Adolescent Psychiatrist Questions Bedwetting

Can I do anything to stop my child from wetting the bed?

My son is 8 years old, and has been wetting the bed at night for a few months now. It started very suddenly, so I am not sure what caused it. What can I do for him?

6 Answers

Bed wetting that persists to 8 years old (primary enuresis) is not uncommon, but it sounds like he was dry for years, then suddenly developed the symptom, which is a whole different kettle of fish, with multiple possible etiologies. First, you need to consider physical issues, such as a urinary tract infection, so have him evaluated by your pediatrician. New onset enuresis is also a warning flag for emotional distress. Something may be bothering him, even simply a change, in his environment at school, home or playground. If there are no physical explanations, having him talk to a mental health professional who works with children might reveal how you can help.
If children regress with their toilet training, it can be physiological or psychological. First thing is to get him evaluated by a pediatrician to exclude focal causes. Also, it has to be monitored if he is doing it only at night or has accidents during the day.
Psychologically, it can signify trauma. And it has to be assessed by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Trauma for children can be very insignificant in adults eyes, but something as small as seeing a dead bird on the street can cause psychological trauma in children.

I hope he will get better soon. All the best.
May want to check out for constipation cause that can cause bed wetting or any urinary tract infection. If that is not the case then recommend seeing a psychologist if any anxiety/stress.
Bedwetting that starts, or continues, after age 7 may be a sign of either urinary, other medical, or psychiatric problems. A pediatrician should first evaluate for urinary or other medical problems. If those are absent, behavioral treatment and/or medication can be used. Behavioral treatment consists of 1) pre-bedtime water restriction, and 2) an alarm (sound + vibration) triggered by a moisture sensory - traditionally referred to as the "pad and bell" method. This is highly effective; cost varies. Medication makes the kidneys produce less urine overnight. Some causes of bedwetting may instead improve with psychotherapy.

NB: This does not constitute medical advice, please see the disclaimer in my Expert Blog for details.
So your son had been toilet trained and suddenly started wetting the bed. This usually raises concern. The first thing I would recommend doing is taking him to his pediatrician or your primary care physician. A face to face interview and a thorough assessment and physical exam are essential to direct treatment. There may also be need for laboratory and psychological work up, but start with your primary care provider.
1. Assess if the child is anxious about something (a situation, person, etc.).

2. Establish a cut-off time that the child is able to drink liquids.

3. A bell and pad is effective.