Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis)
Parents need to know that incontinence is a common problem in children and is usually not a sign of emotional or psychological dysfunction. To preserve the child's self-esteem, parents should be instructed to avoid punitive approaches.
Kim Dunn, PNP, Pain and Incontinence Program, Boston Children's Hospital
Nocturnal enuresis, better known as bedwetting, occurs when a sleeping child cannot hold his or her urine at night.
- Don't worry—most of the time the situation resolves on its own.
- Some children don't attain nighttime control for several years after they have complete control during the day.
- Bedwetting occurs in 15 to 20 percent of all 5-year-old children, and in 10 percent of 7-year-olds.
- Twenty percent of children with this problem have some degree of daytime wetting.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches bedwetting
There are several options for treating bedwetting. Your pediatric urologist can help guide you to what's best for you and your child, keeping in mind that the burden of therapy shouldn't outweigh the burden of the condition itself.
Some of the options offered here at Children's include:
- As part of our renowned Department of Urology, Boston Children's Hospital has a dedicated Voiding Improvement Program (VIP). VIP's expert physicians and nurse practitioners take a comprehensive approach to helping children overcome voiding difficulties.
- In addition, Children's understands that enuresis can cause emotional problems for your child. Our Division of Developmental Medicine is uniquely qualified to treat your whole child—physically and psychologically. A compassionate team of professionals address your child’s physical symptoms and emotional well-being and help your child stay dry.
- Experts in Children's Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders carefully learn about bedwetting and any other problems your child is having with sleep, and then thoughtfully develop a plan for solving them.