One point I have repeatedly emphasized in my articles is that there is not one-size-fits-all solution to manage incontinence. This article talks about the various brands and types of cloth and disposable diapers available to manage bedwetting and is divided into three parts. There are many different factors involved in choosing an incontinence product. The key factors that play a part in the decision making process are the following: the type and level of incontinence, whether or not the person prefers to use disposable or reusable garments, how a particular garment effects the user’s skin, ease of use which includes how easy and convenient it is to put on and take off (some people are non-ambulatory and need garments that are better suited for this issue), price, how comfortable the product is, whether the problems occurs during the day, night, or both, and how a particular product fits the user(which in turn has a bearing on how comfortable the product is and how effective it is at protecting both the individual and bed). Although these are important factors to keep in mind when purchasing incontinence products the two overriding criteria to consider are how effective the product is at keeping both the individual and the bed dry and how comfortable the product is.
As I talk about below and have mentioned in other articles, most people use garments that are underwear like in appearance. I have decided to take a different approach with this article. I’ve decided to focus on diapers, specifically pin-on cloth diapers covered with plastic pants and disposable tape tab diapers. The reason for this is twofold. In my readings on this subject I’ve noticed that these styles of diapers are given short shrift by the public including parents of bed-wetters, pediatricians who write about bed-wetting, and other professionals. The second reason for focusing on these types of garments is that many people feel that these styles offer superior protection for heavy incontinence such as bed-wetting. I point out the advantages of these types of products later on in this article. As a case in point, one parent who had a youngster who wet the bed was a heavy wetter and went through several pull-ups per night. The father could not afford to spend the money on the amount of pull-ups required and switched to pin-on diapers covered with plastic pants. The majority of the public have always had a negative opinion of diapers and I believe it’s high time we take a more pragmatic approach to this issue and use the type of protection that is most effective at keeping both the bed and the youngster (or adult) dry. If that means using diapers (which in many cases are the best option), then diapers should be used.
When buying incontinence products it’s important to be aware of the different terminology for incontinence products. For example the term disposable briefs refer to disposable diapers for older children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults. These garments have the same fit, design, and style as baby diapers-they have tapes, elastic leg gathers, some have elastic waist bands and either a plastic or cloth (also known as a non woven) outer cover. Regarding the outer cover there are manufacturers of disposable briefs who offer two models-one model has a plastic outer cover and the other has a cloth outer cover. Some manufacturers in turn only offer models with a plastic outer cover. It’s also important to remember the terms used for different types of incontinence. This helps you in choosing what type of product to buy. In the case of bed-wetting the clinical term for this form of incontinence is “nocturnal enuresis”. I have also heard people refer to bed-wetting as just “enuresis. ” So if you’re on a website that sells incontinence products and it says that a particular product is suitable for “nocturnal enuresis” or “enuresis” you’ll know that the product is suitable for bed-wetting.
The most widely used type of disposable garments to deal with bed-wetting are “Goodnites” which are designed for older children, adolescents, and teenagers with bed-wetting problems and Huggies “pull-ups” which are designed for both children who are being potty trained and bed-wetters. The reason for introducing these products into the market place is that they look and fit just like regular underwear which is supposed to be less stigmatizing for an older child or teenager. The same type of design is used in reusable products as well. While it is true that these products work for some people, most people seem to feel that diapers are the better choice to manage heavy incontinence such as bed-wetting. However because of the stigma surrounding diapers, most older children, adolescents, and teenagers are reluctant to wear them. 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!”
Many individuals buy pin-on cloth diapers to manage their bed-wetting and when using these diapers it’s necessary to buy waterproof pants to cover the diapers. This brings me to another term which you should be familiar with. Years ago waterproof pants were made of rubber and these were the diaper covers used by parents for their babies, then after the advent of plastic pants (which I believe was in the 50’s), rubber pants became less popular. Later on rubber pants were phased out completely for the baby market although there are some companies that manufacture rubber pants for older children and adults. The term “rubber pants” began to be used as a generic term for waterproof pants, particularly vinyl pants (which in turn are more widely known as plastic pants-vinyl is a type of plastic so the terms are basically interchangeable). When most people use the term “rubber pants” they actually mean plastic pants. The same type of terminology is used by some people when referring to waterproof sheets-some people use the term “rubber sheets” as a generic term for waterproof sheets, although this usage seems to be more common when talking about waterproof pants.
Some people who have heavy incontinence during the day and night use both reusable and disposable garments. For example one individual mentioned that he used disposable diapers during the day and pin-on diapers wrapped with plastic pants at night. Another person with bed-wetting problems said he used pin-on diapers and plastic pants during the cooler times of the year and disposable diapers when the weather becomes hot.
A number of people with bed-wetting swear by both disposable briefs and pin-on diapers covered with plastic pants. These garments are particularly suited for heavy incontinence such as bed-wetting. In a situation like this it’s a good idea to experiment with different products in order to find the one that works best for you. Right now I’d like to talk a little more about pin-on diapers. The drawback of pin-on diapers and plastic pants is that some people find that they are uncomfortable to wear in hot weather. That being said, not everybody feels this way, in addition some cloth diapers (in particular those made from gauze fabric) are supposed to be very comfortable to wear in hot weather.