Summer Camp Tips For Bedwetting Child or Teen

This is the time of year when we hear from parents about the fear of letting their child attend summer camp.

As for the child, they are torn between terror and excitement.  The excitement is because, of course, it’s summer camp…a time to do nothing but laugh and play.  And then there’s the terror.  That is the most fitting word to use, because we hear and we know that the thing all bedwetters dread the most is being discovered, and they’ll go to great lengths to hide their condition. 

We spoke with a mom last week who thought she had fully prepared her 13-year-old son to attend camp and to completely conceal his bedwetting with the use of Pull-Ups.  Her careful planning was undermined by a member of the camp staff.  She was devastated when she discovered what happened that put her son at risk for exposure.  This mom gave us permission to tell her story with the hope that other parents can avert the kind of experience she had. 

Here is her story.  Following this are the 5 Critical Steps we recommend to ensure you greater peace of mind.  

This mom, (Lydia), and her son, (Bryce), agreed that wearing a diaper was the only way to feel comfortable to sleep in a cabin with other campers.  At her son’s insistence, they purchased all diaper brands and sizes so he could do what he called “test driving” all of them in search of the “quietest” one.  All of this to prevent someone from hearing the sound of moving around in a diaper.  After all, it’s a noticeable sound.  They practiced how he would slide it on once he was in his sleeping bag at night, and how he would discreetly dispose of them in the morning.  Not the most exciting thing to have to add to a care-free camp experience.  

Typically this plan is the most successful.

However, Lydia did not learn until nine months later–as we were discussing a plan to put an end to Bryce’s bedwetting–what occurred during her son’s camp stay.  When he had checked in with the camp director as his mom advised him to do, Bryce was told that they required he use their own chosen disposable diaper for legal reasons, and that they needed to exchange them before he could be admitted.  In our consultation with this family, Lydia discovered that Bryce was afraid to challenge them since they were in charge.  As you can imagine, Bryce was terrified that someone would find out he was wearing a diaper, so he chose not to wear a diaper and stay awake all night to avoid a wet.  He said he was typically exhausted all day, which prevented him from participating in a few enjoyable activities.  He would take a nap wearing the camp-issued diaper because no one was around.  Bryce told us that he didn’t tell his mother that he was miserable because he didn’t want her to be sad.

Summer camps may report to parents that they know how to deal with bed wetting, even bed wetting teens. However, you need to be assured that your child will be protected from potential harm just as with Bryce, so we encourage you to have an in-depth conversation with a director before the day arrives.  

Here are The Five Critical Steps:

1.  Identify not only the director(s) of the camp, but also the person(s) assigned to your child’s cabin.  You need to be assured by them that they will be discreet.  Ask them what their protocol is.  Make sure they can provide special assistance to ensure the bedwetting won’t be discovered.  Discovery is devastating for a bed wetter.  That discovery can certainly cause long-term damage to self-esteem. 

2.   Notify the director that you will be providing your own privacy package which may include the following:  Diapers, non-scented wet wipes, a trash bag, a suitcase with a lock, and whatever else it is you feel would help put your child’s mind at ease.

3.  Ask to review their procedures for dealing with this issue.  You need to become partners on behalf of your child.  Present different scenarios and ask how they would deal with each scenario.  For example, if a camp counselor is unavailable, then who would be able to assist your child during if needed.

4.  Don’t assume a so-called “bedwetting medication” will keep your child dry.  The medication is intended to slow kidney function and limit urine production.   It is NOT reliable and should not be depended upon to ensure dryness.  Even if the drug was used in previous camp stays or overnights and it was successful in keeping your child dry, there is no guarantee it will do they same again. Additionally, the medication has a dehydrating effect on the body and requires extra hydration during the day, so make sure you child has a water bottle available to him when active.  

5.  Daytime accidents are often a symptom from the nighttime bedwetting.  In the event of daytime leaking or accidents, you need to know what the counselors will do if your child reports leaking to them.  Make sure there is a plan for a change of clothing as well. 

Once you have established a clear plan with the camp, review it with your child.  Your child, tween, or bedwetting teen needs to have confidence in their camp team, to know they can be trusted, and that everyone understands the situation and will be there to help.  Let your child know that you’ll be one phone call away.

GaileGaile Nixon,
International Director and First Patient of ETC

Outgrow Bedwetting – When Do They Outgrow It?

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My son is 8 and wets the bed a few times each week. We have tried a variety of things to help prevent it from happening, including stopping beverages two hours before bedtime and using a mattress pad with a bed-wetting alarm. Should we take him to see a specialist? Don’t kids usually outgrow bed-wetting by this age?

