By age 3 or 4, most children are able to sleep through the night without wetting the bed. But 5 to 7 million children -- mostly boys -- older than age 6 are not able to stay dry. Bed-wetting can be exhausting and upsetting for the whole family. The good news is that it usually does not signal an emotional or physical problem. Most children outgrow the tendency by puberty.
Nighttime bed-wetting (nocturnal enuresis) usually occurs because the child's bladder is not yet large enough to hold a full night's output of urine, or because he has not yet developed the urge to wake up in response to a full bladder.
Studies also show that children who wet the bed may have an abnormally low level of an antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone helps the kidneys retain water, reducing the amount of urine filling the bladder. This tendency is often associated with a family history of bed-wetting.
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.