Treatment for Nighttime Bedwetting or Involuntary Urination - Step To Health

Treatment for Nighttime Bedwetting or Involuntary Urination

Nighttime bedwetting is very common in childhood. In fact, it affects both parents and children, and can last for any amount of time. Find out how to treat it.
Treatment for Nighttime Bedwetting or Involuntary Urination

Last update: 18 August, 2020

During childhood, up to the age of 5, urinary incontinence is common. In fact, it can happen both during the day and at night. However, when it still happens as kids get older and happens at night, it’s called nighttime bedwetting. This can be very uncomfortable, both for kids and adults.

In this article, we’ll tell you more about nighttime bedwetting and what it is. Keep reading!

What is nighttime bedwetting?

Enuresis is the medical term for involuntary urinationIt can happen during the day, or most commonly, at night.

This disorder is very common in young children. In fact, it affects 12% of 6-year-olds and 7% of 10-year-olds. It affects males more, and it usually disappears in adolescence. However, in a small percentage of cases, the disorder continues, affecting people over 20-years-old. Then, it causes various social and psychological problems.

Involuntary urination is a normal phenomenon that happens at certain stages of child development. Most children can’t control their bladder and sphincter before age 3. During this stage, nighttime bedwetting isn’t a condition, since it’s normal for young kids.

Diagram of the urinary tract.

However, from this age, children learn how to control their bladderThen, they know when it’s full and can control when they go to the bathroom. However, nighttime control is more difficult to achieve and takes longer. Therefore, nighttime bedwetting is very common in kids until age 6.

Frequency for diagnosis

Currently, doctors have different criteria for diagnosis. It all depends on the frequency of the episodes.

In order to diagnose nighttime bedwetting, it needs to occur either once or twice a week. In any case, to get a good diagnosis and treatment, it’s important to assess each case individually.

Also, the treatment and frequency aren’t the same in 5-year-olds as in teenagers. In young kids, it’s normal, whereas in teens, one episode can be enough to diagnose it.

Causes of nighttime bedwetting

Almost always, this disorder is due to the fact that, while sleeping, the child doesn’t have bladder control. Therefore, they don’t know that it’s full, and they urinate involuntarily.

In a small number of cases, the phenomenon is related to other diseases. For example, it could be connected to diabetes or other problems in the urinary system. In these cases, bedwetting also happens during the day, and the treatment is very different.

Treatments for nighttime bedwetting

In many cases, this situation doesn’t need any treatment. When it happens to children under the age of 5, it’s considered a normal and temporary problem. As kids get older, it usually goes away on its own.

However, there are certain guidelines that can help kids have fewer episodes. These guidelines actually make up a behavioral treatment, trying to explain the reason for the problem to both parents and kids. That way, you can try and minimize the problem.

Some tips you can follow are:

  • Explain to the child that they don’t have to be ashamed of the situation. Make him see that it’s normal because of how the urinary system works.
  • Don’t scold or embarrass the child.
  • Don’t wake your child up at night. Also, don’t restrict how much they drink.
  • We recommend forming a schedule to go to the bathroom. That way, kids can start to learn how to control their bladder.
  • Explain to your child that they should drink more during the day, but less at night closer to bedtime.
  • In fact, using diapers doesn’t help the problem. It actually confuses the child and prevents them from learning how to control their bladder.

Medications are only for the most extreme cases. In these instances, the medications are to decrease the urge to urinate, or to control sleep.

In conclusion, although nighttime bedwetting is common in young children, it’s important to pay attention to it. Behavioral therapies and constant family support is important to overcome it.

In addition, it’s important to review each case with a professional. They will know if it’s hiding another problem.

It might interest you...
Hyperactive Bladder in Children: Causes and Treatments
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
Hyperactive Bladder in Children: Causes and Treatments

Frequent urination may indicate that a child has a hyperactive bladder. This article will outline its causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

  • Becker, R. E. (2013). Nocturnal enuresis. In Parasomnias: Clinical Characteristics and Treatment.
  • Ramakrishnan, K. (2008). Evaluation and treatment of enuresis. American Family Physician.
  • Brown, M. L., Pope, A. W., & Brown, E. J. (2011). Treatment of primary nocturnal enuresis in children: A review. Child: Care, Health and Development.
  • Deshpande, A. V., & Caldwell, P. H. Y. (2012). Medical management of nocturnal enuresis. Pediatric Drugs.
  • Glazener CMA, Evans JHC, Peto RE. Intervenciones conductuales y educativas complejas para la enuresis nocturna en niños (Revisión Cochrane traducida). En: La Biblioteca Cochrane Plus, 2007 Número 3. Oxford: Update Software Ltd. Disponible en: