How can my child overcome bedwetting?

Real Mom Problem

“My son will be going into first grade and he still wets the bed. Is it possible that this is a medical condition or is it just something he'll eventually grow out of? I really need some advice on this one.”

by Quentinsmamma Quentinsmamma

Quick Tips

  • 1. Children who have never, or rarely, been dry at night have primary enuresis, a common condition that most children typically outgrow on their own
  • 2. Some children with primary enuresis will not be dry at night until puberty
  • 3. Children might wet the bed because they are extremely deep sleepers while others lack ADH, a hormone that helps the body produce less urine at night
  • 4. Medication does not cure bedwetting but it can help some children stay dry temporarily for sleepovers or other occasions
  • 5. If you are concerned about your child's bedwetting, seek the advice of your pediatrician
  • 6. The information below is not medical advice and should not be relied on as medical advice or used in lieu of speaking with a medical professional

Real Mom Solutions

If you're the mom of a bed wetter, you might be worried there's something wrong with your child. Let this mom help you understand you're not alone!

  • hwifeandmom

    For bedwetting to stop, two basic things have to occur. First, the body has to develop the hormone that signals the kidneys to slow urine production when the body is asleep. Without that hormone, the body produces too much urine to stay dry. Second, the body has to learn to awaken to the sensations of a full bladder. Other things can contribute to bedwetting (infections, constipation, stress, etc.), but these are the two basic things that need to occur to overcome bedwetting. Bedwetting is often hereditary, so if a relative was a bed wetter, it increases the likelihood that your child will be a bed wetter.

    Doctors don't typically consider bedwetting a problem until a child is around eight years old because it's a developmental process, and every body matures at a different rate. By eight years, doctors will sometimes do testing to make sure there's no medical problem, but if not, there's not much the doctors can do until the body has matured naturally on its own. Some children don't develop the necessary hormone until puberty or later.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great book called "Waking Up Dry," which describes the various causes of bedwetting and what you can do about it, if anything. Check your local library for a copy.

    There is a synthetic version of the body's natural hormone that doctors will sometimes prescribe. It is just a band-aid until the body develops the hormone on its own. It (DDAVP - desmopressin) used to be available as a nasal spray, but the FDA banned it a couple of years ago due to seizures and death. There is still a pill formulation available that doesn't have the same negative side effects. About 80% of people have success using the pill to slow urine production when asleep. It is not typically recommended for young children.

    You can look at urinary incontinence sites (such as for ideas of products you can get to help control nighttime messes (absorbent underwear, bed pads, etc.). Many of the products can be purchased at other sites for less money, but you can at least get ideas at that website. If your child is still young, then GoodNites overnight underwear probably still work.

    Once you start seeing signs that your child's body has matured (less wet in the morning, occasional dry nights), then you can begin limiting fluids before bed and taking her to the bathroom once during the night to help finish nighttime training her.

Other Kids' Health Categories