I was surprised that yesterday’s post solved a months-long mystery for me, so maybe I need to be paging the Internet oracle more often. Did my 5th grade crush Dave Gryder ever see past my coke-bottle glasses and horrific orthodontic situation to the the potential girlfriend material that was underneath? Whatever happened to my awesome, comfy black-and-white striped Gap shirt that seemingly disappeared into thin air a couple years ago? How could Adam Sandler make a movie like Punch Drunk Love, then go on to systematically churn out an endless stream of cinematic diarrhea ever since?

Actually, here’s a real question for you: what can I be doing to help my kid stay dry through the night? I’m, ah, talking about the older child, and I’m sorry to potentially embarrass him here but my need for assistance is currently trumping my concern for his someday-privacy. I’ve tried restricting what he drinks in the evening, and we’ve tried waking him up before we go to bed, but the problem is that he sleeps like a log. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to get him up, and when we do, he sleep-walks to the bathroom and bangs into walls and is terribly confused and disoriented and the whole thing is pretty inefficient, if you know what I mean, and I’m also convinced that’s what’s causing the issue. His body isn’t waking him up because his brain is like SNNNZZZZZZZZZ: 404 FILE NOT FOUND.

Anyway, if you’ve dealt with a heavy sleeper, I’d love to hear any thoughts on how to keep them from peacefully whizzing throughout the night.

In other news, Dylan looks like this:

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 9.23.23 AM

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 9.23.50 AM

We were picking Riley up from school and like he always does, Dylan went running full-speed to give Riley a huge bear hug (this is ridiculously cute, by the way), and something happened where his feet were all HEY LET’S ALL GO IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS and blam. Face, meet cement. Oh, this kid.


86 Responses to “Night moves”

  1. Sandy W on November 30th, 2011 8:15 pm

    Don’t stress about the bed wetting – just put pull-ups on him and wait until he grows out of it. He really has no control over it. My son was the exact same way, he woke up wet every single morning, and then he just stopped. We waited until he woke up dry for 2 weeks straight and got rid of the pull-ups. It is a developmental thing and all kids are different as to when they stop. It really is very common, especially for boys.

  2. kate on November 30th, 2011 8:21 pm

    I didn’t read all the comments, so maybe this is repeat. But we totally have the same problem with our similar-aged boy child. DEEP SLEEPER = Peeing through everything. Even pull-ups (we’ve even tried nigthttime diapers again) don’t keep him dry. I’m so tired of changing and washing sheets daily. BTW, he totally potty trained at 2 y/o with no problems during the day. SO, my husband and I did a lot of research and we purchased a not-so-cheap Chummie. Basically, a pee alarm. Suppose to train the brain to wake up before peeing. SAys it takes about 2 weeks to work. Kind of a pain b/c he shares room with brother and the alarm is LOUD (he still has slept through it a few times). We’ve only used it for three nights, but last night he actually woke up after peeing only a little and ran to the bathroom. He’s actually very motivated b/c he’s tired of constantly wetting the bed and feels terrible. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. . .

  3. Steph on November 30th, 2011 9:19 pm

    Like others, haven’t read all the previous comments, but was he doing this before he recently started school? My son did this a couple years ago right after school started back up. Didn’t last too terribly long (off and on for a few weeks), and we just used some of those bed pads intended for invalids while we waited it out. The doctor said sometimes kids suppress stress from things like that and when he adjusted it would stop – and thankfully it did!

  4. Andrea on November 30th, 2011 9:56 pm

    As the mother of a now 19 year old who wore a pull-up to bed every night from the age of 2.5 till he was halfway through first grade, I say of all the things to stress about with pre-schoolers and young school agers, this isn’t it. The pediatrician just said to wait it out, he’d grow out of it, and he did. Time really is a gift. I think back to a lot of the things I really stressed over when all 3 were really young, and so many things seem inconsequential, really. My son went on sleepovers, he just packed a pullup, and I gave the host a heads up that he had one. He wasn’t the only one in his circle of friends wearing one at night either. Flash forward about 12 years and I still stress over late night accidents, but of a much different type. On dark, foggy nights I wait to hear the bleep of the car door locking, and the sound of his keys in the front door to know he’s home safe.

