Bedwetting Facts

Bedwetting is very common. If you have a bedwetting child, you are certainly among many others dealing with the frustrations and challenges associated with bedwetting.

Childhood bedwetting is one of the most common pediatric conditions. Most girls stay dry through the night by the time they reach age six; some boys may still be bedwetters until they reach age seven. Some statistics suggest:

  • 2/3rds of children who wet at night are boys
  • 10-33% of 5-6 year olds bed wet
  • 8-15% of 7-8 year olds bed wet
  • 95% of children are dry at night by age 10

Nocturnal Enuresis
The medical term for bedwetting is Nocturnal Enuresis. Nocturnal Enuresis is considered primary (PNE) when a child has not yet had a prolonged period of being dry and secondary nocturnal enuresis (SNE) is when a child or adult begins wetting again after having stayed dry.

Specialists suggest that most bedwetting is simply a developmental delay—not an emotional problem or physical illness. Only small percentages (5% to 10%) of bedwetting cases are caused by specific medical conditions.

Family History
Bedwetting is frequently associated with a family history of the condition. Children whose parents were bedwetters have a 40% chance of bedwetting and if both parents were bedwetters then the chances increase to 75%.

Bedwetting is not a problem in itself. If you and your child do not experience the same frustrations as others then you and your child may be happy to wait until your child develops his/her own ability to stay dry. However, if it is a problem for you and/or your child, then it is time to decide on a course of action to overcome the problem.

Bedwetting can be an extreme problem for many children. Some children are frustrated about having no control over the problem, and others are embarrassed about being wet when their peers are not.

These problems can cause a child to avoid being with other children and avoid fun activities. The older the child becomes, the more obvious the problem can be.

How your child may feel
There is a good chance your child may feel embarrassed, ashamed or frustrated. Bedwetting is not a disease, a psychological problem or a response to allergies. It is not caused by laziness or naughtiness either, so punishing your child does not do any good at all.

As discussed, some children develop urinary control later than others without any intervention. Try and be patient and sympathetic.  Whichever approach you take to bedwetting it is important to be supportive, understanding and encouraging.


Some suggestions for helping your child to stay dry at night include:

  • Be patient, calm and relaxed.
  • NEVER punish them, yell or show disgust or disappointment.
  • Be prepared to try solutions – bedwetting alarms, improving daytime toilet habits.
  • Use mattress and bedding protectors.
  • PRAISE them when they wake up with a dry bed.
  • Do NOT restrict their fluids.
  • Do NOT embarrass your child by talking about their bedwetting to other people.

As parents and caregivers you can do everything in your power to help your child understand bedwetting and how it can be overcome. There are many books, websites and products available that address bedwetting from several different angles. The purpose of this website is to provide a concise overview about bedwetting and the different treatment approaches that are available.