Bedwetting Support Group

Bedwetting (or nocturnal enuresis or sleepwetting) is involuntary urination while asleep. It is the normal state of affairs in infancy, but can be a source of embarrassment when it persists into school age or the teen or adult years. Find others who are coping with a bedwetting problem and share your experiences and questions.

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bedwetter going to college

My son has been a bedwetter his whole life and he is leaving for college in August. I am totally nervous about this. My son doesn't seem all that nervous and insists that he wants a room with a roommate instead of a single. For years his doctors (general and urologist) have poo pooed it as something that will just resolve itself eventually. Well it is not and I am starting to worry that following the doctor's advice for all those years was a big mistake. We are taking him to a sleep disorder specialist and to a hypnotherapist. Any other advice or should we stick to what the doctor's have said all along and just figure he has to live with it.

Also has anyone used the Enuresis Treatment Center in MI. I called them and they charge $3000. I just wonder if they are on the up and up since nobody recommends them.



You should be grateful that your son is not nervous about it. I was still pretty torn up about my bedwetting at that age, even though I knew it wasn't going to stop, I let it keep me from going to college like I should have. Biggest mistake and regret of my life.

I don't know about treatment, but I skeptical.

Thank you for your response UncleTeo. I am just so concerned with how my son will deal with this in college. I don't understand how he doesn't seem too concerned about having a roommate, but I am grateful. He has gone to overnight camp, and on long trips overseas with groups from his high school, so it really hasn't held him back in the past. If it is just the way he is then he just has to learn to deal with it. But if he has some sort of problem (physical or mental) that is causing this then I want to address it.

His apparent lack of concern is a mixed blessing. I can see that the problem is not holding him back too much, but I also wonder if he is really trying as hard as he can to address the issue. Maybe going away to school will be good because he will learn what he has to do to live with this problem.

First of all, yes, he is trying as hard as he can. I can say this with almost 100% certainty, having been in exactly the same place. It is probably tremendously embarrassing and devastating to him that the problem has not gone away by now in spite of his best efforts, which is why he probably doesn't say much or express much outward concern about it. But I guarantee you, even if he is wondering whether it will ever stop, he is still the one who wants this to stop more than anyone.

If he has been on overnight trips before to the degree that he has, it sounds like he is confident in his present means of managing his bedwetting in those situations. With a few modifications, however he manages it on those trips could absolutely be made to work in a college dorm, even with a roommate. It would depend partly on how often your son wets at night (occasional wetting is much easier to manage than if it is every night) but it can still be done. I went through 4 years of college as a bedwetter, in dorms with 4 different roommates, and (so far as I know) none of them found out about my problem, although there were obviously a few anxious moments. Going away to grad school, still a bedwetter, I finally made the decision to let a roommate in on my "secret", which lowered my stress level tremendously. That is a decision your son will have to make for himself, though, when he is ready to do that (and finds a roommate he can trust with the information).

It's true, in spite of the "he'll grow out of it line" that the doctors have been giving you, that around 1-2% of bedwetters simply never outgrow it. It is just the way your son's body is, and he has no control over it, any more than being nearsighted or having diabetes or any other medical issue. I don't think it can hurt to try the other doctors if your son is willing to cooperate with them, but it's probably 50/50 at best whether they will be of any help, and that's IF he is interested and cooperates fully. If he is not willing to cooperate then don't bother going and just save your money.

I would apply the same principle to places like the Enuresis Treatment Center, although $3000 is obviously a lot of money. I haven't used them myself, but those I have talked to about them speak of high pressure tactics to try to cure him, and blame being placed on the patient if their method fails to work. I believe they claim something like a 97% cure rate but that is baloney -- they simply toss out those who have failed to be cured from theit statistics as "noncompliant with the program". I do believe their program is helpful for some but again it depends if your son is willing to put a lot of effort into it, and even then there's no guarantee depending on what the underlying cause of his wetting is. Their program is geared toward treating it as a sleep disorder (which your sleep specialist should be able to give you more of a clue about) but if he has, for example, an underdeveloped bladder that is still underdeveloped by college age, there may not be much they can do.

