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Preteen Bed Wetting is More Common Than You May Think


If your preteen is still wetting his bed at night, don't despair. Plenty of his classmates are doing the same. Bed wetting, or enuresis, is a common problem and about 3% of all 14 year olds wet the bed at night. It is much more common in boys, but does happen with girls also.

Bed wetting can be divided into two main types:

  • Primary Nocturnal Enuresis - which refers to persistent involuntary nighttime urination where the child has never had a dry night.
  • Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis - which refers to an onset of nighttime bed wetting after a dry period of at least six months.
Three of the most common reasons for primary nocturnal enuresis are:

  • Genetic predisposition - 75% of children who wet the bed have parents who had the same problem as a child.
  • Deep sleeping - studies suggest that children who wet the bed are very hard to wake up and have a hard time waking to an alarm clock.
  • Reduced production of vasopressin - an anti-diuretic hormone that directs the kidney to concentrate the body's urine so your bladder doesn't overfill.

Two of the most common reasons for secondary nocturnal enuresis are:

  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Stressful situations at home or school. A bed wetting preteen is not lazy. They are not undisciplined. They have a problem and will need the help of a physician. Even though most preteens will grow out of this condition in time, it will benefit your child to get this help, as during this time their self-esteem is being affected.


Don't make a big deal out of a wet bed. Show your preteen how to strip the sheets and do a load of wash.

  • Never punish your preteen for wetting the bed.
  • If you were a bed wetter, share your experiences with your preteen.
  • Keep this between your preteen and yourself. Sharing this problem with other family members or friends will only serve to embarrass your preteen.
  • Find positive things to focus your conversations on. Don't let the only communication you have with your preteenager be about bed wetting.
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