According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is normal for children to wet the bed while sleeping. Around 2% of children at the age of five wet their beds every night (1).
There is nothing to worry since a majority of bedwetting cases in toddlers are normal and not a result of any underlying health condition. However, if your kid continues to wet their bed beyond the age of 7, it is a cause for concern, and you must consult a pediatrician to identify the cause and resolve the problem.
Read on to know more about the causes of bedwetting and how you can try and prevent your little one from doing it.
Table Of Contents
Types Of Bedwetting
Bedwetting is quite a normal occurrence in a majority of children out there. More than 15% of five-year-olds do not realize that their bladder is full until they wet the bed or are unable to control the urge to pee anymore (2).
Bedwetting can be classified into two types: primary and secondary (3).
Primary bedwetting means that the child in question has been wetting the bed since early childhood, without a break. Children affected with this type may not have had a single dry night for any significant length of time.
Secondary bedwetting is the type in which your child starts wetting the bed again after a significant gap, say 6 months or more, of not doing so.
Are you wondering what could be triggering your child to wet the bed? Let’s find out.
Causes And Risk Factors For Bedwetting
The common factors that contribute to primary bedwetting could be any one or a combination of the following:
- The child is unable to hold his/her urine throughout the night.
- The child does not realize when the bladder becomes full while sleeping.
- The child ends up producing too much urine in the evening and night.
- The child hardly uses the loo in the daytime and ignores the urge or puts it off for as long as possible.
Secondary bedwetting can be a symptom of an underlying medical or emotional problem (2).
The common causes and risk factors for secondary bedwetting include:
- Urinary Tract Infection or UTI: It causes symptoms like increased urinary frequency, pain/irritation while urinating, and urgency to urinate. This condition in children could also be an indication of another health problem – an anatomical abnormality.
- Diabetes: Increased urinary frequency is a symptom of diabetes.
- Structural Or Anatomical Abnormality: Any abnormality in your organs, muscles, or nerves that are involved in urination can trigger incontinence or bedwetting.
- Neurological Issues: Abnormalities in the nervous system due to an injury or disease can upset the neurological balance that controls urination.
- Emotional Problems: Traumatic or stressful experiences during one’s childhood could also be responsible for secondary bedwetting in children. Other major changes like changing schools, having a new sibling, or moving cities can also trigger the condition.
- Hereditary: Bedwetting also tends to run in families. Children whose parents have had a history of bedwetting are more likely to wet the bed themselves.
Your child could be wetting the bed due to a multitude of factors. To know if your toddler is suffering from an underlying condition, keep a close check on their bedwetting time and frequency. If the symptoms indicate secondary bedwetting, waste no time in seeing a doctor to rule out the chances of other medical conditions. Availing medical treatment at the right time can prevent further complications.
However, if you have just realized that your child has been wetting his/her bed for as long as you can remember, it might be time for you to reach out and help your little one deal with this habit.
The following are some effective ways to help your child stop bedwetting.
Best Ways To Curb Bedwetting In Children
1. Watch Your Kid’s Fluid Intake
Keep a close watch on the amount of fluid your child drinks, especially in the evening. Make him/her drink more fluids during the day to help stretch the bladder and increase its capacity. Also, try and limit your child’s fluid and caffeine intake in the evenings (4).
2. Encourage Practicing Bladder Control
You can also get your child to try to hold the urine in for a few minutes every time he/she wants to use the loo. Practicing this during the day can help improve bladder control and stop bedwetting eventually.
3. Encourage Using The Loo More Often
Get your child to pee more often, especially before bedtime. This will help prevent the chances of your little one wetting the bed (4).
4. Help Them Adapt To Wake Up Breaks
Another way to stop bedwetting in children is to make them adapt to wake up breaks between sleep, especially at night. Every time you wake up from a nap at night, make it a point to gently wake up your little one and ask if he/she wants to use the loo. They will gradually learn how to recognize the urge to urinate while sleeping. You can also keep an alarm for this purpose.
5. Ask For Assistance Without Being Punitive
Another way to help your toddler beat bedwetting is to work in partnership with them when it comes to changing the linens every time they wet the bed. However, the job should be fun, and you should be gentle about this. Don’t come across as punitive. Involving your child in this activity may increase their sense of control eventually.
6. Stop With The Diapers
One of the main reasons children continue bedwetting despite crossing the 5-year mark is because they become too used to their diapers. Stop using diapers gradually. Instead, follow the other tips to help your child overcome bedwetting.
7. Be Supportive And Patient
Another important factor when it comes to dealing with bedwetting in children is to be supportive and patient with them. Stay calm and reassure your child that this is a common problem among children and can be overcome with time.
Don’t get overworked about the bedwetting habit of your little one. It is quite a common occurrence in most toddlers that will eventually stop as they become older. Meanwhile, you can try and help your child deal with this condition by being by their side and following the above tips.
Hope this article helps you deal with your child’s bedwetting. For any further queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us through the comments section below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
When to see a doctor for bedwetting in children?
You should see a doctor immediately if your child experiences the following symptoms along with bedwetting. They include:
• Stomach pain
• Pain during urination
What is the average age for children to stop wetting the bed?
The average age for a child to be toilet trained is between 2 and 4 years. By the time children turn 5-6 years old, around 85% of them can stay dry.
What does bedwetting mean psychologically?
Secondary bedwetting, as already discussed, could be caused due to underlying conditions, including psychological problems. Traumatic or stressful experiences during one’s childhood could also be one of the reasons for a child to continue wetting the bed even after crossing 5 years of age.
What are the reasons for bed wetting in adults?
Some of the main causes of bedwetting in adults are:
• Urinary tract infection
• Stones in the urinary tract
• Neurological disorders
• Prostate enlargement
• Prostate cancer
• Cancer of the bladder
• Obstructive sleep apnea
• An overactive bladder
- “Treating nocturnal enuresis in children in primary care.” The Practitioner, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Bedwetting: Overview” Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, US National Library of Medicine.
- “Primary Nocturnal Enuresis: A Review” Nephro-urology Monthly, US National Library of Medicine.
- “7Fluid and diet restriction for the management of bedwetting” National Clinical Guideline Centre, US National Library of Medicine.
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