Bedwetting (also called nocturnal enuresis) happens when the bladder empties without permission during sleep. Bedwetting is very common with approximately 1 in 5 children in Australia wetting the bed.
Bedwetting is a complex condition that can often be a source of worry for parents and children. For parents, the main concern is often the emotional and social effects on their children. Children can experience feelings of embarrassment that can lead to low self-esteem. There are also other issues of sleep disruption, laundry workload and costs to contend with as well.
Day-time control of the bladder comes before night-time dryness. Most children will be dry through the day by the age of three, and dry at night by school age. It's important to remember that all children development at different rates, and some children may experience accidents from time to time until the age of 7 or 8.
See our Teenagers bedwetting page for information on bedwetting in older children.
There are three main causes of bedwetting:
Bedwetting is NOT caused by:
Some illnesses are linked with bedwetting, however most children who wet the bed do not have major health problems.
Visit our tips for parents page for more information.
It is important to seek help for bedwetting if:
It is best to seek help from a health professional with special training in children's bladders.
Most children will stop wetting in their own time, however if the child is over the age of 7 or 8, the problem may not get better by itself.
The first step in treating bedwetting is to seek help from a health professional who will check the child to make sure there are no physical causes.
Some common ways of treating bedwetting are listed below.
We have a number of fact sheets available for download on bladder and bowel health. Visit our Resources page for a more advanced search or have a look at some of the popular fact sheets below.
If you are caring for a child with special needs and incontinence, practical tips and advice are available to assist you with your care. Read more on caring with someone with incontinence.