Monday, October 15, 2012

All Night Long

How we finally got our 6 year old son to stay dry at night!

Sometimes I write about funny things; sometimes I write about life events. This time, I'm writing about something personal and kind of gross.  Poop.  And night-time peeing.

So if you don't like reading about poop or pee, go away.  If you'd like to know how we got our son to finally stay dry at night, please pull up a chair and listen to our story.

The boy has had no problems in the daytime since he was 3.5 years old.  He's never been consistently dry at night.  It got to the point that we bought cloth pull-ups (Super Undies!) to save money.

My very good friend told me about a book called "
It's No Accident: Breakthrough Solutions to Your Child's Wetting, Constipation, UTIs, and Other Potty Problems" by Steve J Hodges, MD.  I read it and it was like a light bulb went on in my head about what the problem might be.  Constipation!  Armed with the knowledge from the book, we tried a "natural" laxative called lactulose but it didn't seem to do too much.  We got lazy about it since it wasn't consistently working and went back to doing the "same old same old."

A few months later, we were approaching The Boy's 7th birthday.  Age Seven seems to be the benchmark age at which doctors start seriously considering night-time bed-wetting issues.  So we made our appointment and went in.  The doctor asked a few questions and determined that The Boy had an overactive bladder (something that will correct itself over time.)

Then he had The Boy get up on the examination table.  After listening to his bowels moving (how cool is that???) he said, "His bowels aren't moving quickly enough."  I didn't know you could hear that with a stethoscope.  Now I want a stethoscope of my own so I can listen to all the different body sounds we've got going on.

He didn't give me his stethoscope, but he gave me something much better, ground-breaking advice.  Are you ready for it?  Do you want your world to be rocked?  No more night-time laundry?  Here's what he told us to do:

"Give The Boy a smoothie each morning.  Put some ground flax seed in it.  Put lots of fresh fruit in it; veggies too if he'll tolerate them.  Then, get him up to pee every night.  Do this for a year.  Come back if you have any problems."

At this point I'm thinking, "We've kind of already tried that.  Okay, not exactly like you said, but we've done the laxative thing and we've tried getting him up at night.  Maybe not together and maybe not every day.  I'll try it, but I'm pretty sure this isn't going to work."  

And then we got home.  We made smoothies.  The Boy even got to pick the colour of the smoothies.  (Green was fun.  He didn't even blink when I told him it had kale in it.  He likes kale chips.)  We got him up to pee every night before we went to bed.  And he was dry the second night we started.  Then the third night, and fourth, and fifth.  We've been doing this for three and a half weeks, and he's only had one night-time accident, the night after we forgot to make the smoothies.

It works!  

Two nights ago, as the kids were getting ready for bed an hour early, The Boy asked, "Mom, do I need to put SuperUndies on right now?"  I told him not to bother wearing them that night.  And last night too.  It may be a bit premature to be throwing a "Dry Nights Party", but we're fairly excited to have had this many dry nights.

If you're interested, here's what we do for our smoothie (which all three kids and I drink, The Boy getting the full cup before we divvy up the rest.)

Flax seed smoothie!
1 banana
1/2 cup to 1 cup of your favourite berries
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 small yogurt
1.5 cups juice 

Blend with hand blender.  Serve.  Enjoy.  
Check teeth for seeds.

(If you want to change it up, instead of yogurt and juice put milk with chocolate sauce.  The kids thought that was a great treat!)

If you've had success or if you're struggling with your own child's night-time bed-wetting, I'd love to hear what you've tried.  Drop me a line or two in the comments section!


  1. Wow - I would have never guessed that constipation would be linked to bed wetting! I will definitely keep this tip in the back of my mind for later as well as that book. Thank you for sharing Wanda!

  2. The reason constipation causes problems is that the rectal mass (poop) sits right next to the bladder. Any movement can cause the poop to put immediate pressure on the bladder, making it suddenly feel very full. Combine that with a sound sleeper and you're likely to have a wet bed to clean.