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Bedwetting Statistics

Bedwetting is common all over the world
By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP

Numerous epidemiological studies have provided insight into how common nocturnal enuresis truly is throughout the world. To put bedwetting into perspective, remember that the development of urinary control is part of the aging process. Everyone is born wetting the bed. As children grow and develop, so too does their ability to control their bladder. Between the ages of one and two, bladder capacity gradually enlarges and children develop the ability to sense when their bladder is full. When they are three and four, they learn to void voluntarily. By the age of five, the majority of children have an adult pattern of urinary control and the maturation of the bladder is complete. However, approximately 20% of children do not develop this pattern, continuing to experience bedwetting episodes past the age of five. As the child grows older, the chances that bedwetting will resolve itself decrease drastically.

How prevalent is bedwetting? Researchers from many different countries have conducted studies and the results vary widely. Numerous researchers cite difficulty in getting parents to volunteer information for accurate statistics. Nevertheless, several studies show surprising prevalence in school-aged children.

Estimated Prevalence of Nocturnal Enuresis in Children

Source: Adapted from Fergusson DM et al and Johnson M.

The spontaneous remission rate for enuresis is estimated to be approximately 15% per year. In other words, in one year, only 15% of children afflicted with bedwetting will become dry unaided. The vast majority will continue to wet the bed if parents or healthcare providers choose not to intervene.