Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Guidelines

Management of bedwetting in children and young people: summary of NICE guidance

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 27 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5399
  1. Vanessa Delgado Nunes, senior research fellow and project manager,
  2. Norma O’Flynn, clinical director,
  3. Jonathan Evans, paediatric nephrologist,
  4. Laura Sawyer, senior health economist
  5. on behalf of the Guideline Development Group
  1. 1National Clinical Guideline Centre, Royal College of Physicians of London, London NW1 4LE, UK
  1. Correspondence to: V D Nunes vanessa.nunes{at}

Bedwetting is a widespread and distressing condition that can have a deep impact on a child or young person’s behaviour, emotional wellbeing, and social life.1 2 It is also very stressful for the parents or carers, generating a sense of helplessness, lack of hope and optimism,2 feelings of being different from others, feelings of guilt and shame, humiliation, victimisation, and loss of self esteem.3 4 The prevalence of bedwetting decreases with age. The Avon longitudinal study found that bedwetting on more than two nights a week occurs in 8% of children aged about 4 years 6 months and in 1.5% of those aged 9 years 6 months.5 This article summarises the recommendations from the most recent guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the management of bedwetting in children and young people aged up to 19 years.6


NICE recommendations are based on systematic reviews of best available evidence and explicit consideration of cost effectiveness. When minimal evidence is available, recommendations are based on the Guideline Development Group’s experience and opinion of what constitutes good practice. Evidence levels for the recommendations are given in italic in square brackets.

Information for children and families

  • Bedwetting is not the fault of the child or the young person, and disciplining children and young people because they have wet the bed should not be done. [Based on the experience and opinion of the Guideline Development Group (GDG)]

  • Offer treatment that is appropriate for the needs and circumstances of the child or young person. Advice and treatment should be available for all children and young people, including those aged under 7 years. [Based on randomised controlled trials and the experience and opinion of the GDG]

  • Provide children, young people, and parents and carers with details of support …

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