Bedwetting is quite common in school-age children. They can’t control it, and most grow out of it. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help your child feel better about this issue.

Bedwetting facts

Bedwetting is sometimes called nocturnal (night-time) enuresis. Childhood bedwetting happens in many families.

  • Most children stop daytime wetting by about three years of age and wetting at night by the time they are five, although most preschoolers wet their bed from time to time.
  • A lot of children grow out of wetting the bed by the time they start school. But many children of primary school-age still wet the bed.
  • About 1 in 5 five-year-old children wet the bed, 5% of 10-year-olds, and 1% of 15-year-olds.

If your primary school-aged child wets the bed, your child is probably not the only one in the class or among peers who is wetting.

Why does bedwetting happen?

Bedwetting is nobody’s fault. It is not caused by laziness or done to get attention. It is something over which a child has no control.

  • Bedwetting happens when children do not wake up when their bladders are full at night.
  • Many children who wet the bed seem to sleep more heavily and be harder to wake than other children. They’re not able to wake up when they have a full bladder.
  • Many children who wet the bed produce more urine (wee) at night than others, because of a low level of a hormone that controls how much urine is made while they are asleep.
  • A few children who wet the bed have bladders that cannot hold a large amount of urine.
  • Often bedwetting runs in the family. You might find that dad, mum, uncle or aunt used to wet the bed and might still have to get up at night to go to the toilet.
  • Most children who wet the bed ‘grow out’ of it, but their self-confidence can be harmed while they are wetting. It’s worth looking into ways of helping your child to stop wetting at an earlier age rather than later. When children stop wetting, their self-confidence usually returns.
  • Sometimes children who wet the bed stay dry when sleeping in a strange place. This might be because they are worried about sleeping in the strange place. They therefore sleep more lightly for the first few nights. When they’re at home again and relaxed, they often wet the bed again.
  • Some children who have been dry might start wetting the bed again if something happens to make them very stressed – for example, a family break-up or starting school, or if they’re not well. In this case, the bedwetting will usually stop when the child begins to feel more secure.
  • If a child who has been dry starts to wet the bed again, it’s important to have a medical check to see whether there’s an infection or other health problem.

Source: Raising Children Network: The Australian Parenting Website

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