- Troubleshooting Bedwetting in Potty-Trained Kids
- How Common is Bedwetting in Older Kids?
- How Do We Stop Bedwetting??
- Could You Fix Nighttime Wetting with ONE Simple Solution?
- More on Great Parenting
- More Information on Kicking Potty Accidents to the Curb
- The End of the Bedwetting Story
- Our Experience with Enemas for Nighttime Wetting
- What Other Moms Say About Big Kids Wetting the Bed
- The Way Smart Parents Make Beds
Bet you’d never think constipation would have anything to do with bedwetting at night – but it might. I couldn’t believe how many people struggle with constipation in their toddlers, and it’s possible that those solutions will help the nighttime potty accidents as well! I have plenty of personal experience, unfortunately:
You don’t expect to have three kids in diapers when you have them all three years apart.
My first two potty trained very easily, both before two-and-a-half years old.
I remember my oldest (a boy) being dry at night for an entire month right after he got in underwear in the daytime, and I was so impressed! Then for some unknown reason, he regressed, only at night, and it took until age four for us to completely drop the nighttime diaper or pull-up.
Number two, my stubborn little girl, trained quickly in about a week, again just before two-and-a-half. Then ensued a two-year struggle to help her stay dry just during naps, complete with tempting bribes and prizes from my mother-in-law that she would earn when she was finally successful (they didn’t work).
Troubleshooting Bedwetting in Potty-Trained Kids
We had trouble with a few of our kids with staying dry at naptime, and unfortunately, even as some pushed seven years old, they were still not dry at night. And it wasn’t just a matter of occasional bedwetting – one child was wet multiple times per night and often overfilled the diaper/pull-up and leaked on the sheets.
As the years passed by, we’d tell ourselves, “Nighttime wetting is still pretty normal for kids at age four, even five, so we’re not going to worry about it.”
Then at age six, we started to worry that we had a more serious bedwetting problem on our hands.
It was time to put some effort into getting over bedwetting.
How Common is Bedwetting in Older Kids?
A quick Google search told us that about 12-15% of kids were still bedwetting age six, and 5% still at age nine.
We read that gaining nighttime control later often ran in families (neither of us had the problem though) and can be a result of the child growing faster than their bladder can keep up (our kids are all peanuts though, who don’t grow fast at all!). It’s not laziness, but could be because of super deep sleeping (that describes the child who struggled the most), stressful situations, or getting wires crossed between the bladder and the brain.
We tried the basics:
- limiting fluids from dinnertime onward
- waking up at 11 p.m. or so to go potty
- watching the child’s stress levels to try to find some correlation
Fluids didn’t seem to make much difference, although if the child had a popsicle after dinner they almost always peed more, but not having much liquid didn’t always mean dryness. For a while I thought stress could be a culprit, because there are rare dry nights – but we can’t seem to find a pattern of any kind. I was hopeful that when we cut out artificial food coloring, maybe that would do it.
The next year I hoped that cutting out all corn and soy would be the magic bullet (the child tested sensitive to them in muscle response testing). Again, no dice.
We even reviewed a sample of Super Undies, basically a cloth pull-up for big kids, hoping that feeling wet would help, but (a) it didn’t and (b) poor kid didn’t like the bulk and began to get more agitated about social issues and other kids finding out, and (c) we realized that you really need to have another child in cloth diapers to make nighttime Super Undies work – they say you can just wash them with regular clothes or towels, but without the second rinse, increased agitation and hot-hot water of the cloth diaper routine, they started to stink. #fail
How Do We Stop Bedwetting??
Online sources continued to tell us that bedwetting in older kids is common, even “normal,” that kids will eventually outgrow it. A friend of mine had an older boy who was still wetting the bed, and her pediatrician told her it can be caused by a hormone that’s just not kicking in and simply doesn’t in about 10% of kids, and that he’d for sure be dry at night by puberty. (That’s a long time to wait!)
Recommendations to fix bedwetting sooner include:
- limiting fluids
- using a nighttime bedwetting alarm (found on Amazon)
- prescription medications, for kids older than age seven typically
We looked into that machine, but the child didn’t like the idea of anything inside the underwear or diaper – we were still seriously considering it until I saw something in the Positive Parenting Solutions course list that caught my eye.
My husband and I watched the module on bedwetting, which was a guest lecture from a pediatric urologist who specializes in daytime potty accidents and nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting issues).
Dr. Steve Hodges’ extensive research, logical thinking and easy teaching style impressed us immediately – and then his answer to the whole problem knocked our socks off.
We never saw it coming, but the good doctor pins constipation as the cause of almost all potty accidents after age four.
I never would have suspected that one’s bowel movements could be so tied to bladder control, but the basis of the theory goes like this:
- Once kids are potty-trained, they get busy, get distracted, like to keep playing, and therefore forget to go potty enough, especially poop.
- When they’re holding their poop in, they get constipated.
- Because there’s always some poop in the colon, even at the end where it’s supposed to tell our bodies, “Hey, you need to go now!” the colon physically stops feeling it. The body turns off the sensation because it can’t handle giving constant “poop now” instructions and being ignored.
- This can cause poop accidents during the day, by the way, but it also puts pressure on the bladder, thickening the wall of the bladder, decreasing its overall size, and also interfering with some of the bladder signals to the brain.
We eventually got up the guts to embark on Dr. Hodges’ solution for the constipation, and it didn’t work immediately. As with anything in the human body with all its variables, who knows what finally worked, but I’d love to share our experience with you – because before this child turned 8, the nighttime wetting problem was solved once and for all.
RELATED: Why I don’t like Miralax in kids.
Could You Fix Nighttime Wetting with ONE Simple Solution?
The bottom line according to Dr. Hodges is that if you have an elementary aged nighttime wetter, if you can get your child’s bowels cleaned out and then help them avoid further constipation by making sure they go regularly and don’t “hold it,” you can almost always cure bedwetting problems (and daytime accidents) within a few months.
He says if kids weren’t constipated, he’d hardly have any patients visiting his clinic at all!
I’m so grateful to have a membership (for review) to the Positive Parenting Solutions course – on our list is the module on temper tantrums and whining for our toddler. Amy McCready, the parenting expert who runs the courses, has amazing solutions and non-stressful ways of dealing with all sorts of issues, from homework battles to picky eating, bedtime fights and disobedience at all ages.
More on Great Parenting
You just missed our special KS webinar, but other bloggers periodically co-host the same topic with Amy. You can check to see if one is coming up right HERE.
The information you’ll learn, targeted at kids aged 2.5 through teens, is SO helpful! My husband and I are still using strategies I picked up when I watched the session last summer, and I’m excited to watch it again to pick up more tips that I missed, even with all the notes I took.
You can read more about what the free webinar includes and my thoughts on Amy’s courses right HERE, or just sign up now:
The register button will redirect to the page where you can find other webinars coming soon…
More Information on Kicking Potty Accidents to the Curb
Notice that I refer to other sources like doctors – because I’m not one! This is in no way intended to be medical advice, just sharing stories, thankyouverymuch.
Dr. Hodges has two books, one for parents and a picture book for kids, that you’ll want to check out if you’re struggling with nighttime wetting (all found on Amazon):
- and to make sure potty training isn’t a massive power struggle, you might like Amy’s book If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling (but go to the webinar to see her style, I know you’ll love her!)
The End of the Bedwetting Story
Spoiler alert: I’m telling you the end of the story at the beginning!
About one year after seriously embarking on being dry at night, we DID find success.
