Posted by: anniewilson | November 13, 2008

Bed wetting into puberty

There are countless bed wetting stories but only one common truth among all bed wetters. Bed wetting is, to one degree or another, traumatic to any child under the best of circumstances.

I wet my bed until I was 9 years old and my parents handled it perfectly, they totally ignored it. My mother would change my sheets and life would go on. I tried to train my own body to do what it just wasn’t capable of by doing the obvious things. I would go to the bathroom before bed and refrain from taking in liquids for a while before bed as well. It didn’t matter. There was simply nothing that I could do to prevent waking up in a pool of cold urine.

I don’t know if I slept too hard or if my bladder was weak but I do remember waking up and thinking that I had to go to the restroom only to incorporate the information into a dream. I would dream that I had gone to the restroom. And, as I dreamt that I was voiding in the toilet, I was actually voiding in my bed.

Christmas mornings are not seared into my memory as strongly as the nights that I wet my bed as a child. I can easily recall the feeling of warm urine turning cold enough to wake me up. I would have to get out of my bed, change my pajamas and lie in the middle of a big round rug with tassels all around it. I would lie there for the longest time, feeling badly and trying to fall back asleep. To make my mind stop thinking about the bed wetting, I would count the tassels on the huge rug, then the individual yarns in each tassel and then I would multiply the numbers to find out how many yarns were in the rug. I spent a lot of nights on that rug counting pieces of yarn.

At 9 years old when you are trying everything that you can think of to stop the bed wetting, the only thing that would have been worse was if my parents pointed it out at all. I would hate to be a bed wetter today with alarms that wake a kid up rudely as he or she wets himself instead of the gentle awakening the kid would experience as the warm urine turned cold. As a child, I hoped that I wouldn’t wet the bed at home and I prayed that it never happened while I was spending the night somewhere else. I cannot imagine being 8 years old and worrying that an alarm would tell the entire household that I had slept through another bladder emptying.

I wet the bed well after I was old enough to do everything in my power to make it stop…and I did, I absolutely did. But my efforts were for naught. I couldn’t prevent the bed wetting no matter what I did. If I couldn’t stop it at 9, there’s no way that a younger child could possibly learn to control it.

As a parent, the only thing that you can do is protect the child’s mattress and keep the bed linen clean. The decision whether or not to use diapers should be the child’s. If an older child wants to wear a diaper, let him. If he doesn’t want to wear it, don’t push it. Find a quiet and private way to let the child know that diapers are an option. Tell them that you don’t actually think that they need the diaper, but if they want it, you will discreetly provide it.


Anonymous comments:

I had a former coworker whose six year old son would not poop. He was convinced that if he held it in it would all turn to air, and he could burp it out. Nature being what it is, every night when he went to sleep he’d soil himself, and his parents would wash him off, change his sheets, etc- he NEVER woke up. Trips to the hospital (when things, uh, backed up), to the doctor, to the shrink…to no avail, the child would no go.

They wouldn’t let him go to sleepovers for fear of what would happen. I suggested they let him go to one; he doesn’t have that issue anymore.

What can I say? I’m mean. I don’t think you can help wetting yourself, but that child most certainly had control of his bowel movements!


I had that problem (holding BM) from about 5 until about 11. Not sure what started it damn sure know why it stopped. I do remember it hurt just as bad to go as it did to hold it. I didn’t do it daily – I would go for a few weeks functioning fine and then put on the control issues (so to speak) and not go for weeks at a time until I would be taken to the ER. I never had an accident at night so I went to sleep overs and such all the time. I did have frequent mishaps while trying to hold it and would hide my undies everywhere. My mother was pretty cool – never made a huge issue of it. One day I got really really sick from holding it for probably 2 weeks. I was taken to the ER and they literally dug it out of me – it was incredibly painful and incredibly shameful – after that – for whatever reason – problem fixed. I am now an active and happy daily pooper 🙂 After all these years later (I’m turning 40) when I discuss this with my mother the only issue we can figure out is that my parents were having marital problems (they did divorce when I was 12) and maybe that would trigger my behavior. But they didn’t start having issues until I was like 10 – so prior to that it’s kind of a mystery. I do have other odd habits to this day -and I do own a mental health locked psyche facility – so I can self diagnose and ponder with the best of them

my ex niece is going to be 9 and is still wetting the bed. A MD said she lacks the hormone that controls her brain to tell her when her bladder is full… I spoke with many of the MDs and Psychologist and Psychiatrists that visit my facility and they said “can she control it during the day?” which she can. So they all said – if she can control it during the day but not at night there are other issues – even being like Annie said (heavy sleeper – weak bladder etc…)

They (ex sister in law) have made a HUGE deal of this. I believe the reason she is still having night issues is – she is adopted from China and they swore they wouldn’t give her the details of her adoption until she was able to fully understand it. She does know she is adopted and now she knows the harrowing events that led up to it. But – she hasn’t ever been controlling her bladder at night since adoption. Again – I blame a lot of it on stress and such – the parents (my soon to be ex sister in law) have huge marital problems – she is adopted and she has limited to no interaction with anyone her age or close to. They take her to Senate meetings and what have you… the kid needs to be a kid. I have also heard they make HUGE deals about the bed wetting like making her change her sheets in the middle of the night, the alarms, diapers etc… I think anything like this is best dealt with quietly and compassionately –


  1. Nice blog.

  2. Try masterbating, you may be releasing sperm in your sleep.

    • If so, I’m the first woman to have THAT problem.

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