Why Is My Child Wetting the Bed Again?

If your child's wetting the bed, you can help them learn bladder control through different exercises. Keep reading.
Why Is My Child Wetting the Bed Again?
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 08 February, 2023

Are you worried that your child’s wetting the bed again? Have they never stopped? This is one of the developmental signs in children. There are multiple variables that intervene in this fact. Here are some of them as well as how to accompany your child.

What is enuresis?

Enuresis is known as involuntary urination episodes that occur in children over 5 years old, with several repetitions during the course of the week and with a duration of between 3 to 6 months. It can be primary or secondary:

  • Primary enuresis is when the child never stopped bedwetting.
  • Secondary enuresis is when the child goes back to bedwetting after a period of having achieved urinary continence.

Learn why your child’s wetting the bed again

There are different reasons why a child returns to bedwetting, even after they’ve achieved sphincter control. While this is often referred to as a regression, it’s worth explaining what it is and putting a positive spin on it.

An older child who's wet the bed.
The emotional impact due to psychological or emotional causes is of such magnitude for children that it manifests itself in some way. Therefore, returning to bedwetting has to do with trying to adapt and respond to an uncomfortable or distressing situation.

Psychological or emotional causes

Among the psychological or emotional reasons that a child may begin wetting the bed, we find the following:

  • A change in routine. For example, when your primary caregiver starts a job and spends fewer hours at home.
  • Moving to a new house.
  • The arrival of a new family member.
  • Separation or loss of parents.
  • The illness of a loved one.
  • Changing to a new school.

When to consult with the doctor

However, there are other factors that can play a part and, in these cases, it’s important to make an early consultation to prevent the problem from deepening. Other causes may be the following:

  • Sleep apnea.
  • Diabetes.
  • Genetic factors. For example, if the parents had enuresis, it’s likely that the child also has it.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Constipation.
  • Alterations in the waking up mechanism.
  • Maturational delays.

What to do if my child’s wetting the bed again

Enuresis has a solution. In this regard, it’s a good idea to address the problem early, as it’s usually a situation of distress and discomfort for children. In addition, it can affect their self-esteem and socialization. Some of the recommended measures to apply at home are the following:

  • Make a consultation with a professional. This way, it’s possible to determine what the cause is and establish whether it’s monosymptomatic enuresis (without other lower urinary tract symptoms) or non-monosymptomatic (associated with other lower urinary tract symptoms). Through questions, studies, and observation, the practitioner will be able to suggest an appropriate course of treatment.
  • Evaluate the context and circumstances. Many times, we make a hasty and individual reading of what’s happening. We point to the child as the problem and, therefore, miss the possibility of thinking about what other factors may be at play. When we broaden our view, everything takes on a different meaning. For example, the child may witness multiple arguments and abuse between parents.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of liquids close to bedtime.
  • Use night alarms to wake the child to go to the bathroom.
  • Apply exercises for bladder training. For example, when the child urinates, you can ask them to play a game of “stop and go”. Once or twice is enough to avoid more pressure on the bladder and prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Keep a urination diary. For several days, you should observe your child’s behavior and take note of the times they go to the bathroom. Once you know that schedule, try to delay it by 10 to 15 minutes. For example, if they usually go at 5:00 pm, then you can ask them to wait until 5:10 pm to go. This way, you help them hold their urination.
A child using a urinal.
Congratulating your child every night that they manage to stay dry is a good measure to help build self-esteem.

With patience and without punishment

Finally, it’s worth noting that treating bedwetting and bladder training can take several weeks. In this regard, it’s important to be patient, talk to the child, and help them understand that they’re not to blame. It’s important to tell them that some people learn and develop at different rates to prevent them from feeling bad about it. Also, you should congratulate them and acknowledge their achievement every time they manage to sleep through the night without wetting the bed or waking up to urinate.

At the same time, under no circumstances should you tease or punish your child if they wet the bed. Measures such as these can further delay progress.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Saieh, A. Carlos, Álvarez, S. Catherine, Lucero, A. Yalda. Enuresis en niños: frecuencia y antecedentes familiares, Revista Médica Clínica Las Condes. Vol 26, Número1, 109-1112.Año 2015
  • Morata Alba, Júlia, & Morata Alba, Laia. (2021). Enuresis infantil, formar y educar. Revista Cubana de Pediatría93(3), e1035. Epub 01 de octubre de 2021. Recuperado en 11 de diciembre de 2022, de http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-75312021000300004&lng=es&tlng=es.
  • Guía: Lo que usted debe saber si su hijo moja la cama. Autoría del National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
  • Gonzálvez, M. T., (2014). Intervención conductual en un caso de enuresis secundaria mixta. Revista de Psicología Clínica con Niños y Adolescentes, 1(1),45-52.[fecha de Consulta 11 de Diciembre de 2022]. ISSN: . Recuperado de: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=477147183005

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.