National Kidney Foundation Says Don't Punish Bed-Wetters

New York, NY
February 15, 1999

The National Kidney Foundation wants parents to know that bed- wetting is a medical condition for which children should never be punished. If your family is dealing with this frustrating problem, here are ten facts about bed-wetting that may help you cope.

  • Bed-wetting is a common problem in children, ages 6 to 12.

  • In the U.S., five to seven million children are affected by this condition.

  • Research suggests that if both parents have a history of bed-wetting, their child has a 70 percent chance of being a bed-wetter.

  • Bed-wetting is usually not an emotional, learning or behavioral problem. Your child is not wetting the bed on purpose. However, children who do not get help or who are punished for bed-wetting might develop emotional or behavioral problems.

  • Some studies show that children who wet the bed may have an abnormal level of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone helps the kidneys retain water, thus reducing the amount of urine filling the bladder.

  • Most children who are bed-wetters will outgrow the problem; in fact, 15 percent outgrow the problem each year.

  • A number of treatment approaches can help your child stay dry until he or she outgrows the problem. A pediatrician or family doctor should be consulted about the best treatment for your child.

  • Treatments for bed-wetting include: bladder control exercises; changing the child's eating and drinking habits; waking the child periodically throughout the night; motivational therapy; behavior modification techniques, such as moisture alarm systems; and medications.

  • Patience, support and encouragement from family members is essential to overcoming this problem.

  • Punishing a child for bed-wetting is never recommended.

Visit our Bed-wetting home page which contains additional links to pertinent information on this topic.