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Potty-training a 9-year-old

onehappygirl's picture

In the past I have posted about KittyCat (SD9) who has a wetting problem. We share 50/50 every other week with the Wookie. When KittyCat is with the Wookie, she sleeps in Wookie's bed everynight and wears a pull-up. KittyCat has been wearing pull-ups to bed her entire life at the Wookie's house. She has never been properly potty trained. She also has absolutely no shame about wetting the bed or wearing "diapers" as she calls it. She even told the teacher in front of her class that she would have to bring a diaper if she went on an overnight class trip. (that's another story - she's not going on an overnight class trip in the 4th grade - ridiculous.) I was hoping that a little peer pressure and teasing from her classmates would help her along - nope, she doesn't care.

At our house, KittyCat is not allowed to wear diapers. If she wets the bed (which is usually 5 out of 7 nights, she must take the dirty bedclothes downstairs and put them in the washing machine).

We have taken her to the doctor several times, we have worked with her, we've offered rewards, we've been encouraging, we've taken away her allowance - nothing has worked. We have gotten up in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom, and that did help somewhat, but she was still wetting 3 or 4 nights a week.

DH did not want to punish her as he feels she cannot help it. I finally put my foot down after once again opening my girls' bedroom door in the morning and being assaulted with the humid pee stench that is KittyCat. I really get tired of washing blankets and I don't think it's fair to Starr (BD9) to have to live in a room that constantly smells like that.

I told DH (and he agreed) that from now on, KittyCat would be punished if she wet the bed. If she wet the bed, she would not get to play videogames or play on the computer the next day. Guess what? She didn't wet the bed the remainder of the week. I started that system the second night she was home, so 6 out of 7 nights, she did not wet the bed. Could it be that KittyCat was just being lazy?

My theory - she usually wet sometime within an hour before she had to get up. My thought is that she would wake up, need to go, but then she was too tired or lazy to take herself to the bathroom. At the Wookie's house, it didn't matter. She's wearing a diaper so she can just go and throw it away in the morning. But faced with not being able to play her precious videogames, she started to go on her own.

Yes, (in Stewie Griffin's voice) VICTORY IS MINE!!!!


soverysad's picture


frustratedinMA's picture

Wow.. that is awesome. keep that up!!

SD used to do this.. I heard her once say to her twin brother. you have a bad habit of holding your pee at night. you should just go if you feel like it. I flipped. I corrected her in front of her brother and pointed out she was the one w/the bad habit.. NOT her brother that used the facilities even in the middle of the night. She was trying to get him to wet the bed too. OMG!

She finally stopped after a Christmas at Grandma's when her 5 yr old cousin (she was 9 at the time) asked her WHY she was wearing a **GASP** diaper!! HA.

onehappygirl's picture

I just can't get past that she has absolutely no shame about it. On the couple of occasions when I had an accident as a kid, I was mortified!!! No amount of teasing from the other kids has put a dent in it. And her mother - OMG!! How could she even think that this is okay. I'm sorry, but 9-years-old and wearing diapers is just not right.

Love me or hate me, I'm still gonna shine!!!

sapphire11's picture

Bed wetting is not done intentionally this 9 yr old has and is going through Trauma it needs to be handled with Love and care
the Ex puts a diaper on her for bed wetting so the child is used to wearing the diaper she is conditioned . no child purposely wets the bed it is part of growing up some children's Bladders are quicker at Maturing than others by punishing her Physically or otherwise is not the answer you would make things worse! I bed wet till I was 16 my son bed wet till he was 17 My niece is 14 and still bed wets it is just a matter of time you cannot hurry the process however there is meds like DEVAP or DESMOPRESSIN that a doctor can give to help with bed wetting but they are reluctant to prescribe these drugs when children are young! diapers are not the answer either unless they are terry nappies and plastic pants as the modern diapers take away the wetness so the child does not feel that they are wet! with Terry nappies/diapers and plastic pants the plastic pants contain the wetness the child will wake up as he or she is wet and will want the nappy off or to be changed into a dry one! thus the Mind is learning it is is wet and that waking up eventually kicks in with the child to go to the bathroom . hope this is of some help ! I also am a stepfather .been there done that and worn the T shirt ....Lol

Jbee27's picture

She sounds like Droop and Blabb! Good job on holding her accountable though. It is ridiculous for a 9 year old to be in diapers. An "accident" once in awhile (a great while) is understandable. But almost every night of the week? No.

stepmom008's picture

Wow - I don't even know what to say about that. The Wookie sounds like an awesome Mom. Can I ask a question though, what does DH have to say about the lack of potty training and what's been his role in the whole thing?

My BM's boyfriend's 9 year old son also still wears pullups. In my mind, it's neglectful of the mother to allow that to continue at such an age. Good for you for doing something about it - good luck!

"There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over - your mind and your mouth".

onehappygirl's picture

DH is a lot like me. He's tired of it. He didn't want to believe for a while that it was just her being lazy, but what parent would. But after I started enforcing the rules (with his complete agreement and help), he has come to realize that it's not a medical problem, it's just being lazy.

