Enuresis (en yur EE sis) is the medical term for wetting the bed. It means the child urinates without meaning to. Bedwetting at night is called nocturnal enuresis. After age five, most children stay dry during the night.
Nighttime bedwetting is fairly common. At five years of age, one of every six children has this problem, but most children eventually outgrow it. It is more common in boys than in girls. If one or both parents wet the bed when they were young, there is a good chance their children will too.
There may be several reasons for bedwetting: your child’s bladder may be too small to hold as much urine as children who do not wet the bed; he may sleep too soundly or not being able to tell when his bladder is full; or during times of stress. Very rarely bedwetting is caused by a physical problem or a disease.
The doctor may be able to find out why a child is wetting the bed, but in some cases the cause is not known.
If your child is 5 years old or older, make an appointment with his doctor. The doctor will examine your child and ask you both some questions. Be sure to let your child answer as many questions as he or she can. It is important to include your child in the discussion and treatment plan.
Depending on the reasons for enuresis, different treatment plans may be tried. Some treatment plans may include medicine or urinary alarms. The following plan is often used by doctors. It seems to help most children who wet the bed at night. (Be sure to follow the suggestions of your child's doctor in managing your child's bedwetting.)
Be sure to keep your follow-up appointments with your doctor. The doctor will work with you to help your child overcome this problem.
You can use this information to explain to your child (Picture 1, page 1).
Blood flows through the kidneys. The kidneys filter the blood to make it clean. The waste products and water that the body does not need go into the bladder. This is urine. When the bladder gets filled with urine, signals are sent to the brain, and the child feels the need to go to the bathroom.
Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Bedwetting (Paperback) by Renee Mercer
Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting (Paperback) by Howard J. Bennett, MD, FAAP
No More Bedwetting: How to Help Your Child Stay Dry (Paperback) by Samuel J. Arnold
Enuresis (Bedwetting) (PDF)
HH-I-34 2/80, Revised 10/11 Copyright 1980-2011, Nationwide Children’s Hospital