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  • Enuresis (en-yer-e-sis) is also called bedwetting. It is passing urine without control after a certain age. Children sometimes need extra months or years to get total bladder (organ that holds urine) control. It is more common in boys.
  • Causes of bedwetting may be family history, urine infection, or certain foods. Nerves or muscles that are still growing may cause enuresis. Or a small bladder may also cause the problem. With time, most children are able to get daytime and nighttime bladder control. Do not blame or punish your child for bedwetting. Medicine or an enuresis alarm may be used to treat enuresis.


  • Keep a written list of what medicines your child takes and when and why he takes them. Bring the list of your child's medicines or the pill bottles when you see your child's caregivers. Learn why your child takes each medicine. Ask caregivers for information about your child's medicine. Do not give your child any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to his caregivers.
  • Always give your child's medicine as directed by caregivers. Call caregivers if you think your child's medicines are not helping or if you feel he is having side effects. Do not quit giving it until you discuss it with your child's caregiver. If your child is taking antibiotics (an-ti-bi-ah-tiks), give them until they are all gone even if your child feels better.

Eating and Drinking:

  • Encourage your child to eat healthy foods from all of the 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, meat and fish. Eating healthy foods may help your child feel better and have more energy. It may also help him heal faster. Caregivers may want your child to avoid eating chocolate or dairy products that may irritate his bladder.
  • Have your child drink enough liquid each day. Or follow the caregiver's advice if your child is on a fluid limit. Good liquids to drink are water, juices, and milk. Drinking liquids helps him practice controlling the urge to pass urine. It will also help to stretch the bladder if it is small.
  • Limit the amount of liquids your child drinks after the evening meal, especially soda pop. Many sodas have caffeine and/or aspartame that can make your child's bed-wetting problem worse. Aspartame is a very common sugarless sweetener.

How can I help my child lessen his bed-wetting?

  • After a dry night, give your child praise and hugs. You may want to put a star on a calendar after a dry night.
  • Before you go to bed, awaken your child to pass urine if he is 6 years or older. Have your child walk to the toilet. Do not lift your child out of bed and carry him to the toilet. Your child should be awake and aware to know that he is going to pass urine.
  • Caregivers may suggest ways to help increase your child's bladder size. This is done with stretching and strengthening exercises. Follow caregiver's instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you are not sure.
  • Do not complain about washing sheets or clothes that are soiled because of bedwetting. Tell your child that bedwetting is not his/her fault.
  • Leave a night light on in the bathroom. Keep the path to the bathroom free of clutter so your child will not fall. These will help your child get safely to the bathroom.
  • Protect your child's mattress with plastic or a plastic mattress cover. Don't force your toilet-trained child to wear diapers or plastic pants. This may make him feel like a baby.
  • Tell your child that he will not be a bed wetter forever. Share stories about any family members who have stopped bedwetting.
  • Your child may want to help in the clean up after bedwetting. Put a towel and a pair of underpants by the bed. If your child awakens at night and is wet, he can change clothes. The towel can be put on the wet spot. Your child can return to bed without waking anyone up.
  • Your child should pass urine before going to bed.
  • Your child's caregiver may suggest you try a bed wetting alarm. They are available at most drug stores. The alarm helps to wake your child when he starts to urinate.


  • Accepting that your child has a bed-wetting problem is hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These feelings are normal. Talk to your caregivers, family, or friends about your feelings. Let them help you. Encourage those close to you to talk to your caregiver about how things are at home. Your caregiver can help your family better understand how to support your child.
  • You may also want to join a support group. This is a group of people who also have children with the same problem. Ask your caregiver for the names and numbers of support groups in your town. Or, you can contact the following national organization for more information.
  • National Kidney Foundation
    30 East 33rd Street
    New York, NY 10016
    Phone: 1-212-889-2210
    Phone: 1-800-622-9010
    Web Address:
  • Sexual Function Health Council
    American Foundation for Urologic Disease
    Sexual Function Health Council
    1128 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    Phone: 1-410-468-1800
    Phone: 1-800-433-4215
    Web Address:


  • You have questions or concerns about your child's medicine or care.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Enuresis (Discharge Care)

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