Dr. Bill Sears in his article, “Battling Bedwetting” makes suggestions to parents regarding dealing with their children’s bedwetting. Our staff psychologist, Dr. Lyle Danuloff, disputes Dr. Sears’ tips and claims. Below you will find his perspectives.
Dr. Sears – Dr. Sears instructs parents to have the bedwetter “grunt it out” before bed, i.e. completely empty the bladder as a way to stop the bedwetting.
Dr. Danuloff – Bedwetting does not occur because a bladder does not empty. It occurs because of the failed brain-bladder connection. Bedwetters’ bladders are significantly underdeveloped. Because of this, even a small amount of urine in the bladder can trigger the bladder to empty. It will empty, no matter the amount of urine in the bladder, because the deep sleeping brain fails to keep it closed.
Dr. Sears – Have a “talk” with the child so they can repeat phrases such as, “I will get up and go to the bathroom when I feel my bladder gets big. I will splash water on my face to wake up and grunt three times.”
Dr. Danuloff – Dr. Sears’ directive exposes his noticeable failure to understand the impact and power of the deep sleep someone who wets the bed experiences. Bedwetting is a totally involuntary phenomenon.
No amount of self-talk before bed can reduce the profound distance from any level of consciousness that the bedwetter’s sleep creates. His suggestions of a “talk” and methods of self-awakening provide evidence of his lack of understanding.
Dr. Sears – The doctor suggests that the above two methods “usually work 90% of the time.”
Dr. Danuloff – Unfortunately, they don’t. His suggestions for cure are based upon a fundamental misunderstanding of bedwetting.
Dr. Sears – Go “high tech” and use a “bladder conditioning device”, i.e. A pad and buzzer that goes off at the first drop of urine, thus awakening the child.
Dr. Danuloff – Again, Dr. Sears displays his misunderstanding of the profound depth of sleep the bedwetter experiences. Someone who continues to wet the bed can sleep through thunderstorms, loud music and alarm clocks. A buzzer or bedwetting alarm, used alone, never awakens someone who wets the bed.
Dr. Sears – Dr. Sears refers to the many “little bedwetters” he has helped.
Dr. Danuloff – Bedwetters come in all ages. At Enuresis Treatment Center, while we treat children as young as 5 years of age, the age range of our patients goes into adulthood. Our typical patient is 10-16 years old and a child who has experienced failed efforts to end the bedwetting similar to those suggested by Dr. Sears.
Dr. Sears’ suggestions reveal his lack of basic knowledge regarding the disorder. In our 42 years of treating bedwetting our expert staff has never encountered a bedwetter who could accomplish what Dr. Sears suggests.
Source: Lyle Danuloff, Ph.D.
Dr. Danuloff is a Fully Licensed Clinical Psychologist and has been in practice since the early 1970′s. He has been on staff with the Enuresis Treatment Center for Bedwetting since 1984. Dr. Danuloff has intimate clinical knowledge of a bedwetter’s emotional and psychological challenges. Additionally, he participates in our staff development progress, and consults on a regular basis.
Here is the original article to which Dr. Danuloff is referencing:
Author Link By Dr. Bill Sears
Tips to keep young children waking up to dry mornings.
During my 50 years as a doctor, I have helped many little bed wetters enjoy dry nights. It’s physiologically more accurate to call this nighttime nuisance “sleep wetting.” Commonly misunderstood as a psychological or discipline problem, bed-wetting is really more of a sleep quirk. Some kids, more commonly boys, sleep too soundly to respond to their bladder’s get-up-and-go signals. Just as there are normal late walkers and late talkers, there are normal late dry-nighters.
In my pediatric practice and in my own family, I have used five specific steps to conquer bed-wetting:
- Draw a picture
I draw a picture of the brain with “wires” connected to the bladder, explaining to the child, “Your bladder is like a balloon the size of a baseball. Inside the balloon are tiny sensors that tell you when your bladder is full. The full bladder then sends messages to your brain, and the brain tells you to get up and go pee. Because you sleep so deeply, the brain says, ‘Don’t bother me. I don’t respond to text messages while I’m sleeping.’ But your bladder becomes so full it needs to empty, so you pee in your bed. We’re going to help your brain and your bladder listen to each other at night.”
- Go before bed
You are your child’s bladder-training coach. Many bed wetters go to sleep with a half-full bladder because they are tired or in a hurry and only dribble a bit when they go to the bathroom before going to bed. Show and tell your child to “grunt it out” — squeeze all the pee out of your bladder and grunt, grunt, grunt three times so you go to bed with an empty bladder — as you use your hand to show him how the bladder squeezes all the urine out.
- Enjoy a talk before bed
As your child is dozing off to sleep, repeat phrases to program his brain: “I will get up and go to the bathroom when I feel my bladder get big. I will splash water on my face to wake up and grunt three times.” This bedtime rehearsal imprints on your child’s brain and helps his bladder and brain cooperate at night. Alternately, since most children wet the bed within a few hours after retiring, set an alarm to go off a few hours later to prompt him to get up and go.
- Wake and relieve
Before you go to bed, fully awaken your child, help him walk to the bathroom and prompt “grunt three times” to completely empty his bladder. Then escort the sleepy child back to bed.
- Go high-tech
While the above measures usually work 90 percent of the time, if your child is becoming increasingly wet and bothered, try a pad-and-buzzer apparatus called a bladder-conditioning device (available online or in the of office of your health care provider). When a drop of urine strikes the moisture-sensitive pad, it sets off a buzzer that’s attached to the child’s T-shirt or pajama top. Explain this conditioned response to your child as the “beat the buzzer” game. Encourage him to get up and go to the bathroom before the buzzer sounds.
This technique can be effective 90 percent of the time if used correctly. For best results: Have your child empty his bladder completely with the triple voiding technique just before going to bed.
Explain to him that the buzzer will help his bladder and brain listen to each other at night while he’s sleeping. Tell him what to expect: “Imagine waking up and taking a trip to the toilet. Pretend your bladder is full and starting to stretch and it’s time to get up.”