Another Example of Misconceptions About Bed Wetting


In a recent television episode of The Doctors, bedwetting was described as the result of a medical disorder such as diabetes or other neurological conditions. Despite the apparent expertise of the participants on the show, they again displayed their lack of knowledge about the disorder. Less than 1.5% of bedwetting is the result of an underlying medical problem.

Bedwetting is the result of an inherited deep sleep disorder that leads to the breakdown in the communication between the brain and the bladder during sleep. The deep sleeping brain does not arouse to the bladders signal to empty. Without the signal from the brain to keep the bladder muscle (sphincter) closed, it opens and a wet bed results. It is that simple and that powerful.

The six-year-old little girl who had daytime “accident” is highly likely suffering form bedwetting, which frequently produces weak bladder muscles, strong, intense, bladder urgencies and involuntary urination. The child was humiliated by school officials because they believe she behaved intentionally.   Humiliating her on the bus was their way of “teaching her a lesson”. Instead, their actions represent an example of the psychological abuse that bedwetters suffer at the hands of people who do not understand the disorder.

Also see: Bed Wetting Approach of “Wait and See” Outdated

Doctor Gail Gross’s explanation regarding “potty shaming” is well intended and compassionate. However, it again misses the mark regarding the cause and treatment of bedwetting.

Check out the video “Have You Ever Had a Bedwetting Dream Turn Real?”

Author: Dr Lyle Danuloff Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and past President of the Michigan Psychological Association. Dr. Danuloff is an international expert in the field of enuresis. He is a consulting psychologist at The Enuresis Treatment Center.

Overnight Camp: A Bed Wetting Nightmare For Children With Enuresis


Older Children Bed Wetting – Fear of Discovery 

Fear of discovery for older children bed wetting is one of the most anxiety-filled issues that a bedwetter has.  Discovery of the problem often leads to dreaded experiences like being teased, shamed, humiliated, and ostracized.


That worry is at its most intense for someone who wets the bed who attend overnight summer camp.  As all of the fellow campers are jumping into their beds at night, the bedwetter, climbs into his bed hoping he can stay awake all night to try not to wet the bed, and, if he does wet, mornings would be a quick and panicked effort to hide wet sheets or dispose of pull-ups.


Worse yet, if the child has daytime control problems, (a result of constant nighttime wetting), then being around other campers is even more taxing emotionally and psychologically.  Worry and anxiety mark each day, and that effects a child’s free-spirited and fun-filled time.


Frequently children who wet the bed complain that they don’t like summer camp.  Usually it’s because they don’t want to attend due to the singular enuresis concern of being “found out”.  Parents may temporarily administer a drug known as DDAVP to try to avoid bedwetting episodes while their child is away, but it doesn’t always work and won’t ensure a stress-free camp stay.


Again, we can see how the problem that the doctors say will be “outgrown” can cause psychological havoc which may lower self-esteem, increase a sense of failure, and contribute to an overall feeling of being “different”.  Bed wetting is a thief that robs children of much of their childhood, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

lyle     Lyle Danuloff, Ph. D.

Dr. Danuloff is the past president of the Michigan Psychological Association, and has been on staff at Enuresis Treatment Center for over 30 years.

Bed Wetting Approach of “Wait and See” Outdated

According to a study posted on the science index website September 26, 2012, childhood nocturnal enuresis (NE) and incontinence has been shown to be associated with increased behavioural problems and reduced self-esteem (SE) in Western populations. The impact on Asian children, however, is not known. This study investigates the relationship between SE and monosymptomatic NE in Malaysian children aged 6 to 16 years.Method:  Children with wetting frequency of at least 4 out of 14 nights were recruited with controls matched for age, gender and race. SE scores were obtained using the ‘I Think I Am’ questionnaire for five domains: body image, talents and skills, psychological well-being, relationship with family and relationship with others.

A total of 126 children were recruited; 22 enuretics aged 6–9 years and their matched controls (Group1) and 41 enuretics aged 10–16 years and their matched controls (Group 2). SE scores were similar between the enuretic and controls in Group 1, whereas in Group 2, enuretics had significantly lower scores (P < 0.05) in ‘body image’, ‘relationship with others’ and total SE scores. This difference was more pronounced among girls, adolescents and those who wet more than 10/14 nights.  The SE of Malaysian children with monosymptomatic NE aged 10 years and above is significantly lower than their peers. This effect is seen particularly among girls, adolescents and those with frequent wetting.

