St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Bed wetting at home

    Enuresis - bedwetting

    Bed wetting (or enuresis) is when children:

    • Continue to wet the bed more than twicea month after age 5 or 6
    • Begin to wet the bed again after theyare toilet trained for a period of time

    Children learn to fully control their bladder at different ages. Nighttime dryness is often the last stage of toilet learning.

    Parents and caregivers need to use a positive approach in helping a child who wets the bed at night.

    Home Care

    Do not punish a child who wets the bed. Bed wetting does NOT occur because a child is lazy or trying to act out.

    • Shaming a child for wetting the bed can lead to poor self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth.
    • Reassure your child that bed wetting is common and can be helped. Telling the child about parents or other close relatives who also wet the bed often helps the child feel less stressed about the situation.

    You can also have your child take an active part in cleaning up from the bed wetting (such as helping to strip the bed and put the sheets in the laundry).

    Reward your child for dry nights. Some families use a chart or diary that the child can mark each morning. Although this may not solve the problem completely, it can help. Try the chart before you use medicines. It is most useful in children ages 5 to 8.

    Make some changes in your child's urination and drinking habits:

    • Encourage your child to use the bathroom at regular times during the day and evening. Teach the child not to hold urine for long periods of time.
    • Be sure that the child goes to the bathroom before going to sleep.
    • You can reduce the amount of fluid the child drinks a few hours before bedtime, but this alone is not a treatment for bed wetting. You should not restrict fluids too much.
    • Also have your child avoid drinks that contain caffeine.

    You can buy an alarm system at the drugstore.

    • You place a sensor either in the child's underwear or on a pad underneath the sleeping child.
    • If the sensor detects moisture, an alarm is set off. This alarm can be placed around the child's wrist or near the ear. The alarm may vibrate or make a loud sound.
    • Parents or caregivers must make sure the child wakes up if the alarm goes off.

    Certain drugs, such as a nasal spray or pills, may also be prescribed to control bed wetting.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your doctor if:

    • Your child has had repeated episodes of bed wetting after age 6
    • Your child has begun to wet the bed after he or she was toilet trained for a period of time
    • Your child complains that it hurts to urinate
    • Your child has been drinking excess amounts of fluids
    • Your child has been showing strange behavior changes (becoming unusually withdrawn or shy, or suddenly behaving in a sexually suggestive way)

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will take a medical history from the child and parents, and may ask:

    • When did the bed wetting begin? How often does the bed wetting occur? Have there ever been "dry" periods?
    • Can the child feel the need to urinate? Does bed wetting cause the child to wake up?
    • How often does the child urinate during the daytime?
    • Does the child have a problem controlling urine while awake?
    • Do stress or liquids containing caffeine make the problem worse?
    • What factors make the problem better?
    • Is the bed wetting punished? Does the bed wetting cause shame?
    • Have other family members had this problem?
    • What other symptoms are present?
    • What treatment methods have been tried?


    Katz ER, DeMaso DR. Enuresis (bed-wetting). In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 21.3.

    Robson WL. Clinical practice. Evaluation and management of enuresis. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1429-1436.


    • How to stop bedwetting


    • Female urinary tract


    • Male urinary tract


    • How to stop bedwetting


    • Female urinary tract


    • Male urinary tract


    A Closer Look

      Talking to your MD

        Self Care

          Tests for Bed wetting at home

            Review Date: 2/1/2012

            Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile