One in 50 teenagers still wet the bed

One in 50 teenagers still wet the bed and almost half of 19 year-olds who have the problem are wetting the bed every night, according to research published in the May issue of the urology journal BJUI International.

Professor Chung K Yeung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong teamed up with colleagues from the Prince of Wales Hospital to analyse the results of more than 16,500 questionnaires surveying children aged from five to 19.

He hopes that his findings will reassure parents of children with mild bed wetting problems, but stress the importance of seeking advice in severe cases, which can often be caused by underlying medical problems and continue into adulthood.

512 children – just over three per cent of those surveyed – reported night-time bedwetting and one in five of those also had daytime incontinence. 302 were boys and 210 were girls.

The researchers found that although bed wetting was less common as children got older, the percentage reporting severe problems increased with age.

Children and adolescents who wet the bed at night also showed a similar pattern when it came to daytime incontinence, with a higher percentage of problems reported in older age groups.

When the researchers looked in detail at the 512 children with bed wetting problems they found that:

* Mild bed wetting was much worse among younger children, with 58 per cent of five to ten year-olds and 18 per cent of 11-19 year-olds wetting the bed less than three times a week.

* But older children reported a higher level of severe problems, with 82 per cent of 11-19 year-olds wetting the bed more than three times a week, compared with 42 per cent of five to ten year-olds.

* Just over 16 per cent of five year-olds wet the bed, with boys (21 per cent) having almost twice as many problems as girls (11 per cent).

* By the age of 19, three per cent of boys and two per cent of girls were still wetting the bed.

* Just under a third of 11-19 year-old boys (32 per cent) also experienced daytime incontinence, almost double the 15 per cent recorded in the under ten age group.

* The figures for girls were lower but showed a similar trend, at 25.5 per cent for 11-19 year-olds and 12 per cent for girls under ten.

* Overall, 29 per cent of children aged 11-19 experienced daytime incontinence, compared with 14 cent of under tens.

“Bed wetting showed a general reduction as children got older” says Professor Yeung, who is also President of the International Children’s Continence Society. “However, this reduction was much greater in those with mild symptoms who wet the bed three or less times a week, compared to those with severe problems who were wetting the bed every night.

“Just over 14 per cent of five year-olds who wet the bed did so seven nights a week. By the age of 19, severe bed wetting accounted for over 48 per cent of teenagers who were still wetting the bed.”

21,000 questionnaires were distributed to 67 schools, with a greater emphasis on children over ten, and just under 79 per cent were returned by parents and children.

The average age of respondents was just under 14 and the largest number of responses were from teenagers aged 16-18. 24 per cent of the questionnaires concerned children under ten.

“Our findings challenge the myth that bedwetting will always get better and disappear as the child gets older” says Professor Yeung.

“In 2004 we published findings of a previous study in BJU International that showed that adults showed no significant decrease in bed wetting problems from the age of 10 to 40.

“These latest findings underline the importance of seeking help for children with severe bed wetting problems, especially if they continue into adolescence. If these individuals are left untreated, the evidence suggests that they will continue to experience ongoing problems when they become adults.”

From Blackwell Publishing


  1. I’m sorry for all of you, but you must be strong and don’t worry, this problem will sort it self out in time and if you are left Incontinent for the rest of you’re lives don’t let you’re nappies and plastic pants hold you back, as you’re not alone okay god bless you all.

  2. I am 13 years old and just starting wetting the bed agian I am not in any kind of diaper or anything yet should I tell my parents and get diapers or just let it go bye and don’t worry I will be done in a day or tell my parents and wear diapers for a month?

  3. I am a girl,16 and a bedwetter,and my parents make me wear cloth pin-on baby diapers and ‘rubberpants'[plasticpants] to bed every night and i feel like a baby wearing them!They have told me that ‘cloth diapers and rubberpants’ are appropriate for girls my age and that they feel better knowing i am like a baby at night.What can i do?

