Parents often search for answers and insights on bedwetting (also called nocturnal enuresis). Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this challenging condition.
1. Is bedwetting very common? Most children age 2 to 4 wet the bed at some point during potty training, some even after they've learned to use the toilet and stay dry during the day. After age 5, bedwetting becomes less common. In the United States, about 5 million children age 6 or older still wet the bed at night.
2. Who is more likely to wet the bed: boys or girls? Boys. In children who are 12 or younger, boys are twice as likely as girls to wet their beds.
3. What causes bedwetting? Bedwetting may be caused by a number of factors, alone or in combination. A child who hasn't learned how to hold urine well, or who sleeps deeply and doesn't wake up when his bladder is full, or who makes too much urine at night may wet the bed. Other potential causes include constipation, illness or fatigue, a change or stress in the child's life, a family history of bedwetting, or an underlying medical condition.
4. Will bedwetting go away by itself? Bedwetting resolves itself with time for most kids, as their bodies mature. Children develop at their own rate, and it takes some kids longer than others to develop the necessary skills to stay dry at night. While some children are completely potty trained by age 4, others still struggle with nighttime dryness when they are older; about 20 percent of 5-year-olds (and 10 percent of 7-year-olds) still wet the bed.
5. What should I do if my child keeps wetting the bed? First, be patient and positive. If your child is still in the throes of potty training, try going back to training pants — such as UnderJams Absorbent Night Wear — for awhile. When you're ready to try underwear again, limit your child's fluid intake in the evening and take him to the potty right before bedtime. For more tips, see Bedwetting Causes and Solutions and Tips for Controlling Bedwetting.
6. What should I NOT do if bedwetting continues? Don't punish or blame your child. Bedwetting is not under his control and is not his fault. Instead, bring your concerns and questions to your child's healthcare provider.
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