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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:



(Enuresis; Primary Nocturnal Enuresis; PNE)


Bed-wetting is when a child over 5 years old urinates (pees) during sleep.

Urinary System in Child.

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Bed-wetting is common and not usually related to a health problem. Causes may be:

  • Drinking too much fluid before bed
  • Constipation
  • Developmental delay problems

It is rare for a health problem to cause bed-wetting, such as:

  • Psychological triggers, such as moving to a new home or the death of a loved one
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • A sleep disorder, sometimes related to tonsils or adenoids that are too big
  • Diabetes insipidus—a rare disorder in which the kidneys get rid of too much water
  • Kidney disease
  • Bladder is blocked

Risk Factors

Bed-wetting is more common in boys before 9 years of age. Other things that may raise a child's risk of this problem are:


The child wakes up and finds the bed wet from urine.


You will be asked about your child's symptoms, health, and family history. You will be asked how often and for how long your child has been wetting the bed. A physical exam will be done. Bed-wetting is often diagnosed in children over 5 years of age who wet the bed more than twice a week for 3 months or more.

Blood or urine tests may be done to see if a health problem is causing this.

Images may be taken to make sure there are no problems with the bladder or other organs. This can be done with:


The goal of treatment is to limit the number of bed-wettings. Any health problems that cause bed-wetting will be treated. Bed-wetting that is not due to a health problem often goes away on its own. Things that can help are:


There are no known ways to prevent bed-wetting in a child.





  • Bedwetting. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/toilet-training/Pages/Bedwetting.aspx.
  • Caldwell, P.H., Codarini, M., et al. Alarm interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2020; 5 (5): CD002911.
  • Enuresis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/enuresis.
  • Facts for families: bed wetting. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Bedwetting-018.aspx.


  • Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.