We used 3 distinct remedies, so who knows what worked – the human body is so complex, it’s always possible a switch flipped on its own. It’s possible the child needed all 3. Or perhaps just the last one was the magic button!
Whatever happened in the body caused the child to become an early riser, quite suddenly a morning person, where before this kid was always the one we had to wake up and was always crazy-haired and cranky in the mornings! It was literally 100% flip, from wet every night to dry every night – and then got up every single night at least once to use the bathroom, usually between 11p-1a or so, like clockwork.
We did NOT find success with Dr. Hodges’ suggestion, and it wasn’t easy, but it was neither traumatizing nor expensive.
Our Experience with Enemas for Nighttime Wetting
The main thing the doc recommended was nightly enemas for a month to get the child cleaned OUT, and then reducing low-fiber foods like white flour and such, and mostly just reminding them to go often and to make sure they attempt a bowel movement and not just rush through urinating and get back to playing.
We used pediatric enemas for 30 days – you can easily find them on Amazon but we grabbed them from our local Walgreen’s. They look like tiny syringes, not the poke-you kind for shots, but the kind that you can use like an eye-dropper to draw up liquid and shoot it out.
They’re pre-filled with some saline solution that seemed innocuous to me.
Each night for a month, I used a little coconut oil on the tip, inserted it a centimeter or so into the bottom, and squeezed the liquid inside. We sat and read on a bed for about 5 minutes and then the child would run to the bathroom, and it worked every night to get out a bowel movement.
Did the poor kid hate it?
Lots of crying from the child and second guessing from me on the first few nights!! The child was motivated to be DONE with diapers though, so we kept using that as a, “We gotta try something big, you can do this…” encouragement.
After the first few, it was just “mommy and me” time and we both handled it fairly well – although it would have gone better had we seen some results! I think even my dear one started getting discouraged after a few weeks with still nary a dry day. 🙁
We’re stubborn people and we love a good test, so we gave it the full month. And who knows? That may have been the beginning of healing, or perhaps the genesis of being more aware that holding it when needing to go, either urine or stool, may impact night wetting.
Or it might have been a failure.
If I were to tackle constipation as the root cause of bedwetting again, I’d start first with these natural alternatives to beat constipation and the crowd-sourced ideas for toddlers too, especially this topical magnesium formulated especially for kids.
I would NOT recommend using Miralax, especially daily. There have been all sorts of reports about how bad that is for kids – you can Google it yourself, but suffice it to say it’s not passing my kids’ lips.
RELATED: Best Form of Magnesium.
What Other Moms Say About Big Kids Wetting the Bed
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of conversations with other naturally-minded moms about bedwetting, including when I first shared part of this story a few years ago.
Here are some other brainstorms that moms have found success with for bedwetting:
- Wait it out with patience and kindness.
- Magnesium and/or Epsom salt baths
- Could be related to mouth/dental formation/breathing (one source in West MI: Dr. Karen O’Rourke and her info on YouTube)
- Food sensitivities, particularly dairy but not always (some even said simply cutting dairy at dinner only helped!)
- Histamine Intolerance caused by mineral deficiencies
- Applied Kinesiology (look for a practitioner near you, here’s one in West MI: AK Chiropractic Research Center)
- Functional neurologist (in West MI: Dr. Brian Hanks)
- Sugary drinks or fruit juice, especially in the evening
- Pin worms
- Cypress essential oil from Plant Therapy
- Tonsils/sleep apnea
- Many mentioned a combo of constipation AND figuring out what foods are causing it, like a sensitivity
- Preservative 280- 283
- Drinking MORE during the day so that the bladder remembers it has a job to do and how to do it! (just not more at night)
- Mixed results with bedwetting alarms, and the Wet-Stop was a fav mentioned (found on Amazon)
The Way Smart Parents Make Beds
It’s pretty important to protect things like mattresses that really can’t handle being washed, because if they get wet and can’t fully dry, you’re going to have mold, mildew or fungus problems. And those are the worst on surfaces where children are sleeping!
Leaking children also doesn’t mean that parents have to spend their lives changing sheets.
I hope you know about the double-sheeting trick, but if not, it goes like this:
- Waterproof pad on the crib mattress (or any bed!).
- Fitted sheet over that.
- Another waterproof pad.
- Another fitted sheet.
Then if it’s not a crib, you can make the rest of the bed normally with a top sheet, blanket and comforter. I do all my kids’ beds this way, no matter their age, because you never know when you’ll get a surprise stomach bug in the middle of the night, and let me tell you – it’s a lot easier on everyone if you can just whip off a layer and throw the whole mess in the tub until morning instead of having to remake the whole bed before the sick child can lay back down.
This protects your sheets and your sanity, total win-win!
Need A New Waterproof Mattress Pad?
My family tested out several different kinds of mattress pads, including this organic wool puddle pad. It’s so interesting – you don’t actually even wash it when a child tinkles on it, because the wool is naturally anti-bacterial and just kind of eats up the stink. You hang it to dry and put it back on! More on how it worked and recommendations for use in my big mattress protector review. You might also want to read more about the safety of different types of waterproof mattress pads.
RELATED: Where to Find Natural Organic Mattresses.
Up Next: Chiropractics or Homeopathy?
Our next step was going to be chiropractics (I had a hunch this child might have had low adrenal function too), but I came across a homeopathic protocol that mothers were raving about. I figured homeopathics would be a much less expensive and time consuming route with no driving 3x/week for appointments, so we started there.
The first remedy we tried was a Banerji protocol that was actually formulated from the gonorrhea disease – so it’s a bit “out there” even among homeopaths. We worked with a practitioner to make sure we did it correctly and safely, but – another spoiler alert – it didn’t (quite) work either.
How Homeopathy Works
Homeopathy is extremely diluted, pretty cheap, and very safe to use. Most of the time even using the wrong remedy won’t do any harm. Sometimes, however, certain individuals are going to respond more strongly to the “wrong” remedy. One should try only one remedy at a time and wait 4-6 weeks before re-evaluating.
Learn how homeopathy works and how to get started using homeopathy in this post.
Best option? Find a local registered homeopath to work with one on one.
Our Story with Homeopathics for Bedwetting
We used a Banerji Protocol from JoetteCalabrese.com after speaking with a team member, and at the time the Medorhinum wasn’t even commercially available (but it is now, here on Amazon!)
It’s a very strong remedy and had mixed results, which apparently in homeopathy is exactly what healing looks like – two steps forward, one step back. Any positive results are good results! And it’s possible we should have kept trying, but we ultimately switched it up.
This would be an important time to remind you that I’m just a mom – not a doctor, naturopath, homeopath, nurse, or anyone important. I am just sharing what finally ended up helping for one child in our family, because I get it – you’re grasping for straws and willing to try anything. I was there too, and I can’t NOT share with other mamas and kids in need. But please don’t take this as medical advice, and I can’t be held accountable for anything that does or does not happen as a result of me telling our story here.
Here’s a big overview of how the first remedy went:
- After just over a week, the first dry morning! Rejoice!
- But wet the next morning…still hope though.
- A few days later, we had a dry day and I allowed the child to choose whether to take it or not – there was reticence to not take it, and I didn’t want to cause worry, so I administered a does, but the child was wet again the next day.
- Then we had two dry days!
- We stopped the remedy per the protocol, but immediately the wet was back.
- After another dry day, we did not use the remedy, and the pull-up was still dry the next morning! I wrote in my notes: “Child is so encouraged about 2 days in a row but also I can feel nervous fear – I don’t want it to be like last time and have wet tomorrow; I want to have dry forever. This would be so amazing if it keeps working!!!!!”
