Bed wetting at home


Bed wetting (or enuresis) is when children:

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.

Alternative Names

Enuresis - bedwetting

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.

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:

You can buy an alarm system at the drugstore.

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:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

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


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.

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.
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