Why is my kid wetting the bed? Anxiety? Night Terrors? Or just too much milk? Who knows? Some people call it the Twilight Zone. I call it.... The WET SPOT.
There’s a tone to the cry that cuts through my sleep and I’m already out of bed, stumbling towards my kid before my eyes are even open.
“I had an acci- Mummy I peed… Mummy it’s all wet… it just came out…” I can hear little sobs punctuate each word.
I already know she is soaked through because I’ve knelt down to hold her and felt my hand slap loudly against a puddle of cold pee. Eww.
I quickly snap back to my kid’s wobbly chin and ‘why me’ vice grip hug. I know she’s upset, frustrated, and loathing our go-to clean up protocol as much as I do.
“It’s ok honey, it happens to everyone.” I say. I pick her up to soothe her, and immediately get two cold wet legs wrapped around my waist.
I’m not angry, I just feel like a mad scientist who has tried everything to prove a theory and keeps getting let down. I know she can do this. I know she can make it through the night without wetting the bed. We just have to find a way to do it. We might need to dabble in the occult to get there, but hey, what are a few incantations here or there if it means we all get a nice, long, uninterrupted, DRY sleep?
As a parent it’s not like you’re shocked by these kinds of messes. It comes with the territory from day one. Sometimes, you’re more shocked when the mess doesn’t occur.
We start out changing diapers like they’re complex pieces of origami, and move into a veteran phase where it becomes a test of endurance and agility to see how quickly we can get our kid clean. Any terrain. Any environment. Bring it.
And then potty training begins. The feeling of fragile victory and disbelief that you may not have to use diapers any more is pretty much the same as backing away slowly from an 18-story house of cards that you think will have more of a chance of staying in tact if you never breathe. AGAIN.
You know it can be done, you’ve seen your friends and their kids survive. Hell, you have been potty trained. You know firsthand that it works.
I can’t begin to tell you the relief when after months of ‘RUNRUNRUNRUN you can make it to the bathroom!’ and various other hits and misses, Vee was finally down to wearing her pull-ups over night. The end of "Diaperdom" was in sight. And then we got cocky. We went rogue.
We took away the safety net.
At first things were ok. I had a great arsenal: waterproof mattress protector, extra sheets, backup blanket, and tons of patience.
I knew my kid was prone to night terrors when she was sick or anxious and that this might cause accidents. I also knew that 1 in 6 kids between the ages of 4 and 12 suffer from enuresis or bed-wetting. I checked in with our family doctor for any insights before I took the leap. I asked solemnly for advice from parents online and in real life. We cut down on fluids before bed, went to the bathroom right before she got tucked in, and did a walkthrough of what to do if she had to pee at night. We even did a few dry runs. Dry runs. Oh the irony.
But at least 4 nights a week, I heard the pee alarm and like zombies, we’d go through the motions of soothing, stripping, washing, changing, and resetting my ‘days since last accident’ mental clock to zero.
I was starting to go to a bad place.
There’s got to be a reason for this. Is this an expression of anxiety? Is this some kind of regression? Is this kid code for ‘I hate you’? Is she still drinking too much before bed? Will this ever end?!
I tried protection pads but my little ninja would sleep-kick them and worm her feet under the adhesive strips. I had started to get a little punchy —angrily throwing the sheets into the front-loading washer and grunting my way through late nights. And then we hit rock bottom.
At 1am one fateful day, we got the ‘pee summons.’ One pair of sheets was already in the wash. I stripped these ones too, cleaned Vee up, and settled her back in.
And at 3am it happened again.
I had no more sheets, and no more hope. I sat there on the floor shell-shocked and crying along with my kid.
“Mummy I don’t want to wear diapers at night.”
“I know, honey.”
“Mummy… I just dreamt that I could go, so I went.”
“Mummy if you show me how I can help you wash them.”
I looked over at my little 4-year-old and her big luminescent brown eyes and my frustration vanished. I scooped her little wet bum into my lap.
“Ok. We can do this together.”
We’re still fighting the good fight but things are easier.
If we have an accident Vee ‘helps me’ wash the sheets and make the bed again. She feels more in control that way. I also take her for a ‘sleep pee’ before I go to bed, sitting her on the toilet asleep before hefting her back upstairs. Of course now that I’m pregnant and getting bigger, this is getting more tricky.
I’m also using GoodNites TRU-FIT to help get us to our dry nights, every night goal. They’re washable, cotton-blend real reusable undies with awesome protective inserts that catch accidents as we trade in the ‘sleep pees’ for just...sleep.
She loves them because they’re not diapers. I’m happy because I’m not doing laundry at 2am.
Of course I can look forward to starting from scratch once my new baby makes his grand entrance. Face palm.
“It’s ok Mum. I can teach him to pee on the potty.” Vee says confidently and I smile.
Looks like that house of cards is holding up just fine.
One in six children between the ages of 4-12 suffer from enuresis, also known as bedwetting.
YMC Blogger, Dr. Kim Foster shares tips on how to get through your child's bedwetting phase.
YMC Members going through or who have been through a bedwetting phase with their child share their smart strategies.
GoodNites* TRU-FIT* can help you and your child get through bedwetting.
GoodNites* TRU-FIT* are washable, cotton-blend real underwear that are durable and reusable for outstanding nighttime protection. They are accompanied by a disposable, absorbent insert designed to protect sheets and PJs all night.