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Infant and Child Health

Bed-Wetting

Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Bed-wetting (enuresis) in children who have never been dry is common, and most children will outgrow it between the ages of 6 and 10. In almost all cases, bed- wetting is really not a disease, but rather a normal variation in development.

In some cases, a child who has been dry for several months or longer may start to wet the bed again. This can happen without a clear cause, or it may be caused by a urinary tract infection or emotional problems.

Home Treatment

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There are a number of ways to deal with bed-wetting. Ask your doctor for advice in managing bed-wetting until your child outgrows it.

  • Do not punish, embarrass, or blame your child.

  • Have your child empty his or her bladder before bed.

  • Remind the child to get up during the night to urinate. Providing a bedside potty chair and night light may help.

  • Do not force your child to wear diapers at night. Try waterproof, extra-absorbent underwear instead. A thick pad or a vinyl mattress cover will protect the mattress.

  • Encourage the child to take responsibility for changing his or her clothes after wetting, for putting a dry towel down on the bed, and for helping wash bed linens.

  • Wash underwear and bedding with 120 ml (0.5 cup ) vinegar to eliminate odour.

When to Call a Health Professional

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Your doctor can rule out or treat any physical causes of bed-wetting and help you and your child manage the problem. Call your doctor:

  • If bed-wetting occurs with pain or burning during urination or other signs of a urinary tract infection. See Urinary Tract Infections.

  • If bed-wetting occurs in a child older than 6 years, and Home Treatment is not successful after 4 to 5 weeks.

  • If bed-wetting becomes more frequent or severe despite Home Treatment.

  • If bed-wetting occurs in a child who had previously been dry for several months.

  • If a child age 4 or older is having accidental wettings and stool leakage.

  • If a child over age 3 has daytime bladder control problems after having been toilet-trained.

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