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Conquering bed wetting in pre-teens

January 26, 2017 4 min read

Bed wetting is considered a chronic illness for an adolescent - up to 2% of +15-year olds still wet the bed and at this age there is no reassurance incontinence will spontaneously resolve. Treating bed wetting prior to the teenage years is, therefore, very desirable.

We recently received feedback from a customer who reported on their newly dry 10-year old’s journey to DRI nights. It is a thoughtful account of the process, the time it took and the strategies they employed alongside the alarm. Their experience will be like some whose child takes a longer time to completely resolve their bedwetting condition than others. What it shows is that perseverance pays off and most importantly that tackling bedwetting prior to puberty can pay real dividends. 

We have reproduced it here with name and place changes to preserve the privacy of the family involved and with links to the strategies recommended on the DRI Sleeper website that were used by the family:


“Hey Guys,

Thanks for your email, it has been quite the journey with getting Tom (10 years) dry at night.

We started back in June of 2014. At this stage, we already knew Tom (8 years then) wet around 3 times a night - between 9-10pm, between 1-2am and between 5-6am. He drinks well but not huge amounts - so who knows why he has so much to do at night (probably not concentrating his urine).

 Anyway, we started with a DRI Sleeper unit we borrowed from a friend. It was a difficult first two weeks as the bed changing was huge and he didn't wake up when the beeper went off – so we needed all the tips and hints on your website. He did improve over a week or two and woke up himself. He also quickly became dry for the second two trips to the toilet at night, so that made it easier. (I think he now goes to the toilet twice a night between 9-11pm and then between 4-6am - he always wakes up fine for any subsequent trips - we got so confident in this - we decided he could remove the unit after he had either wet or taken himself to the toilet during the first time).

However, the road to dryness for the 9-10pm wee has been a long one. He did get progressively better during 2014 but it did take 6 months, until Jan 2015, until we achieved 14 dry nights in a row. Unfortunately, the 14-dry nights coincided with a trip away to visit family and we have now recognised over the past few years that Tom never wets himself when we're away - he is probably slightly more alert or something - and the dryness wasn't thorough. When we got home he was dry so I gave the unit back.

After this, he was mostly dry but would sometimes do a couple of drips before waking up and taking himself to the toilet.

We moved cities in 2015 and as we had borrowed the unit we couldn't restart alarm training and lived in hope it would stop.

In July 2016 he started wetting the bed again, so we purchased a unit ourselves. Unfortunately, it was a little stop/start over the next few months due to a variety of issues but by the end of November we could get some solid DRI Night training in - we used the alarm, visualisation, the code word at night and ensuring he was 'awake' when he got up at night (all hugely important to long-term success). We had good long stretches (10-12 days) but not quite the 14 days and then 5 days before we went on holiday he did another few drops which sent us back to day 1. So, we got 5 days before we went on holiday but then knowing our track record with holidays I decided we would continue the training right through the 12 days we were away and start counting from day 1 when we got back. As we thought, he stayed dry the entire time but then stayed dry for 14 days after as well, so we did a total of 31 days dry just to ensure it was consolidated! Phew.

It’s been a long journey but worth it. The initial work load of washing bedding every day diminished quickly after the first two weeks in 2014, as mostly the wetting would just be a few drops or small enough that changing undies and PJs was enough. After that, it’s been the hard slog of doing pre- bedtime visualisations and then ensuring he was awake enough to remember the code word/process in the morning (a person who seems awake enough to get up and go the toilet but isn't awake is an amusing and yet frustrating thing).

However, we would have rather done this than potentially had him continuing to wet for another couple of years. His attitude to the wetting and process has been great. He understood that it was not his fault and he wasn’t alone but I can only imagine this would get more difficult to deal with as a child enters puberty, so it’s great to have got it done.

Thanks so much Karen and team, your advice and help was great and we so appreciate you, your expertise and the technology. The only thing I'd change now would have been buying the wireless unit myself right from the beginning, before I knew he would take so long to train. Ahh, hindsight is 20/20!

One final note - I know some people who believe that this whole bed wetting issue somehow stems from disposable nappies - Tom is the oldest of three buys - he was the one I did almost 100% cloth nappies - by the time I got to the third baby I used disposable nappies a lot more and that baby was dry at night as he was toilet trained around 2!”

Problems can be solved!

Learn more about Children's bed wetting on The Bedwetting Blog.