Friday, 1 June 2007

Bedwetting in a 6-year-old

How can I stop my son’s bedwetting? He is 6-years-old and wets about 6 nights in 7. His older brother was dry from about 4 years of age but I wet until I was about 10 years and was very embarrassed by it. I want to save my son that embarrassment.

We all wet the bed when we were babies. We first learned to not pass urine (even though our bladders were full) while awake when it was socially inconvenient to do so. Later we learned how to hold on while asleep. The time when a child learns these skills varies from one child to another just as some children will learn to ride a bicycle later than others.

The usual age at which a child is dry both day and night is 4 years but 25% of children are still wetting the bed at 5. Each year about 10% of these children will learn the skill and stop wetting the bed. Late control often runs in families and does not represent disease. There is no association between bed-wetting and general intelligence.

A somewhat more serious situation is the child who has been completely dry for some time then starts to wet again. Such a child should see a doctor to check for illness – the most common being urinary tract infection- or emotional disturbance. The emotional disturbance may appear trivial to an adult e.g. changing school.

As bedwetting is difficulty in acquiring a skill threats, punishments and bribes are doomed to fail. A not-promised reward for a dry night is fine. The parent’s attitude should be matter-of-fact: “Oh, you have wet the bed, just put your sheets in the washing machine.”

When the child is motivated (parental motivation does not count) to stop, the best method is the bedwetting alarm that makes a buzzer sound as soon as the child starts to wet. However, the child must “psyche” up him/herself, so when the buzzer goes they wake up. Hence, the child’s motivation to stop is essential.

There are some drugs that bring temporary control for a sleepover or school camp but these do not cause a permanent cure as the alarm can


Enuresis Treatment Center said...

We read your blog posting, and would like to help. Studies indicate that deep sleepers rarely hear smoke detectors, and can sleep through fire/burglar alarms. Alarms sold to treat bedwetting are ineffective in correcting a sleep disorder. For 32 years, the Enuresis Treatment Center has successfully treated thousands of people from around the world by establishing a new and healthy pattern of sleep, which permanently resolves the bedwetting. The Enuresis Treatment Center has put together an informative guide to understanding and treating bedwetting. This free bedwetting guide is available to download at

Anonymous said...

This is not a free site. They are trying to sell you their program.

David Robinson said...

Thank you Anonymous. I thought as much.