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Let's Talk About.....Bedwetting

Bedwetting, sometimes called Nocturnal Enuresis is much more common than you may think. We just don’t talk about it much, even within families.

Approximately 19% of primary school-aged children wet the bed. This means that it is very likely that there is another child in the class or your child’s year grade who also wets the bed.

The good news is that many children outgrow wetting the bed. For those children who need a little extra support to be dry at night there is a lot of help out there. If you think the time is right to address bedwetting, the best first step is to organise an appointment with your doctor. Your GP will be able to work out with you any treatment recommendations and refer you to specific services, if indicated.

You may find it helpful to know that, although there are always exceptions (based on a child’s individual presentation) Nocturnal Enuresis or nighttime wetting is not generally treated much before the age of 7 years. This is because up until about the age of 7 a child’s physiological system is still maturing. Achieving nighttime continence involves several complex factors working together. Your doctor can talk more about this with you – see also the internet links below for more information. Every child is different, so if your child is 6 years or older and wets the bed but is also motivated to become dry at night then consulting with your health professional as a great first step.

For some children over 7 years and young adults becoming dry at night does not always resolve itself without intervention. Left untreated the condition can extend into adult life and cause significant anxiety and social isolation. Research shows that Nocturnal Enuresis can negatively impact on a person’s emotional and social development and limit their quality of life. The good news is that Bedwetting is a treatable condition, so it is important to address before secondary factors start up.

If your young person is experiencing bedwetting and you would like to know more about this condition you may find it useful to talk with your Occupational Therapist or use this helpful checklist: DOWNLOAD CHECKLIST.

The questionnaire may help to identify factors that can be discussed with your doctor or health professional.

Here are a couple of websites to check-out that we like here at Kids That Go:


How can an Occupational Therapist help with bedwetting?

OTs can help in assessing the factors triggering bedwetting and problem solve interventions to treat. The OTs at Kids That Go have an in-depth knowledge of the physiological, psychological and environmental factors relating to bedwetting.  We also have experience working with children with specific or additional needs and require an individualised  treatment approach. Our OTs have knowledge of different funding supports and are familiar with supporting access to NDIS funding to provide equipment and treatment.

For some children a common treatment is a bed alarm and this is where your OT can be helpful in identifying with you the most suitable alarm.

A bed alarm works very simply by sounding a bell or alarm/noise as soon as a child releases wee from their bladder. The aim of the alarm is to wake the child. The child then stops the wee, turns off the alarm and then goes directly to the toilet to finish their wee. The child learns to associate the sensation of a full bladder, responding by waking and emptying in the toilet.

There are various designs on the market. Here at Kids That Go our OTs can guide and support a recommendation based on assessment with the option to test out different designs. Check out our online shop if you’re interested in purchasing the Dri-Sleeper Alarm, or at our Paddington Clinic we have the option of hiring a Ramsey Coote pad and bell design.

Please contact us if we can answer any of your bedwetting questions.


ROS PULLMAN (Allied Health Assistant).

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