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How the Brain Learns to Wake You Up to Pee

  • 2 minute read

The very obvious reason to stay away from disposables night time options is cost – 2 months of disposables is about the same cost as a Brolly Sheet bed pad.

But did you know that your child wearing disposables might delay the process of staying dry at night?   If a child is allowed to wet in a nappy and sleep, then there is little incentive to learn to wake up and use the toilet. There is also little incentive to learn to hold the urine for the entire night. Nappies may thus prolong night time wetting.

Read on and find out why:

I was reading an article on about how learning to stop wetting the bed is similar to learning to not fall out of bed at night and how did we actually learn to not fall out of bed?

The answer is that after we fell on the floor a few of times, we associated the edge of the bed with falling, and thereafter kept away from the edge of the bed, even though we might be deeply asleep. But we had to wake up each time you hit the floor in order to connect the edge of the bed with falling.

If a child fell on the floor every time he or she wet the bed, most kids would stop wetting pretty quickly. Mother Nature probably cures kids of bedwetting with a similar unpleasant experience. When the child is suddenly awakened by urine running down their leg, followed by a cold, wet feeling, this unpleasant experience is associated with releasing the urine, so eventually it keeps them from letting their urine go, even when they are asleep, or they may learn to wake up.

So, we can learn even when we are at least partially asleep. Deep sleepers, of course, have a harder time learning this. But even deep sleepers can learn to hold their urine or wake themselves and go to the toilet. In war, for example, exhausted soldiers, dead asleep in the trenches, can learn to awaken at the first sign of an attacker. This probably happens because of focused concentration.

Again, the key to learning how not to wet the bed seems to be being awakened just as the urine is let go by a somewhat unpleasant experience. It appears that we can't learn if we are totally asleep. The child has to associate releasing the urine with the unpleasant event. Remember, you wouldn't have learned to not fall out of the bed if you weren't awakened by the fall. The same is true for bedwetting: the child must wake up.

Even though normal children are deep sleepers, most can be awakened by urine running down their leg and the cold, wet feeling that follows. The child thus learns to hold the urine throughout the night in order to avoid the cold, wet feeling, or the child learns to wake up and go to the toilet. But if a child is such a deep sleeper that the wet sheets don't wake him or her up, then a moisture alarm can help.

Of course – there are many other causes of bedwetting, this is just one.

Diane Hurford