Why do older children wet their bed?

miles asks: My biggest secret is I still wet my bed and I have to wear pull ups to bed. I don’t want to but I have to. Why do I still wet the bed? I worry people will find out. I never told anyone my secret before.

Hi miles –



I don’t know if there’s another issue that causes so much shame in humans as inability to control their bladder or bowels.  I suppose it’s because parents put such importance on it in child-raising.  There’s really no reason why it should be any more embarrassing than a runny nose or an uncontrollable cough, or tripping and falling down – these are all areas where one fails at what they’re trying to control – but it is.


I don’t know your age, miles, but I’m going to assume you’re over six.  If you were younger than that, I’d say not to worry too much.  But if you are, there really are two things to do, and they come in a very clear order.


First, you should talk about this with a medical doctor.  You may have a physical issue that keeps you from being able to wake yourself up when you need to pee.  And medicine has come along far enough that these issues can be fixed.  You just need to ask.  So definitely, I urge you to do that as soon as possible.


But if the doctor can’t find a physical reason for it, then we have to move to the psychological – which isn’t as bad as it sounds!


One big question is whether you’ve always had this problem, or if you were able to control yourself in your sleep once, but lost that ability.


If you were able to once, then this is most likely a reaction to something that happened to you.  A trauma, something that hurt or frightened you so much that you reverted to being more childlike.  Again, this is nothing to be embarrassed about (You probably hear about soldiers returning from war having suffered trauma, and no one shames them about it – or at least if they do, it’s they who should feel ashamed!).   In this case, you should definitely meet with a therapist or psychologist, who can work with you to help undo the effects of the trauma.


And whether or not it’s always been happening, I’d recommend something called a Bell And Pad.  This is a simple device you should be able to find at a drug store.  You put the pad under yourself when you sleep, and if it detects any moisture, it rings a bell.  This way, the moment you start to wet yourself, you’re awakened, so you don’t fully wet the bed.  Then, as your brain gets used to this happening, it will start to expect it – and start to wake you up before any wetting happens.  And that’s when you can start to move out of those pull-ups!


But I do have to tell one other aspect of this issue here.  Before I showed up, my human friend Handsome had a dog he loved almost as much as he loves me.  Ygor wasn’t good-looking, and he wasn’t smart, and he was kind of neurotic.  But he had as good and kind and noble a heart as any creature who ever lived.


So when Handsome would come home, like from school, Ygor would just flip with excitement.  He’d jump and yowl and whine and run around in circles… and, when Handsome would get close to him… he’d squirt!  He was so excited, he’d lose control of his bladder, and pop out a little bit of pee.  And if Handsome teased him – like running up to the fence where Ygor was kept in and almost getting to him, and then running back away from it, he could get Ygor to make as many as six or seven little puddles!  And he always says, those puddles were the greatest compliment he’s ever had in his life.  No one else, not even I, ever showed that much excitement about seeing him!


Now I’m not recommending that you show people you love them the same way Ygor did.  But I am trying to help you see that, although this is embarrassing, it’s not as bad as it seems.  It can be funny, or even charming.


And the more you can relax about it, the better chance you have to get control over it.


Thanks again, and Good Luck!



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