Bedwetting Causes

Bedwetting Causes and Solutions

What Causes Bedwetting?

Information about what causes bedwetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) can be confusing and conflicting.  There is no one reason why any child over the age of five still wets the bed.  Moreover, there can be medical, lifestyle, environmental, and physical reasons for bedwetting.  To help your child to stop bedwetting, it is useful to learn about these different aspects of bedwetting so you can pinpoint what might be the best bedwetting solution for your child.

The first thing to do is to go to your doctor to check there is no underlying medical cause.  There is currently no medication that cures bedwetting.

Boy suffers from Nocturnal Enuresis
Medical help with Nocturnal Enuresis

Nocturnal Enuresis

The clinical name for bedwetting is Nocturnal Enuresis. There are two types of Nocturnal Enuresis: Primary and Secondary.  Primary Nocturnal Enuresis is when the child has never been consistently dry at night.  Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis is when the child has been dry for at least six months and has started wetting the bed again. 

It is quite normal for some children to wet the bed until they are around six years old, and a few children taken even longer.  It is estimated that one in fourteen (estimates vary) ten-year-olds regularly wet the bed.  Generally, boys wet the bed more than girls.

Possible causes for bedwetting

Common Bed Wetting Issues

1) The child is unable to wake up to a full bladder.
2) The child cannot hold urine for a full night.

It is helpful to know that children cannot help wetting the bed, therefore, they are not being lazy or defiant.  


The brain & bladder aren’t communicating effectively at night

Communication between the brain and bladder has not been sufficiently established.  When asleep, the child’s brain may not know the bladder needs to be emptied; or cannot consistently interpret signals from the bladder.

The child may not have functional knowledge about how the bladder works or how to use the muscles to the bladder.  They may not know how to be in control of the body, and how the brain and bladder need to communicate to wake up to go to the toilet.

Furthermore, he or she may have lost confidence that they can indeed become dry.

Is bedwetting genetic?

Bedwetting can run in the family. According to Urology Care Foundation, 50% of all children with Nocturnal Enuresis have a parent who struggled with bedwetting. This increases to 75% if both parents had enuresis. Often, other relatives may have had problems with bedwetting, though you may not be aware of it!

Boy has Primary Nocturnal Enuresis

Very deep sleeper

Many parents describe their bedwetting child as a deep sleeper. Whilst there does appear to be an association between bedwetting and deep sleep, not all deep sleepers wet the bed.

Constipation can cause bedwetting

If your child has less than three bowel movements a week it is possible he or she is constipated.  Other tell-tale signs are passing tiny stools like pellets, large logs and straining to go.  When there is a mass of stools in the rectum this can press against the bladder and cause wet nights.  Past constipation can cause the muscles in that area to weaken.

Weak muscles & ligaments

Pelvic doctors have found that weak or underdeveloped pelvic muscles and ligaments that support bladder control can cause daytime and night-time wetting.

Learn about bedwetting causes and bedwetting solutions

Medical causes

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in children.  According to Queensland Children’s Hospital, around 10% of girls and 2% of boys will have had a UTI by age seven.  They are caused by bacteria that enter the body and travel up the urinary tract which becomes inflamed and uncomfortable causing the need to wee.  Signs and symptoms of a UTI include bedwetting, daytime wetting, pain during weeing, and frequently needing to urinate.

Producing too much urine

When we are asleep, we produce an Anti-Diuretic Hormone known as ADH that decreases the amount of urine we produce at night.  It is possible that some children who wet the bed or wake up regularly through the night to go to the toilet, may not produce as much ADH.

Type one diabetes

The kidneys respond to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream by flushing out the extra glucose in urine (wee). A child with diabetes needs to urinate more frequently and in larger volumes.

Neurological disorders

E.g., cerebral palsy, spinal cord disorders, neurogenic bladder (A Neurogenic bladder is a problem in which a person lacks bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition.)

Lifestyle and environmental bedwetting causes


Certain foods can trigger wet nights.  When you eat and what you eat can influence wet nights in some children.


Some children wet more when there is a high pollen count.  In addition, in the winter we tend to produce more urine so need to go to the toilet more often.


What you drink and when you drink can also influence dry nights in some children


If your child is very tired, they will find it harder to wake up to go to the toilet at night.

Stress or change

This is particularly relevant with regard to secondary enuresis.  Perhaps there has been a big event such as a breakup in the family, a house move, or starting a new school.  All of these can be stressful and cause some children to start wetting the bed again.

Other medical associations or causes

Sleep-disordered breathing

There is a correlation between bedwetting and Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). SDB is a group of disorders characterised by abnormal breathing patterns, or insufficient ventilation during sleep.  Symptoms of SDB in children can include sleep apnea, heavy snoring, crowded teeth, mouth breathing, and allergies.

Allergic Rhinitis

Children with allergic rhinitis seem to be more prone to wetting the bed.


