Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is a common condition in young children, but becomes less common as children grow older.

Bedwetting can be a worrying and frustrating experience for you and your child. However, many parents don’t seek medical advice until it begins to affect their child’s social life such as preventing them from going to sleepovers.


What causes bedwetting?

Bedwetting often occurs for no particluar so it is important to understand that bedwetting is not your child’s fault. Sometimes, it simply runs in families. In other cases, bedwetting may be caused by:

  • The bladder producing more urine than it can hold.

  • An overactive bladder in which the bladder can only hold a small amount of urine.

  • Your child being such a deep sleeper that they don’t react to signals telling their brain their bladder is full.

  • Untreated constipation - sometimes treating the constipation alleviates the bedwetting.

  • Emotional distress such as bullying, or moving to a new house/school.

In rare cases, bedwetting may be the symptom of an underlying health condition, such as type 1 diabetes.

Click on the links to learn more about the causes of bedwetting and diagnosing bedwetting.


Top Tips for Parents

As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your child, such as limiting the amount of liquid they drink before bedtime, and ensuring the go to the toilet before sleep.

It is also important to reassure your child that everything is okay and that it will get better. Telling them off or punishing your child for wetting the bed will likely make the problem worse.

In some cases, a bedwetting alarm may be recommended. A bedwetting alarm is a moisture-sensitive pad your child wears on their pyjamas. An alarm sounds if the child begins to pee. Over time, the alarm should help train a child to wake once their bladder is full.

We are here to help you to understand and manage your child’s bedwetting and are happy to discuss any worries or questions you and your child may have.

Please contact reception for more information or to book your appointment.


Useful Links

The links below provide evidence-based guidance and care and are particularly useful for helping you to understand your child’s issue and how best to manage it.

HSE – Bedwetting

NHS – Bedwetting information and advice


Content developed from HSE and NHS Choices  
is adapted for Briarhill Family Practice by Briarhill Family Practice.

Paul Cotter

Bad Dog, 16 Seapoint, Barna, Galway