- We were reminded that healing in homeopathy almost always has setbacks, so I should prepare her for some more wet days.
- Three weeks later, still wet every time we stop the remedy, although we had a number of two-days-in-a-row strings. 🙁
- We increased the remedy to the next phase of the protocol (two per day), and after two weeks – still not a single dry day. It felt like the child’s body was rebelling against the success!
When the bottle ran out, we ran out of steam – BUT I’m still happy we did it. (And that it’s here on Amazon now!)
Eventually I bought two other homeopathic remedies from Amazon based on suggestions from friends:
The Causticum worked for a friend but the Belladonna seemed to fit our needs better. I honestly can’t remember why I started with it – there’s a certain amount of mother’s intuition sometimes, since Belladonna seems to work for everything from the stomach flu to migraines to joint pain to preventing colds, if you read the reviews on Amazon!
I don’t know what it is – and I don’t know all the ways I will be able to use our remaining half bottle – but I do know that 3 a day under the tongue, before bedtime, did not take long to flip that switch from wet every morning to dry every night!
Once it was over, it was over. The child got up every night to urinate for a year, then started doing that less and less.
We’re all so grateful to have bedwetting behind us!
Other Homeopathic Options for Bedwetting
A homeopath student shared a number of bedwetting options with me on Facebook, with the following advice:
- You need to look these up in an online materia medica (Kent or Boericke are easily found) to differentiate between them.
- A bare minimum for a match would be a prominent physical symptom, a prominent mental/emotional symptom and a match in modality, meaning something that is making symptoms better or worse.
- If you’re just going to grab some Boiron tubes, a general starting spot could be a 30C potency, and 2-3 doses ONLY, at 8-12 hour intervals. And then stop and wait and observe for a couple of weeks.
- aesculus hippocastanum
- aloe socotrina
- argentum metallicum
- carbo vegetabilis
- cina maritima
- ferrum metallicum
- ferrum iodatum
- kalium phosphoricum
- lac caninum, lycopodium
- magnesium muriaticum
- natrum muriaticum
- natrium phosphoricum
- nux vomica
- rhus tox
We Stopped Bedwetting in an Older Child
Please remember that this combination is what worked for one child – your child may have a totally different root cause of bedwetting, and the solution may be totally different.
But I hope it gave you some ideas!!
I want to hear from you parents in the trenches, too – if you have an older child still struggling with bedwetting:
Note: As you dive into the comments, know that they’re SUPER helpful with more recommendations than I have in the post (because we didn’t try them all) and also that this post was published previously and then updated, so the dates will vary.Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
102 thoughts on “No More Bedwetting Accidents – Simple Natural Solutions for Almost Every Kid”
I read all the comments and got nice ideas. However, I did not hear anyone say to use aloe vera juice for the constipation. It moderates either constipation or diarrhea, so no pellets. It also kills pinworms which are implicated in bedwetting, easily re-introduced into the nose or mouth of the child or other family members, and rarely addressed in traditional medicine. A vitamin A deficiency can come because of the infection and also make one prone to it. Life is easier to address it routinely spring and fall. Aloe vera juice, garlic, pumpkin seeds, papaya, spicy things like salsa are all useful. One child also had a chemical issue that strained the bladder and we kept his tailbone aligned, and gave chewable cranberry/herbs, chlorophyll and fiber to sweep it out. Computerized testing with a naturopath gets the treatment specific without wasting money on guessing. The adrenal function has a lot to do with the trouble getting up in the morning or going to sleep in evening; they also control the anti-diuretic hormone. Hadn’t made that connection. Thanks.
I know this is an older post, but wanted to put this out there… My son was potty trained by 2 years and 4 months – both day and night trained – rarely had an accident at night… Then all of a sudden at age 6 he started bed wetting .. This went on for about 10 months and it just got worse – he began bed wetting multiple times a night – up to 5 times – very frustrating- why all of a sudden was my son wetting the bed and so much … I finally read a couple of articles on type 1 diabetes that said bed wetting was a symptom … He really didn’t have any other symptom other then this… I went ahead and took him to the dr. And sure enough – that is what it was (unfortunately)
But at least we caught it before he had to be hospitalized- and sugars were easily stabilized… Just wanted to put this out there as another trouble shooting to bed wetting ..
Real homeopathic remedies contain nothing of the original plant/mineral/etc. The 30cc potency is perfectly safe. Maybe Hyland’s teething products were not “homeopathic potencies” (not diluted enough).
Anyway, I just wanted to mention that Belladonna is suitable for cases when bed wetting happens because of the child being in a deep sleep and not waking up to go to the toilet. I used it occasionally on my eldest one after having a night-time accident, and surely the following nights he would wake up and go to the toilet by himself.
If bed wetting happens because of other reasons such as constipation, Belladonna will probably not work.
You wrote, “Belladonna seemed to fit our needs better. . . . I don’t know what it is – and I don’t know all the ways I will be able to use our remaining half bottle …”
Belladonna is deadly nightshade. It can be quite dangerous. When it’s really prepared in the homeopathic way you describe, of course it’s quite diluted. But there are products on the market labeled “homeopathic” and marketed for children that may contain enough belladonna to cause seizures or death. My friend’s nephew was hospitalized after his mom tried Hyland’s teething tablets assuming they’d only have a placebo effect!
Yikes! That’s super scary – but I’m glad Ozana commented below, and what she says does make a lot of sense IMO. From what I understand, homeopathic remedies contain practically just the “memory” of the actual plant or whatever originator it uses…
Chiropractic and getting him to not sleep on his stomach is what worked for our 10 year old son. Worked within a month and has been great ever since (3 yrs later). In fact he will have a relapse if he gets out and needs adjusting. (It has only happened once or twice in 3 years). So thankful. Just wanted to pass it on in case someone can benefit.
My daughter had nighttime enuresis until age 10. Every single night and often overflow. The doctor said the hormone hadn’t kicked in. I had seen someone else cause great stress to their child, even making this 7-year-old get up and change her sheets in the middle of the night, punishing her. I decided pull-ups were not a big deal. I was not about to limit water after supper in hot humid Georgia! Hydration is important anytime, though of course not a liter right before bedtime!
She literally stopped doing it on a dime a few days after her 10th birthday. Never had another nighttime sleep urination. I am glad I chose to not fret over it and just let it work itself out naturally.
Our pediatric urologist suggested food options for constipation and then if that didn’t work add the miralax. The other thing we were taught is to watch for holding urine, not just poop. In fact my bed wetters were put on a urinating schedule. Once every two hours and drink a small glass of water each time (4-8 oz) depending on the child’s weight. They never mentioned enemas and we resolved the issue without them. Every time someone says something about their child wetting the bed I preach the “make sure they’re not constipated” gospel! I was a bed wetter as well and I struggled with constipation well into adulthood. It wasn’t until beans became a huge part of my diet that I stopped dealing with it.
Dr. Hodges has a couple more books now, Jane and the Giant Poop is a fun rhyming book for kids and the MOP Book is a quick reference guide for parents that condenses much of the information from his first book (It’s No Accident) in an easy to read format, and also updates his thinking. For example, he no longer considers Miralax an equivalent or even a good alternative to enemas, after seeing many more families struggle through the issue. For those who don’t have results with 30 days of pediatric enemas, moving on to larger volume enemas is the next step. There is a lot of trial involved for the most difficult cases. His blog has a lot of information for those who want more detail.
