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Bedwetting in Children

All About Bedwetting

Bedwetting, also called nocturnal enuresis (NE), is a common condition that affects some 7% of children between the ages of six and 12 years. Under the age of six, wetting the bed is not uncommon as children develop and mature at different paces. Bedwetting is also a common cause of stress for parents and kids who experience this condition, and can also cause embarrassment for older kids. Parents too, can experience feelings of frustration when they are faced with a situation where their child wets the bed at night yet has been fully toilet trained during the day for months or even years.

Children mature at different rates. When bedwetting is a problem, patience, understanding and persistence is important to overcoming this common childhood problem.

Dr. Adam Kern

“Education Is Vital to Helping Your Child Deal With Bedwetting Issues. In Many Cases of Bedwetting, Parents Are the Most Important Factor When Taking on the Issue. Parents Can Help Their Child Deal With Bedwetting When They Are Armed With Education and Information.”
– Dr. Adam Kern, Pediatric Urologist

What We Know About Bedwetting

  • 98% of the time there is no specific cause, and treatment choices are similar.
  • By the age of 16, all but 1-2% of bedwetting resolves.
  • Hiding from the problem and hoping it will just go away can make kids and parents alike miserable.
  • Although rare, specific medical or surgical conditions can be found in children whose concern is bedwetting. Less than 1% of children who wet the bed have an underlying medical condition.
  • Bedwetting occurs in light and deep sleepers alike.
  • Bedwetting does tend to run in families with some reports showing 90% of kids with a family history.
  • Children over age five who wet the bed may have bladders that still need time to mature.
  • Obesity, certain medications, and diet can alter the normal nighttime regulation of urine production, leading to bedwetting.
  • Most kids who wet the bed empty their bladders at night most commonly when normal bladder volume is achieved, not because of a small or overfull bladder.

Bedwetting is a real problem for many children. It does not mean that your child is too lazy to get out of bed at night to use the bathroom or that being a deep sleeper leads to bedwetting. There are a number of factors that contribute to bedwetting from developmental delays to heredity, and many causes remain unknown.

When to Seek Help for Bedwetting

Dr. Adam Kern usually recommends that parents let the child direct the treatment, particularly in children over the age of six. When the child asks for help, he or she is usually ready to accept it. This is what Dr. Kern calls making kids the “captain” of a successful team. The decision to seek treatment for bedwetting is a personal one and our team understands that each child is unique, and so is their condition. Regardless, it is imperative that your child is motivated to practice good bladder habits prior to embarking on a treatment plan for bedwetting.

If your child is six years or older, it might benefit you and your child to talk to a pediatrician or a pediatric urologist about bedwetting. The pediatric urology specialists at Chesapeake Urology for Children understand that bedwetting is a stressful problem that can affect the entire family. Typically, the child will get to the point where he or she is bothered by the condition (for example, when it gets in the way of sleepovers with friends).