Bedwetting can be distressing for both children and parents. Understanding what the possible causes might be will help to reassure both parents and children that it’s a common issue, no one is to blame and, most importantly, that it’s out of a child’s control. Here are some reasons for bedwetting in the older child…

  • Family history – if one parent had history of bedwetting as a child, there is around a 40% chance that their child will too. If both parents wet the bed, the odds can rise to around 70%.
  • Missed signals – for some children the connection between the brain and the bladder to signal it is full has not yet been developed.
  • Small bladder capacity – some children have a smaller than average bladder capacity.
  • Lack of hormones – some children do not produce a high enough level of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), produced at night to slow down the production of urine by the kidneys so we don’t have to wake up to urinate.
  • Constipation – the constipated bowel literally “leans” on the bladder and causes the bladder to empty before it is full.
  • Urine Infection – if having a wee is causing your child pain or if they are passing urine much more frequently than usual, talk to your doctor.
  • Caffeine – it is a scientific fact that caffeine stimulates the bladder to produce more urine
  • Individual/Specific intolerances/irritants – everyone is very different but it is worth keeping a food/drink diary to make sure that a specific food or drink isn’t causing the bedwetting. Some have argued that spicy foods or citrus foods and fruit juices cause bedwetting whereas a personal friend found that all juice, diluted or pure and especially blackcurrant juice caused bedwetting in her older child.


So what should we do to help with bedwetting.

  • Rule out any medical reasons – take the child to the doctor if you suspect urinary tract infection or constipation.
  • Rewards – use this if it works for your child but not if it appears to make him feel inadequate or disappointed, if he “fails”.
  • Offer support, understanding and encouragement – make sure he knows he is not to blame!
  • Increase bladder capacity – give your child plenty to drink during the day (medically proven).
  • Limit caffeine intake late afternoon and evening – Give tea, cola, energy drinks, chocolate/hot chocolate/chocolate ice-cream/brownies etc. early in the day only.
  • Take head to the findings of your food/drink diary – Limit foods that cause problems for your child, either to earlier in the day or if this is still a problem then cut them out of your child’s diet altogether.
  • Double bubble – make the bed using plastic protection and sheet then plastic protection and sheet, so the child can get himself a fresh bed in the nighttime. Remember to leave fresh underwear and pyjamas too.
  • Alarm system – wearing an alarm at night which sounds on feeling wetness.


Above all else remember that most children grow out of bedwetting all by themselves, so hang in there!!Bedwetting