Advocacy Children's Health Parenting

The underlying issues of bedwetting

If you are struggling with potty training your child, you are not alone. Bedwetting can be the most trying part of the potty-training process for both parent and child. How do you know when bedwetting is a problem? How do you know if your child needs to be seen by a pediatrician?

Parents should not consider bedwetting under the age of 7 years old cause for alarm. Relax! Most kids grow out of bedwetting in their own time.

Children’s bodies are growing and developing. Developing bladder control is a normal part of their growth process. If your child is male and has a parent who wet the bed, chances are your child will struggle longer with bedwetting than you may have hoped for. Research shows that boys are twice as likely to wet their bed than girls, and many children who wet the bed have a parent who wet the bed.

A pediatrician should evaluate bedwetting at any age, accompanied by the following symptoms, as they could be signs of a urinary tract infection:

  • Burning during urination
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Red or pink urine
  • Fever

Reoccurring bedwetting

Occasional bedwetting accidents should be expected; however, if your child was dry for six months or longer and suddenly began to wet the bed again that could be a sign of an underlying issue. A pediatrician should see a child who experiences reoccurring bedwetting. Some causes include:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic constipation
  • Abnormal development of organs or muscles
  • Emotional problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Certain nervous system disorders

A pediatrician should evaluate bedwetting if the child is over the age of 7 years old.

Tips that make the challenge easier:

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages
  • Encourage your child to use the toilet before going to sleep
  • Treat constipation
  • Wake your child up before you go to bed at night so he/she can use the toilet
  • Install a night light in your child’s room and one in the bathroom

No matter how old, bedwetting can be embarrassing and frustrating for your child. Talk to your child about feelings of stress or anxiety. Cover your child’s mattress with a leak-proof cover and, rather than punish your child, encourage and praise your child for waking up dry.

The staff and physicians at West Wheeler Pediatrics have designed practices to best meet the needs of patients and their families, including early walk-in appointments starting at 7:30 a.m. every weekday, Monday evening hours from 5-7 p.m., and Monday and Wednesday evening hours for pediatric psychiatry. For more information, visit our website at or call 706-721-KIDS (5437).

About the author

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the only facility in the area dedicated exclusively to children. It staffs the largest team of pediatric specialists in the region who deliver out- and in- patient care for everything from common childhood illnesses to life-threatening conditions like heart disorders, cancer and neurological diseases.