In my video Is Your Child with Autism Still Bedwetting? Find Out Why I talked about some common causes of bedwetting for children with autism. Unfortunately, it can take a while to determine the root cause of your child’s bedwetting.
Let’s look at what you can do tonight to help relieve some of your, and your child’s, frustration surrounding bedwetting.
7 Tips to Make Bedwetting Less Stressful
- Make the bed in layers
I wish I had learned this tip much earlier. It’s truly a game-changer. During the day make up your child’s bed in layers:
– Mattress pad
– Fitted sheet
– Flat sheet
When your child wets the bed at night, you can just peel off the top layer. This will save you time. Less time changing the sheets means less stimulation. Less stimulation means a faster return to sleep (for everyone).
Try this! If your child struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep, my video 6 Strategies For Helping Autistic Children Get to Sleep and Stay Asleep can help. I’ll send you this exclusive video when you sign up to receive my newsletter which happens to be full of helpful tips for dealing with autism’s most common challenges.
- Use Chux Pads or puppy pads
For added protection, place a disposable underpad (like a Chux Pad or a puppy pad) under the fitted sheet in your bed layering set up. Placing the pad under the fitted sheet means the pad stays clean if your child doesn’t have an accident.
Additionally, if you place the pad under the fitted sheet it’s less likely to move out of place during the night and the scratchy texture of the pad won’t irritate your child’s skin.
Try this! The adhesive tape on these puppy pads helps keep them in place while your child sleeps making them a great choice to help with bedwetting.
- Try washable bed pads
For a more environmentally friendly option, you can try a reusable or washable bed pad the same way you would use a puppy pad.
I tested a lot of reusable pads. One of my favorites has a sheet-like extension so you can tuck it under the mattress. This feature holds the pad in place all night.
Try this! These washable and reusable bed pads work great for us. Or try this washable bed pad with tuckable sides.
- Add a mattress protector
In my experience, most mattress protectors aren’t absorbent enough to protect your mattress from a full bladder’s worth of urine. I suggest using a mattress protector as a backup and in conjunction with the other tips here.
You can add a mattress protector to your bed-layering setup. Try placing it under or over the fitted sheet.
Try this! I love that this mattress protector is machine washable and doesn’t have the crinkly sound I’ve found with other mattress protectors.
- Protect their skin
Many kids won’t wake up when they’ve wet the bed, which means they’re lying in wet underwear and bedding for hours. To avoid rashes, use an oil based moisturizer or cream. Ointments with vitamin D are especially helpful. You can even use straight coconut oil or olive oil in a pinch.
You should avoid using powder based products. These products are great at keeping your child dry, which is an important factor to prevent a rash, but when powders get wet, they cake up and leave you with a big mess to deal with in the middle of the night.
Try this! Jaq & Jim offer a wide range of clean skincare items. One of my favorite products is their Organic Lavender and Rosemary Vitamin D Moisturizer. This moisturizer is a great way to soothe and protect irritated skin.
- Stay calm
It’s important to be compassionate and understanding when your child is bedwetting. No case of bedwetting has ever been solved by making a child feel guilty.
Remember, a child who is scared to tell you they’ve wet the bed will end up lying awake in urine-soaked sheets all night. This is dangerous for both their physical well-being (rashes) and their mental well-being (tired and irritable).
Try this! Create a calming mantra and recite it before you enter your child’s room. Take a deep breath and repeat your mantra whenever you feel your stress levels rising.
- Invest in training pants
Training pants, like Pull-Ups, can help contain the mess at night. There’s nothing wrong with putting them to use. If you do choose to use training pants with your child make sure you frame it positively and never use them as a punishment.
Try this! Say to your child, “You’re going to wear training pants at night to help you stay dry, clean, and comfortable. When you’re ready to hold your pee all night you’ll sleep without them.”
What’s the Deal with Bedwetting Alarms?
If you’ve done any research on bedwetting I’m sure you’ve come across bedwetting alarms. A bedwetting alarm is a moisture sensor that’s placed either in your child’s underwear or underneath them on their bed. An alarm sounds when the sensor detects moisture. This wakes the child, and you, prompting the child to head to the bathroom and prompting you to head into their room to clean up or help.
I didn’t choose this option with Sophie. The thought of an alarm sounding loudly in the middle of the night didn’t sit well with me. I knew that if Sophie was startled awake, her heart rate would rise, she’d go into sympathetic overdrive, and have a difficult time getting back to sleep.
A bedwetting alarm wasn’t the right choice for me and my family, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice for you. Plenty of people use them successfully. In the end, it’s about making informed decisions that work for your unique situation.
Did you find this information helpful?
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Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.