I have had at least two bed wetters at a time, in the process of raising 13 children. Eight of them have been night time wetters; most into their teens. I have one boy who is still soaked nearly every morning at age 18; so I’m not sure how I’ll deal with that. I appreciate seeing some different options; I’ve tried many with no success. (I thought perhaps it was God’s way of keeping my boys out of the military, or something… while looking for a silver lining.) I was never a bed wetter, while my husband did into his teens. It’s certainly a puzzle, and the ramifications for our family have been significant.
Bed wetting is also a symptom of sleep apnea. Yes, kids can have sleep apnea.
My son does so much better when he wears his oral sleep appliance.
As someone who was a bedwetter well into my mid to late teens, I read this article with interest. I have never heard of a constipation/bedwetting link before. I know I had very regular, problem-free bowels as a kid. I did, eventually, grow out of the bedwetting problem, but it was humiliating and traumatic.; and even now as a grandmother in her fifties, still have insecurities from it. My parents tried the bedwetting alarm, a medication to try to make me sleep lighter, and heaven knows what else. Certainly shaming came up, but not as a strategy as much as an expression of their frustration.
When my kids – all four of them – struggled with bedwetting, I was determined that they wouldn’t go through what I did. Back then, in the ’90s, very few people were interested in or aware of natural solutions. However, there were studies at the time where doctors – who had treated diabetes insipidus with DDAVP (which is a synthetic anti-diuretic hormone) for decades – finally thought to treat primary nocturnal enuresis (AKA – bedwetting) with DDAVP as well. The thought was that in bedwetters, the body’s natural anti-diuretic hormone does not, for some reason, kick in at night. Treatment with DDAVP, for whatever reason, would cause it to start working, and therefore only be required for a few weeks before it could be discontinued. My oldest two had total relief in a matter of just a few days. My youngest two were less successful, but were more easily trained after their treatments. I realize that DDAVP, by its very definition, is not a natural cure. However, because it’s only necessary for a few weeks, sometimes I have to wonder if it’s worth trying anyway. Just thought I’d put that out there – I hate the thought of any kid ever having to go through the humiliation that I did.
I suspect there are many different causes, and therefore many different treatments for this problem, and I’m a big believer in pursuing as many natural options as possible. However, I just wanted people to be aware that this option is out there too. I would have loved to have had that option available to me.
We still have the nightly problem. My daughter will be 10 in early January. We tried having her go paleo for 5 full months (strict). She did have a constipation issue, but has been on magnesium for at least 2 yrs, but that hasn’t led to dry nights (although helped with constipation). We still limit liquids after dinner, and she doesn’t do food dyes. We had her bladder tested and it was very good. She hates her *problem* and the only time she is normally dry is if she stays up super late, but that doesn’t always solve it. She’s never been a morning person, and is often a grump in the mornings, hard to wake up. Have tried having her drink more water throughout the day, but she just doesn’t remember. Still spending $30+ per month on pullups.
Thank you so much for writing this! And thank you to all the commenters! You have all taught me so much!
I have been dealing with this exact issue with my 10 year old son. I never thought there was a solution. I talked to our pediatrician numerous times just to hear” he will grow out of it”…
He wears pull-ups every night and wets through them, he then crawls in bed with his 4 year old brother because his own bed is wet and goes back to bed just to eventually wet his brothers bed also. It is so frustrating!
My son has some other emotional issues also. He was diagnosed with Anxiety, SPD (sensory processing disorder) , Mild Asperger’s ( which I question) ADD/ADHD.
Everyday with him is usually a struggle. He is prescribed Adderall for school use only, We don’t medicate on weekends or on non school days.
Yesterday my sister and I were discussing the issue I was having with his bed-wetting, and this morning she send me this link from pinterest, I am so thankful she did! I have learned a lot and plan to make a appointment with his pediatrician to discuss homeopathic remedies and a referral to urologist asap!
Thank you all again!
I just read every comment. So glad I did. It’s great to know this isn’t uncommon. My daughter is six and a half and has never woken up dry. She’s been on miralax which has helped most of her daytime issues. I was hoping you could clarify the homeopathic regimen you used. Just Hyland belladonna 30x? Did it matter what time of day she took it? And how long did she take it? Thanks!
There are a bunch of rec’d homeopathics for bedwetting. I think it was the one you mentioned. She took it before bed, and did it a month or two and stopped when she was dry, then if there was a not-dry day she’d take it again, if I remember correctly.
I have three kids, and my two older ones have always had bedwetting issues. The oldest didn’t stop until age 14! My 10 year old still has issues with it regularly. Neither of them have had problems with constipation. My youngest has always struggled with tummy trouble, has even been in the hospital because of constipation, and she has never had a problem with bed wetting. Even before she was actually potty trained, she would be dry in the mornings in her diaper, even before she turned 2! So I don’t really buy into this theory…at least not in our case. Maybe for others. But our issue is that it runs in the family, and their bodies just haven’t developed that hormone yet. FYI, don’t take the prescription for it. We did this with my oldest, and she still wet the bed most of the time, plus it is a hormone pill, and caused her to develop and hit puberty earlier than she probably would have otherwise. 🙁 just my two cents.
What a tricky situation, Amanda! You are definitely right though, it’s not for everyone. It was very hit and miss for us too, and finally homeopathy (or time!?!) did it for my girl. Hope the end is near for your 10yo!
Just please realize that a child can be permanently traumatized by being imposed upon by an enema. I speak from experience. I’m in my 30’s, and sometimes am affected DAILY because this happened in my house when I was very young. It disturbs me deeply. Children shouldn’t be forced to do this if it bothers them.
Ellen, Thank you so much for sharing this – it’s an important reminder, that the child’s mental health is more important, and they need to be on board with the treatment being better than what you’re treating. Hopefully if a child understands that they’re trying to get rid of something that they might be really embarrassed about, it will be ok. But YES — I agree, and I might write this differently now (and do it differently) — we must respect our children’s bodily autonomy.
Related, you might look up Dr. Aimie Apigian’s work on trauma, because I’m sure she would say that you don’t have to be *permanently* traumatized if you find the right help. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-biology-of-trauma-with-dr-aimie/id1658593616
Katie, thank you so much for your reply! I will definitely look into the Dr. Aimie that you mentioned. I have never talked about or written about my feeling of trauma before yesterday. I spoke out in hopes of helping others avoid this. Maybe I can get healing. Thanks!
I just read an article about bedwetting. There is a thought now that it has to do with Primitive Reflexes. Very interesting and it makes a lot of sense.
My 7 year old has a major bed wetting issue. but he poops every night so i dont think it’s constipation! I have to put him in goodnights and use a waterproof mattress and deal with the stink. i dont know what to do. I need help
So sorry to hear this Anne! My 7yo finally night-trained, but if you read these comments you’ll see that you’re absolutely not alone. We used some homeopathy, and who knows if it worked or if it was just time for her body to figure it out. She went from being the soundest sleeper EVER to waking up every single night, at least once, to use the bathroom and suddenly was a super early riser. Very strange! But I’ll take it…I know that there’s an end in store for you, too!! If he’s leaking and causing the stink, I do recommend taking him to the bathroom before you go to bed to cut down on the number of urinations he’ll have in one Goodnight.
I have a granddaughter that has had constipation problems. Miralax was recommended, but it is too strong. A natural laxative is ground flax seed. Just a little bit in some juice or yogurt works very well.
Katie, has homeopathy continued to help?
We tried that first and it helped only somewhat. Then treated constipation and that worked eventually. Now he’s relapsed. Thinking about homeopathy again.
