Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Bed-Wetting - Cause

Almost all children who wet the bed do not do so intentionally. Most likely, several things are involved when a child older than age 5 continues to wet the bed. Possible causes of primary nocturnal enuresis include:

  • Delayed development. Children with a less mature nervous system may not be as able to sense when the bladder is full.
  • Small bladder capacity. Having a smaller-than-normal bladder may make some children more prone to wet the bed.
  • Too little antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Levels of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), a brain chemical that signals the kidneys to release less water, normally rise at night. Some children who wet their beds may not produce more ADH at night.
  • Sound sleeping. Many parents note that their child who wets the bed is a deep sleeper. These children usually wet the bed less often as their sleep patterns mature.
  • Psychological and social factors. Bed-wetting does not appear to be a direct result of emotional problems. In fact, bed-wetting may be the cause of some emotional problems for children. But children living in stressful home situations or in institutions may be more likely to wet the bed.

Some of these things may be inherited. A child is at increased risk for wetting the bed if one or both parents has a history of bed-wetting as a child.

Most cases of primary nocturnal enuresis are not caused by any medical condition. But secondary nocturnal enuresis, which is bed-wetting that occurs after a period of staying dry, is more likely to be related to a medical condition. Examples of physical causes include a kidney or bladder infection (urinary tract infection) or birth defects that affect the urinary tract camera.gif. Emotional stress, such as may result from the birth of a brother or sister, can also be something that triggers bed-wetting.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration