When Do Kids Stop Wetting the Bed?
Last Updated: 02/10/21
Read Time: 3 minutes
It may happen all at once, or your child’s nighttime wetting may start to slow down over several months. But when a child stays dry more and more often, parents take notice. Could this be the end of bedwetting? As you’re exploring how to overcome bedwetting, watch for these signs that may indicate a successful conclusion to an issue that can be stressful for parents and kids alike.
How to Tell if Your Child Is Dry for Good
All kids are different, even when it comes to nighttime wetting. Some wet the bed every night, and some do it a few times a week. Others can go several days without an accident and then wet every night for a week after that. That doesn’t mean there’s anything for you or your child to worry about. Kids bedwetting is natural and goes away naturally too. Each child’s situation is different. When your child will finally grow out of it depends on a number of factors, and the end will happen differently for each child.
“Sometimes kids wake up dry one day and that’s it, and some gradually stop wetting so often,” says Dr. Charles Shubin, pediatrician and director of pediatrics for Mercy Medical Center Family Care Clinic in Baltimore, MD. “It happens different ways for different kids.”
What Is Bedwetting?
“The American Academy of Pediatrics defines bedwetting as wetting two or more times a week in children over 5, or often enough that it bothers you,” says Dr. Howard Bennett, pediatrician and author of the book Waking Up Dry: A Guide to Help Children Overcome Bedwetting (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). “But these days, it’s easier to manage with protective underpants and bedding.”
When Do Kids Stop Wetting the Bed?
To determine when your child will likely outgrow nighttime wetting, consider these numbers. If your child is 8 or older, chances are they are almost through nighttime wetting. And keep in mind that most doctors don’t consider nighttime wetting a problem until a child is older than 6.
- 20% percent of 5-year-olds still wet the bed.
- 12% of 6-year-olds still wet the bed.
- Of kids who wet the bed after age 6, 15% stop each year.
- 1-3% of older teenagers experience bedwetting. Teen bedwetting can even last through puberty.
Can Family History Tell Me When My Child Might Stop Bedwetting?
If a parent or an aunt or uncle wet the bed as a kid, then chances are your child’s nighttime wetting is hereditary. And family history may offer some insight into when your child will overcome wetting. “Genetics play a big part in bedwetting,” Dr. Shubin says. “So look at how old family members were when they became dry.” For example, if a parent or other family member grew out of nighttime wetting by age 7, then your child will likely grow out of it around the same age.
Will Bedwetting End All at Once?
Even if your child has been dry for a few weeks, relapses are a possibility. Some kids will wet occasionally, even after long periods of dryness. And many kids will gradually outgrow nighttime wetting.
“My children didn’t grow out of bedwetting all of a sudden; it was less frequent and then stopped,” says Cynthia, a mother of two. But that doesn’t mean that relapses will last for long. Thirty days dry is considered resolved, Dr. Bennett says. “If they relapse after that, it’s usually a periodic thing.” Periodic relapses may be caused by disruptions in usual sleep patterns or other changes in routine.
How Can I Support My Child with Bedwetting Relapses?
Kids may become frustrated when they wet the bed, and they may not understand that relapses are normal, especially after a long period of dryness has built up their confidence. If your child wets after a dry period, they may be discouraged and upset. The key to helping your child deal with these feelings is to be supportive and realistic.
“Prepare kids that they may wet again,” Dr. Bennett says. “Allow them to talk and express their feelings, but give them realistic information.” Explain the situation in a way that they can relate to and understand, such as sports metaphors. For example, a softball team may have a great season with several wins in a row, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever lose a game again.
Positive reinforcement may help your child manage the frustration of nighttime wetting relapses. And your support will help your child’s self-esteem and help them cope with feelings of embarrassment.
“Bedwetting is a developmental problem, not a behavioral one,” Dr. Shubin says. “Be accepting of it for what it is.”
Every parent with a child who wets the bed worries about when it will finally come to an end. But there’s plenty of reason to hang in there and stay optimistic. Although a few dry nights in a row don’t necessarily mean your child is done with wetting for good, it may mean the end is coming. What’s really important is that you realize the end will come. In the meantime, be supportive and understanding of your child and use products like Goodnites® NightTime Underwear that make nighttime wetting easier to manage, so they can worry less about staying dry.
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, consult your doctor as needed.