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Disposable Diapers to Manage Bedwetting With Older Children and Teenagers

Posted Nov 14 2010 8:53am

The most commonly used disposable garments used to manage bedwetting with older children and teenagers are "Goodnites" and pull-ups. "Goodnites" were introduced into the market place several years ago for older children and teenagers with bedwetting problems because it was thought that this style of garment would be less stigmatizing to wear. The thinking was that because these garments were designed to look like underwear as opposed to looking like diapers,an older child or teen would be less embarrassed to wear protection to bed. However as this article points out a large number of people feel that diapers are the garments most suitable to manage heavier forms of incontinence such as bedwetting. There are a number of features of disposable diapers that make them an ideal choice to manage bedwetting. This article talks about those features and why parents should consider using diapers as a management tool for their youngster's bedwetting. Unfortunately The majority of the public feel that diapers should only be used for babies. I feel that the following quote from "Diapers Get a Bum Wrap"(which is the second chapter of The New Diaper Primer,a very good resource) sums up the current thinking about this subject perfectly: "This infantile image keeps many,if not most,incontinent children and adults out of diapers and struggling with leaks,wet beds,and so on. We can still cringe to hear the oft-told story of a bed-wetting youngster and the mounds of laundry daily with sheets,blankets,pajamas,not to mention the emotional stress and loss of sleep from interruptions during the night. But if we were to suggest it might be much easier on everyone if the youngster wore diapers to bed,the reply would be an astonished and/or indignant stare while maintaining that the youngster is too old to be wearing diapers. Again,that unshakable stigma!" This article focuses on disposable diapers for older children and teenagers that wet the bed. The article is broken up into several parts. The first few sections talk about the advantages disposable diapers have over the more popular disposable garments used to manage bedwetting such as pull-ups and "Goodnites" The next sections talk about different places that sell disposable diapers for older children and teenagers that wet the bed as well as where to get samples of various brands of diapers. I also offer advice for parents who may be having a difficult time deciding on whether to purchase cloth diapers or disposable diapers for their bedwetter. For a more in depth discussion regarding pin-on cloth diapers I encourage you to read my article "Information Regarding Pin-On Diapers for Older Children and Teenagers that Wet the Bed."

First off I'd like to introduce some terminology which parents should become familiar with. When buying diapers for your older child or teenager that wets the bed be aware that these garments are not referred to as diapers but disposable briefs. Disposable briefs have the same design and fit as baby diapers such as Pampers,Luvs,and Huggies-they have tape tabs for fastening the garments,elastic leg gathers to prevent leakage(some disposable briefs also have elastic waist bands for added protection against leaks),and they have a waterproof outer cover made of either plastic or a cloth like outer cover(also known as a non-woven outer cover)

It's a shame that most people only use garments such as pull-ups/pull-ons and "Goodnites" to deal with their bed-wetting and won't even consider trying other options. Options that in some cases can offer better protection thereby making the child feel more comfortable and secure. I've talked with customer service reps from The Bedwetting Store,Continence Connection,National Incontinencce,XP Medical, HDIS and other places that sell incontinence products and the ones I spoke with felt that the disposable briefs tend to be more absorbent and provide better protection than garments such as pull-ups and "Goodnites" although some people I've spoken with said that both briefs and pull-ups are equally effective at protecting the user,it's just a question of personal preference. That being said,the consensus from both customer service reps that sell both types of garments and people from incontinence forums who experience bed-wetting seems to be that disposable briefs tend to offer better protection for this particular type of incontinence. As far as obtaining opinions about bed-wetting products from customer service reps, although there is the potential for bias in this area and people should exercise a certain degree of caution when evaluating the information presented to them(as is the case in any other transaction), the companies that I did gather this information from have been around for a number of years and are highly regarded by many people. In addition it would not be in the best interest of these companies to recommend products that didn't work. I suspect that in general,the people who operate mail order incontinence companies tend to have a high level of integrity(of course as with everything else in life there are exceptions to the rule) and want to instill these values in the staff who are responsible for providing information about what the best type of products to buy based on the customer's needs. Like any other sales person they have to responsive to the needs of their customers otherwise they'll soon be out of a job and if the company gets a reputation for recommending products that don't meet the consumer's needs they'll soon be out of business.

