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Everything You Need to Know about Bedwetting: A Conversation with Nurse-Practitioner and Author Renee Mercer

Mercer,Renee_bookMany of us have been there — a sleepy child stumbling into our bedroom saying, “Mommy, I wet my bed,” loading wet sheets into the washer and wondering if this will ever end! This week’s Mom Enough guest, Renee Mercer, knows the situation well, both as a nurse practitioner specializing in the treatment of bedwetting and as a mom who faced the problem with two of her three sons. She joins Marti & Erin to talk about underlying reasons for bedwetting, the most effective interventions and the tempting but unhelpful parenting behaviors we should avoid. Tune into this practical and candid discussion of a very common problem!


Has a child in your family had difficulty staying dry through the night? How did you or other adults respond? Share your thoughts in the REPLY space below!


For more information about the alarms Renee mentioned, click here.

Comments: 4  |  Reply  |  Category: our shows
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  1. Jodi on December 7, 2013

    Thanks for this program! My 8 1/2 year old still struggles with this. What’s interesting is that in his case, he very rarely wets his bed when he stays at his dad’s house (we’ve been divorced for over 3 years and share half custody), but has accidents when he’s home with me. Also, fortunately, he does not have accidents when staying at another home or when traveling.

    His accidents when he stays with me are not consistent. Some months he’ll stay dry for two weeks at a time; other times it’s several times in one week, although this is becoming less common. I’ve wondered if it isn’t an unconscious desire for connection with mommy, as he always has to crawl into bed with me after he soaks his bed. He might have a smaller bladder, as he does need to use the bathroom much more often than other kids (like his 9 year old brother) during the day, often having to run to make it in time.

    I’ll look into getting him an alarm if I don’t see greater progress very soon. I think this would greatly improve his self esteem, helping him feel more normal and grown-up. Why wait? This is a crucial time for him socially and emotionally!

    Thanks again. It was reassuring to hear this information, and I’ll be happy to tell him how common this is!

  2. Renee Mercer on December 10, 2013

    When some children stay overnight in unfamiliar beds, I don’t think they sleep as soundly and have more success with staying dry. Once they return home, in the security of their own bed, the wetting returns. This can be frustrating for parents and kids both.

    A bed wetting alarm can help him learn to stay dry, no matter where he sleeps.


  3. Malia on March 18, 2014

    We’ve been using the alarm for 7 weeks now, and we had 6 dry nights in a row in week four, and since then we haven’t had two consecutive dry nights in a row. Then last night, the alarm went off 4 times between 9pm and 11:30pm (she usually goes to bed at 7:45 and sleeps till 6:30) until we got completely frustrated and exhausted and took it off. Is it normal to have huge setbacks like that? I can tell you my husband is just done with this whole ordeal. We are planning on going camping for spring break next week, and are considering taking the week off and just putting her in a pull up (because we won’t be near a bathroom, and it’ll be cold outside the tent to go outside). We understand that may cause a huge setback, but we don’t know what else to do (other than cancel the trip). Our daughter has REALLY been looking forward to the trip and would be crushed if we didn’t go. What are your thoughts? Any tricks? We just don’t want a wet sleeping bag that she’ll have to sleep in for a week. Oh, but she doesn’t wet the bed any more, it is usually just panties and pants, so we are seeing progress, but still, don’t really want to risk it. Thank you for your advice!

  4. Renee Mercer on March 19, 2014

    Hello Malia,
    I have seen setbacks like you’re describing. Getting to dryness can be frustrating at times! By all means, go on your camping trip next week. Using pull-ups for a week, then resuming the alarm when you return home will be just fine. You may even see less wetting in the pull-up than what she used to have.

    The progress you’re describing is very good, with the tiny wet spots and up to 6 dry nights in a row, so I have every reason to believe that she will continue to make progress when you get home. Getting to dryness is a process and the average child takes 10-12 weeks. Some take longer, but as long as progress is there, continuing the alarm until there are 14 consecutive dry nights is advised. It’s hard to know why she wet 4 times early in her sleep cycle last night. Some foods can be irritating to the bladder, such as citrus, candy, vitamin C, sodas, tea, and constipation can contribute to frequent wetting. Voiding twice before bed, about 20-30 minutes apart, is good, too.

    Enjoy your trip and just hang in there when you get home.

    Renee, CPNP