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Child and Adolescent Health Service

Health A – Z


Princess Margaret Hospital

Bedwetting (Enuresis)

Happiness is a Dry Bed

About Bedwetting

Bedwetting is a common childhood problem.

Nocturnal Enuresis is the medical term used to describe lack of bladder control at night in a person who has reached an age at which control is to be expected (usually between 5 and 6 years of age)

Dryness at night occurs at different ages in children. It does not depend upon special training – it is a natural development that occurs when the mechanism controlling that part of the body matures.

The children are not necessarily very heavy sleepers. While commonly described as sleeping too heavily to awaken, the wetting has nothing to do with dreaming nor are they being lazy or naughty. It is quite unconscious; from the child’s point of view it is a matter of going to bed dry and waking up wet, with no recollection of it happening.

In most children who wet the bed, there is a family history of bedwetting.

Bedwetting is a problem which can or may cause stress for both children and parents. The child may experience loss of self esteem and/or lack of confidence. It is recommended to seek treatment rather than thinking ‘they will grow out of it’ – some never do!

If the child is usually dry by day and passes urine normally, bedwetting is very unlikely to be the result of any bladder or kidney disease. However, if the child is ill or feverish, dribbles urine day and night or has pain, you should consult your doctor.

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Bedwetting alarms are widely used and are considered safe and the most effective method of treatment.

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Advice That Will Help

The bedwetting service at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children offers treatment to those children who suffer with nocturnal (night-time) enuresis (or bedwetting). If a child has day-time wetting or bowel dysfunction like constipation or leaking of bowel motions, then expert advice should be sought.

Good Bowel Habits Brochure

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Advice That Will Not Help

  • the child will 'grow' out of it
  • restriction of fluids
  • 'lifting' during the night does not help to achieve bladder control

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