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What is bedwetting?

The international Children's Continence Society defines night-time bedwetting as incontinence while sleeping.

The bedwetting is classed as Primary Nocturnal Enuresis (PNE) if the child has never achieved a period of at least 6 months dry at night.1

Night-time bedwetting is the most common chronic ailment in children besides allergic disorders2. It is a widespread and distressing condition that can have a significant impact on a young person’s behaviour and on their emotional and social wellbeing3.

Most children are able to remain dry at night by the time they reach five years old; however if left untreated it can persist so that even at 7.5 years 16 out of every 100 children wet the bed.

This means that in a class of 30 pupils 4 or 5 of them could be affected. It is generally more common in boys than in girls.

The severity of the bedwetting varies for children 7.5 years of age:4

  • 12 children in every 100 wet less than once a week
  • 1 child in every 100 wets once per week
  • 3 children in every 100 wets twice or more per week


Treating PNE


Supporting patient care




Why treat?

Apart from the discomfort and distress of waking up to a wet bed, a recent review of the impact of bedwetting included one study which showed 70.3% of children aged 5-11 years could clearly indicate that wetting is a disadvantage.3



Is there any evidence that bedwetting results from nocturnal polyuria?

Yes – in many studies it has been shown that a considerable number of patients with night-time bedwetting suffer from a relatively high nocturnal urine output. This does not in itself explain bedwetting, but merely that the bladder capacity is exceeded so that voiding occurs during sleep9.

Neveus T et al
Neveus T et al. The standardisation of terminology of lower urinary tract function in children and adolescents: Report from the Standardisation Committee of the International Children's Continence Society (ICCS).
Hjalmas 1997
Hjalmas K. Acta Paediatr 1997;86:919‐22.
Janknegt 1997
Janknegt RA et al. J Urol 1997; 157:513-7.
Butler 2005
Butler et al 2005, BJU; 96: 404-410.