She’s been 100% dry with zero accidents for a few months now! Such a relief!
Hi Katie, I’ve been looking at several different homeopathic options (who knew there were so many?!) for my 7 and 5 year olds (I do not think constipation is the issue, esp for my 7 year old; I’ve read the “it’s no accident” book from cover to cover even before seeing your post), would you mind sharing which brand/s you used and specifically which one seemed to do the trick/coincided with her staying dry? Or if you’re not ready to share it here, can you email it to me? I’m a desperate momma here! Please help! ????
Hey MW, the one we started with was medorrhinum and was from a company that doesn’t sell to individuals, so the brand won’t help. Then we ordered some from Amazon or Vitacost, Hyland’s Belladona 30x. That is the one during which she finally was DONE, once and for all. Never an accident! So who knows, of course, if the homeopathy did anything or if her timer was just “up.” She switched from being a super hard sleeper and very difficult to wake up in the morning to waking up every night at least once to use the bathroom AND becoming an early riser. Super weird! I’m hopeful for you!!
Here are a couple big conversations on Facebook that I have saved for future reference in case I need them again:
Do you have a follow up post? A link to what you used? Thanks!
Hi MG – scan the comments here, I know I replied to someone a month or 2 ago with the homeopathics we used. BUT who knows? It could have just been coincidental timing. My 4yo wasn’t night trained either until about 2 weeks ago, and it just happened. We changed nothing. So maybe each kid just has their own stride…
I am so pleased to find your blog. My 5 year old daughter has regular accidents during the day. Her accidents usually occur at school, and definitely seem to increase in number and severity as the term progresses. I am now thinking stress related constipation might be the problem. So I’m going to try a magnesium supplement and going to a chiropractor. Thank you for all the information.
I had two girls that were bed wetters until they were 9 and 8. They had a deep sleeping issue and we used alarm that woke them up when they had accidents. The program we used was very expensive, but it worked (Our girls never really had constipation issues). Now I could tell people what to do if they had a similar problem and save them a lot of money, but at the time we didn’t know how to fix it and my husband struggled with bed wetting through his teens and he didn’t want our kids to have to go through that. So if someone out there has a child that still wets the bed after taking care of a constipation issue, the cause may be a sleeping disorder.
I was so excited when I first saw this post back in Feb. – I found the “It’s No Accident” book fascinating. My 6 year old son is halfway through his 3rd (and last) month of enemas. He’s about in tears at this point, because he’s still wetting most nights. But the enemas have definitely helped with some of the other constipation problems he was having that the book described.
I’ve been letting him have the enemas earlier in the day – he wants to get them over with and not wait until bedtime. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. But I’m sort of thinking I’m glad we’re not waiting until right before bed because after the enema and he goes, he often runs back to the bathroom another time or two.
Anyway, I’m so glad to read that he’s not the only one the enemas have been a perfect bedwetting solution for.
I meant to say
he’s not the only one the enemas have NOT been a perfect bedwetting solution for.
🙁 I’m sad for your little guy Lisa! We only did a month – and my husband still thinks we gave up too early – but I wanted to see something, get tossed a bone, to give motivation to keep going! We’re about to try a homeopathic remedy that is supposed to be amazing…we’ll see! I’ll let you know on this post when I write that one… 🙂 Katie
Just stopping by to see how you went with the homeopathic remedy. As mum of a 12yo bed wetter that has tried everything, i’m still grasping at straws and would love to know if you’ve had any success yet.
YES! It hasn’t worked 100% yet, but we’ve had more dry days since starting it a few weeks ago than probably all of 2015 before that. I hear that’s how homeopathy works – a little improvement, a step backward, more improvement, and so on. It’s teaching your body to take care of itself, so it takes time. But it is giving both my daughter and me great HOPE! I can’t wait to write about it when we’re finished, but I really shouldn’t even give the tip of the iceberg yet without knowing more, disclaimers, etc. But if you want to be connected with the gal who is helping me directly, I’ll ask her if that’s ok. Email me at [email protected] if you’d like. 🙂 Katie
Any update on this, Katie?
We used a few homeopathy treatments, and whether the second one worked or we just hit the exact right time, I don’t know, but she’s been 100% dry with zero accidents for a few months now! Such a relief!! 🙂 Katie
I just wanted to share an update too. The enemas didn’t work for my son. But now I’m wondering if he just didn’t hold it long enough. Earlier this year, he had pneumonia and was on 2 antibiotics. Of course he ended up with terrible diarrhea (in spite of massive probiotics!) BUT – by the end of it – he no longer wet the bed! He is convinced that it was the antibiotics that really cleaned him out. We are all so thankful!
Wow! What an interesting silver lining to something that I’m sure felt awful at the time… thanks for updating!! And Yay! 🙂 Katie
So sorry that the enemas did not work for your daughter! I was excited when I first came across the idea of constipation being the cause behind bedwetting, since it is a problem with my 7 and 5 year olds (and it makes so much sense!), but I was not terribly enthusiastic about Miralax or daily enemas : ( Instead I will be trying probiotics, chiropractic adjustments, Natural Calm, and more water, fruits and veggies and see if that makes a difference… I hope you will keep us updated if you find anything that helps, I’m sure we could all you use the break in laundry ; )
Btw, I’ve been an intermittent reader of your blog for many years now, but just wanted to say thank you for what you do! I really appreciate your honesty and transparency : )
Us too, Michelle! I’m trying to decide now between Natural Calm, seeking out a chiropractor, looking into orthotropics, or just giving it time…
Parenting ain’t easy…
PS – the ortho was rec’d by a reader:
the local dentist she told me about: http://www.drkorourke.com/
Sometimes … it just happens. My mom wet the bed till she was 14. Then poof, no longer a problem. My husband’s family all had accidents at night up to 10 or so. My 5yo still wears diapers at night, and it’s okay. Sometimes I’m annoyed at the cost, but you know … it’s life. I’ve found a kind that seldom leaks (Cottontails, which I think is a Giant brand) and the bed has a plastic cover. I tell him sometimes, “You know, many kids give up diapers at night when they are three …. or four … or five …” and his answer is always, “No. I want a diaper.” I have no idea if it’s just attachment to his “usual” or if he really can’t stay dry all night, but because of the family history I’ve decided not even to push it. What does it hurt, really? A pack of diapers every month or so? Not a big deal.
There is an episode of the show Arthur about a kid who has to wear a pullup at a sleepover … wish I could remember the name, but if you can find it, it might be reassuring for your daughter. She is so worried the other kids will find out her awful secret, and it turns out another girl at the party wears one too!
A smart parent wrote that episode! 😉 Katie
I’m sorry you didn’t have success with the enema method, but I’m kinda glad we’re not the only ones! We started the enemas shortly after this post and that combined with the typical limiting liquids, and his prescription medication still give my 12 year old a completely saturated XL pull-up and sheets before 10 pm last night! He has had constipation issues his whole life, so I was hoping this was the missing piece. He had been on MirLax for 3 years before we went gluten and dairy-free. We are now on full GAPS, so maybe constipation isn’t our issue any more.
We tried the waking one hour after falling asleep and one hour before waking for a full year with no success. I’m hesitant to try an alarm because this was like waking a brick! I tried for that whole year to find a good spot in his sleep cycle when he would wake easily, but never found one. For that reason, I doubt the alarm would work.
Chiropractic visits 3x/week for months didn’t help. Homeopathic tablets didn’t do anything for us either. I hate that he is on a prescription medication, especially when it isn’t solving the problem. We continue because it slows the flood, but it doesn’t prevent it.