At this point I'd like to talk about some of the reasons that the disposable tape tab briefs tend to be more effective than products such as "Goodnites" and pull-ups for heavy incontinence such as bed-wetting. One of the reasons for this is that there tends to be more padding in the briefs. One customer service representative told me that many briefs have a highly absorbent polymer and high capacity padding which extends to the wings and side panels. Another customer service representative told me that the disposable tape on briefs tend to have more padding in the front and back and the pull-on garments tend to have less padding in the waist area. A third customer service rep told me that the briefs have padding all around whereas garments such as pull-ups and "Goodnites" don't. In general it seems that products such as "Goodnites" tend to not have padding on the sides which means they'll most likely provide less effective protection particularly with those people who tend to sleep on their sides. In fact one person on an incontinence forum mentioned that he didn't find the pull-up style disposable diapers effective for bed-wetting. He said that they didn't have enough protection on the sides and he frequently experienced leaks. I was also told that with a tape on brief there's more flexibility in getting a snug fit because you have the ability to adjust the tapes on the brief thereby making them fit more snug .This in turn should help prevent leaks. That's the reason disposable briefs have refastenable tapes, in case you need to make any adjustments to the brief to make it fit better.

There are a couple of sites which have material on them pertaining to different types of incontinence products and they are Duraline Medical Products and Woodbury Products.The material on these sites also talk about the advantages of disposable briefs.On the Duraline Medical Products website in the education part of their website they have a section called "common types of incontinence and appropriate products." For nocturnal enuresis(which as mentioned earlier is the clinical term for bed-wetting) they had this to say regarding the best type of product to wear: "Heavy incontinence such as urge,nocturnal enuresis,or reflex,usually requires a wrap-around brief, either disposable or cloth, or a heavy pant and pad system." As far as pant and pad systems are concerned, although these were mentioned by Duraline as being appropriate for heavy incontinence,other sources that sell incontinence products(as well as the Diaper Primer) indicate that these are designed to handle light to moderate incontinence and are not recommended for bed-wetting.In the incontinence guide on the Woodbury Products website it listed four different levels of incontinence-very light,light,moderate,and heavy. It also listed the types of garments most suited to deal with these different levels. Disposable tape tab briefs were the ones mentioned to be most effective in dealing with heavy incontinence(incontinence where the person loses large volumes of urine.) To quote the website-"Ultra comfortable and discreet,disposable briefs offer superior protection and confidence. Easily fasten with tape tabs." Since bed-wetting is a form of heavy incontinence it would be best to use a product designed specifically for this type of incontinence and disposable tape tab briefs appear to be the best choice to manage heavy incontinence.

Currently I'd like to mention the information that was provided to me from both New Freedom Solutions and XP Medical. New Freedom Solutions specializes in incontinence products for incontinent adults,children,and teenagers and is owned by a husband and wife who have family members who are incontinent- the husband as well as their autistic son. I spoke with him briefly and asked him which type of garments he considered more effective for the management of heavier forms of incontinence such as bedwetting- "Goodnites" or disposable briefs and he told me that disposable briefs are more effective for heavier voids. He said that the disposable briefs have more padding in them and that this is particularly advantageous if the child moves around a lot at night because they will better protect against the leaks that can result from constant movement. Finally,the owner of XP Medical in an email to me had the following to say regarding disposable tape on briefs versus pull-ups: "Tape tab briefs are almost always more absorbent than pull-ups,and therefore better for heavy incontinence. As you mentioned the reason for this is twofold: 1.)There is more padding because there is not so much elastic using up space in front and back. 2.) The tapes allow the product to be fixed more firmly so that they will stay in place even when wet. Pullups will fall down if too heavy."

