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Kids and Bedwetting: Fast Facts

Bedwetting, medically referred to as nocturnal enuresis, is the involuntary urination  while asleep after the age at which bladder control usually occurs.  Nocturnal enuresis is considered primary (PNE) when a child has not yet had a prolonged period of being dry. Secondary nocturnal enuresis (SNE) is when a child or adult begins wetting again after having stayed dry.

Bedwetting is the most common childhood urologic complaint(1) and one of the most common pediatric health issues.(2) Most bedwetting, however, is just a developmental delay—not an emotional problem or physical illness. Only a small percentage (5% to 10%) of bedwetting cases are caused by specific medical situations.(3)  Bedwetting is frequently associated with a family history of the condition.(4)

Most girls can stay dry by age six and most boys stay dry by age seven. By ten years old, 95% of children are dry at night. Studies place adult bedwetting rates at between 0.5% to 2.3%.(5)

Since most bedwetting is simply a developmental delay, most treatment plans aim to protect or improve self esteem.(3)  Protecting your child's mattress with a breathable, waterproof, cotton sheet is ideal as it keeps your child's night time sleep experience similar to those of the child's peers.  Furthermore, when friends come over to play, they are unaware there is a specially formulated sheet on the child's bed. 

Bedwetting children and adults can suffer emotional stress or psychological injury if they feel shamed by the condition. Treatment guidelines recommend that the physician counsel the parents, warning about psychological damage caused by pressure, shaming, or punishment for a condition children cannot control.(3)

Wondering what you can do to prevent bedwetting from affecting your child's self-esteem?  Read more at www.oopsSheet.com/Articles/Bedwetting-and-Your-Child's-Self-Esteem.htm


  1. Reynoso Paredes, MD, Potenciano. "Case Based Pediatrics For Medical Students and Residents". Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. http://www.hawaii.edu/medicine/pediatrics/pedtext/s13c09.html. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  2. "Nocturnal Enuresis". UCLA Urology. http://urology.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=146. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
  3. Johnson, Mary. "Nocturnal Enuresis". www.duj.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20080122063339/http://www.duj.com/Johnson.html. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  4. "Bedwetting". The Royal Childrens Hospital Melbourne. http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/factsheets.cfm?doc_id=3716. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  5. "Pediatrics". www.pediatriceducation.org. http://www.pediatriceducation.org/2005/04/04. Retrieved 2008-02-02.