  5. Mary on November 30th, 2011 10:01 pm

    Two of mine wet until they were eight and nine, just because of the heavy sleeping. My third was dry at night by age three, go figure. Anyway, we got drops from the pediatrician. I think they squirted them up their nose. They did that every night before bed for about two months and they stopped wetting mostly right away. Once they stopped the medicine, they continued to stay dry. I didn’t really care about the Pullups, but they were wanting to do sleepovers by then and were embarrassed.

  6. Linda on November 30th, 2011 11:06 pm

    I am SO GLAD to hear from so many of you that this is normal and No Big Deal. I haven’t been too stressed on it (and he certainly doesn’t care much) but it was one of those things where I wasn’t sure if I SHOULD be stressed, you know?

    Also, holy shit, some of those pee alarms are crazy expensive.

  7. Rachel on November 30th, 2011 11:28 pm

    At his age they don’t even recommend doing anything about it yet. I think the recommendation is that you wait until the kid’s seven or eight.

    That said, I have extensive experience with prolonged bedwetting with one of my kids. The alarm (the kind that hooks on the clothes, not the mattress-pad kind) worked but she relapsed after a while. I think she may have the hormonal variety of problem — there’s a hormone that’s supposed to tell your kidneys to slow down on urine production while you sleep, and in some people it’s absent — but she IS also a very heavy sleeper. (She has a loft bed and is the size of a small adult so getting her up to use the toilet in the night is quite a task. She basically sleepwalks in there and never remembers it in the morning. But most nights if I’m up late I’ll get her up to go before I go to bed.)

    That said, what we’ve found most recently that seems to be helping — either that or the problem is finally going away on its own (she’s 12) — is that she keeps a light on in her room at night. We think it keeps her from sleeping so heavily but we’re not sure.

  8. Rachel on November 30th, 2011 11:32 pm

    PS I think the alarm would traumatize Riley into therapy at this point, thinking of how he is with loud noises and the possibility of loud noises. That thing is SO, SO LOUD, and very sudden.

  9. Kelly on December 1st, 2011 5:50 am

    Better than what one of my Relatives Who Shall Not Be Named did. He’d get up in the night, sleepwalk to his dresser, open a drawer, pee, close the drawer, and go back to bed…never once waking.

  10. Kate on December 1st, 2011 6:06 am

    The Malem bedwetting alarm worked wonders at our house. Oldest was about 7 and it took a couple of weeks for his body to adjust. It’s a hellish time and you won’t get much sleep—lots of undies and sheets changing—but it’s well worth it in the end. My youngest was on the same path, so I started it with her at about 4/5 and it worked like a charm again.

  11. Michelle on December 1st, 2011 6:26 am

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but it is a hormone problem. Try asking your doctor about DDAVP, it was a life saver for our son. It allowed him to go to sleep overs and did wonders for his self esteem.

  12. Sam on December 1st, 2011 7:14 am

    Went through this with my no 16 year old–it lasted until she was 12! If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to just go with pull ups until 10-then go through the alarm. Dr told us to wait until 8, then we did tests, restricted liquids (made it worse, got 2 UTIs, and caused constipation!), journal, nasal spray, and expensive bed alarm all of which just gave ME a hard time!
    He will be fine–take away pull ups at 10 and make him change bedding and not wake you–done. He will be OK!

  13. Laurie on December 1st, 2011 7:52 am

    My ped said it takes boys longer to train to stay dry over night, but my mom found this alarm thing that hooks to the underwear and we used it to help my heavy sleeper wake up. An alarm sounds if the underwear gets even a tiny drop of pee. We used for about a week and now he is trained to wake up when he needs to. Something with the alarm helped trigger my son to know when his body was telling him to get up overnight. He is the heaviest sleeper, as well, I could vacuum in there, I could have a party in his room and he’d still sleep through it. He just sleeps heavy (me, too). But anyway, when we first tried it, he wet once, the alarm sounded, we went in cleaned him up, the next night he wet a tiny bit – alarm, he got up and into the bathroom in time. By the 3rd night he had it. We kept the alarm on for like 7 days after, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I don’t know if it was his time to “get it” or if the alarm helped trigger something in his brain, but it worked for us. He’s had maybe 1 or 2 accidents since, but it was in a combo of being sick so I don’t really count those! Best of luck. My doctor did say it was OK to try the alarm thing, but not to pressure him, btw.

  14. scantee on December 1st, 2011 8:43 am

    So it sounds like what us parents of older bedwetters should do is check with a ped to make sure nothing is wrong, possibly use an alarm system, and be prepared to wait it out.

