The good new days: Managing

The comments to this post by Gabrielle at DesignMom got me thinking about the dramatic improvement in bedwetting products – and, consequently, life for a bedwetter and a parent – since I was a teenager.

There might be a whiff of “in the snow, uphill both ways”, but I never pine for the good old days. The old days weren’t very good. For a teen who wet the bed, they stunk.

When I was a kid (and I’m not that old), the options were limited for a bedwetter older than a toddler. As Gabrielle says of her childhood,

After diapers, I wet the bed most nights. At some point, I was simply too big for the diapers available at the time.

… [T]here wasn’t really much for parents to do but put a waterproof mattress protector on the bed and wish for the best.

I outgrew bedwetting before I faced that. But all my siblings faced it. Drugstores and supermarkets – certainly the drugstore and supermarkets in my home town – didn’t carry products for bedwetters. For the older kids and teenagers, Mom bought hospital disposables (by the case) at a medical supply store.

Those disposables didn’t hold much. They were adequate for my siblings, who weren’t heavy wetters. But they always leaked at least a little, even for my siblings. There was always a little wet spot on the pjs.

Those disposables couldn’t be re-taped. If you took one off to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you had to throw it out and put on a new one even if the old one wasn’t wet. They didn’t have odor control, so your room smelled like urine even if they didn’t leak.

Even that was better than the options for earlier generations. For them, it was either (as Gabrielle puts it) a waterproof sheet and hope for the best, or a cloth diaper in a plastic pant. A diaper was effective, but it was a diaper. It may have been better than a puddle on a plastic sheet, but it was the same amount of laundry and the same smell.

That was the option I faced, too. Even the premium adult disposable of the time – Attends – was inadequate. For me, it was either a wet bed or a cloth diaper in a plastic pant. After the initial shock, being a bedwetter didn’t bother me. Wearing Attends didn’t bother me. But it took me a long time to accept a cloth diaper and plastic pant. That was the worst thing about wetting the bed.

These days, there are diapers/training pants available in so many sizes, that parents can now keep sheets protected pretty well if the child doesn’t mind switching from underwear to a “diaper” at night.

And there’s no reason a child should mind – particularly if you don’t call it a “diaper”. It’s just a way to deal with something that he can’t help. There’s no shame in it – either in wetting the bed or in wearing something to protect oneself and one’s bed. It’s nobody’s fault and it’s easy to deal with. Making a child sleep in a wet bed, is cruel and unnecessary punishment for something he can’t prevent.

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11 thoughts on “The good new days: Managing

  1. i agree that things are better now for those of us with control problems.i sometimes forget i am wearing a diaper and i sleep better knowing i won’t wake up with a wet bed.

  2. Did your bedwetting get worse after you had kids? I just had my second baby and I find I am getting stress incontinence during the day. It’s not bad enough to need to wear a diaper during the day, but I need to wear a maxi pad.

    • My bedwetting hasn’t gotten noticeably worse, either in frequency or volume, since having kids. The source of my problem isn’t tied to anything that would be affected by childbirth, so there’s no reason to expect that it would.

      I haven’t had daytime wetting or leakage, other than a drop or a dribble that a minipad will handle. I do keep an eye out for the nearest rest room if I’m going to be sitting for a while.

  3. What are your thoughts on the causes of adult bedwetting? Do you Think it can be similar to causes in kids such as insufficient adh production? My background is in science so I could easily scan papers, but wanted to know what you think. I think adults wet the bed mostly for different reasons than kids. I got my own blog by the way. As ive mentioned in my previous comments on yours, I have been abused for bedwetting and I still have lots of scars from it such as ptsd. My fiance broke up with me because I saw his Facebook page (I dont have an account myself) and saw him cheating. He is too cowardly to own it up and work it out with me so he broke it off. Im better off without him. Yeah it still hurts, but I enjoy the freedom of being single again. Anyways, my blog is bedwetting woman at WordPress. I used a psuedonym. Feel free to check it out and let me know if you feel it too closely resembles yours. Your blog has helped alot with healing and I got the idea for mine from yours. The articles aren’t identical but one resembles yours a bit. Again feel free to let me know if you think it is too much of a resemblance and I will change it

    • An immature bladder or hormone system is the cause of almost all childhood bedwetting – which is why almost all children eventually outgrow it. It’s probably the cause of a substantial proportion of primary enuresis that persists into adulthood.

      I doubt that it’s the cause of much (if any) secondary enuresis, if only because that sort of physical regression seems unlikely. I suspect that it’s primarily trauma (physical or emotional), or a neurological condition, or (as for many women who have given birth) loss of effective control of the bladder.

  4. Hey Cat, great blog you have here. It’s nice to hear someone who has a positive view on the struggle with bedwetting and not the same cookie-cutter responses to it so thank you for that.

    But I agree with this post about how the products out there nowadays are pretty diverse and efficient. I too suffer from secondary enuresis and when it started it definitely caught me off guard. I’m in my mid 20s now ( began wetting the bed at about 10.5) and I can’t help but notice how many more products are now available. The internet plays a big part in that cause now were not just limited to “protection” offered at pharmacies and local stores. At first it was very difficult to find a suitable product, and then I remember when GoodNites first came out and how revolutionary they were. Not only in their actual function of keeping my bed dry but also knowing that here was a pull-up designed for teenage bedwetters helped me to accept the problem a little bit more.

    • Thank you.

      I’m amazed at what’s available today. Not so long ago, the local drugstore only carried infant diapers and a bag or two of each size of a brand of adult diaper.

      Now there’s a whole aisle of adult products, and the internet if (as for me) those aren’t adequate.

      I agree that the most amazing development is a product like GoodNights. It’s not just that there’s something between a toddler diaper and a Depend. They are actually effective and (as important) they are designed for an older child’s (and particularly a teenager’s) sensibility: They aren’t diapers. As my kids have gotten older, and I remember what I had to wear as a teenager, those two points have become more and more important and impressive to me.

      • Yeah, it’s good to see it becoming more accepted a medical issue and not just being “lazy” or being shamed into thinking its a personal fault/choice. While it is more accepted, unfortunately it’s still not something that I will share with anyone that doesn’t need to know. Like you mentioned in other posts, the mental aspect of it can be as much of problem to deal with as the wetting itself. Growing up, I had an older sister who wet the bed and a younger sister who still does. But, I guess chalk it up to naivety, I didn’t really notice it or taken much note of it until a few years later.

        GoodNites certainly helped coping with it, cause as you mentioned, it was effective and it was also specifically designed for older children and didn’t have to be called/referred to as the dreaded “diaper”. They also looked the part of being plain white and resembling underwear which was nice. What were your options to use as a teen? Cause traditional baby diapers were too small and adult diapers were probably too big, right?

      • As I said in the post, and more detail here, the only adequate option for me as a teenager was a cloth diaper (which my mother made for me) in a plastic pant. By the time I started wetting again in college, there were adequate disposables.

  5. As a teenage wetter myself I found this article helpful, I am now 43 years old and still wet once in a while. It’s nothing to be ashamed about

  6. Pingback: Great ad campaign | Bedwetting Mom

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