The causes of bedwetting

Bedwetting is a medical condition that can have many causes. As bedwetting is out of your child’s conscious control, finding the cause can help treat it.

It’s important to discuss these causes with your child’s doctor or nurse to help pinpoint what may be causing the bedwetting. They can also use this information to choose the right treatment for your child. In the meantime, telling your child that bedwetting isn’t their fault can help reassure them.

Your child may be wetting the bed because of the following:

A lower than normal level of a hormone called vasopressin

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This hormone is released by the brain and controls the amount of wee made in the kidneys during the night. If there is not enough vasopressin, this may be causing your child’s bedwetting.

A smaller than normal bladder

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If your child’s bladder is smaller than average, they may not be able to hold the wee they produce in their sleep.

Bladder muscle twitching

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Your child may have a condition called overactive bladder, where their bladder muscles get twitchy. This can cause your child to wee more often, or not have enough notice to get to the toilet.

Failure to wake up

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Your child may also wet the bed if they are unable to wake when the bladder is signalling the need to wee.


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If your child does not poo regularly or their bowel is full, it can press against their bladder. This can make it more difficult for your child to stay dry in the night.

Urinary tract infection

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An infection of the urinary tract can give your child the feeling of needing the toilet more often. This can cause or make your child’s bedwetting worse.

Genes – bedwetting runs in families

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If bedwetting runs in your family, your child could have inherited it. There is an increased risk if one or both parents and/or another close relative, also wet the bed.

Anxiety, stress or changes in routine

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If your child is having a difficult or stressful time, this can trigger bedwetting.
But don’t worry, bedwetting can be treated!

As your child’s superhero, you have the power to help your child overcome their bedwetting.

See what you can do!

Learn more

If you have specific questions or concerns, talk to your child's doctor, school nurse, health visitor or pharmacist.

Bladder and Bowel UK offer a confidential helpline. If you would like to speak to someone, email: or phone: 0161 607 8219. You can also visit this website for more information:

Support, information and resources are also available from ERIC, The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity: and their freephone helpline: 0808 169 9949

This website is intended for UK residents only.

Job code: MN/2912/2017/UKd | Date of preparation: November 2017


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