Bottom line, from one who has been there, is there's really no need to make your son any more nervous! As long as you're sure he is aware of the situation (i.e., he's not just living with the delusion that his bedwetting will suddenly magically stop the instant he moves into the dorm) and is comfortable with his ability to cope with it... really the best thing you can do is just let him cope. Be available to support him if he needs it (and make sure he knows that) but don't feel that you have to solve his problems for him. That's part of becoming an adult, after all. Even if he is embarrassed at college it won't be the end of the world -- college students are often a lot more mature than younger kids about things like this, and even if not, you can always bring up the single room as a "fall back" option if things go badly. Obviously I can't read your son's mind, but my guess is that he is confident in his ability to manage it and desperately does not want to allow his condition to deprive him of the full college experience (dorms, rooommates, and everything). There's no reason it needs to deprive him, either, in my opinion anyway.

Keep your chin up. :) I am willing to talk more if you or your son want to talk or ask any more questions. If you want to know more about my story, it's pretty well summarized in the oldest of my journal articles on my profile.

Best of luck to you both!

I agree with the people above. One thing to understand that at that age, one of the biggest problems bedwetters face is the social stigma associated with it. Otherwise, it is a condition that can be managed fairly easily. Your son is luck that he has gotten past the stigma and is not allowing social inhibitions to hinder him.

The only thing left to do is to inform the school's housing department of his condition in case there are any problems.

I would respectfully disagree with the last comment about notifying the school's housing department. There is no reason why they need to know unless you and, more importantly, your son, decide to tell them. There can be certain advantages to letting them know -- for example, they may be able to house him with another student with the same condition, or even give him priority for a single room based on medical need. However, informing the school is also "outing" your son's secret, and will probably result in certain individuals (e.g., residence life staff) knowing about your son's condition and having awkward conversations with him about it that he may rather avoid. It depends whether your son wants the school housing department to help him (which they may well be able to do) or if he would rather manage the problem on his own. In the end it should be his choice whether or not to tell them.

The only obligation your son has toward the school with respect to this condition is not to damage their property (such as by failing to protect the mattress and soaking it repeatedly with urine -- which I am sure he would not do anyway, given his experience with dealing with his problem away from home). As long as suitable precautions are taken to protect the school's property, this problem is none of their business unless you choose to tell them, period.

Ok as a recent college graduate who bedwet going into college and still bedwets here are my thoughts. First off kool that he is not overly concerned about his bedwetting and going to college. I was somewhat nervous but not to the point that I would not go. I did not have to stay in a dorm so that is one big difference. Also I was only wetting the bed once a week or so. More during times of stress like finals week. If I had to stay in a dorm I think I would have let student housing know when I filled out the form that I had a medical condition. Hopefully they woudl have been able to pair me up with another dude with the same problem. If not then I would have worn goodnites, putting them on just before I went to bed. As it was even on my own I often had friends spending the night at my place or me crashing at theirs. So I wore Goodnites on those nights and no one ever found out about my bedwetting.

Just my thoughts,


When I chose to live in a dorm at college I did so knowing how risky it was. When I was 18-21 I was wetting 4-5 nights a week and knew it would be very hard to hide from any potential roomate. I guess I was fortunate enough to have a roomate that discovered my wet bed early on and never really said anything about it. Once I knew he knew I just managed the situation like I had at home with plastic matress protectors and a supply of sheets to change the bed. The dorm room was not very big and changing immediately was very important. I also spent a year and a half oversees at school and just managed the best I could. Probably the most unfortunate aspect though is the stigma associated with bedwetting because now that I'm older I just wear thick diapers at night, always stay dry, and don't give a flip about the issue much less who knows or doesn't know. Of course finding out "many years too late" that I actually have a neurogenic bladder which basically prevents me from ever having nightime control, does make my attitude more positive about the issue.
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