Reasons for Bedwetting

Did you know that there are about 5 million children in the United States who wet the bed? If your child wets the bed, they are not alone. For example, studies have shown that 15% of 5- and 7-year-olds wet the bed. But by age 15, fewer than 1%wet the bed.

Bedwetting is not a serious medical condition, but it can be a challenging problem for children and parents. Read on to find out more about bedwetting and what families can do about it.

Here are 3 common reasons for bedwetting:

  1. Communication between the brain and bladder: If the bladder signals the brain that it’s filling up with urine—and the brain doesn’t send a message back to the bladder to relax and hold the urine until morning—bedwetting will happen. Likewise, if the bladder signals the brain that it’s filling up with urine and the brain doesn’t hear the signals, especially during deep sleep, bedwetting will happen.
  2. Stress or trauma: Some​times when children experience stress or traumatic events, or when they get sick or constipated, children who have previously been dry at night can have bouts of bedwetting. This is a different problem than the child who has never been dry at night. Children with these short-term episodes of bedwetting usually have dry nights when the underlying problem resolves.
  3. Medical concerns: Rarely, some children begin to wet the bed as a result of a serious medical problem.

What you can do

Most children wet their beds during toilet training. Even after they stay dry at night for a number of days or even weeks, they may start wetting at night again. If this happens to your child, simply go back to training pants at night and try again another time. The problem usually disappears as children get older. If children reach school age and still have problems wetting the bed, it most likely means they have never developed nighttime bladder control.

Stay positive

Do not be discouraged if one treatment does not work. Some children will respond well to a combination of treatments. If your child is one of a small number of children who do not respond to any treatment, talk with your child’s doctor about ways to manage bedwetting.

Also, in most cases, bedwetting decreases as the child’s body matures. By the teen years, almost all children have bladder control for dry nights.

All children benefit from emotional support from their family. Support from your child’s doctor or other health professionals can also help.

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