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Bedwetting

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Did you know that there are about 5 million children in the United States who wet the bed? If your child wets the bed, he or she is not alone.

Although most children are toilet trained between 2 and 4 years of age, some children may not be able to stay dry at night until they are older. Children develop at their own rate. For example, studies have showed that 15% of 5- and 7-year-olds wet the bed. But by age 15, fewer than 1% wet the bed.

Bedwetting is not a serious medical condition, but it can be a challenging problem for children and parents. Read on to find out more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about bedwetting and what can be done about it.

Reasons for Bedwetting

Here are 3 common reasons for bedwetting.

What Families Can Do

Most children wet their beds during toilet training. Even after they stay dry at night for a number of days or even weeks, they may start wetting at night again. If this happens to your child, simply go back to training pants at night and try again another time. If children reach school age and are still wetting the bed, it most likely means they have not yet developed nighttime bladder control.

If you are concerned about your child?s bedwetting, or if your child expresses concern, talk with your child?s doctor. You may be asked the following questions about your child?s bedwetting:

Signs of a Medical Problem

If your child has been completely toilet trained for 6?months or longer and suddenly begins wetting the bed, talk with your child?s doctor. It may be a sign of a medical problem. However, most medical problems that cause bedwetting have other signs, including

If your child has any of these signs, please contact your child?s doctor. If necessary, your child?s doctor will perform tests or refer you to a doctor who is specially trained to treat children?s kidney or urinary conditions.

Managing Bedwetting

Keep the following tips in mind:

Bedwetting Alarms

If your child is still not able to stay dry during the night after using these steps for a few months, a bedwetting alarm may be considered. When a bedwetting alarm senses urine, it sets off an alarm to awaken the child to use the toilet. When used correctly, it will detect wetness right away and sound the alarm.

Bedwetting alarms are successful 50% to 75% of the time. They tend to be most helpful for children who are deep sleepers and have some bladder control on their own. Ask your child?s doctor which type of alarm may be best for your child.

Medicines

Medicines are available to help reduce bedwetting in children 6 years and older. Although medicines rarely cure bedwetting, they may be helpful, especially when children begin attending sleepovers or overnight camps. Your child?s doctor can discuss these medicines with you and if they are right for your child. Remember to ask about possible side effects.

Beware of ?Cures?

There are many treatment programs and devices that claim they can ?cure? bedwetting. Be careful; many of these products may make false claims and promises and may be very expensive. Your child?s doctor is the best source for advice about bedwetting. Talk with your child?s doctor before starting any treatment program.

Stay Positive

Do not be discouraged if one treatment does not work. Some children will respond well to a combination of treatments. If your child is one of a small number of children who do not respond to any treatment, talk with your child?s doctor about ways to manage bedwetting. This may involve care by a pediatric specialist.

Also, in most cases, bedwetting decreases as the child?s body matures. By the teen years, almost all children have bladder control for dry nights.

All children benefit from emotional support from their family. Support from your child?s doctor or other health professionals can also help.

Visit HealthyChildren.org for more information.

Any websites, brand names, products, or manufacturers are mentioned for informational and identification purposes only and do not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication. The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.