By Dr Evelyn Lewin

Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is common in young children. According to The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, nearly one in three children wet the bed at age four. This falls to one in ten children by age six, and one in twenty by age ten. Some children become dry at night and then start wetting the bed again (regression). Bedwetting seems to run in families. It is also more common in children who sleep deeply. There are possible medical causes for bedwetting that should be ruled out by a medical professional. If you are concerned about your child’s bedwetting, especially if he/she is over age six, see your GP. Watch this video for more background.


  • Bedwetting is simply when a child wets her bed while asleep.


Before trying to ‘treat’ bedwetting, ask yourself whether your child can be ‘expected’ to be dry at their age. If she is still young, don’t put too much pressure on achieving this.

In the meantime, invest in mattress protectors. These go underneath the sheet.

Do not embarrass your child if she is still wetting the bed. It is not her fault. Embarrassing her will not make her learn faster.

Do not limit the amount of fluid your child has in the evening. Also, do not use a pull-up at night if you’re trying to teach her to stop bedwetting.

If you feel your child is ready, the following methods may help:

Alarm system

An alarm system helps the majority of children overcome bedwetting. A pad is placed on the bed (under the sheet) and is attached to an alarm. If your child wets the bed, the alarm goes off. Your child should then finish her wee in the toilet. While effective, it can take up to two months to work.


There are medications that can help the body produce less urine overnight. These can be used short-term for special circumstances, (e.g. if your child is going on camp). They can also be used longer-term. Speak to your doctor about whether your child may benefit from them.

Reviewed by Dr Evelyn Lewin 25 February 2015 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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