There is an association between Asthma and Nocturnal Enuresis.


According to a study carried out in 2014, children with ADHD have a 270% higher incidence of nocturnal enuresis.

Too Young

Children have the capacity to stay dry at night at different ages.  Sometimes the child is too young or simply not ready.  Some children will be ready much earlier than others, even within the same family.

Bedwetting solutions help children to wake up to pee

Bedwetting Solutions

The following is a list of the main bedwetting solutions.  The first thing to do, which is probably the hardest, is to stay calm.  Reassure your child it isn’t their fault. 

It is important to go to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical cause.

Hypnotherapy for bedwetting

Hypnotherapy is gentle, natural, and a safe bedwetting solution.

Hypnosis can help build the messaging system between the brain and bladder and set the path for them to take control of their bodily functions.  Moreover, it uses the child’s amazing imagination to change their expectations to have confidence that they can have dry nights.

Children usually wet the bed when they are fast asleep, therefore it is largely an unconscious behaviour – similar to snoring.  Hypnotherapy creates change at an unconscious level in ways that both amaze and surprise the child and parent.

Bedwetting alarm

There are various bed wetting alarms on the market at a range of prices.  This bedwetting solution will require commitment from the whole family who may be awakened by the alarm.  The child must start wetting for the alarm to go off.

Urine retention program

Bladder training to help increase the bladder size and the child’s ability to know when they must urinate.

Bedwetting medication

According to Benioff Children’s hospital, there is currently no medicine that cures nocturnal enuresis.  Bed wetting medication only treats the symptoms.  If the medication helps and then the drug is stopped, the bedwetting will usually return unless the child has naturally outgrown it. However, medication can be useful to help with sleepovers and school camp.

Constipation treatment as a solution to bedwetting

For some children, constipation may be the cause of bedwetting.  It is advisable to discuss the best plan of action with your doctor.


Studies show that supplementation with vitamin D and omega-3 can reduce the number of wet nights among 7-15-year-old children.  Click here to see the study and find out more about this interesting bedwetting solution.

Three children want to find a bedwetting solution

Stay Dry at Night Bedwetting Solution

Stay Dry at Night is a unique bedwetting solution that aims to get the brain and bladder communicating throughout the night.

The program supplies a wealth of information about how to stop bedwetting, looking at various bedwetting causes and solutions, including how foods, drinks, and sleep can have an impact. When necessary, you are provided with cognitive and/or physical exercises to strengthen the muscles that support bladder control. Furthermore, you are provided with help and support, so you have someone to email if you have questions.

Key to building the messaging system between the brain and bladder are standard or custom-made recordings produced for your child. The three recordings you receive use visualisation, relaxation, hypnosis, metaphors, and confidence-building techniques to lead the way for change. The audios educate the child about the brain and bladder, leading them to confidently take control of their bodily functions. Not only are they gentle, natural, and safe, they are set to relaxing music, and incorporate one of your child’s achievements or activities.

You can order this and use it in the comfort of your own home, without having face-to-face therapy. Children love listening to their recordings at night whilst drifting off to sleep.

Some children become totally dry within 2 days of starting the program, with others it can take a few weeks. Children who don’t become dry, often substantially reduce the number of times they wet the bed. Parents and children are amazed at how natural, beautiful and effective the recordings are in reducing or stopping bedwetting.

The program comes with a diary, information, and an exclusive members’ area full of bedwetting resources, strategies and helpful management tips. There is also a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Bedwetting Research & Resources

Hypnotherapy as a treatment for enuresis

Abstract:  The main objective of this study was to provide an adequately controlled experimental and clinical study to assess the efficacy of hypnotherapy in the treatment of nocturnal enuresis.

Subjects were 48 nocturnal enuretic boys, aged 8-13 yr.  Treatment consisted of six standardized sessions, one hourly session per subject per week.

Results indicated that hypnotherapy was significantly effective over 6 months in decreasing nocturnal enuresis, compared with both pre-treatment baseline enuresis frequency and no-treatment controls.  It also suggested that trance induction was not a necessary prerequisite for success.

Comparison with other methods of treatment provided evidence that hypnotherapy was an effective alternative or adjunctive form of treatment for enuresis.

Authors: Edwards SD, van der Spuy HI
Source:  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines 26:1, 1985 Jan, pg 161-70



Bedwetter lazy sleeping

Are Bedwetters Simply Lazy?

Are bedwetters simply lazy? Parents’ beliefs about bedwetting and bedwetters are extremely important. Their knowledge and understanding of bedwetting can shape the way they help

Read More »

Want to know more?

The Stay Dry at Night Members’ Area, which all Stay Dry at Night customers have exclusive access to, gives even more information, in the form of weekly articles and helpful tips that have helped many children stop wetting the bed.

Is my child suitable for Stay Dry at Night?

- OR -