Can Bedwetting be Hereditary?

Were you a bedwetter? Then chances are your child will be too, because bedwetting is often hereditary.

At around three or four years of age, once a child has mastered toilet learning, he then begins to learn to stay dry at night. But not all children manage this at the same rate. In fact 7% of all seven year olds are still bedwetters, with the majority of those being boys. As frustrating as bedwetting is for parents and children, rest assured. Pediatrician Dr. Morton Goldbach says all children will eventually outgrow bedwetting.

Dr. Goldbach adds that parents need to relax a little over the bedwetting issue. He says children have no control over it and that they aren’t doing it to be manipulative or because they’re lazy. “ Parents need to understand that their child desperately wants to be dry, but can’t be. It’s important for parents to encourage their children, be indifferent to the wet nights and to give it time.”

Pediatrician Dr. Jane Hailey agrees. “It’s very important for parents not to humiliate or punish their children, because generally children have no control over this and punishing or scolding them will make no difference at all.”

So why do some youngsters still bedwet while their peers remain dry at night? Dr. Hailey says it probably has something to do with genetics because bedwetting often runs in families. “Bedwetting is very common. 1% of 16 year old boys still wet the bed, and when I ask about the family history, I often hear that a father or uncle wet the bed into his teens.”

While you may hear of drugs available to help the bedwetter, both Dr. Goldbach and Dr. Hailey feel patience and time is the best cure although Dr. Dr. Hailey adds that an alarm system consisting of a small piece of equipment tucked into a child’s pajamas which buzzes or vibrates to wake a child as he begins to wet the bed, can be very helpful. “The most consistent and useful intervention is an alarm system. Medication is used less but if an older child is motivated and wants to use a simple alarm system then that can be very helpful over a 6 month period.”

Bedwetting is frustrating and embarrassing for children, so if you’re concerned don’t hesitate to discuss it with your child’s doctor.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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