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Patricio Gargollo’s response (see below) of an 8 year-old who wets the bed was helpful but at the same time contains important inaccuracies that we wish to correct.

Dr Gargollo is correct when she states that bedwetting is not a medical problem and that there is no need for medical involvement to deal with it.  

  1. However, she is incorrect when she writes that, “most children outgrow bedwetting when they reach adolescence”.  While some do, many do not.  Bedwetting can continue well into adulthood or never spontaneously end.  We have worked with thousands of individuals who continued to experience bedwetting, never achieving the dry bed.
  1. Allowing a child a child to “outgrow” the problem may sound comforting and benign.  However, Dr Gargollo fails to consider the massive psychological distress and possible life long psychological consequences that can impact a child the longer he/she suffers with the disorder.

Her mentioning of the possible anxiety a bedwetter might experience speaks to her lack of appreciation about the stress the disorder can cause.

While it is true that bedwetting is not a life threatening disorder, if untreated it creates venerability to shame, low self esteem, feeling “different” feeling failure and a profound fear of discovery.  Someone who wets the bed always wonder why he or she fail at something that “everybody else can do”.

Children who wet the bed live in fear of sleepovers, overnight camp or any circumstance where their problem is open to discovery by their peers.  In our experience, we have encountered horror stories regarding merciless teasing, harassment and rejection of bedwetters by their peers.

Very importantly, a large percentage of child who experience bedwetting suffer from daytime control problems that intensifies their terror about discovery and their sense of shame.

So, “waiting to outgrow it” sounds simple and benign.  It isn’t!  Parental support by comforting the child helps but cannot keep the child safe from bedwetting threats to his/her psychological well being.

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she writes that, “bedwetting tends to be more common in children who are heavy sleepers”.

  1. However, she is only partially correct.  In our 42 years of treating bedwetting for children and teenagers, we know that in 98% of the time, the real bedwetting cause is because of a deep sleep disorder that disrupts the brain bladder connection that the doctor mentioned.  We use the following mantra: “all deep sleepers are not bedwetters but all bedwetters are deep sleepers.”

The deep sleep/bedwetting connection was discovered in 1969 by Dr. Roger Broughton at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.  His ground-breaking research confirms that deep sleep, while necessary in the healthy sleep cycle, occurs much more often than it should for someone who experiences bedwetting. The sleep is so deep, sound, heavy that it fails to automatically direct the bladder muscle to remain closed when it receives the bladder’s signal to empty.  It simply cannot be sufficiently aroused by the bladder’s signal and therefore it fails to do its job.

The deep sleep/bedwetting connection is not anecdotal.  We have seen it in almost virtually all of our successfully treated patients over the past forty years.  Our findings have been confirmed by articles published in well-regarded journals of pediatric medicine.

In addition, the deep sleep disorder that causes bed wetting is almost always inherited.  The thousands of history’s we have taken reveal chronic bedwetting history always contains a blood relative who has experienced enuresis.  

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she states “there is nothing the child can or cannot do to prevent bed wetting and you should never punish a child when it happens”.  Children and teenager never “want” to wet the bed, nor are they too lazy to stop it.  They simply cannot control the faulty deep sleep/bladder connection.  They suffer because of this.

  1. The doctor is quite incorrect when she writes, “limiting liquids before bedtime and using a bedwetting alarm may help and are reasonable steps to take”.
  2. She is also incorrect when she writes, “it often takes two weeks to see any response and up to 12 weeks to enjoy completely dry nights”.

If this were true, enuresis would be eradicated and withholding fluids before bedtime and using bed wetting alarms would be the same cure for bedwetting as Dr. Salk’s vaccine is for polio.

Bed wetting alarms alone do not awaken the child from this profoundly deep, heavy, sound sleep. The arousal disorder that is the cause of bedwetting will not allow a bedwetting alarm alone to fully awaken the child and will not end the problem.  

So many of our children’s parents report that their child could sleep through vacuuming, a severe thunderstorm or a very loud voice urging them to wake up.  School mornings can be fraught with frustration.

Dr. Gargollo is correct when she writes that “medications are available that can slow nighttime urine production, calm the bladder or change a child’s sleeping and waking pattern”.  She is even more correct when she writes, “these medications do not cure bedwetting.  When a child stops taking them, the bedwetting typically comes back”.

  1. She fails to mention that these medications can have serious side effects that can compromise overall biological functioning.  We have thousands of cases we have confirmed that bedwetting is not the result of too much urine production or an overactive bladder.

