Bedwetting is not unusual: it happens to 15–20% of children under five, and 5–10% of children under 10. However, the effects of bedwetting can feel problematic to the entire family because it's not well understood. Here are some surprising facts about bedwetting that can reassure you about the problem itself and help you know how best to cope.
Fact: Bedwetting is fairly common and not a disease.
About 15% of children still wet the bed after the age of 3, and it may continue until the child reaches puberty. Boys tend to wet the bed more often than girls. Bedwetting can be caused by slow bladder development, or by emotional stress like fears or insecurities that are caused by events such as moving to a new home or starting school.
Fact: Bedwetting is rarely caused by a serious medical disorder.
Bedwetting can be caused by a small bladder due to slower development, as well as by increased urine production during the night, and constipation. In rare cases, regular bedwetting can be a sign of kidney or bladder problems.
Fact: Bedwetting goes away on its own.
There is no way to predict exactly when a child will stop wetting the bed, but every year after age 5 there is a 15% increase in chance of the issue spontaneously resolving.
Fact: Dealing with bedwetting requires a combination approach.
Fact: Punishment will not deter bedwetting. Support helps.
Parents should never punish a child for wetting the bed, because it is rarely an intentional act. Most children feel sensitive about bedwetting, even sad and ashamed. If the child is punished for bedwetting, it can lead to development of emotional problems later in their life.
Fact: Parents can help avoid a negative, long–term bedwetting effect in children.
The whole family can deploy a few strategies to avoid any negative consequences in children who wet the bed. To start with, explain that bedwetting is common in children, and that it is not their fault. Reassure them that it will go away in time. Also, have a conversation about the same points as a family with siblings present to prevent the siblings from teasing each other about bedwetting.
With time, patience, and support, your whole family will enjoy better nights.
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