[Updated/Revised 3-26-14]: Until recently, first-grade daughter had never been dry at night. For years we were told not to worry about it, and that children eventually grow out of it. But she had reached an age where it was upsetting to her, and recently she had to turn down her first sleepover invitation because she was embarrassed about wearing nighttime pullups.
It may be true that most kids do eventually grow out of bedwetting. But this book makes a compelling argument that, in most cases, there is an underlying cause that (A) can be easily addressed (thus leading to a complete resolution of the problem); and (B) could turn into a much bigger problem if left untreated for too long. If that's the case, then we do a disservice to our children by just "waiting for them to grow out of it." Months and years go by; the child feels embarrassed despite the parent's best efforts to reassure her; and the underlying problem gets worse and and worse. If there's a practical, step-by-step solution to the problem -- and if that solution could spare your child years of discomfort -- then every parent and pediatrician should be aware of it.
Before reading this book, it never would have occurred to me that my daughter had issues with constipation, because she pooped regularly without obvious strain or discomfort. But I now realize that she had almost all of the signs of a different kind of constipation -- what might be described as "a big ball of poop" blocking her lower intestines and placing pressure on her bladder. It explains the nearly nightly bedwetting, the frequent mild stomach aches, and so on. We talked to our pediatrician about the book, and she gave us the go-ahead to try the Miralax cleanout described in the book.
The following is a quick chronology of our experience so far:
October: We did the Miralax cleanout. (Note that Dr. Hodges recommends doing the enema regimen if at all possible, as he believes this to be the most effective treatment for most kids. But, initially, my daughter was extremely resistant to the idea of an enema, so we opted for the Miralax cleanout instead.) Although I was prepared for it to be an unpleasant and messy weekend, it was actually pretty easy. We explained everything to my daughter and told her that we would have a family weekend at home, with lots of games and movies. She finished the Gatorade/Miralax mix early Saturday afternoon, and the cleanout was finished by Sunday evening. After the cleanout, she was dry every night for 3 weeks -- something that had never happened before. Our daughter was ecstatic.
After a few weeks, the bedwetting began again. We learned, through Dr. Hodges and a pediatric GI, that her colon was filling up again because it had lost its tone from years of being packed full (not sure how to say this in a less gross way). Dr. Hodges suggested trying the enema regimen, or -- if that was not possible -- doing monthly Miralax cleanouts plus smaller daily doses of Miralax. The goal was to prevent her colon from getting backed up again, and therefore to allow the colon to shrink back to its normal size.
November - January: We did the monthly Miralax cleanouts for a little while. After each cleanout, she would be completely dry for a few weeks. However, a an x-ray confirmed recently that the "big ball of poop" is still there. So, although it did seem that the monthly Miralax cleanouts were clearing out some of the back-up (resulting in a few weeks of dryness each time), I thought they might not be enough to clear the problem completely.
March: On the advice of Dr. Hodges and our pediatric GI, we switched to the enema regimen -- which is what Dr. Hodges describes as the most effective option. It did take some effort to convince my daughter to try this, but she was fine with it after the first time. She's been dry every night so far, and we all feel very optimistic. I will try to remember update again in a few months, once I have a better idea of our progress.
In a way, it's hard to believe that the answer to these years of bedwetting, and the worry and embarrassment that my daughter had been feeling, might be this simple. The premise of this book is so sound -- rooted both in common sense and methodical scientific research -- and the advice is so universal that I think every parent should read it. I also really, really wish that more pediatricians were familiar with this book, or at least with the research underlying it. The problems addressed in this book are extremely common and cause so much stress, discomfort, and embarrassment to so many children. Left unaddressed, these problems can become much more difficult to treat. And yet the solution, in many cases, is so simple. This information, and the solutions offered, should be at every pediatrician's fingertips.