Nocturnal Enuresis


Nocturnal enuresis, also referred to as primary nocturnal enuresis, is the medical term for bedwetting.

Nocturnal enuresis applies specifically to children who have always wet the bed, as opposed to the other forms of bedwetting, including secondary enuresis (which is when a child has been dry for a consecutive period of six months and then starts wetting the bed again).

Bedwetting is an extremely common. In fact, up to 15% of five year olds and up to 5% of ten year olds wet the bed. Around 97% of children have grown out of bedwetting by the age of 12, so most cases are nothing to worry about and simply require some love and support.


Nocturnal enuresis has various causes; not all children will wet the bed for the same reasons.

These are the most common causes of nocturnal enuresis:

  • Neurological development delay: If your child’s nervous system is still developing, the bladder may not be able to signal the brain to wake up for a bathroom visit.
  • Genetics: If both parents wet the bed as children, there is a 75% chance that their child will also experience bedwetting. The chances decrease to 40% if it’s just one parent, and 15% if neither you nor your partner were affected.
  • Under-production of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH): ADH is a hormone that regulates urine production while we sleep. Some children do not produce enough of this handy hormone, which causes their bladders to become full during the night.
  • Small bladder capacity: Sometimes a delay in bladder development can result in low capacity and cause the need to urinate during the night.

Bedwetting can be a source of emotional distress to child sufferers and is often damaging to self-esteem. Providing lots of love and emotional support during this time is necessary and will help reassure your child.

  • Explain to your child that this is just a very common phase they’ll eventually grow out of.
  • If they’re old enough to use the internet, help them research bedwetting causes and management techniques – being informed can help them feel more in control of the situation
  • Never punish your child for wetting the bed, as this can lead to feelings of shame, anxiety, and confusion.

There are a range of bedwetting products on the market, which help reduce stress for both parents and children. If your child is old enough, discuss these products with them first and allow them to choose which ones they feel comfortable using.

  • DryNites Pyjama Pants: These absorbent pants are designed to be lightweight and discreet, just like real underwear.
  • Mattress protector: A quality mattress protector is a good investment when your child is going through the bedwetting stage.
  • Disposable bedwetting mats: Absorbent bedwetting mats add an extra layer of protection and are a good option to consider if your child’s bedwetting has become less frequent and they don’t wear pyjama pants every night.
  • Night light: A night light can make your child feel more comfortable visiting the bathroom when it’s dark.