    Wearing pull-ups at night is a confusion that causes my son to have accidents during the day so we’ve resigned ourselves to doing a lot of laundry. One thing I’ve found works better than the sheet/pad/sheet set-up is to use several layers of fleece on top of the fitted sheet. It’s absorbent and easy to handle in the middle of the night, just take off the layers that are wet. You can get fleece remnants at fabric stores and usually four layers is more than enough.

  15. Mel on December 1st, 2011 9:13 am

    Keep this in your back pocket.

    I know they are expensive but IF he is still having problems at 8 you’ll be ready to fork it over.

    My girl at 8 needed one. It worked amazingly! She has relapses from time to time, she’s 10 now, usually 2 nights with the alarm has her good again for months.

  16. Rachael on December 1st, 2011 9:59 am

    Let’s just say that um… this situation can go on until a child is like, 9. We did everything you did, too but nothing worked. We learned it’s very common in boys and often hereditary. Our doctor was very unconcerned even though we were beside ourselves. Kids outgrow it. Promise.

  17. Kristianna on December 1st, 2011 10:29 am

    My kids are log-sleepers, too. I can sometimes get the younger two who still have accidents (ages 6 and 3) to zombie pee at 11 p.m., but for insurance I have those washable pads the hospital puts under your butt after you delivered a baby (and presumably in other situations, but that’s where I, um… accidentally took them home from). I keep those on hand and they go under the sheets–or sometimes even on top of the wetness as a quick fix, because Mama isn’t the best middle of the night waker. They can be bought at med supply stores if you were not a Klepto when you had your boys. ;)


    They’re not super cheap, so I am right now kinda happy I accidentally took one home with each child. But, really, at like $20 each, considering I’ve been washing and reusing the oldest one for nearly 10 yrs now, they’re a good deal, and they work GREAT.

  18. AnEmily on December 1st, 2011 10:33 am

    Heh, yes sorry, Malem alarm,not Malm. Husband works at IKEA. There’s no Malm bedwetting alarm!

  19. Mary on December 1st, 2011 10:44 am

    I wet the bed for a long time too, and was so embarrassed I wanted to skip a girl scout overnight because of it. My mom took me to the doctor who gave me a pill that would help me not wet the bed… and after it worked long enough to stop the problem entirely, they told me it was a placebo. Tic tacs are cheap, right? May as well try it. :)

  20. megan on December 1st, 2011 10:46 am

    So I have a brother who is 18 years younger than me and when he was little he had this same problem. When he was in 2nd or 3rd grade he was still having this issue and my dad and stepmother hired a company/consultant who works on this issue. I thought it was crazy. I think it was like $1,000 or more and a consultant came over, talked to my brother, talked to my parents and then gave them an alarm that goes under the sheets. If it got wet it sent off a loud alarm. Another part of this was that each morning the consultant would call the house and talk to my brother to see how the night went. Oh, I also remember that they instructed my brother to drink ALOT just before bed so that he would really have to go in the middle of the night. Well, I shit you not, it worked right away!!! I was dumbfounded!

  21. Lesley on December 1st, 2011 11:11 am

    Time. Time and lack of attention paid to it did the trick for my now 15 year old. He slept like a log, didn’t completely wake up when we got him up. Sometime during the middle of his eight year old year, one night the problem just – went away.

    I say lack of attention because being worried about it made him sleep more poorly which made him more tired, which made the problem worse.

  22. Redbecca on December 1st, 2011 12:10 pm

    It has to be a chemical thing, because while our 4yo isn’t fully potty trained yet (still has daytime accidents from holding too long, still can’t quite figure out wiping thoroughly for #2, etc) in the last 4 weeks he started waking up dry in the mornings, and this kid brings a water bottle to bed and most nights sucks it 2/3 dry. Since Thanksgiving we’ve been offering him the option of undies or pullups and most nights he says undies, but some nights he says pullups and we don’t naysay him. He hasn’t wet the bed yet. Oh, and he usually doesn’t have to pee for like another 2 hours after he gets up. To say I’m amazed and feeling spectacularly blessed is an understatement.
    I, on the other hand, have to go last thing before bed (usually twice), first thing when I wake, and usually have at least one middle of the night trip, and I cut myself off of fluids about 2 hours before bedtime. Ugh! Sure glad he didn’t get MY bladder!

    Also, poor Dylan! Good thing they heal quickly at this age. With luck it will be gone before Xmas and won’t spoil the holiday photos!