    • I am a girl 15,and wetting the bed and having a few daytime accidents due to some emotional problems.My parents are making me wear cloth pin on diapers and adult size plastic pants to bed every night and the plastic pants over my panties during the daytime! I dont like wearing the diapers and plastic pants to bed as i feel like a baby when i have them on! My parents wont buy me goodnites or anything else.I am stuck! any one got any advice?

      • To Britta F-i AM 17 and a bedwetter and i am in the same boat as you! I have to wear the cloth diapers and ‘rubberpants’ to bed every night as my parents wont buy me anything else also! Whats even worse is that mom puts the diapers and rubberpants on me at bedtime and i am fully capable of doing it myself!

    • To Maddie-I am 15 and a bedwetter also and my parents make me wear cloth diapers and rubberpants to bed also every night also! Mom puts them on me at bedtime just like a baby and i hate it! The worst part is,most of my rubberpants have baby prints on them and that makes it even worse! They fit me blousy and crinkle when i walk and its quite embarrassing! I keep hoping and praying my bedwetting will end soon!

    • Help! I am 16 also and a bedwetter and wear the cloth diapers and adult size plastic pants to bed every night.they were my parents choice for me.My problem is,I am being confirmed on May 19th and per the parish dress code,have to wear a white,puffy,short sleeve,floor length dress and matching veil with white tights and the white mary jane style shoes.Mom told me that i am going to wear my bedwetting diapers and plastic pants under the tights for the day! I told her no,that i dont need them during the day,but her and dad are adamant and said i have to! Anyone got any advice?

  4. Our daughter is 15 and will be recieving her sacrement of baptism at easter vigil this comming easter.At our parish,all of the girls up to age 17 are baptized as babies for easter vigil,so the daughter is going to wear the traditional,white,knee length,high waist gown with a matching bonnet,lace anklets and white booties.the parish does not allow disposable diapers under the outfits so all the girls wear the cloth diaper and rubberpants and tee shirt under their gowns or dresses.Her gown and bonnet is being made for her now and i all ready have her lace socks,booties,cloth diaper,rubberpants and tee shirt.All of the girls baptized as babies at easter will make their First communions a month later in may and all have to wear their baptism diaper,rubberpants and tee shirt under their communion dresses.

  5. To JoyLynn-I too was a flowergirl in my sisters wedding two years ago when i was 14 and 45 minutes before the ceremony,i was taken to the bridal dressing room and had a size 7 pampers diaper put on me with toddler size rubberpants over it that i had to wear for the entire time.My flower girl dress was above my knees and poofy and i felt like a toddler walking down the aisle!

    • Hi,i am 15 and catholic and finially made my First Holy Communion back in september in the 12 to 17 year old class.All of us girls had to wear a poofy communion dress and veil with white tights and white ‘mary jane’ shoes.My parents required me to wear cloth diapers and rubberpants under the tights and put them on me when i was dressed.The diapers were regular baby diapers in the 24×27 inch size and were pinned on me with pink,teddy bear head diaper pins and the rubberpants were adult size and bunched up under my tights! The only thing that saved me that day was i talked to some of the other girls in my class and found out some of them also had the cloth diapers and rubberpants also under their tights!

  6. We have a newly adopted 14 year old daughter and we have her in cloth diapers and plastic pants 24/7 for her adjustment period.she has wetting accidents during the daytime and wets the bed at night.She uses a pacifier also to relax her and sometimes exhibits infant like behavior.We just baptized and christened her as an infant 2 weeks ago and dressed her in a cute white,infant style gown with a matching bonnet,lace anklets and white satin booties.She had ruffled plastic pants over her diaper and had her pacifier in her mouth during the ceremony! She was so cute and baby like for the ceremony!

  7. Ok, I’m Kirby and I’m 14, I haven’t wet the bed for five years until last night. I don’t know why, but I’ve never had the urge to do that while I was asleep. Thing is, I stayed at my grandparents house. Ive almost wet the bed two night before tonight. I used to wet the bed every other night when I was a kid, and now this is scaring me. Once I do it once, I can’t stop for weeks. Help?

