Overview of Bedwetting

Bedwetting is the common term used for a medical condition, ‘urinary incontinence’ (enuresis). In this condition, a child releases urine during the night either intentionally or accidentally. It is considered a problem among children who are unable to control their bladder even at the age where they should be toilet trained.

Girls usually have better bladder control capacity than boys.

Most children improve bladder control on their own with age, only a few need the treatment.


Bedwetting is commonly found in 15 to 20% of children. It is diagnosed in boys aged more than 6 years whereas in girls aged more than 5 years. 

Doctors Treating Bedwetting

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Signs and Symptoms of Bedwetting

Involuntary release of urine (pee) by a child above the age of toilet training.

Types of Bedwetting

Based on time, bedwetting is named diurnal enuresis which causes urine release during the day, and nocturnal occurs during the night.

Two main types of bedwetting include;

  1. Primary bedwetting: It occurs before a child is a toilet trained. A child is not dry for any specific length of time at night.  

  2. Secondary bedwetting: It occurs after a child is a toilet trained. A child has some period of dryness and then returns to a period of wetting.   

Types of Bedwetting

Causes of Bedwetting

Bedwetting is caused by some factors;

  • Late toilet training (above 5 years old child)
  • Poor toilet training
  • Small bladder capacity
  • Sleep disorder or poor sleeping habits
  • Improper hormone function
  • Psychological problems
  • Usage of caffeine
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fail to wake up at night
  • Certain medication

Risk Factors of Bedwetting

Risk factors include: 



Certain precautions can be taken, to reduce the recurrence of bedwetting.

  • Reduce fluid intake at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Make sure to make your child go to the bathroom and attend to their needs before slipping into bed. 
  • Make a routine of waking your child up at least once at night.
  • Make the room setting close to the toilet so that it is easy and within reach. 
  • Try using absorbent pants in extreme cases. 


Bedwetting is diagnosed by a simple procedure. After taking a medical history of your child, a doctor may prescribe you some tests to find the cause of wetting. These include:

Treatment of Bedwetting | When to Consult a Doctor

Treatment of bedwetting is based on your child's medical history, the severity of the condition, the suitability of medicines specific to your child, and your preferences.

It is very important for you to know that it’s not your child's fault. You are not supposed to punish your child as he/she is unable to control wetting.

Mostly bedwetting goes away on its own!

Treatment of bedwetting (enuresis) includes: 

  • Use of night alarms that will help you in awakening at night before wetting
  • Positive buttressing of a child
  • Medicines to control wetting
  • Practice controlling urine at day time helps in increasing the bladder size
  • Avoid the use of extra fluids and caffeine at night
  • Psychological counseling in case of any stress
  • Train your child to imagine himself dry when he wakes up. This technique is known as, ‘positive imaginary’. It helps in toilet training and prevents wetting at night.

In case your child exhibits any signs and symptoms of bedwetting, consult a medical professional (urologist) as soon as possible.