Two Causes of Bedwetting Your Pediatrician Might NOT be Mentioning

 ADHD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can increase a child’s bedwetting at any age.

When you think about it, this make a lot of sense.

So…let’s think about it.


Kids with ADHD often struggle to settle down for the night.  They still have to get up for school at the same time in the morning.  This can mean that they are chronically sleep-deprived.  They can fall into their deep sleep stages JUST as their kidneys fill up their bladders.  Some of their medications have been 100% metabolized by 6 pm, making them more thirsty at exactly the point at which you’d like them to be dialing back on evening fluids.  Finally, when they are awoken in the morning, they don’t wake up fully right away.  They are not sensing and responding quickly to their full bladder in time to get to the potty.

This is indeed the perfect storm for bedwetting.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):

These kids usually snore and snort.  They can be overweight, or have huge adenoids/tonsils that cautious ENTs refuse to remove, or have serious allergies that stuff them up and create inflammation that swells the back of their throat.  They aren’t getting good quality sleep.  Ever.  As with ADHD, they awaken poorly and often too slowly to get to the potty.  They may not get much deep sleep at all, and be awakening enough during the night to lose the beneficial secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) that is only produced in sleep.  Yes; the “diuretic” part relates to pee!  ADH slows the kidney’s production of urine.  These kids are producing pee like it is 3 PM, not 3 AM!  They may wake to pee every night and still wet the bed.

What can you do?

  • Speak to your pediatrician and any specialist your child sees.  And use the above points to grab their attention.  When you lay it out like this, you will be hard to argue with.  Make them think about their treatment plan, and ask them to address this issue for the benefit of your child.
  • Stop blaming your kid and yourself so much.  That doesn’t mean you don’t act.  It means your actions are the ones that count.
  • Address sleep issues from every angle.  Do standard sleep hygiene things, but also consider sleep therapy for your kid.  For the little guys, this is usually sleep therapy consultations with you.  For older kids, I can teach them about their sleep and why certain choices will make a difference for them.  The older kids respond well because they are well aware that wetting the bed when you are 10 is a problem.  Their baby brother wets his bed.  Nobody wants to be seen or think of themselves as a baby at 10.

Need a sleep consultation?

Contact me and let’s do a complimentary consultation to determine if I can help you and your child sleep better and wake up dry!




By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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