  8. hi,i am 14 and a bedwetter also and i too wear a thick cloth diaper snd plastic pants[rubberpants]to bed at night.i was a flower girl in my neices wedding last october and mom made me wear one of my diapers and rubberpants under my white dress for the whole time.she even put them on me in the dressing room in front of my neice and all the othe girls there.I felt embarrassed walking down the aisle with the diaper and rubberpants under my dress.

  9. Hello. Im anna im 17 and have been wetting the bed everynight since I was 15 I also wet sometimes during the day.. my mother keeps me in disposable diapers and plastic pants 24/7 even at school.. what do I do?

  10. Help! I am 15 and a bedwetter and my parents just switched me from disposable diapers at night to cloth diapers and rubber pants(plastic pants) and i dont like them.the diapers are pinned on me with baby diaper pins and the rubber pants are both pastel and baby prints!i feel like a baby at bedtime with them on and the worst part is the rubber pants are adult size and fit me baggy and crinkle under my night uses baby powder and baby lotion on me when she puts them on me at bedtime and i smell just like a baby also.what can i do?

  11. I am a girl 15 and a bedwetter.i wear a thick cloth diaper and adult plastic pants to bed every night.i have at least 3 dozen pairs of plastic pants in pastel colors and my mom just ordered some new ones for me to replace the ones that are wearing out.she ordered some with baby prints on them,telling me that ‘as long as you have to wear a diaper and rubber pants to bed you may as well look cute’.i told her i dont want the baby print kind but she al ready ordered them.should i wear them or not?

    • hi tina,i am 16 and a bedwetter also and i wear a thick cloth diaper and plastic pants to bed mom bought me all baby print plastic pants to wear over my diaper.i have 2 dozen pairs and they all are babyprint and i dont mind wearing them.i have some that are really cute and very babyish,as long as they work and keep my bed dry,thats all that counts.

  12. I’m sorry you all are experiencing this horrible problem. My 19 yr old son still wets the bed. Since he now works We are going to purchase the bedwetting alarm in hopes that this will retrain his brain to wake up at night when he starts wetting. we both have our fingers crossed that this will work. As his parent I know this has been very embarrassing for him, I bought him goodnights up until 16 when they no longer fit, I started buying him the “small” of the adult diapers. they are not plastic and they look like underwear. He still puts on his own underwear over them for more support and no leaks.

  13. I need help! i am 16 and a bedwetter like the rest of the people here.i wear a cloth diaper and plastic pants to bed every night. i am being confirmed on sept.23 and have to wear a white formal dress with a veil,gloves,tights and mom told me i am going to wear one of my bedwetting diapers and plastic pants under my tights and is adamant about it.i told her no,but she said i have to. what can i do?

    • To Kaitlyn-I was in the same boat as you were.I started wetting the bed at the onset of puberty just past my 12th birthday and my parents also put me into the cloth diapers and rubberpants at bedtime.When i was 13.i was the flowergirl in my Aunts wedding and mom put the diapers and rubberpants on me under my poofy flowergirl dress! Then when i was 14 and in 8th grade,i was confirmed,and my church required us girls to wear a white,poofy,knee length dress and veil with the lace socks and white shoes.Mom bought me a new larger pair of white rubberpants and put the diapers on me with the new rubberpants over them and they fit me baggy and crinkled under my dress! I was somewhat embarrassed walking down the aisle with my classmates and the rubberpants crinkling under my dress!

  14. i am a 16 year old girl and a bedwetter and i have to wear a thick cloth diaper and rubberpants[plastic pants] to bed every diaper is pinned on me with diaper parents told me that cloth diapers and rubberpants are more appropriate for girls than boys and they wont buy me disposables.i know of three other girls my age in this same situation.why do parents feel this way?

    • hi,megan,i know how you feel!i am 16 and a bedwetter also and i have to wear cloth diaper and rubber pants to bed every night parents require them for me also.the rubberpants crinkle when i walk and its embarrassing!


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