Causes of bedwetting

We have listed 5 causes of bedwetting. Did you know that a child is made up of 75% water? Water is essential for the proper functioning of the body. For children who have problems with their continence, it is important to establish good habits. Read below how you can determine the possible causes of bedwetting.

Fluid intake and bed-wetting

If you notice that your child wets the bed, the doctor will recommend that you keep track of his/her fluid intake for a few days. This makes you aware of your child’s behaviour. Does your child drink a few glasses before going to bed? This creates the risk of bedwetting. In this article we highlight 5 causes of bedwetting:

Vochtinname en bedplassen

1. The bladder capacity

When trying to identify the causes of bedwetting, it is sensible to consider bladder capacity first. The image opposite shows the rules of thumb for your child’s expected bladder capacity. By keeping a close eye on how much your child drinks, you can monitor whether your child’s bladder capacity is sufficient.

Blaascapaciteit kind
Urinestraal kind

2. Urine flow

With normal urine discharge, the flow begins slowly and becomes progressively stronger until the bladder is almost empty. Then the strength decreases until the bladder is emptied fully. Children (and adults) may display different patterns due to problems. Here are a few of them.

Ask your child which pattern suits him or her best! This may be valuable information for further diagnosis and may reveal one of the underlying causes of bedwetting.

3. Fluid needs

Research shows that a child’s fluid requirements depend on his or her age and weight. We have created a convenient overview below that you can use to calculate this for your child.

Important: Children take in approximately 900 millilitres of moisture from food. Subtract this from the final amount of fluid to be taken!

Anne is 5 years old and weighs 19 kilos. To meet her fluid requirements, she has to drink almost 1 litre of water. This easily amounts to 8 glasses of water of 200 millilitres.

1000ml + (50ml x 19) = 1.95 litres

Vochtbehoefte kind

4. Frequency of fluid intake

Ideally, a child drinks throughout the day, but this is not always realistic. Try to get your child into the habit that every meal is accompanied by a glass of water. This already ensures that a minimum amount of moisture is consumed.

5. Monitoring your child's hydration

As a parent, you know that it is important for your child to drink sufficiently, but of course they are far too busy playing outside and resting. And we can’t blame them!

You can tell if your child is hydrated in two ways:

Urine colour

The most obvious way is the colour of the urine. Everyone knows this rule of thumb: the lighter the urine, the better hydrated your child is. When there is a lack of water, the kidneys ensure that more water is retained which results in a higher concentration of waste in the urine.

Here is an overview that should give you a good idea of the hydration levels!

Oorzaken van bedplassen, Urinekleur


After a certain age, it may become less practical to determine the colour of your child’s urine. That’s what we have this trick for that.

  • Squeeze the back of your child’s hand with your thumb and index finger. Does the pinched skin bounce back immediately? Then your child is adequately hydrated! If it takes a while for the skin to recover, it is a good idea to drink a few glasses of water.

The scientific term behind this trick is called “turgor pressure”. The ability of your skin to return to its original state is a direct result of moisture levels. The more elastic your skin is, the better its condition and therefore its moisture balance!

Bedwetting diary

To find out the causes of bedwetting, it is very helpful to keep a bedwetting diary. This is extremely useful to gain more insight into your child’s (peeing) behaviour!

The causes of bedwetting summarised

All in all, it can be very valuable to find indications of any problems your child may be experiencing. The 5 most common causes of bedwetting are: bladder capacity, frequency of fluid intake, pattern of discharge and, of course, the colour of the urine.

As always, it is important to consult your doctor in case of doubt! He or she can work with you and your child to determine the possible causes of bedwetting and whether the bedwetting alarm is the right solution for you.

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