Bedwetting: Guidance and support to achieve dry nights

Millions of families deal with a child who wets the bed every night. In most cases, bedwetting stops on its own. In cases where it persists, UW Health Kids Urology experts are here for you. The caring doctors at American Family Children's Hospital provide guidance and support to make dry nights the norm for your child.

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When to call

Any time you’re worried about your child, it’s worthwhile to call their doctor. There are times when consulting a doctor is essential. Be sure to call if your child: 

  • Begins to wet their pants during the day 

  • Feels burning or pain when urinating

  • Has swelling of their feet or ankles

  • Is 7 years old or older and still wetting the bed

  • Is eating or drinking a lot more than normal

  • Snores

  • Suddenly starts wetting the bed after having dry nights for at least six months 

How we’ll help

Several medical conditions can contribute to bedwetting. These include:

  • Bladder conditions

  • Constipation

  • Diabetes

  • Hormone problems

  • Psychological problems such as severe stress

  • Urinary tract infections 

Doctors may check for signs of these. If needed, they’ll recommend treatment.

Treatments and research

How we can help

Tools to help you have drier nights

When there’s no known cause for bedwetting, we offer tips and tools to help lessen its impact.

Sometimes simple changes at home can reduce bedwetting.

  • Avoid drinks with caffeine

  • Encourage your child to drink more during the day and less at night

  • Limit foods and drinks that may irritate the bladder, such as tea, chocolate and soda

  • Remind your child to use the bathroom before bed each night

Older kids may benefit from a bedwetting alarm. This is a device that causes a bell or buzzer to ring when a child begins to wet the bed. It helps kids learn to wake up and use the bathroom during the night.

Medicines can sometimes help control bedwetting. Some medicines relax your child’s bladder so it will hold more urine. Others lessen urine production at night. It’s important to note that no medicine will cure bedwetting. As soon as your child stops taking the medicine, bedwetting is likely to resume.

For some kids it’s helpful to think about waking up dry before going to sleep each night. We can offer tips on helping your child with this guided imagery.

Kids who wet the bed often feel guilty and ashamed. It can be helpful to tell them that it’s a normal part of growing up. Try not to be angry when your child has an accident. Instead, encourage them to help you change the sheets. That may even help them feel better. Often it can be comforting to them to hear stories about other family members who had similar issues as well. It’s also helpful to offer praise or rewards if your child has a dry night.

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Resources to help you

Find resources to help you learn more and understand your options.

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UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.


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