His pediatrician did a small work up when he was 6, but we just scheduled a urologist appointment for next month. I just don’t know how to send him to scout camp this summer. Pack 5 sleeping bags???
I’m so sorry for your son! 🙁 So hard! We actually tried to get her to drink MORE liquids, wondering (as I think ‘Becca said in this thread) if she wasn’t getting enough and that was impacting her constipation. What I’m not sure of is if we failed or if we just needed to do it longer? I hope that at least puberty brings an end to this for you son! It sounds like it should… fingers crossed for you! 🙂 Katie
my kids used a spray that you put in their nose about half an hour before bedtime. It is called DDAVP, which you have to get a prescription from your doctor for it. It worked wonders for us. Here are a few link you can read about it.
I just read that you haven’t made headway after 30 days… I’m wondering if, after all this time being constipated, if the kids need to do some Kiegel-type exercises to help tone all the pelvic muscles? Are they able to stop the stream when they are going potty? Because if the enemas worked and they are all cleared out, maybe now it’s just a matter of getting the muscles strong.
Also, were the enemas a prescription? Was it super embarrassing and messy?
Thank you so much for your transparency in this issue!!!
That’s an interesting question about Kegels – I’ll have to explore that with her. I’m not sure if they did clear her out – even in the last week, some of her BMs were still small “rabbit sized” pieces like the doc in the class said were “constipated poops.”
The enemas were the Pedialax brand linked to above, and they’re just a little bulb and tube about 3″ long, pre-loaded with liquid. In, squeeze, out, no mess at all, just a walk to the potty and a poop. I thought enemas were super messy too! And maybe these were lightweight enemas (I kept asking my husband, “Are you sure this is right? It says suppository, not enema, on the packaging…” but he assured me that the doc said they were the same. I fear that the best course of action, IF constipation is her issue, is to continue…but I told her when the boxes were gone we get to be done, and it wasn’t exactly her favorite part of the day! She was a champ about it after the first 2 days though.
I just saw this comment after reading the updated article (KATIE: You might want to put in some explanation that the earlier comments here were comments on an earlier version of the article–it’s confusing!) and I have to say, I think Kegels are what stopped me from bedwetting! It wasn’t a chronic problem for me, maybe once a month or so, until I was 8 and read about Kegels in my grandma’s magazine, which was suggesting them for stress incontinence. I thought, “I wonder if exercising those muscles would stop me from wetting the bed,” and either they worked really well or it was a perfectly timed coincidence.
Katie– do you have an update on how the constipation/bed wetting issue is going?
Sigh,…yes Jacque – We’re almost at the end of 30 days of suppositories, and they work every night to get a BM out, but no increase in dry pullups in the morning. Discouraging! We’re not sure what to do after 30 days because we thought a month would do it! Looking into magnesium, chiropractics, and making sure there’s no UTIs next…
Hope you have solved your problem by now, our grandson was 10 in January and hadn’t had a dry night more than a few times. Got his dad to take him to the chiropractor and after a couple months hasn’t had a problem.
My daughter wet the bed every night until she turned 13 (almost to the day) and once it quit it never happened again. We used the overnights pull ups. Our pediatrician couldn’t find anything medically wrong with her and over the years kept assuring me that this happens to a small percentage of children and that she would outgrow it. He was correct…she did. I never once got upset or exasperated because I could tell it wasn’t her fault. Limiting liquids and waking her at night didn’t do anything, plus I always felt she needed the uninterrupted “good” sleep with her busy schedule. She would take her pull up and plastic bag in her sleeping bag to sleepovers and nobody ever knew the difference. This was quite a few years ago now and it is so interesting to hear that there could have been a hormonal/puberty connection. It really makes sense with the timing of when it stopped. Thanks for sharing this!
I’m glad to hear about the bag and sleepovers because after 15 days, we’re not making headway with the constipation angle!!!
Nocturnal enuresis is a very real challenge for many kids. I am saddened that our society attaches such a stigma to it, because like any other biological or medical issue, we need to be able to talk about it openly and without fear of reprisal or shame. We don’t blame kids who have seizure disorders or asthma or diabetes for needing treatment for their episodes, and we should handle this issue exactly the same.
Please allow me to share my story:
I was trained VERY early for daytime … around age 15 months (was also an early walker). Nighttime came within a year after that. However, I began having periodic problems with wetting the bed from ages 5 – 8.
My parents were upset, somehow they assumed I was doing it on purpose or being lazy about getting up to go at night. They made me clean up the mess, do the laundry, and change my sheets. I would cry and promise to try harder to do better.
I stopped drinking anything after 6 pm, went to the bathroom before bed, everything. I think we even tried one of those wetness alarms. Alas, I still never woke up until I was completely soaked in the bed. Sometimes it happened more than once per night, too. I was ashamed and miserable. My parents were angry and frustrated. They spanked me, they gave me other consequences, nothing changed the status quo. If anything, it got worse because I became a nervous wreck about it. I started hiding the sheets and sneaking them into the laundry when they weren’t home, because I was so afraid and ashamed. It was the end of our having an open and honest relationship.
Fear is never a good motivator. Neither is lack of sleep from being awakened multiple times per night to go and pee “just try, just in case”.
Finally, they threw in the towel and dragged me to the doctor, embarrassed to even tell the pediatrician about what was going on. One simple test. Lo and behold, I was having chronic UTIs and they weren’t being treated because of the stigma my family attached to bed-wetting. After anti-biotics for the infection, the problem went away. It only re-occurred once around age 10 and we went straight to the doctor that time. Sure enough, another UTI.
My parents still feel badly for punishing me for years for this problem.
If I learned anything through this process it’s these things:
1. always discuss concerns with a good doctor whose advice you trust
2. rule out a medical cause FIRST, kids don’t want to be bed-wetters
3. don’t make a big fuss with the child about it, act matter-of-factly, keep the comments brief and calm, then let them know you are on their team. You are going to work on this together and find a solution.
4. Don’t blame the child. If you shame the child, punish them for a biological issue, or generally raise your voice and make the kid feel like they are the only one in the world with this problem and that it’s their fault, you are setting them up for a lifetime of issues with a lack of self-confidence, emotional insecurity, anxiety, and more. Believe me, I know this … even today it impacts me.
Thank you so much for this open and honest comment! I’m sure you will help a lot of parents – did you have any pain that would have indicated a UTI? I figured if bedwetting was the only symptom that it wouldn’t be something like an infection, but I’m very curious about this angle now! I’m so sorry to hear of your experience and am not surprised (but am saddened) to hear that it still impacts your life experience as an adult. 🙁 I like the idea of “being on the child’s team.” I hope that is what we’re doing in our house, but another reminder never hurts. Thank you!!! 🙂 Katie
Katie – no pain or other indication, other than wetting the bed while deeply asleep. I probably had some daytime urgency, but I don’t recall it and I was able to get to the bathroom in time when awake.
Thank you Cindy! This is definitely going to be something on my mind to check into before trying anything else. 🙂 Katie
I don’t usually recommend a device over a natural solution, but two of our kids were still nighttime wetting at ages 5 and 6. We had tried all the other common suggestions with no luck. I hemmed and hawed about buying one of those bedwetting alarms, mostly because I hate spending money, but it ended up being a wonderful purchase! The one I got was different from the ones shown at Amazon–it was a little snap that you put on a pair of undies overtop of their regular undies. It was not bulky at all. It woke them up within a second of beginning to urinate, and they were able to empty their bladders in the toilet. It worked within *one week* with both of my bedwetters, one boy and one girl. I highly recommend them!! A month of enemas seems traumatic.
