Causes of bedwetting

There are many causes for bedwetting, but most of them are easy to eliminate by performing simple tests. We have written down all of the most common causes of bedwetting.


By Sam Viconac

Updated February 18, 2020

bedwetting bladder fills up urine cycle alarm

“Why does my child wet the bed?” This is a question many parents ask themselves when dealing with a child who is experiencing bedwetting. Each child is unique in their own struggle with this common issue. 

You may read about daily water intake or deep sleeping patterns that are causing your child’s incontinence. However, these myths are not scientifically proven and can guide a parent in the wrong direction when looking for a solution.

The below causes are the most common reasons for bedwetting in children. 

*Once you identify a cause that you think fits your child, visit our solution page to see what solutions you can take to get your child achieving dry nights.  

Bad bedtime routine

We often see parents and children practicing unfavorable bedtime routines. By improving bedtime habits you can significantly increase the chance of reaching dry nights.

  • Not monitoring your child’s fluid intake 2 hours prior to bedtime can increase the risk of your child having an accident. If their bladder is producing too much urine at night it can become an issue if they struggle with catching the signals that it is time to empty. 
  • Not giving your child enough time to go to the bathroom just before going to sleep can result in an accident. Most accidents happen because the bladder surpassed it’s capacity. Don’t let your child start the night with a disadvantage.
  • Bedwetting can be frustrating but don’t give your child negative pressure. Children don’t like to wake up in a wet bed. Adding pressure and tension only decrease your odds of success.

Genetic factors

Scientific research shows that genes play a major role in bedwetting in children. 50% of children that wet the bed have a parent that has struggled with bedwetting in their childhood. This percentage increases to 70%-80% if both parents have a history of bedwetting!

Inability to recognize signals of a full bladder

Some children have a hard time waking up when the bladder reaches it’s full capacity. When the bladder fills up, it sends the brain a signal through the central nervous system. 

Because the brain doesn’t appropriately prioritize these signals, this can result in bedwetting. After a while the bladder releases the urine as a defense mechanism to prevent any damage to the bladder by overfilling.

Small bladder capacity

Children with nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) often have a smaller bladder capacity compared to their peers. When they sleep at night they run a higher risk of having a full bladder the next morning.

Of course your child can do exercises that increase the bladders’ capacity.

Low anti-diuretic vasopressin hormone (ADH)

During our sleep the body produces an anti-diuretic hormone. This hormone reduces the production of urine and concentrates it so the bladder doesn’t become full too fast. The hormone reabsorbs water from the urine back into the bloodstream.

When your body doesn’t produce enough of this hormone the bladder fills up and you increase the chance of wetting the bed.


Research performed by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that bedwetting is often caused by constipation.

When children postpone going “number two”, bowels will accumulate in the rectum which forces it to increase in size. When enlarged, it presses against the bladder causing pressure. This extra pressure on the bladder can cause an accident since it decreases the amount of liquid the bladder can hold. 

Solutions for bedwetting

When you know that your child has no medical issues a bedwetting alarm is the best way to achieve dryness. Research has shown that 70% of children using a bedwetting alarm achieve dryness in 2 to 3 months.

We made an overview of the best bedwetting alarms out there so you can see which one fits your child’s needs best.

More bedwetting alarm reviews

Further reading

Best rated bedwetting alarms

Get the best
bedwetting tips

Once a week an actionable tip or trick!

No worries we won’t spam you and won’t share you information with other parties.

Most read

Solutions for bedwetting in children

1. Best bedwetting alarm of 2020

3. Causes of bedwetting in children

5. Keeping a bedwetting calendar

Table of Contents