Bedwetting, also known as night-time wetting or nocturnal enuresis, is when a child unconsciously wets the bed whilst they’re asleep.

It’s not your child’s fault if they wake up with wet sheets and it doesn’t mean they’re lazy.

A common childhood condition

Wetting the bed is a common childhood condition affecting half a million children and teenagers in the UK.

Around 12% of seven to nine year-olds regularly wet the bed. For a small number (1.5-2%) the problem can continue into their teenage and adult years*.

Impact of bedwetting

Bedwetting can affect a child’s self-esteem and have a big impact on family life. The effects are often played down, so it’s not always easy to find or ask for help.

Early intervention for bedwetting helps children become dry at night faster. All children should be treated for their bedwetting from the age of five.

Click here for information about seeing a health professional about treatment for bedwetting

Link with daytime wetting

Some children who wet at night also have wee accidents during the day. They may rush to the toilet or go for a wee more often than other children.

Daytime wetting should be tackled before night-time wetting.

Look at our tips on how to stop or manage daytime wetting

Further information

To understand why bedwetting happens, read our information on why children wet the bed.

To help your child stop bedwetting, read our information on how to stop or manage bedwetting.

If you have more questions, have a look through our bedwetting FAQs.

For more information about bedwetting and how to treat it, listen to the ERIC Nurse, Brenda Cheer, explaining what bedwetting is on Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Click here for the podcast of the interview on the BBC website (click on the 'bedwetting' link).

*Data source: PCF Paediatric Continence Commissioning Guide (PDF file).