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What is "bed-wetting"?

Children And Bed-Wetting

Scott Cohen (Pediatrician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: Is it normal for children who are potty-trained to continue wetting their bed?; How can I train my child to not wet his bed? and more...

What is "bed-wetting"?

Bed-wetting is when children wet their beds. This is very common at night in all children. Indeed bed-wetting is extremely common, even up to six years of age twenty percent of children still wet their beds. This is called nocturnal enuresis. Enuresis is bed-wetting and nocturnal points to the fact that it happens at night.

Is it normal for children who are potty-trained to continue wetting their bed?

Even kids that are potty trained still wet their bed at night. A lot of children establish daytime dryness, but still wet their bed occasionally at night. This is very normal. If your child has been dry both during the day and at night for an extended period of time, over several months, and then they starts wetting during the day or at night, that would be a time where you would want to talk to your pediatrician to see if there are any other causes. However, in general, most kids sporadically are wet and dry throughout several years and this is normal. They may have a week here and there where they show some dryness, but they've never been fully dry for more than a specific three month period at a time.

When should I get help for my child's bed-wetting?

We usually get concerned with bed-wetting if it's something called secondary enuresis, and what that is: primary enuresis means that you're wetting but that you've always been wetting, and these are the kids that for the first six years are dry occasionally but sporadically wet their bed. But when you've been dry for a good three months, day and night, and you haven't had any accidents and then out of the blue, all of a sudden you start wetting your bed again or wetting your pants during the day. This should be investigated because there are other cause of bed-wetting that we should look at: things with infection, diabetes, different types of diabetes (insipidus and mellitus), that with certain urine tests we can check to see if there is anything going on. And if there is nothing, it could still be nothing, and we just do some behavioral modification. But those are the times when it's new, out of the blue, or they're complaining about it, it's effecting your child and that when it should be brought to your doctor's attention.