He went on to say that some people may find it difficult to fasten the tapes on a tape on diaper such as a person who suffers from arthritis or Parkinson's disease. In a situation such as this it would be better to use garments such as pull-ups. That being said if your bed-wetter does not have any cognitive or physical impairments that would prevent or make it difficult for him or her to fasten the tapes on a tape tab style disposable brief,it would be advisable to have the child or teenager wear disposable tape tab briefs instead of pull-ups. As far as choosing a diaper with a cloth like outer cover versus one with a plastic outer cover he had this to say: "The Air-Plus diapers(a diaper with a cloth like outer cover made by Abena) have the advantage of being quieter and allowing some airflow through the material. On the other hand, many customers do not like them because the cloth like material 'grabs' on clothing and can allow odors to seep through." Although this happened with a particular brand of diaper, this problem can occur with other brands of diapers. One person on an incontinence site mentioned that he found that the diapers with the cloth like outer cover tended to stick to the sheets when he moved around in bed and since he moved around a lot at night he preferred the disposable diapers with a plastic outer cover.

As mentioned earlier people within the incontinence community also have good things to say regarding disposable briefs. The author of the Diaper Primer is incontinent and he had this to say regarding the advantages of disposable briefs over pull-on style disposable garments : "As a general observation,we would say that pull-ons are not really "you know whats"(i.e. diapers) and cannot afford the same protection afforded by the "ah-hem." If they are going to get used and wet,they are going to become heavy,and the elastic waist will not be able to keep them up or comfortable. This writer's opinion is that they are very useful and valuable for those who do not plan to get them wet and are wearing protection primarily for peace of mind or for that "just in case situation" and "The capacity of pull-ons is less than a full diaper brief."

There are several brands of disposable briefs that are highly regarded by many people especially for heavy incontinence such as bed-wetting. These include Molicare Super Plus Fitted Briefs, Abriform X-Plus briefs made by Abena ,the Unique Brief(which is made by First Wellness and is also known as the Wellness brief), Eurobrief made by Mediprime,Secure X-Plus briefs, Tranquility All-Through-The Night disposable briefs,Tenas,Mega Careline(which from what I understand might have gone out of business although I saw them for sale on the website Health Care Mega Mall)and Dry247 briefs. Abena Abriform also has a model called the "Super" brief which is not as absorbent as the X-Plus model but is available in an extra small size for those youngsters who might not be able to fit into the X-Plus briefs. I'd also like to mention another brand of disposable brief. The company that manufactures these briefs is called "Provider's Choice Daytime Plus." They make two models of briefs. One model is the Provider's Choice Daytime Plus Premium Brief and the other model is the Active Ultra Plus Brief. I just found out about this brand and I thought I'd inform my readers about this brand as well. Apparently they're new so I don't know how effective they are. The website mentions that the Active Ultra diaper is designed for extended wear time and enables a person to sleep through the night without changing. The only problem is that they don't make a small size for these briefs. They make a medium and a large size. The medium size fits a waist size of 32-44 inches which may fit a larger child or teenager. The Daytime Plus Premium Briefs on the other hand are available in smaller sizes. The small size of the Daytime Plus Premium briefs fits waists of 20-31 inches. The customer service representative I spoke with said that although they're not as absorbent as the Active Ultra briefs she said that people have used them for overnight use. To quote the website- "The super-absorbent core system insures extended or overnight periods of dryness." The company has samples of the Active Ultra Plus Brief but not the Daytime Plus Premium Briefs. As mentioned the company that makes these briefs is called Provider's Choice Daytime Plus. Their web address is and their toll free number is (888)287-1052. Although they don't sell directly to the public they have free samples but at this time they just have samples of the Active Ultra Plus Brief. Although currently they don't make the Active Ultra Plus brief in a small size I was told that they might make a small size in the future.

Other brands of disposable briefs include the Wings brand by Kendall, Prevail by First Quality, Whitestone(which make different models of disposable briefs including "Ultrashields")the Dignity brand made by Humanicare,At Ease,Attends,Protection Plus by Medline,Dry Comfort,and Nightingale.As far as the Dignity brand is concerned they make a nighttime version of their briefs which is called "Dignity PM" They also make a brief called "Dignity Plus". Attends came out with a new brief recently called the Extended Wear brief. This is supposed to be very good for overnight use.They also have a brief called the extra absorbent breathable brief.Attends also has "poly briefs" which are briefs with a plastic outer cover. If you go to the Attends website hey have a place where you can click on to get free samples of any of the briefs you might be interested in as well as information about where to purchase Attends products. For more information about Attends briefs go to click on our products(at the top of the page),then click on briefs.

