Bedwetting at Camp Doesn’t Have to Be a Nightmare

Some of the most exciting times in a child’s life are getting to spend some time away from parents at an overnight camp, but for a bedwetter, nighttime can be awkward at best and downright mortifying at worst. We recently talked about tips for parents who are traveling with a bedwetter, but what happens when parents aren’t there to help clean up?

Bedwetting at Camp

(Pixabay / Brahmsee)

Below is a list of things that you and your child can do before and during camp so that everyone can sleep easy.

Before You Go

Be Encouraging: First and most importantly, be encouraging to your child! Wetting the bed is deeply private, and your child likely feels a great deal of embarrassment or shame with each incident. Start by addressing the topic head-on, and assure your camper that bedwetting is fairly common up until about 10 years old. Let him know that the camp counselors will know how to keep things discrete and minimize embarrassment.

Practice: Your camper will need to practice some routines prior to camp to help him be successful. Stress the importance of drinking during the day and stopping about an hour before bed. Additionally, if you both decide that your child should wear a bedwetting garment (ex: pull-up, GoodNite, Tru-Fit Underwear, or Peejamas absorbent pajamas that act as an alternative to disposable diapers), have him practice putting it on in the bathroom or shimmying into it once he’s in his sleeping bag for the night. Practicing for both speed and discretion can be helpful preparation.

Pack the Gear: Going to camp means more than packing bug spray, hats, and sunscreen. For bedwetters, packing disposable nighttime underwear, absorbent sleeping pads, an extra sleeping bag or extra sheet, opaque baggies for throwing out wet disposables, extra underwear, or a waterproof sleeping bag liner can mean the difference between a great experience and a terrible one. You can even pre-stick the absorbent sleeping pad into the sleeping bag before rolling it up for additional discretion. Waterproof sleeping bag liners also work wonders because they are lightweight and can stuff into a tiny sack when soiled, so there isn’t any embarrassment with having to wash the whole sleeping bag.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst: When you’re packing your child’s things, make emergency packs so that it’s easy to change in the middle of the night. Put a pair of PJs, underwear, wet wipes, opaque bag for throwing away soiled disposables, and a new sheet or sleeping bag liner/absorbent pad into a resealable bag as a quick way to grab and go. That will save him time rustling around in his duffle to find all the things he needs.

Talk to Your Child’s Pediatrician: Most of the time, bedwetting is just a phase, but some instances may require medication. Talk to your child’s pediatrician a few weeks before camp to try out any meds at home if that’s the route you decide to take.

Call the Camp: Bedwetting is so common that most camps have specific procedures in place to keep campers safe and clean. Before booking the camp, call the camp director and make a plan for your child. This could include requesting a bottom bunk, having a counselor wake your child a few minutes earlier than the other campers to allow time to clean up, having a nightlight in the bathroom, waking your child at a specific time during the night, or having a secret signal, so the counselor knows there was an accident. Have your child help make the plan, so he is comfortable participating.

At Camp

Talk to Counselors Privately: Even though you talked to the camp director, pull aside the counselors and go over the plan with them privately as well. This just makes sure that everyone is on the same page, so your child won’t feel any shame for asking for help.

Tour the Cabins: As soon as you get to camp, take your child to tour the cabins. Be sure to walk the path from his bed to the bathroom so that there isn’t any fear of getting lost along the way.

Dress in a Stall/In His Sleeping Bag: As we mentioned above, there are ways to wear overnight bedwetting clothes without other campers knowing. Have your child dress in a bathroom stall or slip on a disposable once he’s tucked into his sleeping bag for the night.

Limit Beverages (and Caffeine): Your camper should drink most of his liquid during the day and steer clear of beverages (especially caffeine) at least an hour before bed. Caffeine increases urine output, which can lead to more nighttime accidents.

Even though bedwetting is a somewhat common experience for kids under 10, when it happens, it can feel like it’s the worst thing in the world. That fear shouldn’t stop your child from attending an overnight camp or outing, and with the right kind of preparation, he can have a happy, successful experience even without parents nearby to help.

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