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What to know about bedwetting

What to know about bedwetting

When it comes to bedwetting, there is a lot of variability, and not knowing what is supposed to happen at what age can cause a lot of anxiety for parents.

Some cultures don’t use disposable diapers, so they have some children who learn to become potty trained very early in life.

Most young children are potty trained by the time they enter preschool, as that’s typically a requirement for attending school.

Every child is different in terms of their level of interest in potty training.

Even children who are potty trained can continue to have some accidents, especially at nighttime. We call this nocturnal enuresis.

Bedwetting can be very normal for a long time. About 90 percent of children will stop bedwetting by about the age of 5. However, that means there’s still about 10 percent of the population who bedwet up until the age of 15, and yet we consider that normal.

Where you’ll start to see most physicians intervene is around the time the child is 9 or 10 years old. Especially because that’s the age when the child has a lot of anxiety about the issue or expresses interest in sleepovers.

If you have a child who is having frequent bedwetting around 9 or 10 years old, that’s a great time to bring it up with your pediatrician or family physician.

There are different treatment options including medications and alarms. It really depends on what you think would work well for your family and what your medical provider would recommend.

If you have a child who has intermittent bedwetting, definitely take a look at their sleep hygiene. If you have a child who has not had any bedwetting, but suddenly starts having this issue, it’s very important for them to be screened for infections or anatomical issues.

If you have a child who has had a dramatic change in their life such as the loss of a parent, a move or a change in schools, that can also trigger temporary bedwetting issues. Sometimes just addressing the child’s feelings can be enough to help them regain confidence and subconsciously control this body function.

The key thing for parents to remember is that most bedwetting is very normal and it’s important that we not shame children who have this issue.

About Amy Seery MD