Published Saturday, October 15, 2016 by

High & dry - nappy free after almost 7 years


So a little thing happened in the past 2 weeks - we are nappy free - after almost 7 years.

Six months ago we were regularly having accidents during the day, and getting dry overnight seemed like an impossible dream. The day time accidents were particularly frustrating, as it seemed like Son just didn't care and was making no effort to try to avoid them.

We raised our concerns about the daytime accidents with our paediatrician. At the time we were told to wait until we were able to reduce his overall anxiety levels (it was in the midst of the school exclusion battles as a result of his negative behaviour, largely due to anxiety). She felt that his brain was so overloaded with everything else that the signal to say "Hey, we need to go to the loo" was not getting through.

The paediatrician was right - as soon as the anxiety reduced, so did the daytime accidents.

Watching TV can still cause some issues, as Son can't tear himself away from the TV when it is on. Knowing that this is an issue, we have a rule in the house that you can't watch TV until you have been to the loo. We also keep an eye on him and look out for the signs that he needs to go. As soon as we see him squirming, we are quick on the pause button so that he can take a break. Some days he even presses pause himself.

Getting dry overnight has been bigger struggle and a long time coming - at first we tried everything we could think of :

  • Going cold turkey (a week of wet beds and a very unhappy child quickly put a stop to that)
  • Reward charts (made no difference)
  • Insisting on going to the loo before bed (cue massive battles and a refusal to go)
  • Midnight trips to the loo (grumpy boy in the middle of the night & tired parents meant that didn't last long)

Eventually we gave up trying, as it just created too much tension and involved too much effort from all of us. It was like a guilty secret - guilty because we had just stopped trying to change things.

Recently I came across ERIC, a charity which can help children with bowel & bladder issues. They have some great resources, and I realised that we weren't the only ones having difficulty. This gave me renewed resolve, and I began to consider getting a bedwetting alarm and seeking further professional advice (by consider I mean I mentally made a note to look into it if things didn't change).



Turns out that in our Son's case, he just needed time. Two weeks ago we forgot to put pull-ups on before he went to bed. In the morning he was dry. Realising that the time had come, we worked with him him to try more nights with out his pull-ups.

At first it was a bit like taking away a favourite comforter and he resisted, insisting that he was not going to bed without his pull-ups. We continued to gently, but firmly, encourage him and he started to agree to go without more frequently. Today I will be throwing out the pull-ups.

When I say a little thing happened in the last 2 weeks - I meant a HUGE thing. There were no great celebrations or shouting from the rooftops about out Son's latest achievement, however at home we are quietly pleased, with mini fist pumps all round