Thanks for the recommendation! The first two nights were a little rough, but now it’s just “her medicine” and she takes pride in doing it without fear or tears, and she’s always amazed that she poops – “It worked again!” 🙂 Katie
I was surprised not to hear any follow up about that CALM magnesium supplement. I learned about it when I had a shattered wrist and it was became a partner throughout the rest of my life. It does taste good and it is so much better solution then MiraLAX.
Just sayin ‘ !!
Sometimes I get so many ideas in comments that they all turn into a stream of “maybe we’ll try that later if option A doesn’t work” which is what this post will be for me in another 2 weeks if we don’t have success. 🙂 Katie
My 4 year old was wetting the bed every night, sometimes more than once. Hyland’s used to make bedwetting tablets, which we tried. They worked! But could only be used for 5 days at a stretch, so great for vacations, but not for ongoing use. Our doctor said he doesn’t address bedwetting until 8 years of age. i hadn’t found any food correlations. I was dying of laundry overload. I tried the Udo’s amazing oil, which a friend suggested. I could barely choke it down. My daughter refused to touch it. And then I bought Dr. Christopher’s Kid-E-Dry, an herbal tincture for bedwetting. After a few weeks of giving her the minimum, dose there seemed to be a slight improvement, and it was easy to hide in drinks, even in water, so I kicked it up to the full 10drop dose three times a day. Voila. No more bedwetting. After a few weeks at that dose, I started forgetting to give it to her. She remained dry. For months. She’s 6 now, and occasionally has accidents, but at a pace I can handle. She does wet her underpants before she goes to the bathroom during the day. It results in frequent changes, but no public embarassment. The constipation idea is a lightbulb moment. I’m going to have to look into how to help her with that.
My younger son struggled with bed wetting until he was 8. We had tried everything including seeing his doctor, but nothing helped. I finally ordered an alarm, because he is such a deep sleeper. I figured his brain wasn’t waking him up. I bought one with a sensor that clipped to the front of his undies, so it would sound almost immediately. It was amazing how quickly it worked. Within a couple of months, we were in the clear. I wish I would have tried it sooner.
So good to hear! Our daughter could sleep through anything! 🙂 Katie
I had never thought of constipation causing bed wetting. My DD was having UTI type symptoms with no signs of infection and her pediatrician suggested using Miralax (didn’t help), but he never mentioned the bed wetting could be connected too. We ended up using the Rodger bed wetting alarm for both of our kids (5 and 6 at the time) and both were dry within 2 weeks. The little round sensor goes on the front of their underwear and was a little annoying the first night, but they were excited to be dry so they put up with it. Even my son with mild ASD was able to put up with it. I bought one alarm, used it for the oldest and then passed it onto the younger.
What about magnesium supplements? Magnesium oil? Epsom salt baths? I never had wetting problems, nor constipation problems, but I did have hard stools often growing up. As an adult, I was told I might be lacking magnesium! That was the trick to better consistancy stools. Perhaps some magnesium supplements could aid the miralax and/or enemas?
Great idea! It’s supposed to aid sleep, too…
So far, we have 2 bedwetters. I took my oldest to the urologist to find out why he was still wetting the bed. He was extremely constipated. They put him on a high fiber diet and Miralax. He went from wetting every night to wetting maybe once a week. They basically said that his stools needed to be the consistency of applesauce. I was also a bedwetter until I was well into my teens. I have always suffered from constipation. I wish doctors would have made the connection for me but I am thankful that I now know how to help my children.
How do you find out if they are constipated? Mine are 4 and 5, have never been dry at night, and poop every day, usually more than once.
Google the Bristol stool chart, I think it’s called. Fascinating stuff, if poop interests you! 😉 Katie
Dr.Hodges is spot on. You should also check out Dr. Robert Collins at soiling Solutions for more information about the bowel/bladder connection. We had a late trainer too (3.5 yo) who was not helped by Miralax. But a bottom up approach made all the difference!
Constipation can also be a cause of urinary tract infections. My son (who never did much bedwetting) had UTIs at age 5, 7, and 9, so after the third one the doctor got concerned and ordered more thorough evaluation. UTIs are unusual in boys, and American doctors often blame them on not being circumcised, but there can be other causes. The strange thing is that my son thought he’d recovered completely from a brief episode of constipation about 10 days before the infection (he complained; I told him to drink more water, gave him an OTC stool softener and a glass of Metamucil, and planned some high-fiber meals; a few days later he said things were going fine) but when he was X-rayed, lumps of hard poop were visible high up in the intestines. Apparently softer stuff can go around harder stuff when it isn’t totally blocking the path, and the harder stuff sticking around can press on the bladder creating a “pocket” that doesn’t empty completely and thus is able to breed infection. So, if a child is having urinary problems, in addition to treating that it may be wise to treat the bowels as well.
Yes, the module went into all that too ‘Becca, it’s so fascinating! He also said Miralax can sometimes not work for the same reason, that the runny stuff goes around the hard. But he offered both as potential solutions, just said the enema is more effective.
I, too, was surprised to find the answer to be consitpation when we had issues with one of our children. I’m so glad you posted this!
I would like to add that sometimes the issue is actually related to vesicoureteral reflux (kidney reflux) in children. Not all children who have this are symptomatic, but bedwetting is a side effect of the condition. We know that at least 2 of our children have this, 1 we had to surgically correct it because of her repeat kidney infections, and ultimately the death of one of her kidneys completely (4 surgeries all together, it was CRAZY, but I digress). Not all cases of VUR are this extreme, but its important to note that it is a possible explanation. Teaching good body hygeine (wipe front to back, go to bathroom frequently, healthy diet to avoid constipation, etc) is very important, but its just good to keep in mind sometimes there truly is an underlying medical issue unrelated to diet and nutrition. VUR is hereditary. If taking steps to correct constipation does NOT help the bedwetting, one might consider having the child checked by a urologist. 🙂
Thank you for the important reminder Jessica! 🙂 Katie
I’m curious what type of enema is suggested. A month of enemas For a child seems like a long time, both for the child and parent(s). Does the doctor recommend any other natural solutions for bowel retraining? I wonder if a digestive blend of essential oils or acupressure or any other non-invasive treatments would work. I find this topic of constipation as a cause very interesting. Thank you for posting.
It does…but if it works for GOOD, then it’s worth it. The only other option he mentioned was Miralax (not quite as natural) but it could take 3-6 months of that and it’s less effective overall. I wonder if chiropractics ends up clearing some constipation when it works for this issue?
I would bet chiropractic treatments work!! When our youngest was 2, she was having ‘poopy issues’ – although still in a diaper, she was afraid to go, held it in, and became very constipated, which was heart-wrenching to watch her struggle to go/not go at the same time! I had scheduled an appt with our pediatrician to check her out, but also scheduled our first appointment with a client of my husband’s, who is a chiropractor, on that same day for an initial visit. I was very skeptical of chiropractic treatments (over-protective mother not wanting someone to be ‘cracking our children’s backs and necks’! Hee!hee!), but as he was examining our youngest, he said, “She has trouble going to the bathroom, doesn’t she?” I didn’t tell him the struggles she was having, so I asked him why he thought that. His response, “As I feel down her spine, what we call ‘The Poop Button’ is not aligned!” I told him we were heading to the pediatrician right after leaving his office to discuss her problem and he said, “She’ll be fine!” She was and has never had poopy issues again after her Poop button was fixed! 🙂
By th way, our pediatrician had previously told us to try Miralax or castor oil (yuck!!!), but I believe it caused some of the same issues as other readers have noticed – it didn’t get rid of any blockage, just allowed some softer stuff to move around the harder stuff!
