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To Pee or Not To Pee

When I had my first child, I read all the books, even What to Expect The Toddler Years but my firstborn was 3.5 when I had my second child and for two years after that (it seems) all I read was medicine labels and newspaper headlines so file this under Just Another Thing I Missed in the Parenting Handbook.

Bedwetting. Not baby diaper leaking bedwetting or potty training bedwetting but a 45 lb SIX YEAR OLD BOY who has been dry through the night for over two years suddenly bedwetting. Said six year old boy also inherited his mother’s ginormous bladder so, we are talking a lot of pee.

In the past week and a half, Fussypants (the aforementioned age six year old) has wet the bed four times. It’s usually around 4am, though once it happened closer to 6am. And when he realizes he’s done it, he SCREAMS for me down the hall. The first time he did that, I woke up with such a start that I thought someone was in his room trying to cart him away through the window. As unpleasant as bedwettinng and the clean-up involved is, being awoken from a deep sleep like that is worse. And when I told my husband that our son had wet the bed, he mumbled “sucks for you” as he rolled over and fell back to sleep. The joys of motherhood.

The good news is that bedwetting in a previously dry through the night child is not completely uncommon. According to my Google search, 13% of all six years olds suffer some sort of nocturnal enuresis  (it even has a fancy unpronounceable name). In my son’s case, it’s considered secondary nocturnal enuresis (children who are dry for at least 6 months start bedwetting again ).

The bad news is, the cause is either unknown, emotional,  a change in sleep patterns or physical. My Google search also informed me that if his sudden nighttime pee-fest is physical, it could be because of something awful, “physical causes are rare, but may include lower spinal cord lesions, birth defects of the genitourinary tract, infections of the urinary tract, or diabetes.” Awesome.

At this point, I’m fairly sure it’s not physical or emotional. Nothing in our routine or life has changed, he is healthy, and is not having accidents any other time of the day. But he is a very deep sleeper. And even if he uses the toilet right before going to bed, there is still a chance he won’t wake up in time, if he needs to whiz.

So for now, our next step is to limit his fluid intake at night. I told him this morning he needed to drink plenty of liquids today because after dinner he was cut-off. He didn’t like that, but I’m sure he likes waking up wet even less.

And Hunky Hubby and I have made sure that we are not embarrassing him (until he’s a teenager and his gal pal runs across this blog post) or punishing him. We are treating it as something that just sometimes happens, a normal part of growing up and it won’t last forever (God help us). Hopefully that reassurance and limiting his evening liquids will get him back on track.

If not, Google tells me that there are bedwetting alarms (because that sounds pleasant) and a prescription medication (pleasant, I again say with sarcasm) that we can look into.

And don’t think it didn’t occur to me that this is Fate’s little joke because I was gloating about how well Little Miss was doing with her potty-training. I get Universe, you are bigger than me.



  1. Sorry to hear about your son’s bedwetting problem! Did you check to see if he’s constipated? That could play a role in bedwetting. Also, the bedwetting alarms are actually really effective in treating bedwetting, even if the child is a deep sleeper. They’re much more safer and effective than bedwetting alarms of the past. I would avoid medication because it can cause annoying side effects like dry mouth and the relapse rate is high. I hope you won’t have to deal with the bedwetting much longer! Good luck!

  2. Bed wetting sucks, but I’m sure it’s just a phase. My fingers and toes are crossed for you.

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