When does bedwetting really become a concern?

Staying dry at night is a multi-step developmental process. First, your child needs to develop increased levels of the hormone vasopressin, which concentrates the urine. Most vasopressin is produced in a region deep in the brain known as the hypothalamus, and, once released into the bloodstream, it signals the kidneys to hold onto water.

Your child also needs to recognize their bladder is full and wake up. This happens at different ages for different children — and, until then, no amount of bribery will keep your child from wetting himself overnight. In fact, chastising your child for bed-wetting can lead to a cycle of shame and anxiety that results in lasting harm.

Remember that 15% of children still wet the bed at 5 years old, while 10% wet the bed at age 7. By their teenage years, only 1 to 2 percent of the population continues to have problems staying dry at night, a condition known as nocturnal enuresis. Late development of bladder control tends to run in families and can stem from genetic factors. If your child is still wetting the bed at age 7, ask your family members when they were able to stay dry at night. This can help you and your child’s doctor decide on the best plan for your child and set reasonable expectations.