Bed Wetting Causes and Treatment

What causes a child to wet the bed?

Most children outgrow bed wetting on their own. When a child does not, it can cause them embarrassment. That’s when it’s time to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider (PCP).

Causes of bed wetting can vary. Bed wetting can be the result of:

  • Having caffeine

  • Drinking excessive liquids close to bedtime

  • Not urinating just before bedtime

  • Constipation

  • Stress or life changes

  • Structure of the urinary tract

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

How will the cause of my child’s bed wetting be diagnosed?

Diagnosing the cause of your child’s bed wetting starts with their pediatrician/PCP. Your child’s PCP will:

  • Discuss your child’s symptoms with you

  • Understand recent stress your child has had or life changes

  • Ask about lifestyle habits, especially near bedtime

    • How much liquid does your child drink?
    • Does your child drink caffeinated beverages or eat foods high in caffeine?
    • How long before bedtime does your child urinate?
    • What are your child’s bowel habits?
  • Understand your family medical history

  • Order a urine test to check for infection and/or diabetes

  • Schedule X-rays or other imaging to look at your child’s kidneys, bladder and urinary tract structure

How is bed wetting treated?

Depending on the cause of your child’s bed wetting, the treatment plan will vary. Treatment may include simple lifestyle changes such as:

  • Limiting liquids before bedtime

  • Decreasing or eliminating caffeinated foods and beverages from your child’s diet

  • Having your child try to urinate when they are getting ready for bedtime and right before going to bed

  • Urging regular toilet use throughout the day (every two to three hours)

  • Using a moisture alarm: A small device that connects to a moisture sensitive pad on your child’s bed

    • The moisture alarm sounds just as your child begins to pass urine helping your child wake, stop the urine stream and get to the toilet.
  • Prescription medicine: Used for a short time, a prescription medication can:

    • Slow how much urine your child makes at night
    • Calm your child’s bladder

Depending on the underlying cause of the bed wetting, your child’s pediatrician/PCP may include other medical specialists in your child’s treatment plan such as:

DMG CRS has all these specialists plus X-ray/imaging services and a pharmacy on-site, so you can get all the care and support you need to address your child’s bed wetting in a single location.