What Should You Do About Bedwetting?

An orthopedic expert who specializes in pelvic floor disorder explains the two causes of bedwetting in children and provides advice on different treatments for bedwetting.

The term enuresis refers to intermittent nocturnal urinary incontinence or bedwetting, in discreet episodes while sleeping. It refers to incontinence at night as opposed to daytime incontinence, which only occurs during the day. Enuresis is present in boys 50 percent more than girls.

Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence, based in Great Britain, has produced a short film on bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) in children and its impact on two young people and their families. It is worth watching for anyone facing this problem. ERIC has identified that one in 12 young people experience problems with bowel and bladder dysfunction, including bedwetting, daytime wetting, soiling, and constipation. Visit eric.org.uk for more info and to view the video.

There are two sub groups of enuresis: The first is monosymptomatic, meaning there is bedwetting present in a child without any other lower urinary tract symptoms; the second is non-monosymptomatic, meaning bedwetting is present in combination with other lower urinary tract symptoms—such as, for example, daytime incontinence, urinary urgency, or the holding in of urine (holding maneuvers). Enuresis can further be categorized as primary or secondary depending upon length of time a child had previously been dry before bedwetting episodes commenced, and the existence (or not) of other medical factors.

Ten to 25 percent of bedwetting children also wet during the day.

Treatments for enuresis may include behavioral modification techniques, conditioning using an alarm-type system, nighttime bladder training program.

—Luba Starostiak, PT, OCS a Board Certified orthopedic specialist with a subspecialty in pelvic floor dysfunction, has more than 20 years of clinical experience and is the founder of Lotus Physical Therapy in Pomona, Rockland County, NY. She is also the mom of a 6-year-old daughter.

Suggestions from NYMetroParents

GoodNites Disposable Bed Mats
Waterproof Bedmat
Until your child’s bedwetting is under control, new GoodNites bed mats, an alternative to waterproof underpants, strive to put some control back into her hands and thereby improve confidence. The ultra-absorbent mat has adhesive on one side so it’s easy to put on the bed, but also for a youngster to quickly dispose of in the middle of the night without stripping off all the sheets. ($9 each at most drugstores).



Training Pants Time!
The new durable, washable training pants by Gerber Childrenswear are specially designed to help kids easily pull them up and down on their own. Plus, these "Big Kid" undies are 100-percent cotton and have an absorbent interlining. ($8.99 at most department stores or gerberchildrenswear.com)


Also See:

Does Your Child Wet His Pants During the Day?
Most children have developed full bladder control by age 5, but those who have not due to bladder and bowel dysfunction may suffer more than mere soiled clothes. Here, the causes, and tips from a physical therapist on how to manage and treat these conditions.