Child Bedwetting – How To Prevent It

Nocturnal enuresis, also known as bedwetting, is common among children and there are many causes.

Baby Bed - Bedwetting

Baby Bed

1. What is enuresis?

Nocturnal enuresis is the inability to control urination at night while sleeping, after the age of 5-7, which is typically when a person should be able to control his/her bladder. There are 2 types of enuresis, primary and secondary. The most common form is primary enuresis and it refers to children who have never been successfully trained to control urination. Such a person has wet the bed since he or she was a baby and has never been dry for 6 consecutive months. Secondary enuresis refers to children who have been successfully trained to control their bladder and have had no incident during the past 6 months.

According to NAFC, 20% of children still wet their bed by age 5, but less than 5% of kids do so by ages 9 to 12. Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls in a ration 2:1.

2. What causes enuresis?

There are many factors that contribute to nocturnal enuresis and the most common are the following :

  • Small bladder – this is a result of slower physical development
  • Genetic factors – bedwetting usually runs in the family
  • Increased nighttime urine production – related to the antidiuretic hormone, ADH
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleep problems – obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are also children who sleep so deep that they cannot wake up when they need to pee.
  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Constipation
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
  • Diabetes – the body increases urine output in order to get rid of the sugar


3. How can the parents help?

  • Limit fluid intake before bedtime
  • Have your child use the bathroom before and after sleep time
  • Praise the child for dry nights by creating a reward system
  • Ask your child to change the bed sheets when he or she wets
  • Let your child know that lots of kids have the same problem
  • Bladder training: have your child practice holding his or her urine for longer and longer times during the day, in an effort to stretch the bladder so it can hold more urine.
  • Avoid criticism and talking about your child’s problem in front of others
  • Consult an expert if the problem remains
  • Medication in severe cases, after the age of 7


4. Conclusion

Bedwetting is not the fault of the child and the parents should not punish him/her for it. It is rarely a symptom of an underlying disease so the parents should not be alarmed but instead they should try to help their child outgrow this phase.


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