Bedwetting classification

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S.,M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753; Steven C. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D., [2] Phone:216-444-5595 Professor of Surgery, Residency Program Director, Section of Urologic Oncology, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic.


The condition is divided into two types: Primary Nocturnal Enuresis (PNE) and Secondary Nocturnal Enuresis.

Primary Enuresis

Primary enuresis occurs when a child is beyond the age at which bladder control would normally be anticipated and:

  • Continues to average at least two wet nights a week with no long periods of dryness, or
  • Would not sleep dry without being taken to the toilet by another person

Some medical definitions list Primary Nocturnal Enuresis (PNE) as a clinical condition at between 4-5 years old. This type of classification is frequently used by insurance companies. It defines PNE as “Persistent bedwetting in the absence of any urologic, medical or neurological anomaly in a child beyond the age when over 75% of children are normally dry.”[3]

Secondary Enuresis

Secondary enuresis occurs after a patient goes through an extended period of dryness at night (approx. 6 months or more) and then reverts to night-time wetting. Secondary enuresis can be caused by emotional stress or a medical condition, such as a bladder infection. [4]


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