  23. Becky on December 1st, 2011 1:47 pm

    I’m pretty sure our families are twins. Ethan is the same way when he sleeps. Total log. We have to carry him to the bathroom at about 11:30-midnight every night to have any prayer of him waking up dry. We also use cloth nighttime pants (because the pullups keep him too dry, but the cloth ones keep the bed dry and still let him feel that he’s wet). But we can’t let him walk there or he’ll kill himself running into/falling over things. Apparently, my husband and both his brothers wet the bed until they were 6 or 7, and his older brother had to be medicated to finally stop.
    I’m hoping it will pass in time, because I REALLY don’t want to fork out the money for one of those alarms.
    Also, Ethan totally faceplanted into…who the hell knows what…at day care yesterday, and we had to go to the ER to get his head glued back together. I tweeted @you about it (not because I’m a total stalker…though you probably felt that way), and it’s funny that Dylan had a crash-and-burn the same day. Well, not funny, because OW! Poor kid. Funny like…weird. It’s the curse of mothers-of-boys.
    Hope his scrape heals quick. I’m looking forward to Ethan’s head not having a huge patch of dermabond on it. Sigh…

  24. Amy on December 1st, 2011 2:38 pm

    so I think you have enough info….BUT, my 9yo was still having issues with this and he came to me and said that he was tired of having to wear goodnights. We had talked to his pedo before and finally decided to give the pee pee alarm a try. Worked like magic!! One week and no more accidents. This was almost a year ago and only one bad night since. I’d say if he’s concerned and wants to stop the pullups then go for it. If he’s cool with it then don’t stress…he will grow out of it at some point!

  25. Lynn on December 1st, 2011 5:05 pm

    My son was potty trained for almost a year then he started wetting the almost every night. After 2 years of limiting his drinks and waking him during the night,wewent with his Dr.’s recommendtion & got this alarm. http://www.pottypager.com/ it worked great, but we did have to use months at a time, as he would be dry, but then slip back to having accients again. He had accidents from the time he was 4 until 9. He has now been dry for 2 years!!!!

  26. AC on December 1st, 2011 5:28 pm

    My son was the same and was only completely dry from around 11. I don’t want to freak you out though – it’s not like he was wetting the bed every night or anything at that age but it was happening at intervals. It’s frustrating for everyone but I really think it’s just a developmental thing and will happen when it happens.

    We attended a bed-wetting clinic and had some success with the bed-wetting alarms so i think they are worth trying – they definitely reduced the number of wet nights but he often regressed.

    It might be worth doing some research and getting advice as there can be different reasons for bed-wetting. If he is pretty problem-free during the day then it is probably just a developmental issue. It’s not just that they are heavy sleepers – the body releases a hormone when we sleep that stops urine going to the bladder. If that’s not happening yet then Riley won’t be able to make it through the night.

    Also with my son I found it helped to really encourage him to drink during the day too to train him to increase the amount of urine he could hold before triggering the urge to void (that’s not a sentence my 20 year old self ever envisaged writing). He often rushed to the loo during the day even though his bladder wan’t full so I think we had more than one issue going on.

    Try and stay cool about it though. I got frustated with wet beds and I feel guilty about it now as my son definitely felt my frustation but it wasn’t his fault.

  27. Jessica . on December 1st, 2011 8:39 pm

    I read through most of the comments because my 5.5 has the same issues. Like you, I am not too worried about it (and he is fairly oblivious). But sometimes I wonder if I should be worried. Anyway, the only thing I wanted to add is that my son has SPD and we have been told by his ped and his OT that this condition is even more common with children with sensory issues. I just thought you might find that interesting, since you have occasionally written about some of R’s sensory sensitivities, even though he does not have SPD. Our Ped and OT both are not at all concerned and have advised me to wait it out. My plan is to do just that until he starts to become concerned about it!

  28. cakeburnette on December 2nd, 2011 4:59 am

    My oldest was EXACTLY like your Riley. We had some luck with getting him up and walking him to the bathroom and sort of aiming him in the right direct (after he was tall enough to not need a stool anymore; sleep-walking and climbing stools is semi-dangerous) right before we went to bed (he went to bed early; us, rather late). That helped, but like others mentioned, when he was about 7 it pretty much stopped. He had the occasional accident every now and then for another year, usually only if he was exceptionally tired. Some kids, especially boys, just take longer for their bladders to “mature.” Now, I’m sure we could’ve financed his college education for what we spent in diapers/pull-ups/Good-Nights, but he’s fully potty-trained at 15. ;) :D

  29. cakeburnette on December 2nd, 2011 5:02 am

    LOL to @Redbecca at 12:10–he may not have INHERITED your bladder, but I bet you he INFLUENCED it and why it has to go so often! hee, hee–I used to have an iron bladder until I carried two ginormous babies in my body.

