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 both parent and child. Many parents don’t seek medical advice until it begins to affect their child’s social life, preventing them from going to sleepovers.


It is important to understand that bedwetting is not the child’s fault and often occurs for no obvious reason. Sometimes, it 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. 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. We are happy to discuss any worries or questions you may have. 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.

Useful Links:

HSE – Bedwetting

NHS – Bedwetting information and advice


Content developed from HSE, NHS Choices and is adapted for Galway East Medical Practice by Galway East Medical Practice.


Content developed from HSE and NHS Choices is adapted for Galway East Medical Practice by Galway East Medical Practice.

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