We have devoted 42 years putting a stop to bedwetting and have seen many so called bedwetting solutions come and go.  A vast majority of our patients have experienced deep disappointment at the hands of these bedwetting solutions before reaching out to a real bedwetting expert.

Source: https://www.nobedwetting.com

Dr. Patricio Gargollo answer to the above question

ANSWER: bedwetting is common in children your son’s age, especially boys. Most of those children outgrow bed-wetting without any medical care by the time they reach adolescence. If he’s not having any other urinary associated problems, such as accidents during the day or urinary tract infections, it’s not necessary to take your son to see a doctor. If you notice other medical problems that could be connected to the bed-wetting, however, then an appointment with your son’s primary health care provider would be a good idea.

Toilet training is a complicated process. The sequence of events that must happen in both the brain and the bladder, and the connection between the two, for a child’s body to regulate bladder function effectively during the day and at night can take several years.

Many children have no trouble staying dry during the day and yet have persistent nighttime wetting. It’s not clear why some children have problems with bladder control at night, while others do not. But bed wetting tends to be more common in children who are heavy sleepers.

There is nothing a child can or cannot do to prevent bed-wetting, and you should never punish a child when it happens. The techniques you’re using to try to curb bed-wetting — limiting liquids before bedtime and using a bed-wetting alarm — may help and are reasonable steps to take. Just be patient as you work with your son, and try not to become discouraged if the problem doesn’t stop. It usually takes time. For example, with a bed-wetting alarm, it often takes at least two weeks to see any response and up to 12 weeks to enjoy completely dry nights.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your son’s health care provider: unusual straining during urination, a small or narrow stream of urine, dribbling after urination, cloudy or pink urine, bloodstains on underpants or nightclothes, redness or a rash in the genital area, or daytime as well as nighttime wetting. Also, talk to his health care provider if your son is having pain or a burning sensation when he urinates. These symptoms could signal a urinary tract infection, or a bladder or kidney problem. In some cases, accidents during the day as well as at night may be an early sign diabetes, although that is uncommon.

If your son hides wet underwear or bedding to conceal wetting, or if he seems particularly stressed about it, talk to his health care provider about ways you may be able to help your son feel less anxious about bed-wetting.

Rarely, prescription medication may be used to control bed-wetting. Medications are available that can slow nighttime urine production, calm the bladder or change a child’s sleeping and waking pattern. These medications do not cure bed-wetting. When a child stops taking them, the bed-wetting typically comes back.

Keep in mind that most children eventually outgrown bed-wetting. Often, all that is needed is time, support, understanding and patience. — Dr. Patricio Gargollo, Pediatric Urology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Also read: Light at the end of the tunnel

Light at the end of the tunnel

We recently had a consultation with a family from Indonesia.  Their six year old son is a bedwetter.  This family shared that they were anxious about the issue of bedwetting since it was not something that people in their community ever discussed.  We explained the same is true no matter where you live.  Bedwetting is a very common issue—just not commonly discussed. 

Even though their child was only six and they hadn’t tried multiple things to end his bedwetting, they didn’t feel that anything being offered made sense, so they were growing more anxious.  They didn’t like the idea of medication, they didn’t see how restricting fluids would be useful; they didn’t want to awaken their child randomly in the night.  They read on blogs that constipation might be the cause of the bedwetting, or that maybe the food they fed their son was creating allergies that triggered bedwetting.  They knew in their gut that none of these were accurate assessments or suggestions.

So now they felt both anxious….and baffled.

When these parents began to hear about how we treat bedwetting from its root cause—the source issue—they began to make sense of it all.  For the first time, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.  And then they said these exact words:  “This is brilliant.  We can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel before we even start”!  YAYYYY!

We so wish to fill every family with this kind of relief, excitement and possibility!  Everyone deserves to have this experience, because bedwetting can and will be treated!  Nobody has to live with this depressing, frustrating, misunderstood issue.   Call us and find out how!

Also read: Dad and daughter thrilled with bedwetting program

GaileGaile Nixon,
International Director and First Patient of ETC

Pre-Teens Still Bed Wetting

pre-teen-sleeping

And One Day It Leads Into Adult Bedwetting

We spoke to a mom today in New York.  Although sometimes bedwetting is a difficult subject to broach with others, this mom was talking to the mother of her son’s new friend from school.  Bedwetting became the topic of conversation.  It was discovered that they had something in common:  An older child still bed wetting.  They each had an 11-year-old boy who wet the bed, and they both experienced the frustration of having to watch their boys live with it, and feeling helpless to do anything about it. They talked about all the failed attempts they each made, and expressed how they were feeling desperate if they were ever going to be able to stop bedwetting for their pre-teens. 

The second mom conveyed that her son once nervously attended a sleepover, but he decided to sleep “sitting up” on the sofa in hopes of not wetting.  It didn’t work.  Someone who continues to wet the bed sleeps too deeply no matter where or what position.  Her son was terrified when he discovered he had wet.  He turned over the sofa cushions in hopes of hiding it, but eventually the scent of the urine drew the host mom’s attention.  She asked her son about it, and in putting two and two together, the boy realized who it was and began to share about it at school.  We know that that’s a bedwetter’s worst nightmare!  She said it became the single most humiliating experience her son had ever endured, so much so that he asked to transfer to another school because he couldn’t bear to show up at school each day. 

Related article: A Bedwetting Teenager Asks “What’s Wrong With Me?”

The mom in New York who called us was catapulted into action by that story.  She told us she felt guilty she had waited to long, but that their family physician assured her it would be over by now.  He prescribed drugs in the meantime.  And although this mom was against bedwetting medication, she felt as though she had to do something—anything—for her son until he outgrew it.  

After speaking with us, and once we explained statistics – 1 in 30 teenagers still need bedwetting treatment—she naturally became fearful of the possibility that her son’s bed wetting could continue into adulthood.  While chronic bedwetting is not commonly discussed, it is more common than one might think.  As adults, it’s talked about even less so.  Adults seek out our bedwetting treatment to discover that we are the leading authority in the field, and that we have stopped bedwetting for children, teens, and adults for the past 40 years.  For the first time in their lives, they feel relief and a sense that they will do more in their lives when free of the secret they’ve been keeping.   

Presently the oldest patient in our program is 44 years of age, and interestingly, he believes he was 11 when he began to give up hope that he would stop wetting the bed.    

A recent survey of 100 adults who experience bedwetting,  78% said they were told by their doctors there was not a bedwetting solution for them.   

Don’t wait to seek help.  One day a child is 11, and before you know it, they are grown…and still waiting…and having to live with the stress and stigma and discomfort of wetting the bed.  

We invite you to call us today.

GaileGaile Nixon,
International Director and First Patient of ETC

Bedwetting and Sleep Away Camp:  A Five-Step Plan to Ensure a Comfortable Camper

Sleep away camp offers so many opportunities for children and teens, yet it can instill fear in the hearts of a child or teenager who wets the bed.

summer-camp

Many summer camps report that they know how to deal with bed wetting.  However, 87% of parents we surveyed reported that the camps did not have a system in place to confidentially assist the camper.

When bedwetting continues, whether it happens every night or once a week, the child is concerned about other campers discovering their secret.  Even if they don’t express it to a parent, overnight camp can be anxiety-filled for them.  Even children who are eager to leave home for sleep away camp are likely to worry constantly or even attempt to remain awake all night so as not to be discovered.

Take the following steps in order to reduce the threat of ridicule or discovery for your child or adolescent.

1.  Ask to take a few minutes to review “your” child’s situation with the head of the summer camp.  Be sure all camp counselors assigned to your child’s housing understands the situation and the sensitivity surrounding the bedwetting.

Chronic bed wetting is not intentional nor is it caused by a psychological problem. However, discovery can be devastating for the bed wetter.  That discovery can certainly cause long-term damage.

Also see – Overnight Camp: A Bed Wetting Nightmare For Children With Enuresis

2.  Discuss their procedures for dealing with youth or teen disposable nighttime diapers.  Develop a plan for the discreet disposal of the wet sheets and remaking of the bed.  In the event of a daytime accident, ask if the camp has a “signal” that your child can use to alert the staff.  Also, be sure the camp staff has a plan in place for a change of clothes.

3.  Provide wet wipes to help with odor and clean up if a shower is not possible. Again, discretion is crucial.

4.  NEVER assume that a so-called bedwetting medication will keep your child dry.  Most often they will fail to do so.  Prescribed medications may also require a severe reduction in hydration. Fluid intake is crucial during the warm weather.

5. Be sure you inform your child that you have discussed all of the above procedures.  Your camper needs to know that the camp team will understand the situation, and will be there to help if necessary.

barbaraBarbara J. Moore is a leading authority in the field of bedwetting treatment.  She has helped thousands of children and teenagers stop bedwetting since 1975.