Enuresis (Bedwetting)

When a child involuntarily urinates at night while sleeping


Do not enter into the blame game…

If your child is bedwetting at night (also known as enuresis) do not enter into the blame game or become so frustrated that you make them feel naughty or ashamed. Do not accuse them of being lazy. Do not allow others to make fun of them and do not punish them.

Approximately 15% of children encounter enuresis (bedwetting)

Children achieve bladder control at different ages. By the age of 6 years, most children no longer urinate in their sleep. Bed-wetting up to the age of 6 is not unusual, even though it may be frustrating to parents. Treating a child for bed-wetting before the age of 6 is not usually necessary.

Bedwetting Cause…

Bedwetting (enuresis), persistent bedwetting, beyond the age of three or four, is related to two reasons.

I. Physically and/or Neurologically Immature Bladder.

This can be explained as an imbalance of the bladder muscles. The muscle that contracts to squeeze the urine out is stronger, at moments, that the sphincter muscle that holds the urine in. Your child can have a bladder that is little or too small to hold the normal amount of urine. Or your child can produce more urine that their normal size bladder can hold.

II. Deep Sleeping Pattern

Some children sleep so deeply that they are not aware of the message the bladder sends to the brain saying it is full.

Two types of Enuresis (bedwetting)

Bedwetting (enuresis) can be described in two ways:

1. Primary Enuresis:

I. Primary Enuresis

If your child’s has never been dry at night and the problem continues into the school years. It is most likely related to a physically and/or neurologically immature bladder and deep sleeping pattern.

II. Secondary Enuresis

If your child begins bedwetting after several months or years of dryness during the night enuresis can be stress relating to your child’s fears or insecurities. Some changes or events that can be attributed to your child’s emotional stress are starting school, moving to a new home, parents conflict or divorce, losing a family member or loved one, the arrival of a new baby or child into the home. Children who are being physically or sexually abused sometimes begin bedwetting.


The management of secondary nocturnal enuresis involves identifying and addressing the underlying stressor.


Ways to help your child stop primary enuresis;

Even though most children outgrow bed-wetting on their own there are behavior therapy techniques you can teach your child to help stop nocturnal bedwetting.

Limit your child’s fluids during the evening before bedtime.


Have your child go to the bathroom at the beginning of the bedtime routine and then again right before going to sleep.


Remind your child that it's OK to use the toilet during the night if needed.


Use small nightlights so that your child can easily find the way between the bedroom and bathroom.


An alarm system that rings when the bed gets wet and teaches the child to respond to bladder sensations at night.


Wake your child in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

If there's a family history of bed-wetting, the child will likely stop at the age the parent did.


Consult with your family physician for information regarding medication to help your child with bedwetting.


Offer Positive Emotional Support to Your Child:

It is only logical to believe that your child feels guilty and embarrassed for bedwetting. Your expressed frustration regarding your child’s inability to control their bladder will only make matters worse. Negative comments will cause your child to have low self-esteem and create behavior problems that will be more difficult to change. Remember your child is not bedwetting to make you mad and punishing them will not solve the problem. Try to be patient as you and your child work together to get through this period of growth.

Help your child cope emotionally with bedwetting


Be sensitive to your child's feelings. Let your child know that no one knows the exact cause of bed-wetting. If you wet the bed as a child, share that information with your child and explain that this situation tends to run in families. Let your child know, as they grow older bedwetting normally stops. If your child is stressed or anxious, encourage him or her to express those feelings. When your child feels calm and secure, bed-wetting may become a thing of the past.


Put your child to bed earlier. Surprisingly, an extra 30 minutes of sleep a night helps some children stop wetting the bed.


Plan for easy cleanup. Cover your child's mattress with a plastic cover. Use thick, absorbent underwear at night to help contain the urine. Keep extra bedding and pajamas handy.


Enlist your child's help. Perhaps your child can rinse his or her wet underwear and pajamas, or place these items in a specific container for washing. Taking responsibility for bed-wetting will help your child feel less guilty and feel more in control over this situation relieving embarrassment.


Celebrate effort. Don't punish or tease your child for wetting the bed. Instead, praise your child for following the bedtime routine and help cleaning up after accidents.
With reassurance, support and understanding, you and your child can look forward to dry nights ahead.






If you or your child are having emotional difficulty dealing with this or another emotional issue or if your child has developed a behavior problem please call 708-224-8528 for a free phone consultation see services for more information.


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