Kids News

Parents Guide to BedWetting


Children who have gained nighttime bladder control, then "relapsed" into bedwetting, are slightly more likely to have medical causes. Psychological stress (such as divorce or the birth of a new sibling) is an even more common cause, though.

Pediatricians don't diagnose primary nocturnal enuresis (the medical term for bedwetting) until age 6. It's an arbitrary cutoff -- after all, 12% of children wet the bed at that age. "It's really only a problem when either the child or the parents start to think so,"

The Bedwetting Gene

There's no one single cause of bed-wetting, but if you want an easy target, look no farther than your own DNA.

"The majority of bedwetting is inherited,". "For three out of four kids, either a parent or a first-degree relative also wet the bed in childhood."

Scientists have even located some of the specific genes that lead to delayed nighttime bladder control. (For the record, they're on chromosome 13, 12, and 8.)

"Most parents who had the same problem communicate it to their kids, which is good,". "It helps a kid understand, I'm not alone, it's not my fault."

The Usual Bedwetting Suspects

  • Delayed bladder maturation. "Simply put, the brain and bladder gradually learn to communicate with each other during sleep, and this takes longer to happen in some kids".
  • Low anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone tells the kidneys to make less urine. Studies show that some kids who wet the bed release less of this hormone while asleep. More urine can mean more bedwetting.
  • Deep sleepers. "Families have been telling us for years that their children who wet the bed sleep more deeply than their kids that don't". Research confirms the link. "Some of these children sleep so deeply, their brain doesn't get the signal that their bladder is full."
  • Smaller "functional" bladder. Although a child's true bladder size may be normal, "during sleep, it sends the signal earlier that it's full".. 
  • Constipation. Full bowels press on the bladder, and can cause uncontrolled bladder contractions, during waking or sleep. "This is the one that's hiding in the background". "Once kids are toilet trained, parents often don't know how often a child is going ... [they're] out of the 'poop loop.'"

Bedwetting Treatment: Becoming 'Boss of Your Body'

Addressing the problem positively can avoid lasting problems, and numerous strategies can help children cope with and improve bedwetting. Some bed-wetting treatments include:

  • Encouraging a child to pee before bedtime.
  • Restricting a child's fluid intake before bed.
  • Covering the mattress with plastic.
  • Bed-wetting alarms. These alarms sense urine and wake a child so they can use the toilet.
  • Bladder stretching exercises that may increase how much urine the bladder can hold.
  • Medications.



Parenting Tips

Methods for Parents to Get to Know Their Child's School Better

First of all, don't just show up at the school; make an appointment to visit.
After you've made an appointment, go to the school; look around, talk to  people. 
As appropriate, call or write to your child's teachers. 
Talk to other parents about their experiences.
Be sure to read the minutes of the school board, which are usually printed in the local newspaper.
Take time to read the school newsletter.
It may not always be convenient, but try to attend school functions such as open houses and PTA meetings. 

How Parents can Help with their Children's Homework

There are things you can do that will help your child do assigned homework and that result in learning, which, after all, is the reason for being in school.

Communicate with your child about school. This includes talking to him about his friends, activities, teachers, and assignments.
Show enthusiasm about school and homework.
Set realistic goals for your child, and then focus on one at a time.
Help your child get organized. Break down assignments into smaller, more manageable parts. Set out needed items (clothes, homework, permission slips, etc.) the night before to avoid last-minute rushing around in the morning.
Provide a quiet study corner in your home complete with paper, markers, a ruler, pencils and a dictionary.
Never do your child's homework!
with your child's teacher about correcting homework.
Expect, and praise genuine progress and effort. An opinion: don't praise or otherwise reward your child for doing what you and he know is expected. This practice leads you down a slippery slope, often with really bad consequences for you and your child.
Be specific when you do praise something.
on your child's strengths in school.
Build associations between what is taught and what your child already knows and understands.
Incorporate concrete materials and examples whenever possible, especially with younger children. Try to help your child learn about the subject in more than one way, using as many senses as possible.
Separate your child's school weaknesses from your child. If your child fails a test, that is all the child fails. He or she is not a failure.
One more thing: Never do your child's homework! (deliberately repeated)

Questions to Ask at a School Conference

Is my child performing at grade level in basic skills? Above/Below? Math/Reading?

What are the objectives my child is supposed to attain? How do these objectives lead to the overall goal for the course/grade?

What achievement, intelligence, or vocational aptitude tests have been given to my child in the past year? What do the scores mean? (Be very specific and be sure you understand completely what the reported scores mean).

What are my child's strengths and weaknesses in major subject areas?

What subjects do my child enjoy most?

Can we together go over some examples of my child's class work?

Does my child need special help in any academic subject?

Who are my child's friends and how does he or she interact with other children?

Has my child regularly completed assigned homework?

Has my child attended class regularly?

Have you observed any changes in learning progress during the year? Has learning improved or declined during the year?