Bedwetting is when a child who is old enough to control their bladder loses bladder control – also called urinary incontinence or enuresis – at night.
While bedwetting can be a frustrating condition, there are many ways to help treat this and help a child overcome bedwetting. Here, learn from a CHOC expert about bedwetting, including symptoms, treatments and strategies to help.
Why do kids wet the bed?
Bedwetting or nighttime enuresis has many possible causes, says Dr. Reshmi Basu, a pediatrician in the CHOC Primary Care Network. The cause of nighttime enuresis often is not known. But possible causes and risk factors may include one or more of these:
What are the symptoms of enuresis in a child?
Symptoms can be a bit different for each child, Dr. Basu says.
The main symptom is when a child age 5 or older wets their bed or their clothes two times a week or more, for at least three months.
But one in 10 children age 7 years, one in 20 children age 10 years, and one in 100 children older than 15 years still have at least one episode of nighttime enuresis.
The symptoms of enuresis can seem like other health conditions. Take the child to their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is enuresis diagnosed in a child?
Many children may wet the bed from time to time. It can take some children longer than others to learn to control their bladder, Dr. Basu says. Girls often have bladder control before boys. Because of this, enuresis is diagnosed in girls earlier than in boys. Girls may be diagnosed as young as age 5. Boys are not diagnosed until at least age 6.
To diagnose the child, the pediatrician will ask about the child’s health history. Tell the healthcare provider:
The pediatrician may give the child a physical exam. The child may also need tests, such as urine tests or blood tests. These are done to look for a health problem, such as an infection or diabetes.
What treatment can stop bedwetting?
In most cases, enuresis goes away over time and does not need to be treated. If treatment is needed, many methods can help, Dr. Basu says. These include:
Work with the child’s healthcare provider to find out the best choices that may help them.
What are possible complications of bedwetting in children?
Possible problems from enuresis can include:
How can I help my child live with enuresis?
This podcast with a CHOC psychologist offers tips about coping with bedwetting. Here are some other things Dr. Basu recommends parents do to help their child cope with bedwetting:
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
Dr. Basu recommends that parents call their pediatrician if the child has:
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