When to See the Doctor About Your Child’s Bedwetting

What ages are normal for bedwetting in children?

Children are often potty trained between ages 2 and 4, though during this period of time they tend to be unable to stay dry through the night. We distinguish this as primary bedwetting, meaning that their nervous systems aren’t yet mature enough to wake themselves when the urge to urinate arrives.

Around 40 percent of 3 year olds wet the bed, but as their nervous systems develop they begin to wake to use the restroom. By ages 5 and 6 around 85 percent of children are able to curb the urge to urinate during the night.

How frequent is bedwetting to be considered abnormal?

When children are still in the potty-training stage, bedwetting is likely to be a nightly occurrence. As children age, their nervous system matures and bedwetting should begin to occur less frequently. Around age 7, if your child is still wetting the bed more than two to three times a week, we recommend that he or she see a specialist. This will help in detecting if there are any underlying issues.

What are the treatment options for bedwetting?

When bedwetting is frequent at a young age there are multiple methods that can be attempted to curb the urge to urinate in the night. A very simple, yet effective treatment entails monitoring the amount of fluids your child is drinking before bed and in the afternoon.

Limiting the amount of liquid children drink after 3 p.m. will limit the amount of urine they will need to store during the night. Making sure your child is using the restroom right before he or she goes to bed will also help to relieve the urgency until morning. Rewarding your children with simple things, such as stickers and keeping night lights in their room and near the toilet, helps encourage them to make it to the restroom at night.

If simple methods as previously mentioned aren’t working for your child, you may try a bedwetting alarm. These operate with a moisture sensor located in your child’s pajamas that is attached to an alarm placed near the shoulder. When the child begins to urinate, the alarm will sound and wake him up so that he’s capable of using the restroom to finish urinating.

What else could be causing my child’s bedwetting?

Secondary bedwetting is when your child has an outside disease or condition that is causing the accidents. Type 1 diabetes is a potential cause because individuals with this condition have excess blood sugar, and as a consequence the body creates more urine.

Urinary tract infections are also a potential cause of bedwetting incidents. Due to the lower abdominal pain and bladder infection, individuals will have to urinate more frequently and more urgently. Another cause is neurological or emotional stress. Changes in the delicate nervous system, as well as any home or school stress, can create disruption in the body and cause bedwetting.

When should I consult a doctor about my child’s bedwetting?

When children are over age 6 and wetting the bed more than two to three times a week and home treatment is not working, consulting a doctor is your next step. If your child is wetting the bed at any age and seems to have other symptoms previously mentioned (diabetes, a urinary tract infection or stress of any kind) then make an appointment with a urologist to find the underlying cause affecting your child.