Beating the High Cost of Bed-Wetting

by Pat Hansen

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Does your older-than-toddler-age child wet the bed? Are you tired of watching your money leak away in expensive pull-ups? This article outlines the simplest way I've found to cut pull-up costs.

Supplies Needed:
Several pairs of your child's underwear. Use older pairs, and use them exclusively for this purpose.
Sponges. These are ordinary household sponges from any discount store. I use a 3"x5" size.
Large to extra-large plastic pants that go over cloth diapers.Rummage sales are a good source for these. They are also available at discount stores.
1/4" wide elastic, 10" long for each pair of underwear. (only needed for girls) vinegar

1. Snip a small amount off the four corners of the sponge. Cut a thin amount off the long edges of the sponge, to form a tapered shape.
2. For girls only, cut two pieces of elastic, each 5" long. Sew the elastic to the edges of the crotch area of the underwear (from one side to the other), on the outside. These pieces of elastic will form two loops to slip a sponge into.

At bedtime, put a drop or two of water on the corners of the sponge, to soften it up. For boys, slip the sponge into the flap in the front of the underwear. For girls, slip the sponge into the elastic loops you sewed onto the underwear. Have the child put on the underwear, with the plastic pants over it. Make sure the underwear is tucked into the plastic pants.

Each day, put the wet pull-up into a bucket or large plastic bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of vinegar onto the pull-up, to reduce the smell. In the winter, I keep this bowl in the bathtub. In the warm, humid summer, I keep the bowl in our laundry room in the basement. You could also treat them like cloth diapers. Keep a bucket of water and laundry soap deep enough to cover the pull-ups, and drop them in the bucket each day. To wash, leave the sponges in the underwear. They'll come out in the wash. Use the smallest load setting, with hot water, and about one-third the amount of soap required for a large load. To dry, either line-dry or put in the dryer with a large dry towel, to cut drying time. Replace the sponges when they start falling apart. A sponge will last 3-6 months.

Annual Savings

Cost to make pull-ups:
Underwear, from rummage sales $0.10
(or use those you have on hand)
Sponge $0.70
Plastic pants, from rummage sales $0.10
(cost new is .70 each)
Total cost for each pull-up is $ 0.90

I made four pull-ups, so the total cost was $3.60.

Other costs:
Replacement sponges (3 per year x $0.70 x 4 pull-ups) $8.40
Laundering ($5 per month) $60


Total annual cost of disposable diapers:
365 days x $0.50 each is $182.50


These pull-ups work well if your child is not a heavy wetter. If the sponge isn't enough to hold the water, get a size larger pair of underwear. Sew layers of absorbent cloth inside the underwear. You could use discolored or stained terrycloth dishtowels, worn bath towels, or the top-of-the-foot part of old sweat socks. The pull-up doesn't have to look pretty or win any sewing awards. Forget rainy days: these pull-ups can help you start saving your money for a dry day.

Pat Hansen is the mother of two children, ages 7 and 9. She is also a professional accountant and a published freelance writer.

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