Let's talk about bedwetting in children

in Motherhoodlast year

Bedwetting and UTIs

Ever since I stopped using diapers for my toddler, the trademark scent in our bedroom is the wee of a 3-year-old. Get rid of the scent all day and watch it come back the following morning after a night of wetting the bed. Calling it a scent is taking it lightly and this is usually after cleaning up the mess and spraying the room with air freshener. The default odour early in the morning is usually a nasty one.

I weaned him from wearing diapers just a little above age one and started potty training him as early as just a few months old. I initially made it a habit by waking him up at intervals during the night for him to wee so as to avoid him wetting the bed. I gave up on the act when I saw that he often ends up wetting the bed irrespective of the number of times I wake him up to wee overnight. In actual fact, he will refuse to wee most of the time only for him to do it on his bed freely a little time after.

Recently, I had a cause to take him to the hospital due to another episode of cough and catarrh and he was prescribed an antibiotic - a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid - in addition to cough syrup. Being now a little more mature than the last time, we had no problem administering the antibiotics to him as at when due.

The antibiotics was to last for 7 days. Surprisingly a few days into the antibiotics regime, my boy started waking up spontaneously to urinate during the night. Not just that, on a few occasions, when he mistakenly peed on the bed, I noticed that his urine was not as smelly as it used to be. I never took the observation serious until it became the normal routine even after the antibiotics regime has long been completed.

Since then, I have been wondering if there is a correlation between infections and bedwetting. I felt this way because I have a strong conviction that the nasty smell of his urine pre-antibiotics administration could only have been due to infections, otherwise, it should not have gone away even after the drug doses had been completed. Combine that with the sudden spontaneity of waking up to urinate and one might be tempted to say that the drug did some magic. Reports also have that urinary tract infections in toddlers can cause their urine to have nasty smells as well as make them urinate quite frequently.

By theirhistory on flicker

Bedwetting and gene factors

The characteristic scent left in our room despite using air fresheners as a result of wetting the bed by my 3-year-old makes we wonder when he will finally put the act behind him. Since my parent told me of how I stopped bedwetting as early as one year and a few months, I was thinking my children will pick up the gene from me and follow suit. Alas, that seems to not be the case.

I love to tease my wife and jokingly blame her gene as the reason our son did not stop bedwetting early. Actually, research has it that there is a gene for bedwetting and it is recessive. If such were to be the case, it means that children with either parent having the bedwetting gene will have a 25% chance of bedwetting while those with both parents possessing the bedwetting gene will have a 65% chance of bedwetting.

Between Bedwetting and Enuresis

Bedwetting seems to be normal in children due to the fact that they sleep deeply, although there are some few exceptions and some bedwettings are caused by other factors aside from deep sleeping. Most children stop bedwetting between 5 to 6 years of age while some outliers exist as low as a year and as high as 15 years.

Some children stop bedwetting for a while and then resume all of a sudden. This is totally fine as long as the interval is not as long as 6 months and above. Those that resume bedwetting after ceasing for 6 months and above may be suffering from another condition known as enuresis.

Normal bedwetting from childhood beyond certain age is sometimes also conditioned to be a form of enuresis known as primary nocturnal enuresis, otherwise, it is known as secondary enuresis. Secondary enuresis can either be due to bedwetting at nights (nocturnal) or the inability to control the bladder during the day (diurnal).

Final words

Bedwetting in children can be considered a normal thing but may be due to a host of factors, including genetics and urinary tract infections. There is a distinct boundary between normal children bedwetting and enuresis.

Thank you all for reading.




Thankfully our two boys stopped wetting to bed early. Not sure when, but I know it was before they reached school age. I am sure they might have had an accident or two after, but don't remember.

As for me, I don't recall having a wetting problem as a child so if I did, it was before my earliest memories. Although, as a young adult after a night of partaking of way too many adult beverages I may have wetted myself a time or two. 😀

Ohh...so it can be genetic too. Some parents need to apologise to their kids then 😏

Lol. Not Nigerian parents sha. Every Nigerian parents I know came first in classes while in school. They didn't even urinate at all.

😂😂😂 yeah right

Our last born in the house stopped bed wetting around the age of 14 years...lol, my mum then tagged it a spiritual problem. ( Our wonderful African mothers, lol).

I had a friend ( a room mate to be precise) back then in university, at the age of 21, he was still messing up bed.

We had no choice but to separate his bed from or bunk then. It was really quite embarrassing for him waking up and seeing himself all soaked up in his own urine. Sometimes we do intentionally wake him in the middle of the night before he bedwets, still yet, it was just something he couldn't control. Till we changed room, he was still bed wetting. How, when and if he later stopped bed wetting, I can't say till date.

Genes for sure play a huge role in bed wetting and from what I recall in my physiology classes then, the myelination of the nerve fibers (i.e full development of the nerves) that innervate detrusor muscle (muscle responsible for opening of the urethra sphincters of the bladder through which urine is voided) has been implicated in bed wetting. Early and late myelination of the fibres results to early and late stop in bedwetting.

There are a host of other factors, dreams indirectly has a huge role to play. I personally stopped bedwetting quite late, though still at a much younger age. could remember then on several occasions seeing myself urinating in the dream, probably in a gutter only to wake and to see my body and bed all messed.

Other ways In addition to that you were actually doing (i.e waking him up intermittently in the night) to help the situation is by drinking less of water before going to bed, lessening sugary substances. Even though it may not work all the time, but it definitely helps the situation.

I totally agree with correlation between UTI and Bedwetting. For sure it is also implicated...

It's good to be back again. I enjoy reading your usually concise and impactful articles while surfing HIVE. I do read them unceremoniously.


This post remind me when I was still small,my mother use to tell me that my own bed wetting was something else. To me, I use to think this is only obtainable In children,till I discovered that bed wetting can also be pathological. Nice post sir

I love to tease my wife and jokingly blame her gene as the reason our son did not stop bedwetting early.

Lol. You may need to apologize to her because you have not established any substantial evidence as regards to your allegation. I thereby advise that the reward of this post should be given to her. I submit!

I love to tease my wife and jokingly blame her gene

I was going to comment on his statement about his teasing as well. Too funny.

I may not be able to substantiate the allegation but it follows logically.

If you are AA and you give birth to a child that is AS, it is logical to assume that your wife is either SS or AS, right?

That sounds logical though

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I didn't know the genetics connection to bedwetting (although I could have thought about it for sure). Thanks for sharing this information, and good luck with the little one (I am personally now by far done with this ;) ).

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You won't believe what some of our mothers do to prevent their children from bedwetting especially when it become embarrassing. Some believe the child had to pay homage to the grinding stone every night before going to bed. How ridiculous!

Interesting. I have terrible memories of a friend of mine who was a bedwetter. His parents thought he was lazy, and shamed him by hanging his discolored sheets out of his bedroom window.

I hope that your child finds a solution.