In the light of these findings, the ‘wait and see’ approach by the Malaysian medical profession is no longer appropriate. Treatment should begin before the age of 10 years.

The Enuresis Treatment Center, a bedwetting clinic, has been helping children, teenagers and adults since 1975.  The staff has never taken a wait and see approach to bed wetting problems.  They are very results oriented.  Waiting to outgrow bed wetting is the worse advice a medical professional can give to a child or a teenager.

Their website has a great deal of information regarding bed wetting and the sleep connection.  Deep sleep can produces symptom of nighttime wetting.  Please visit

Bedwetting and Bipolar Disorder In Children Another Myth From The Mental Health Community

USA Today, in it’s December 11, 2012 article, “Parents of bipolar kids face hard questions” reports that Dr. Dimitri Papolos, child psychiatrist, reports in his book  The Bipolar Child, that bedwetting is a symptom of bipolar disorder.


Dr. Papolos’ inaccurate assertion continues to perpetuate a major myth and misunderstanding about bed wetting, i.e. that it is the result of a psychological or psychiatric disorder.  That myth leads to inappropriate treatments for bed wetting that can damage the child and will fail to end the bed wetting.


Overwhelming clinical and research evidence points to bedwetting as an inherited deep sleep disorder that can lead to emotional and psychological symptoms; but is not the result of them.


Any mental health provider, child psychologist or child psychiatrist who equates bedwetting with bipolar disorder and treats accordingly is perpetuating this dangerous myth.  Additionally, they are misdiagnosing the bed wetting and dooming the child to further suffering from the disorder.



Author: Dr. Lyle Danuloff Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and past President of the Michigan Psychological Association. Dr. Danuloff is an international expert in the field of enuresis. He is a consulting psychologist at The Enuresis Treatment Center, a Bed Wetting Center that treats children, teenagers and adults worldwide.


Excerpts from the book The Bipolar Child by Dimitri Papolos, M.D.

Diagnosing early-onset bipolar disorder is not just the responsibility of a doctor, but parents, friends and teachers.

  • Abrupt rapid cycling of mood throughout the day.  The child may be silly, goofy and giddy one moment, and the next, irritable, angry and/or aggressive.
  • Racing thoughts and rapid speech.
  • Periods of unusually elevated self-confidence, possibly with delusions of grandeur, such as believing one can fly.
  • Sleep disturbances (i.e., difficulty in going to sleep, difficulty getting up in the morning, frequent nightmares and terrors, bed-wetting, teeth-grinding).
  • Significant episodes of aggression in response to perceived threats, such as vicious cursing and explosive tantrums that can last for hours (15 minutes is typical for a normal tantrum).
  • Fears of death and dying, separation and abandonment. Perceiving even the most benign stimuli as threatening, even in familiar surroundings.
  • Difficulty in making transitions and handling disappointment, criticism, limit-setting and loss.
  • Extreme sweet cravings. An example:  Child likes candy vs. child eats an entire box of sugar.
  • Auditory hallucinations and delusions, vivid images that involve gore and blood.
  • Unusual display of sexuality for a child’s age group.  Example: A 3-year-old lifting her skirt up in class is one thing, but an 8-year-old doing the same is another. The older child should have learned to control impulses like that.
  • Other signs include poor frustration tolerance and frequent complaints of extreme boredom.

Entire article can be found in USA Today, December 11, 2012

Bedwetting Punishment: Boy, 10, died of THIRST after his parents refused him water.

Ten year old Jonathan James was denied water for five days and made to stand for hours in a blazing Texas sun because of his bedwetting.  His horrific death was reported in Mail Online, January 16, 2013.  It is one of a litany of tragic episodes of child abuse resulting from two common and dangerous myths about bedwetting.


Parents who believe that their child wets the bed on purpose, or because they are “lazy”, frequently use sever punishments in order to “break” the child’s willful bedwetting, or make the child care enough to stop.


Other parents will deny their child liquids for long periods of time, believing that withholding them will stop urine creation and therefore end the bedwetting. Jonathan’s parents were unable to cope with their frustration and anger at their son resulting from the first myth.  Their plan to stop the bedwetting by following the second myth, when fueled by their anger and rage at him, led to their horrendous treatment of him and ultimately to his death.


Both parents are facing the death penalty if convicted of first degree murder.


At the Enuresis Treatment Center, we receive daily calls from parents explaining how frustrated they are about their child’s bedwetting.  We are able to make a difference – end the sleep disorder that is causing the bedwetting – end the bedwetting – end the frustration!


Barbara J. Moore, Founder of Enuresis Treatment Center