Friday, March 20, 2009

Give Pee a Chance

Really awful, practically libelous, practically sacrilegious take, on "give peace a chance" (John Lennon tune).

I have a new idea. Our pee parties have returned. And Genea pee'd herself at school again. Took a nap, pee (on her own bed though- proud mama here). Nighttime pee. On and off the past several days and I don't think I can keep blaming daylight savings time anymore. I think I used that one up already. Also used up is her plastic mattress cover. I have it held together now with package tape (worst stuff on the planet that tape). I am guessing they are not meant to be battered for years on end.

(Now, what I am not saying, is how terrifying it is that Genea pee'd at school again. It is a huge, dramatic shift and a bad, bad sign. I actually wrote a whole post after the first time at school, that I have seen this happen with kids over and over. Once that barrier has been breached with these kids it is like a landslide. it just blows out. I erased the entire post because I did not want to project such a negative on to her, I did not want to jinx her. It didn't work. But I think she got a huge amount of mileage out of peeing at school from the teachers and such. I don't want to say it and I don't want to think it. Because this, my friends, is the land where borderline personality disorders marinate. )

She made it about a week having dry nights. Then, she has been on and off since. A few days ago I started waking her up before I go to bed and take her to the potty. That worked the first few days, then last night, not. But we are still trying.

So my idea is this. Take a break. Give it a rest. Take away all the pressure and give her a box of pull ups. I suspect her barbed wire brain has become overwhelmed on this and is misfiring signals of when to go, when to not go. I think the popular thought on this idea is that it confuses the kid to go back and forth with diapers/ undies. I think it is pretty clear she is already confused. We have a 3 day weekend and I will put a pull up diaper on her for naps and bedtime. I will even let her wear them all day if she wants to. We will take a break from all of it and let her brain rest and settle in. Not long, but a few days at least.

After this, I don't know. This is my last idea.

This added a few hours later. I just thought of a bed wetting alarm. I was looking on Amazon. I cannot possibly give my hypervigilant fearful sensitive child something that skewers her awake with loud sound, but there appear to be different brands and styles with light, and with vibration. I am wary of the vibration idea, for ahem, various reasons. I can't imagine what kind of light would wake her. If anyone has info or suggestions feel free to jump on in, 'the water's fine', (sorry I couldn't resist).


  1. Not sure id she is old enogh for this one, with Fudge ( he was 6) was bought a watch that had beep that went on the hour. It was a good reminder for him to go and he liked the novelty as well. He was in charge though, if it beeped and we were together i would ask him to go but if he was not with me it was up to him. It seems to of worked, daytime accidents are rare and when they do happen they are usually small - he rarely makes it through more then 2 nights without being wet though.
    Good luck

  2. So sorry. We had an 11 year old that would release her bladder the second we walked into a clothing department. Totally borderline. She had been in care for five years and in 14 homes. I pray this is just a blip for you.

  3. I'm sorry to hear this. No advice, just support. Hoping it's just a phase and that "this too shall pass."

  4. Want my real advice? This is from the original "LAZY MOMMY HANDBOOK". I proudly began writing this handbook with child one, when my early potty-training attempts backfired, suddenly my mind went "So what? If he's still wearing diapers when he gets married, then it is his wife's problem." So, I totally stopped thinking about it. I found the joy in diapers! I didn't want to be forced to go find a public restroom every time we went out anyway! When he was a bit past 4, he decided he wanted to use the potty; he started using the potty; that was that. Same with bottles. "Why torment the kid?" I asked myself. After an initial crazy foray into worrying when he was a month and a half old that he wasn't drinking a whole 8 oz bottle yet - reason kicked in and sure enough, he went on to LOVE bottles. But, strangely enough, he did not want to take one to kindergarten.

    So, my thought is that you give her a pass on this one. She's got so much else to work on INSIDE; since there is a nice alternative to regular pottying, why not take advantage of it? (DO the midnight teaching and you can AFFORD all those pull-ups.) School is probably stressful enough, anyway.

    Poor baby. My one experience with this was a few years ago. We had the most mature, lovely, articulate twelve year old girl in our parish - just one of those exemplary young ladies. Well, I knew that her parents were undergoing a divorce, which made me sad....then one day as I was just happily chatting with her about her work in the church choir, she peed all over the floor. I was stunned. So humiliated for her. [How I wish she'd been wearing pull-ups or depends or whatever!] Her mother said it started with the anxiety over the divorce. Poor child.

    Also, I guess Heather would say - what is her peeing saying?

    And, I really don't know why she'd get mileage out of it. How do people react? How can she be getting what she wants? I am really curious about this one.