Right now I'd like to get back to the topic of disposable tape tab briefs with plastic outer covers and disposable tape tab briefs with cloth like outer covers. As far as buying disposable tape on briefs with a plastic outer layer or a cloth layer is concerned, this is a personal preference. There are people who prefer the diapers with a cloth like outer cover and there are those who prefer the diapers with a plastic outer layer. Some of the complaints about diapers with a cloth like outer covering that were mentioned in the Diaper Primer are abrasion between the legs and a feeling of clamminess. Other people prefer the cloth like outer cover because they feel it's more comfortable. There are a number of reasons why most manufacturers seem to be making diapers with a cloth like outer cover. One,is that they could be more cost effective for the manufacturers to produce. Two,they are supposed to be more discreet to wear-some of the diapers with the plastic outer cover make a loud crinkling sound whenever the user moves around. Third,the cloth like outer cover is supposed to make the diapers more underwear like in appearance which makes them more acceptable to wear for many people. Fourth,these diapers are supposed to be more breathable which means they're supposed to be healthier for the individual's skin. Finally,all of these reasons might be involved in the decision to make these kinds of diapers. That being said,there are companies that make both styles of diapers and there are companies that only make diapers with a plastic outer cover. I personally think that the reason most diapers for older children,adolescents,teenagers,and adults are made with a cloth like outer cover is that these diapers look more like underwear than the ones made with a plastic outer layer. As far as the rustling sound is concerned I understand that there are ways to get around this problem and if the person is only wearing diapers at night this shouldn't be a concern. Furthermore,even certain brands of disposable diapers with a cloth like outer cover can make some degree of noise. It should be pointed out that products and brands evolve over time-for instance a brand that might have had a bad reputation with members of the incontinence community years ago may improve and vice-versa.

Another point to keep in mind with disposable briefs is that some people buy disposable liners to increase the absorbency of the brief. Disposable liners are known as booster pads or "diaper doublers" and can be purchased from mail order companies such as HDIS ,National Incontinence,Continence Connection among other places that specialize in incontinence products. As I talk about later in this article,many companies that sell incontinence products have sample packs of disposable briefs and this will help you make the decision about whether the disposable tape on briefs with the cloth like outer cover or the disposable tape tab briefs with the plastic outer cover works best for you.

In the article "Which book will help me become a better parent?" Frank Devlin has the following to say which I feel can be applied to the case of bed-wetting and choosing the most effective product to manage it: "The Family Project panel believes the way to approach parenting books is not to find the one book that is "right" They say: Take bits of advice from various books that make sense to you,add techniques your own parents,friends,or relatives might have used that you endorse,and come up with your own strategy" and "Don't get hung up on following parenting books to the letter. Take bits that make sense to you from each book and work them into your overall parenting style. Be skeptical of books that preach that one single method can work with a myriad of problems or children's personalities."

The last sentence in particular applies to bed-wetting and wearing the appropriate diaper to manage it. In this case the single method that is touted by many people, both parents and medical professionals, is the use of garments like "Goodnites." As I have stated elsewhere I am not against people using products such as "Goodnites" to manage bed-wetting if they happen to offer effective protection however this isn't always the case. What I am against is all this emphasis on the image of incontinence products as opposed to how well the product protects both the individual and the bed.