  30. Simone on December 2nd, 2011 10:34 am

    I scrolled through all these comments hoping to see one from Dave Gryder!!!
    Also, your black/white pin-striped shirt was left in a hotel room in New Orleans.

  31. bj on December 2nd, 2011 12:52 pm

    Thank you Another mom, for posting your comment to All & Sundry. I very much agree with you that many bloggers don’t hear about the impact they’ve had on others in subtile and long reaching ways. My own story is not so personal, but I too have understood the issues of drug and alcohol abuse much better for having read this blog (and, the implicit hope it provides).

  32. Aimee on December 2nd, 2011 9:20 pm

    Our 11-year-old is finally dry at night! He wet at night for the same reason – he’s a REALLY heavy sleeper. For years, our only option was to have a pad on his bed, and he slept in Good Nights. Someone suggested medication, but our pediatrician said it’s definitely not a good long-term solution, only to use it for camps and sleepovers.

    About 1.5 years ago, we ordered a bed-wetting alarm. After the first night of terror, we turned the sound off and put it on vibrate-only. It tapered off slowly, and as of this past summer, he was wetting only a couple of times a week. Now, he’s been dry for nearly four months. He is eleven-and-a-half. Long road, but we finally got there.

    Lastly? Nicky also has SPD. Seems like a common theme!

    I live just up the freeway from you. I’d be happy to pass the alarm along, since we don’t need it any more. They’re pretty expensive, as you’ve found, and I’d like to see it go to someone who can use it.

  33. Kelli on December 3rd, 2011 2:05 pm

    Does he snore at night? Bedwetting is a very common symptom if a child has sleep apnea. My 7 year old is getting his adenoids and tonsils out due to sleep apnea and the ENT told us that it may “cure” his bed wetting. If it does, great. If not, then pull ups remain on the shopping list.

  34. Vanessa on December 3rd, 2011 4:50 pm

    My little brother peed the bed until he was 18 years old. My parents tried EVERYTHING. Medication, alarms, waking,pull-ups/diapers, doctor appts upon doctor appts, sleeping evals, restricting water. His laundry was washed EVERY SINGLE DAY. He had to deal with his bed wetting on overnight away games for HS sports, on hunting trips, and at sleep overs with friends. It was so horrible.

    A few years ago, my mother was talking to an older gentleman at a clinic where she works and he had mentioned his own issues with this in his youth. Do you know what he said? No milk with dinner or close to bedtime. She went home and they tried it. Not a single accident since.

    My 4 year old son is having similar issues and we tried restricting his milk intake. It has had no effect. So, it is worth a shot and way less expensive than an alarm. But I am hoping he will just grow out of it sooner than later. Mine pees so much he soaks the pull-up & the bed almost every night. So I am fighting my own laundry every *#&#( day battles. I am interested to try a few suggestions I read here though. Thanks for bringing it up and providing us all with access to the mom brain trust.

  35. kristylynne on December 5th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Your Gap shirt could be inside your dresser, but on the floor under the bottom drawer. That’s where missing clothes are often found in my house.

  36. Jessica on December 20th, 2011 5:46 pm

    8 year old son still has problems with this. Finally got in to see a urologist a few months ago about it. Two things we did: one, enlarged the opening of this urethra (in office) — he no longer sprays like a broken hose when he pees at night or in the day. Two – fluid shifting. Its a complete pain in the ass, if you ask me, but it did work really well. You have to cut out all the C’s – caffeine, cola, citrus, chocolate, and no milk after lunch. The other half of the equation is making the kid drink loads of water in the first half of the day and then tapering off between 3 and 5 in the afternoon (really depends on your family’s bedtime schedule – we are late nighters, so our cut off time tends to be much later) and nothing to drink in the evening unless its absolutely necessary. Worked great, dry nights. Huge pain in the butt getting son to drink the water and not have soda/caffeine.

    Good luck with this. At least you and your husband are on the same page. Some of us aren’t.

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