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Differences in Bedwetting From Age 5 to Age 10


Differences in Bedwetting From Age 5 to Age 10
We get it: Bedwetting isn’t just something very young children do, and if it’s something you’re tackling in your home, you probably have lots of questions. For instance, why your 7-year-old is wetting the bed all of the sudden, or why your 9-year-old has started wetting bed seemingly out of the blue, or what bedwetting treatments work for your 11-year-old. Know that the Ninjamas Squad has got your child’s back at any age with nighttime protection, and that we’ve got you covered with all the information you need about bedwetting across all ages.

Bedwetting at Age 5 and Under
Bedwetting at Age 6 and Over
The Difference Between Bedwetting in Younger and Older Children
The Bottom Line

Bedwetting at Age 5 and Under

Is your 4-year-old wetting the bed at night? Try not to worry: Pretty much all young children wet the bed at some point, especially when they are still in the middle of nighttime toilet training.

Twenty percent of 5-year-olds wet the bed. Many of the under 5s who wet the bed have never been fully toilet trained, but it’s also normal for accidents to happen even after your kid has been toilet trained for some time.

Causes of Bedwetting in Kids Aged 5 and Under

The exact cause of bedwetting for young children can vary - but pinning down the exact reason why your kid may still wet the bed is a little harder. The main causes are typically:

  • A small bladder. A smaller bladder holds less pee, so a kid under 5 may not be able to hold it in through the night. This is especially true for younger children around the ages of 3 or 4.
  • Underdeveloped brain-bladder control. The nerves controlling a young child’s brain can take time to mature, which means the brain may not wake your kid up in time for he or she to go to the toilet when the urge to pee strikes. There’s a higher chance of this if your child is a big dreamer and deep sleeper.
  • An underdeveloped kidney. This means the bladder produces too much pee at night, and your child may not wake up and make it to the toilet in time.
  • Stress. If your child has been toilet trained for six months and has not wet the bed in that time but then suddenly begins again, it could be due to stress.

How to Treat Bedwetting for Kids Aged 5 and Under

At this age, there is typically no reason to worry about bedwetting. (Although you should always get in touch with your child’s healthcare provider if you’re ever concerned.) In fact, chances are your kid will grow out of it soon enough.

Most of the time, bedwetting around the ages of 4 or 5 happens because the link between the bladder and brain have not yet fully formed. This connection helps the child control when to empty the bladder. Even if your child’s got it down to an art during the day, it’s perfectly normal for bladder control to take a little longer to master at night.

When your child is this age, there is not much you can do to treat or prevent the bedwetting. It’s best to wait a little longer to see if things improve. Unless your healthcare provider says otherwise, do not give your child any medication, and while strategies like limiting fluid intake before bed and waking your child to go to the bathroom may seem to help, experts say these strategies aren’t really effective at such a young age.

What you can do is give your child a lot of love and support. Reassure your kid that it’s really not a big deal and remind them that getting help when faced with problems is cool – the Ninjamas squad has got his or her back when it comes to nocturnal protection.

Although most kids this age will grow out of bedwetting, in the meantime you can make life (and the clean up) easier with absorbent underwear.

Absorbent underwear, like Ninjamas Nighttime Underwear, will take care of any mess that may happen at night so that your kid wakes up dry and happy in the morning.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if the bedwetting goes beyond the age of 5, if your child has been fully toilet trained for six months but then starts bedwetting again, or if your child complains of a burning feeling while peeing or pain.

Bedwetting at Age 6 and Over

Bedwetting stats in the US show that 10% of 7-year-olds and 5% of 10-year-olds still have regular nocturnal accidents. In fact, it can even affect 1 to 3% of teens.

Medical professionals give bedwetting over the age of 5 a special name: nocturnal enuresis.

Within this group there are two squads of bedwetters: Those with primary enuresis—when a child has always wet the bed, and those with secondary enuresis—when a child had a dry period of at least six months but then started to wet the bed again.

There are more bedwetting kids in the first squad, especially those up to about age 7.

The kids in the secondary enuresis team are usually older and may have health or psychosomatic issues that cause them to start wetting the bed again. If your kid falls into this camp, it’s a good idea to visit his or her healthcare provider to get it checked out.

Although, secondary enuresis could point to a problem like a kidney issue or even diabetes, chances are it’s more likely to be a psychological issue like stress.

Causes of Bedwetting in Kids Aged 6 or Older

For children aged between 5 and 7, bedwetting is usually not something to worry about as chances are they are just late developers. The possible causes of the bedwetting for this age group are likely similar to those aged 5 and under.

But if your child is around 6, 7, 8, or 9-years-old, or even older, and has recently started wetting the bed again, these are some of the potential causes:

  • Genetics. Did you know that if one parent wet the bed after age 5, there is a 40% chance that their children will do the same? And if both parents were older bedwetters, then that chance goes up to 70%! So have a think about whether your or your partner had nocturnal enuresis as there could be a link.
  • Stress. When kids are dry for a while and start bedwetting again—remember, this kind of bedwetting is called secondary enuresis—the most common cause is stress. Moving to a new town, changing school, or trouble in the home (like parental divorce, for example) could trigger a wave of bedwetting.
  • Sleeping too deeply. Deep sleep is perfectly normal for developing adolescents, but this state of deep slumber can cause an older child to miss their cue to go to the toilet in time.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea. This cause is rare, but children with a partly blocked airway that can stop their breathing briefly while sleeping experience chemical changes in the brain that can trigger bedwetting.
  • Problems with the bladder or kidneys. If a child is struggling to stay dry both day and night, this could point to a bladder or kidney disease, or other urinary issues like an infection. If your child feels any pain while peeing or has the need to pee often, it’s best to take him or her to a healthcare provider for a checkup.
  • Constipation. When a child is constipated, this can put pressure on the bladder and cause the bladder to lose control of the urine its holding. If bedwetting is coupled with trouble doing a number two, this could be the cause.
  • Other medical conditions, like diabetes or neurological disease. Nocturnal enuresis could be a symptom of a medical condition. Your child’s healthcare provider will look at all the possible causes to get to the bottom of what’s behind the bedwetting.
  • Medications. Some medications can cause bedwetting as a side effect. If your child takes medication, it’s worth asking his or her provider if bedwetting could be a potential side effect.

No matter the cause, your child’s healthcare provider will be able to recommend a treatment plan so that the underlying cause and the bedwetting itself can be treated.

How to Treat Bedwetting in Kids Aged 6 or Older

Whether you’re dealing with bedwetting at age 8, 11, or older, there are a few things you can do to help your child wake up nice and dry. The first thing is to get the cause diagnosed by your child’s healthcare provider.

If a medical issue is the cause your provider will be able to recommend a course of action. If it’s stress, helping your child better cope with life’s stresses or removing the stressor altogether may help stop the bedwetting in its tracks.

There are two main ways to treat bedwetting:

  • Bedwetting alarms. This is an alarm with a moisture sensor that goes off if your child starts to pee. A bedwetting alarm wakes your child, helping to train your kid to wake up in time to go the toilet.
  • Medications. There are a few medications that your healthcare provider may recommend as a way to temporarily stop the bedwetting. These include imipramine and desmopressin. These are not usually long-term solutions as the bedwetting typically returns when your child stops taking the medication. However, these may be good solutions if your child is going on summer camp or having a sleepover, for example, and needs a little extra help to stay dry.

If bedwetting proves to be an issue that’s taking time to treat, your kid doesn’t have to worry about waking up with wet sheets. Ninjamas Nighttime Underwear also comes in a larger size, so older kids can stay dry through the night.

The Difference Between Bedwetting in Younger and Older Children

While there are some similarities between say bedwetting at 7-years-old and bedwetting at 4-years-old, there are generally speaking a few key differences between bedwetting in younger children (age 5 and under) and in older children (aged 6 and over):

Age 5 and underAge 6 and over

Typically, has never grown out of bedwetting

Bedwetting is usually caused by an under-developed bladder, kidneys, or brain, which will catch up in time Bedwetting is usually caused by stress, a genetic reason, constipation, medications, or health issues.

Typically it won’t need treatment, as the child usually grows out of bedwetting in time Can be treated either by helping the child deal with any stressors, or by using a bedwetting alarm

There’s typically no need to see the healthcare provider It’s worth seeking a diagnosis from the healthcare provider about what the underlying cause may be, and to set up a treatment plan

The Bottom Line

Most children wet the bed at some point in their lives. While in younger children it can be a normal part of the ups and downs of toilet training, in older children it may point to something else that’s going on like stress, constipation, or a medical issue.

No matter how old your child is or what’s behind the bedwetting, try to be patient and understanding. If your child is older than 5 your child’s healthcare provider will be able to make a diagnosis and recommend some next steps; for younger children it’s best to stick with your potty training and give it some time to resolve itself.

And, all the while, Ninjamas is on hand with stealthy nighttime protection that will keep your child – and the bedsheets – nice and dry in the morning.

How we wrote this article

The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and Mayo Clinic. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.