
My younger son came home from a traumatic visit with his birth father where he had been battered and bruised. He needed to be held every night for the next two weeks as he awoke with flashbacks and nightmares.
The boys are only 4 months apart so I call them “almost twins.” Even though they are not biologically related, they have bonded as if they were. They are inseparable, but complete opposites in many ways.
I seemed to have no dual issues with them. If one was difficult in someway, his brother was the proverbial piece of cake. It was like the old saying—happiness is that we are all crazy, but on different days. The boys never had the same problems on the same day.
Jason, my oldest was a methodical low risk-taking learner. He would not try to do things until they were well studied and he was extremely confident in mastering them. Jesse, my younger, was the opposite. He would try something the very minute the idea hit his head. When “walking” was the issue, Jesse would, without suggestion, jump up and try it all the time. He would step, step, step and then fall flat on his face. Jason on the other hand seemed way behind. He did not even try. Until one day he did. He got up. He walked, and simply, never crawled again. Jesse’s number of falls were beyond calculation; Jason fell a total of twice.
When potty training rolled around, I was geared up for a similar approach. The boys did not disappoint. One day, Jesse decided he was done with diapers, and walked into the restroom to use it. “Wow,” I thought. “That was easy.” But it wasn’t. There were many false starts, wet and soiled clothes to come.
By four years of age, the boys had gotten the routine down pat and we were off and rolling.
Until one night.
“Daddy, I wet the bed,” Jesse muttered matter-of-factly, as he strolled into my room which was next to his. I was oddly equipped for the announcement of nighttime wetting. I knew to manage it, nocturnal enuresis, as was my way with many of my sons’ actions, as “no big deal.” No shaming, no coercing.
He was wet, the bed was wet… it certainly was not something he intended to do. I wiped down the bed, disinfected, changed sheets, changed him. Gave him a kiss and we were done.
Until the next night. This continued to be a nightly bedwetting occurrence moving forward. I reduced his before bed intake of liquids, and that worked only on occasion, likely out of coincidence.
I sought out feedback from my community of fellow parents. Bedwetting was not an uncommon occurrence I found out. Actually, 1 in 6 kids ages 4 – 12 experience bedwetting. Many kids in our circle had bladders too small to hold through the night and sensitivities that did not wake themselves up when it was time to go.
My older son was not so afflicted. Due to his in utero drug exposure, he was hyper sensitive, so the need to urinate DID cause him to wake up and get up.
A great tool many of my friends used were GoodNites® Bedtime Pants. These disposable nighttime pants are discreet and easy to use. They were designed specifically to give the protection a kid needs to help them get through the night. Kids like that they look as cool as underwear and are designed for whatever age they are. Parents like that they have five layers of protective padding that keep their skin safe, and the stretchy material is comfortable.
It was apparent that my younger son’s situation was not going to change until his body did… or I did. Job one was to keep him comfortable and confident through his experiences with bedwetting, so we went shopping for the style of GoodNites that he would like. He found the exercise a positive one, a reinforcement that this was a natural, normal experience that many kids face.
I continued to solicit feedback. I wish I had known about the vast array of resources—like the expert articles and videos from other parents on the GoodNites website. What I see with fellow dads is that we don’t talk about bedwetting with each other until it has gone on longer than needed. The support is critical. Talking about bed wetting should not carry a stigma, even though it still does.
Eventually his body changed and he was able to sleep through the night, and when he couldn’t, his sleep pattern changed so he woke himself up.
Through it all, there was no shame, no embarrassment. He is a completely confident guy. People who have a child experiencing bedwetting often feel confused, frustrated and even isolated, but the best thing you can do for your child is make them feel comfortable and let them know you are not upset or disappointed. Remain positive, and let them know it’s not their fault. That is the advice I would like other parents to follow most.
Truth is, he did not have to change a thing. He just got to grow and be more of himself. Bedwetting is a developmental issue, not a behavioral one, so there’s no reason for parents or children to stress about it. Better understanding how a child’s body grows and develops. GoodNites was a management tool that helped me adapt.
I change, they grow.
He never again wet the bed again.
Photo: Courtesy of author
Interested in learning more about bedwetting? You might also like…