Your child wets the bed? Here’s how to help stay dry through the night

Bed-wetting can be frustrating and uncomfortable for you and your child. Learn what’s normal and when should you seek care from a pediatric urologist.

For most families, having a child who wets the bed is a common part of childhood.

But bed-wetting can be frustrating and uncomfortable for you and your child. It’s often difficult to know when bed-wetting becomes an issue that needs treatment from a pediatric urologist. Dennis Peppas, M.D., pediatric urologist with Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, weighs in on common bed-wetting questions and addresses when a child’s accidents could be a sign of something more.

What causes bed-wetting?

Kids may wet the bed for various reasons. Young children are still developing bladder control. In many cases, bed-wetting runs in families — about 70% of children who wet the bed have at least one parent who wet the bed as a child. For most children, bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis) has no anatomical or physiological cause.

Tips to prevent bed-wetting

There are several steps you can take to reduce the frequency of bed-wetting accidents. Here are some

  • Reduce fluid intake two hours before bedtime.
  • Eliminate drinks with caffeine (tea, soft drinks, chocolate milk) and sweeteners (juices).
  • Get your child on a regular bathroom schedule (every two to three hours).
  • Have your child use the bathroom before getting into bed.
  • Let your child know it’s OK to get up at night to use the bathroom.
  • Check to see if your child has had a bowel movement. (Constipation can cause the bladder to not empty completely.)
  • Consider waterproof sheets or absorbent pants.

Norton Children’s Urology

Norton Children’s Urology offers consultations and specialized care for children and adolescents with a variety of urological conditions. Call to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.

(502) 559-1670

When should I seek help for my child?

Most of the time, the issue will resolve itself, usually by the time a child is about 7 years old. If your child is 7 or older and still wetting the bed, a pediatric urologist can provide a treatment plan. This age is a good time for beginning treatment, because the child will be mature enough to have the desire and motivation to stop wetting the bed.

 What should I say to my child who wets the bed?

Children do not do this on purpose. It is important not to ridicule or punish your child for wetting the bed. The most important thing to understand about bed-wetting in children is that there is no “quick fix.” The best practice is to be patient and consistently follow the treatment plan developed for your child.


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