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HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury

Bedwetting in children

Mīia moenga me mīia tarau ki ngā tamariki

Bedwetting, sometimes called nocturnal enuresis (nok-turn-all en-yur-e-sis) is when a tamaiti (child) goes for a wee when they are asleep in bed. Bedwetting is normal in many tamariki (children) under the age of five, and very common in tamariki children and young people. Some tamariki wet their pants during the daytime as well.

Causes of bedwetting in children

Bedwetting is a medical condition and isn’t anyone’s fault. It's not because your tamaiti child is lazy or naughty.

The three main reasons why tamariki children wet the bed are:

Bed wetting can also be made worse by:

Helping your child with bedwetting

It's important to remember that most tamariki will grow out of bedwetting.

Treating bedwetting

There are several ways to treat bedwetting including a special bed alarm that wakes them up if they wet the bed. Some tamariki children may need to take medicine to help them stop wetting the bed. Read more about different treatments for bedwetting.

Getting help for your child with bedwetting

Bed wetting is not usually considered a problem in tamariki under the age of five.It’s a good idea to see a GP if:

It may be helpful to complete this chart before seeing the GP, to give the doctor a good idea of the bowel and bladder habits of your tamaiti.

Several support services are available such as:

Timaru Hospital bedwetting programme

An Enuresis Nurse runs a bedwetting programme one day a week for children over seven. Children are eligible for the programme if they wet at least three to four times per week. Phone 022-011-3227 to contact the nurse.

Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses can provide support for school-age children with some continence problems. Talk to your GP about this service.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed January 2022.


Page reference: 121593

Review key: HIUTC-12626