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Publication #FAR0026


Diana Converse2

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Bedwetting is a common problem in children ages 5-12, particularly for boys. An estimated 5 to 7 million children in the U.S. have a problem with bedwetting at any given time (Evans & Radunovich, 2006). The good news is that most of them eventually outgrow it. Most physicians and psychologists advise parents that a child should be able to keep the bed dry by age five or six. However, many professionals admit that bedwetting can become a serious problem for the younger child if it begins to impact their self-esteem, behavior, and relationships with others.

All of the causes of bedwetting are not known. Physicians emphasize that bedwetting is a symptom, not a disease. Bedwetting is not a mental problem, learning problem, or behavioral problem. Even children with no history of bedwetting may lose bladder control from time to time. For example, bedwetting may appear or increase when a child is ill. Urinary tract infections often cause bedwetting in children and adults (Evans & Radunovich, 2006).

Children rarely wet the bed on purpose, so parents need to avoid punishing their child. Bedwetting can also be a response to emotional conflict, anxiety or stress, such as a dramatic change in home and family life. Parents should consider talking to a doctor to rule out any physical causes and to discuss a variety of treatments for their child, such as scheduled waking, changing parenting styles, limiting fluids at night, exercises, and medications (Evans & Radunovich, 2006).

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Evans, G. D., & Radunovich, H. L. (2006). Bedwetting (FCS2112). Gainesville: Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Retrieved October 16, 2007, from



This document is FAR0026, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 110 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Diana Converse, Extension agent III, Hillsborough County, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.