Wow, one visit! That’s amazing. I have 3 different chiropractors I know, and I’ve pinged each to try to figure out which “kind” of chiro would be best to try for this. All would be many many appts though which gives my pause, both for our schedule and budget. 🙁
Thanks for the success story though! 🙂 Katie
It was quite surprising that we found relief so quickly, but we weren’t dealing with potty training/bed wetting concerns either at that time. All I know is that it helped her constipation and we usually visit our chiropractor 2 (maybe 3) times a year, so it hasn’t been a continuing issue for us.
I love that you have many chiropractors to choose from – how fortunate!!! I totally understand the budget concerns (wish the visits were fully covered through our insurance, especially since our 15yo daughter is being treated by our chiropractor for scoliosis! Ugh!)…maybe ask each of your 3 their opinions/thoughts?? You could mention one of your readers’ daughters had her Poop Button re-aligned! 😉
This is such a great post and I’m so glad there is help and support for those families needing it!
I feel I have to chime in here to maybe help someone who is struggling with this issue. While many of the above causes may be the issue in some kids, I urge you to keep in mind some kids are just late. This can easily become emotionally scaring. It is not the child’s fault.
My son was daytime trained at three. But he continued to wet at night until he was 10 or even 11 (rarely). He wore a pull-up and it was very full most mornings. He was a deep deep sleeper.
He is intuitive, sensitive, intelligent, and loving. He was also slightly smaller for his age.
We tried everything. I mean everything. Even the waking alarm sensor thingy. Nothing worked but time. We had to work out sleepover strategies. Once he stopped, he stopped. No more. Just like that. Now he is a great extremely self-confident teenager.
It was very frustrating as parents to be changing sheets at night (he would take off his pull-up at night during his sleep if it was at all wet, then would wet again); and I regret every time I sighed deeply and asked him why.
It’s good to get checked out by a physician. It’s good to try other things. But try to never get angry or show frustration. It’s not intentional or their fault. Just love them and this too shall pass.
Thank you for the reminder to try to curb those exasperated sighs! Man…that’s hard to do. But definitely, parents, don’t be punitive on this issue. It’s not their fault!
Happy ending to your story!! 🙂 Katie
For my DD, her bedwetting and incontinence issues were tied to oxalate intolerance (so many vegetables and spices that were staples were a problem!) along with detox issues and parasites. When we manage those better, no issues!
Glad you’re getting the word out about constipation too, it is really so common.
How did you ever figure all that out!? Wow! I can’t find a trend in foods, but I guarantee I wasn’t looking at everything, especially as simple as broccoli. So tough…
Friends share so much info with me! I refused to look at oxalates for a while – kale, cumin, cinnamon, spinach, and rhubarb are some major ones, but for her, we also had to cut carrots, celery, green peppers, oranges, and a long list of other veggies. Plus a struggling detox system = mess during detox phases, which I already knew about from hanging around others doing GAPS. So it’s been a journey. I’m at least grateful that now we have no issues with incontinence now, and we could do it with food. God is good.
Our oldest, a boy, was a cinch, out of diapers before 2, overnight well before 3 and had had a total of 1 accident ever. Then comes our girl and a totally different story. She was much older before she was out of them during the day and at 4 1/2 she is still in diapers at night. Has had maybe 4 dry nights ever. I’ve never heard of this doctor, but now you’ve got my attention. She struggles with constipation and we’ve tried lots of things. Gluten free, dairy free, etc. Nothing seems to help. We do okay for a while and then have to use MiraLAX for a while, which I despise! She eats multiple prunes daily and lots of fruit and veggies and pretty clean eating in general. Our littlest is 3 and is in diapers at night too, no dry nights ever. So I’m concerned he’ll be the same as his sister, although he doesn’t seem to have the same constipation issues. Hers were obvious by 2, he’s not seemed to struggle. But wow, more info would be awesome! I’d love to help her move past this!
The only thing this doc recommended was to get them cleared OUT with enemas, nightly before bed, for about a month. Then it was just a matter of encouraging them to go regularly, keeping their diet clean, etc. Nothing ground breaking as far as diet, unfortunately. We’re going to try the enemas, which hopefully won’t be awful! He mentioned Miralax too but said it’s so much less effective. Good luck!! 🙂 Katie
We have 2 bedtime wetters! My 3rd child is dry at night. I just read one of those books but haven’t been able to get the constipation taken care of. Keep us updated on how you proceed. For the record, both my husband and I were nighttime letters so there may not be much hope for us..
Both my brothers were bedwetters until puberty. My poor mother! I had 3 boys under 3 and all in diapers. My oldest decided he was going to wait for his twin brothers to ditch the diapers. I never realized that there was such a thing as nighttime dry as opposed to daytime dry. My twins were nighttime dry pretty early on, but I never was willing to take the chance and ruin their mattresses. But their father was. One night I made him put them to bed and they didn’t want to wear diapers. He said OK, but don’t wet the bed! So they went to bed without diapers and that was it. All my boys drank a lot of juice and water…all the time. I never limited the amounts they drank and early on they had tremendous retention…even in their sleep. But I do believe that constipation and often stress can be the cause of bedwetting and not the old standby about it being a hormonal issue.
At age 8, my daughter was still having night time accidents. I took her to see a urologist, and they tested her how her bladder emptied. Her urthera was smaller than normal, so they clipped and stretched it. That cured her problem. She also had to take some meds at night.
One other thing, she was also being molested by her biological father at that time. I wish so badly that I had known that at the time. He wouldn’t have been in our lives for the next 4-5 years.
Deborah, I’m so sorry for your family to have had this awful experience. Such a fallen world we live in….may God bless your daughter with healing, peace, and forgiveness. Katie
My 8 year old has the same problem. I recent read something about constipation causing bed wetting and I do believe that is his problem. However I’m not sure what the solution is. I was hoping this article would provide some suggestions on eliminating the constipation. The funny thing is he eats lots of salads and the least protein of my 3 and he is the one with the problem. However he can NOT tolerate beans if any kind. Instant gag reflex. I would welcome any solutions to overcome the constipation.
The main thing the doc recommended was nightly enemas for a month to get the child cleaned OUT, and then reducing low-fiber foods like white flour and such, and mostly just reminding them to go often and to make sure they attempt a bowel movement and not just rush through urinating and get back to playing. You might see if your library has his book?
Our doctor prescribed MiraLax to “get cleaned out”, and while we aren’t thrilled with the idea, it’s a lot more fun than enemas!
Taking in plenty of water is also important. My son tends not to feel thirsty much, so we started reminding him to drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning, after getting home from school, and with dinner. In this cold weather we also suggest herbal tea often. Salty and spicy foods are good for encouraging more water consumption. Soups, and watery foods like cucumber and melon, get a lot of water into meals.
My kids are TERRIBLE at drinking liquids! I bet they each only drink about 2 oz. out of their water bottles for an entire week of lunches. I really like your 3x a day regimen. Starting that tomorrow!!
Thanks – Katie
How about magnesium. Epsom salt soaks and natural cam at night. Will help the calm down naturally and sleep well too.
You might try Natural Calm, it’s magnesium citrate in a powder form that tastes good so kids can take it. It relaxes the muscles of the intestines and alleviates pretty much all constipation. It also helps them relax and encourages good bone growth. It’s at all health food stores and online. We love our magnesium, win win!