The Question: Shouldn’t my five-year old have stopped wetting the bed by now?
Answer: Getting tired of changing the sheets every morning? Or is your kid asking when he can stop wearing his Pull-Ups at night? The truth is, it’s very common for children to still wet the bed long after they’ve been daytime-trained. Primary nocturnal enuresis—continuing to wet the bed at night without a significant period of dryness—is not considered a disease or disorder, and persists in kids up to puberty in some cases. Fortunately, most will outgrow it between 6 and 10 years old, with 90 to 95 percent dry at night by the time they turn 10. One possible explanation? Bed wetters are usually deep sleepers and seem to have a delayed maturity of the signal between the brain and bladder that tells them to hold it or get up and use the bathroom. If your child has been dry at night for a month or longer and begins wetting the bed again, check with your pediatrician to rule out very rare medical causes like urinary tract infections or diabetes.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., is the founder of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, and co-author of Treatment Alternatives for Children.
Have a question for Dr. Rosen? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org