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

Health & Parenting

Font Size

The Bedwetting Blues

Don't Get Mad, Get Help

Understanding the Cause

While a small number of bed-wetting cases are due to medical conditions such as a kidney infection or other urological problems, Alan Greene, MD, a San Francisco Bay Area pediatrician, says enuresis is most often a developmental issue. Children who wet the bed simply don't "shut off" urine production at night. This ability normally occurs around the age of 5, when bed-wetting will stop on it's own for 90% of kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

While babies produce urine around the clock, toddlers start to go to the bathroom on a daytime and nighttime schedule once their bodies start to produce a substance called 'anti-diuretic hormone' (ADH) that inhibits urine production. In addition, as kids mature they become more sensitive to the feeling (produced by stretching of the bladder walls) that they need to urinate.

Children who continue to wet the bed beyond the age of 6 may not be producing enough ADH hormone at appropriate times, or may not yet be attuned to their bodies' signals, or both, says Greene. Parents should start looking into formal treatment sometime between the ages of 6 and 7, according to the National Enuresis Society -- or sooner if the child seems troubled by the bed-wetting.

The first step is to work with the child's doctor to rule out any illness and to develop a safe and effective treatment plan. The two main approaches are behavioral modification and medications that inhibit urine production. "Almost all kids can be dry within about 12 weeks, with treatment," says Greene.

Sensors, Alarms, and Buzzers

One of the simplest methods to cut down on wettings is to limit a child's fluid intake -- especially milk and caffeinated or carbonated drinks -- in the last hour or so before bedtime. Then make sure the child goes to the bathroom before bed. While this will limit the amount of urine in the body and reduce the odds of wetting the bed, it still doesn't shut off the urination switch during sleep.

The most common method to address that issue involves placing a moisture-sensitive sensor on the bed or under the child's pajamas. The system sets off a loud alarm in the presence of fluid. Most bed-wetters urinate while deeply asleep and sleep right through the alarm, sometimes even switching it off without waking up. Because of this, parents also need to get up, wake the child, and take him or her to the bathroom.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd