Busting Bedwetting Myths
Myth 1 – Kids can choose when they stop wetting the bed
Most of us don’t have to think twice about going to the bathroom. When nature calls, we answer. We’re in control of when we go and when we don’t. While most children stop bedwetting by the age of five, it may be surprising to you that many others will continue to find it difficult to control their bladders at night beyond this age, with 20% of five year olds and 10% of ten year olds continuing to wet their beds.
It’s a myth that children have the ability to stop bedwetting as and when they want. There can be a number of reasons why children continue to wet the bed beyond the age of six. Understanding some of the potential causes is important to help manage the condition and a find a solution:
- It can be hormones: We all produce a hormone called ‘vasopressin’, which helps reduce the volume of urine we produce during the night. In some children, not enough vasopressin is produced which means the amount of urine produced during the night is more than the bladder can hold.
- It can be the size of the bladder: Research has shown in some cases children may have a “small” bladder which means the volume of urine produced is greater than the bladder’s ability to hold it and in other cases some children may not have a bladder that stretches to hold the capacity.
- It can be the ability to wake: Children have different levels of sleep which sometimes results in an inability to arouse and wake despite needing to use the bathroom.
- It could be constipation: Research has shown in some cases children who are experiencing undiagnosed constipation continued to wet the bed as a result of stool left in the lower intestine, pushing against the bladder and reducing its capacity to hold urine.
It is important for parents not blame or criticise their child or themselves by thinking it is something they have done wrong. If your child is continuing to wet the bed, it may be because of one of these underlying issues and it’s important to speak with your doctor. The sooner you go about seeking this professional advice, the sooner you can start exploring practical solutions to help your child have dry nights.
We’ve also created a checklist to help you discuss bedwetting with your doctor, please complete the checklist and take it with you to your next appointment.
- Bedwetting Institute. 2016. Available online: http://bedwettinginstitute.com.au/fact-sheet/ (Last accessed 20 Sept 2016)
- Caldwell P et al. MJA 2005; 182:190-195.
- Bedwetting.co.uk. 2009. Available online: http://www.bedwetting.co.uk/ (Last accessed 21 Sept 2016)
- Dobson P. 2006. Nursing Times.
- Department of Education and Training. 2015. Available online: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/parents/primary/Pages/p4p180712.aspx (Last accessed 20 Sept 2016)
- Neveus T et al. J Urol 2010;183:441-447.
- O'Regan S et al. Am J Dis Child 1986;140(3):260-261.
My Dryness Tracker App
- Introduction - Welcome to our busting bedwetting myths series!
- Myth 1 – Kids can choose when they stop wetting the bed
- Myth 2 – Kids simply outgrow bedwetting
- Myth 3 - Rewards are the best way to stop bedwetting
- Myth 4 - Bedwetting doesn’t run in the family
- Myth 5 - There is nothing you can do to treat bedwetting
1. Myint M et al. J Pediatr Urol 2016;12:112e1-112e6