What is Bedwetting?

Bedwetting, often known as enuresis, occurs when your bladder involuntarily empties when you are asleep. This may occur every night, or only once in a while. The loss of bladder control during the day can be called daytime wetting or daytime incontinence. Children can have just bedwetting, just daytime wetting, or both.

Most children have gained night-time bladder control by the age of five, BUT about one in five children in Australia wet the bed after this age. Bedwetting is a very common condition, affects all cultures and has been recognised for centuries. Wetting the bed can run in families and tends to be more common in boys than girls.

Health professionals specifically trained in the management of children’s bladder conditions can help your child with their bedwetting from about the age of five. Many children, however, do stop wetting in their own time with no help and if you are managing the bedwetting well at home, you may want to wait until they are a little older, when they will be more cooperative with treatment. There are some cases when the problem may not get better by itself and treatment is advised sooner rather than later. This includes:

  • your child has been dry at night and then suddenly starts to wet at night
  • your child is wetting frequently after the age of eight
  • the wetting is making your child become upset or angry
  • your child wants to become dry

What Causes Bedwetting?

Most bed wetting is caused by a combination of three factors:

  • Bladder – your bladder can only store a small amount of urine at night
  • Kidneys – your kidneys make a large amount of urine through the night
  • Sleep – you are a deep sleeper and are not able to fully wake to receive the message that your bladder is full

Bedwetting is not caused by laziness or from being naughty. Although some illnesses are linked to bedwetting, most children who wet the bed do not have any major health concerns.


Assessments and treatments at the Mars Clinic are provided by advanced-trained Physiotherapists. The type and duration of treatment for bedwetting will vary depending upon the cause of the wetting and the needs of the individual. Treatment may include:

  • Teaching correct bladder and bowel habits
  • Practical advice and strategies for management at home
  • Timed voiding and drinking programs
  • Night time alarm therapy, to stimulate bladder to brain nerve pathways
  • Recommendation for medications that may increase the storage capacity of your bladder, or reduce the amount of urine your kidneys produce overnight
  • Referral to a medical specialist, or other allied health professional, as required