As far as where to purchase disposable briefs is concerned there are a number of places online that sell these garments-HDIS(which stands for Home Delivery Incontinence Supplies)XP Medical, ABAIP(this stands for A Better Absorbent Incontinence Product and was bought by Gary Evans,the owner of XP Medical) Continence Connection,National Incontinence,New Freedom Solutions, to name just a few. The NAFC,or National Association for Continence publishes a resource guide which lists companies that sell various incontinence products such as diapers,waterproof pants,skin care products,and other items. This is a resource you should consider purchasing to obtain more information regarding where to buy incontinence products. Earlier in this article I mentioned that there are several companies that have samples of disposable briefs. At this point I'd like to mention some of these companies. HDIS has a brief variety pack containing 24 samples for $9.95. Secure Personal Care which manufactures the Secure X-Plus briefs mentioned earlier website has sample packs of this brief for $6.99.The packs contain 2 briefs. Their web address is XP Medical has sample of packs of various disposable briefs including Dry247,Abena,and Attends. The price of the sample packs are $5.95 and depending on what brand/model you're interested in the pack can have anywhere from 2 to 4 briefs. XP Medical's web address is Continence Connection has sample packs of both the Tranquility All Through-the-Night disposable briefs in youth and adult sizes as well as sample packs of Abena briefs.As far as Abena is concerned they carry a sample pack of the X-Plus briefs(which have a plastic backing) and they have a sample pack of the X-Plus Air Plus briefs which have a cloth like outer cover. All the sample packs from Continence Connection are $4.95. National Incontinence also has a brief sample pack for $6.95. First Wellness,the maker of the Unique Brief has free samples. Their web address is I was on the Dry247 website some time ago and recall seeing that they had sample packs of their briefs as well. Their web address is

I'd like to wrap this article up by talking about several subjects regarding diaper use and bedwetting. The first has to do with skin care. When wearing diapers for incontinence it's important to maintain appropriate skin care in order to avoid problems such as diaper rash. There are a number of items you can buy to aid in this-ointments such as Desitin,sprays,foams,as well as other products. I talk about this in more depth in my article "Bedwetting and Maintaining Appropriate Hygiene."

Second,many parents might be wondering the following-should I have my child or teenager wear cloth diapers or disposable diapers to manage the bedwetting. Some people use both styles of diapers to deal with the bedwetting. For example there are people who find pin-on cloth diapers covered with plastic pants too uncomfortable to wear during the warmer times of the year such as spring and summer and switch to disposable diapers at night. Additionally you can have the child or teenager wear pin-on cloth diapers covered with plastic pants on some nights of the week and disposable diapers on other nights. There are a number of advantages in doing this-one, it cuts down on the time spent laundering diapers and plastic pants,two,it cuts down on the wear of the diapers because you're not laundering them as much,and three you'll save money because you won't be buying as many disposable diapers per year.This is something that should be considered by parents who are having a tough time deciding on what type of diapers to have their child or teen wear to bed. On the other hand many environmentally conscious people prefer to use cloth diapers only. Cloth diapers have a number of features that make them an ideal choice for the management of bedwetting. I talk about the advantages of cloth diapers in my article "Information Regarding Pin-On Diapers for Older Children,Adolescents, and Teenagers With Bedwetting Problems" If you decide to use cloth diapers as well as disposable diapers(or you just want to use cloth diapers) you must cover the diapers with waterproof pants. The most popular type of waterproof pants to put over cloth diapers are plastic pants. I talk about some of the more popular brands of plastic pants in my article "Brands of Plastic Pants for Older Children,Adolescents,and Teenagers With Bedwetting Problems."

Third, even though you're having the child or teenager sleep in diapers you should cover the bed with a waterproof sheet just in case the youngster wets through the diapers. I talk about the different types of waterproof sheets you can use for bedwetting(as well as an idea I have for a homemade plastic sheet) in my article "Waterproof Sheets for Bedwetting."

Another point I'd like to bring up regarding buying disposable diapers for your bedwetting youngster is the following-it's very important that the child be responsible for diapering themselves. A child should be taught how to fasten their own diapers and change their own diapers at a young age so the child doesn't feel embarrassed about wearing the diapers. I talk about this in greater depth in my article "Older Children,Bedwetting,and Self Diapering."

Finally,if you decide to go the diaper route with your bedwetting child or teen but they resist wearing them you can read my article "Ways Parents Can Encourage Older Children and Teenagers to Wear Diapers for Bedwetting." This article offers parents several strategies they can use to motivate and encourage an older child or teenager who might feel embarrassed and ashamed about their parents requiring them to wear diapers to bed.

I hope this article helps parents who may be having a difficult time in choosing a diaper to manage bedwetting with their older child or teenager's bedwetting.

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