  5. Well Annie, since you asked....
    I did the 'wait for her to be ready' with Teena, and it worked great. Of course I tried teaching a few times, and failed, then waited for her to be ready. One day I set out a kid potty in the living room and presto!
    But, with Genea, it is her that wants to keep trying for dry nights. She wants to have a sleepover with a friend and does not want pull ups. She came home just a bit ago, and I told her about my plan to take a break and she said NO! We are doing it anyway.
    I have 2 ideas of what the pee is saying (love that lol). First, a primal need for physical contact. I bet that in the orphanage the majority of touch happened at feeding or diaper changes. Even the most drug addled crack head will change a loaded diaper. It may well be where the majority of her physical contact came from for several years. Second is a traumatic experience in the original adopting family.
    As for mileage, her school is full of kind, caring, patient adults. She got one on one attention, singled out (special!), got to sit in the nurses office, all the time being sympathized with, fussed over, and cared for. And, believe it or not, both times she came home excited about the undies they gave her (sigh, ew, oh well). I think she so constantly seeks one to one connection with others, that it rewarded her.
    Heather would probably say, live in the moment and don't worry about persoanlity disorders in her future. Is pee that big a deal? So, that is what I have been trying to do. But, like I said, it is Genea who wants to do it this time. I don't know, I will probably find Heather on my doorstep in a few hours hollering at my level of wrongness. I would welcome her in!!!
    So, thats where we are at. Like you said, we are taking a pass on it for awhile.

  6. I have no useful advice except to say that if it were me I would put her in a pullup and call it a day. If she wants to have a sleepover she'll stop peeing. Or not. If it's attention-seeking (which it really seems to be) a pullup will end it. I just can't imagine continuing to put yourself through this. She'll find another less messy way to seek attention.

    By the way, a drug-addled crack head won't necessarily change a loaded diaper!

  7. Oh no, by no means was I ascribing attentive care towards children to a crack head. No indeed. I was using the example to say that even the worst possible useless parent will usually, eventually, change a nasty diaper.
    I am happy to read the comments here. The Husband is not in full agreement, but willing to have a go. I am not even totally in agreement with myself, and I see myself trying to apply logic to an emotional issue. As with all things Genea, we just keep trying!

  8. We did the pee alarm with my urinator. His vibrates (which he LOVES, the little perv) and beeps but you can switch it to do both, or one or the other.

    I also bought him "Good Nites" and told him he could use them whenever he felt like he wouldn't be able to control his psssstt in his pants. When he is stressed, he'll go put on his Good Nites and dance around the house, peeing safely all over himself but what the hell do I care, right?

    I also started giving him a teaspoon of honey every night before bed along with a fiber pill. His pediatrician said that kids his age tend to hold their poop when they are in school because their isn't enough time to do their thing. She said that this adds pressure onto the bladder and creates more accidents than normal. So we overdo the beans and fruit. He toots like crazy but so far?

    Hardly any wetting.

    ...except when he is wearing the Good Nites and dancing around while pissing himself, great fun.

    Every kid is different though. Tara will still go and piss herself in school and she is almost 14. She just does it if she doesn't want to do school work or doesn't feel like going to a particular class. Most kids would fake sick...she pees. Lovely. No idea on how to solve that except I refrain from having any sort of reaction whatsoever and I send spare clothes so she doesn't get any new ones that she likes.

    Good luck. Pee stinks.

  9. I am not sure how old she is...maybe you said, sorry if I missed that. Anyway, I had a 4 yr old foster daughter that would have accidents. Anytime I would say, "why?" she would just repeat back to me...."you don't pee in the floor...." it was like she knew why she shouldn't, but couldn't tell me why she did. Does that make sense? Anyway, she didn't want to wear the pullups either, but I would just say, well if you can go a whole week without having an accident, then you can go back to wearing panties. It would usually work until something visit changes with parents, a substitute at school...things like that. That was the only way I ever knew she had any anxiety over something new was by pee accidents.

    I hate pee, and pee accidents are not fun to me at I opted for the pull ups very quickly. I decided whatever helped me through the day. I know it is different for you though, and I wish you luck!

  10. HI Essie. I got this question recently and answered it on my Adoption FAQ page at I went a bit overboard on my answer, but I got into my BTDT mode.
    I've copied it here.

    "Oh man, does this bring back memories. I can proudly say that they are now just memories and that all four of my kids do their business in the potty. (Not much to be proud of since 3 of them are teens, but hey, with teens I don't get much to brag about, so humor me.) I actually wrote an article on bedwetting that got picked up by the AP and for a while, when you googled my name you would get a bunch of stuff on bed wetting. (Again, not much to brag about, but...)