In the past, he has sent e-mail after e-mail telling the Wookie that she is being an irresposible parent to her daughter by having her sleep with her and wear diapers. I guess the Wookie has an aversion to getting peed on, but even with pull-ups, can you imagine the stench of that bed. Ewwww.

Love me or hate me, I'm still gonna shine!!!

Wicked.Step.Monster's picture

Ack! She TALKED about wearing them???? OMG! Perfectson had bladder and sleep issues and he wet the bed often until he was 12, but he was HORRIFIED that he did and he was humiliated that he slept in those goodnight pullon things. We went to dr's over it, and they offered to 'stretch' his bladder which I thought sounded awful or he could take medication which I really didn't like either. Our last option was acupuncture. Now, whether it was REALLY the acupuncture or timing coincidence, it stopped. Just like that. And it never happened again. Weird huh?

But my point is, perfectson would have DIED if any of his friends knew!!

Jbee27's picture

LMAO!!! *f*@king dead forever and ever*
Honey, you have the BEST way of wording things.

soverysad's picture


Kb3Hooah's picture

SS is 11 and still has a bed wetting problem, however it's not as often as what you describe and he definitely is ashamed of it. Has DH talked to her about it?

I found this about preteens......

If your preteen is still wetting his bed at night, don't despair. Plenty of his classmates are doing the same. Bed wetting, or enuresis, is a common problem and about 3% of all 14 year olds wet the bed at night. It is much more common in boys, but does happen with girls also.
Bed wetting can be divided into two main types:

Primary Nocturnal Enuresis - which refers to persistent involuntary nighttime urination where the child has never had a dry night.
Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis - which refers to an onset of nighttime bed wetting after a dry period of at least six months.
Three of the most common reasons for primary nocturnal enuresis are:

Genetic predisposition - 75% of children who wet the bed have parents who had the same problem as a child.
Deep sleeping - studies suggest that children who wet the bed are very hard to wake up and have a hard time waking to an alarm clock.
Reduced production of vasopressin - an anti-diuretic hormone that directs the kidney to concentrate the body's urine so your bladder doesn't overfill.
Two of the most common reasons for secondary nocturnal enuresis are:

Urinary tract infection.
Stressful situations at home or school. A bed wetting preteen is not lazy. They are not undisciplined. They have a problem and will need the help of a physician. Even though most preteens will grow out of this condition in time, it will benefit your child to get this help, as during this time their self-esteem is being affected.

Don't make a big deal out of a wet bed. Show your preteen how to strip the sheets and do a load of wash.

Never punish your preteen for wetting the bed.
If you were a bed wetter, share your experiences with your preteen.
Keep this between your preteen and yourself. Sharing this problem with other family members or friends will only serve to embarrass your preteen.
Find positive things to focus your conversations on. Don't let the only communication you have with your preteenager be about bed wetting.

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

Sia's picture

With what I have gone through with the bedwetting thing, and now with the kidney stuff, I can tell you that MOST all children with this problem cannot help it, nor control it. BS11's nephrologist and uroloist both told me that deep sleeping is the main cause of most of the problems. BS still wets the bed regularly, and it has nothing to do with being lazy. He has a kidney defect that would NEVER have been found with any of the usual testing done for bedwetters. So, be patient, and don't punish her for her mother's ignorance. Maybe you could find some literature about it that might be age appropriate for her?

HeatherM's picture

My SS8 still wears pull-ups (ok well we took them away recently), and pee's the bed, and like you he has NO shame... None... So many 7-8 year olds I know would be mortified if they had to wear a diaper to bed, and if their friends knew it. When I'm extremely annoyed I'll say, "I have to go put a diaper on your sister before bed (she's 17mos), you go get your diaper on too"..and he's like "okay!, I have my diaper on!" yay! I totally don't get it. He still pee's his pants once in awhile too... I agree with Sia that some kids have a problem with this, and maybe my SS does (except that he went 2 years without peeing the bed)... so I'm not faulting him for the actual 'peeing of the bed' portion.. although I don't like it.. what I don't get is the "no shame" thing about wearing a diaper!

Nymh's picture

I would document your change in enforcement in this and keep a log of how many nights she wets the bed when at your house. When held up to the fact that she still wears pull-ups at home, it sounds like a pretty solid case for neglect...

Great job on getting her to turn around her bad habit. I hope it sticks!

*~So sayeth Nymh~*

Sara_Smile22's picture

OMG! This is one situation I can only partially identify with thank goodness. I went through potty training with my three biokids and my SD from my previous marriage. Two of my biokids were bedwetters, one for a very brief period (a girl) and then my son was so unfortunate as to deal with it for a couple of years. The fact that they both have the same father makes me suspect there's something genetic there. Anyway, he was very embarassed so I know he couldn't help it. He would also do it very early in the morning...maybe on the verge of consciousness. He said he would have dreams he was in the bathroom and wake up wet....very sad, and very difficult to help him not be so sashamed. I cannot fathom that a child genuinely, knowingly wetting the bed at that age would not be embarrassed. I think that is another example of parents sheltering their children from natural consequences. If they don't feel ashamed, then what is their motivation to change it? Natural consequences help us as parents to actually work less...we just have to be able to restrain ourselves from denying reality and hiding it from our kids.

soverysad's picture

you crack me up.

"God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy" and you can't change crazy!!