There are a number of potential causes of bedwetting in children. And it may be a combination of factors, not just one single cause. Some potential causes are simply a result of the stage of development of the child. For example, there might be physical reasons such as a small bladder or the part of the brain that controls the bladder sphincter or pelvic floor may not yet be fully developed.1 You can read more on the many causes in this article, Why Bedwetting Happens.
One thing that most experts agree on is that laziness on the part of the child is almost never the reason the child wets the bed. Nor is it a behavioural problem.1,2
Scientists have suspected for many years that there is a hereditary or genetic relationship with the risk of bedwetting.3 But a recent study (2021) involving thousands of children and young people identified the actual genes responsible.3
A clinical paper that was published in 2001 reviewed many studies and concluded that genetic factors were the most important cause of bedwetting, but also suggested that other external factors can help reduce the risk.4
According to the Urology Care Foundation in the US, half of all children who suffer from bedwetting had a parent who struggled with the same issue. If both parents experienced bedwetting as a child, that figure rises to 75%. In contrast, a child without a family history has a 15% chance of bedwetting.1
Perhaps the most important statistic to remember is that bedwetting is very common. Almost one third of four-year-old children wet the bed. At 6 years old, the rate drops to 10%.2
We grow out of it – literally. As children age, the bladder grows to hold more urine. The brain matures to provide greater control over the muscles that maintain bladder control.
How to treat bedwetting
There are many treatments for bedwetting, some work better than others. Sometimes simple changes like the following help1:
- Reducing the amount of fluid your child drinks 1-2 hours before bed
- Creating a schedule for bathroom use (changing toilet habits)
- Medicines (for example, to help control urine production at night)
- Bedwetting alarm devices
Bedwetting alarms are believed to be one of the most useful steps to try in treating bedwetting. In fact, The Royal Children’s Hospital quote research that the alarms will help 80% of children to become dry, and most children will stay that way.
The Welcare Stay-Dry Children’s Bedwetting Alarm incorporates a moisture-sensitive alarm that will sound and/or vibrate helping the child to recognise and respond to the sensation of a full bladder while asleep. For more information, check out the link here.