    Advice is worth what you pay for it, but here goes. Daytime and nighttime wetting are usualy two entirely different things and should be handled differently. I know exactly what you mean about being concerned about your daughter using it as an attention getting device. It can also be used as a way of saying "I'm in charge here, not you." I give a lot of suggestions, some of which might help in your situation, at the adoption resources page of ( Since it looks like there is a possibility of using it as an attention getting tactic, I think I'd go the pull up route until she was dry for a week. In no way would I make it punitive, just matter of fact. I'd also always make her completely responsible for any of the hassles of wetting herself (change clothes, put wet clothes in washing machine, wipe up puddle on the floor, etc.) anyway, good luck. It is such a frustrating time.

    As for nighttime wetting, I am convinced after all my research that the only logical and sanity preserving approach is to let nature take its course. Ther is no research to show that the bed alarms work and there is plenty of antecdotal evidence that they disprupt not only the child's sleep. I had two bed wetters, and both stopped on their own when their bladder had matured and sleep patterns changed. We jsut made sure we had good mattress protection and a pile of old large towels in their rooms. In the middle of the night if they woke up wet, they could put a few towels on the bed and go back to sleep or they could choose to sleep on the floor. (For whatever reason, most of my kids like to sleep on the floor so this was fine with them.) If they were prone to pee twice in the night, which most kids aren't, I would make sure that there was plastic to spread on the floor under them. The key is that you shouldn't be awaken in the night to help them get back to sleep. Let them brainstorm on what they need in the middle of the night to get back to sleep. That's how we came up with the towel idea. Also, simplify your bedding. We used a bottom fitted sheet and a wahsable blanket and no bedspread. This made clean up easier in the morning and remaking the bed easier at night. In the morning, if the bed was wet, the child would be responsible for stripping the bed, wiping off the mattress pad, and putting everything in the washing machine. If I was upstairs, I might help them, but not always. Nothing was ever said one way or the other and we assurred them that this was natural for some kids and that they would eventually outgrow it when their bladdre got bigger.

    I must say that we would vacillate between using pull ups and not. I think most of the time we opted to not use them as they got older, but then I would start worrying and we would go back to them. Also, even though there is no evidence to say that it works, I would always take them to the bathroom before I went to sleep at 11:00 or so. I couldn't help feeling that it would help to get give them a fighting chance if we got every little bit out. It didn't work."

    And truthfully, I wouldn't worry that this is a sign of a personality disorder. I know well how easy it is to slip into the worry that every little thing is a sign of something bigger, but sometimes, a cigar is really just a cigar. Wow, this answer was longer than I thought. Sorry that I rattled on and on.

  11. OH, I forgot to say, I thought the idea of the beeping watch was a great one. It turns the responsibility over to your daughter and for lots of kids they simply need a reminder. I may add that to my answer on the adoption FAQ page.

  12. Had to comment also that I loved your title. Reminded me of when I taught second graders in a Catholic School and a couple of them really thought the lyrics were "Pee is flowing like a river...flowing over you an me-e-e...."

  13. Annie, when I was just out of college I was in a bar in St Louis that had signs all over with stuff like ''give pea's a chance" and ''visualize whirled peas", for some reason I thought that was hysterically funny and remembered it to this day.
    Dawn, thanks for all the suggestions and back ups! I like the towel idea, and for some reason, my dd likes to sleep on the floor sometimes too. She falls out of her bed and just stays there, and will drag all her bedding down too. We are going to keep the pull ups until something changes. Based on yours and the others opinions, plus a text from my sister who doesnt know how to comment, I am feeling more secure about my decision.

  14. I'll never hear that song the same way again... LOL!!!

  15. wow, what a mare. I hope that you can sort it out soon. My sister kid had tons of problems staying dry...and he is a "normal" kid. he was wet at nights until he was 8...his little sister was dry at 14 months...crazy right!
    they went to a pee specalist and got an alarm and other advice..and hey presto it worked. But like i said, he's a "normal" kid with hang ups or other problems...just pee...
    My mates little boy also has night issues, i got his some "Cars" chacter pull ups and he loved them...specail pant. maybe find some nice pricess ones??

  16. Howdy again! Just wanted to share something I found this weekend. Everyone probably knows about these except me...chux pads. Hospitals use them. You can also get them in the Depends section of any store. They are like a potty pad that your kid can sleep on and it will soak up all the pee. I bought some yesterday to help my urinator with the cleanup process so I don't know yet how good they work.

  17. Oh thanks T! I have a crib sheet protector from Teena's crib days. But Genea scoots all over creation when she sleeps, including the floor, and UNDER her bed. Maybe I could wrap her up in it instead. (JK)


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