During the past 5 years, we have identified idiopathic hypercalciuria in five of seven patients referred for evaluation of renal glycosuria between 1985 and 1991. The children, all boys, ranged in age from 6 to 12 years. Endocrine function was normal, and none of the patients had hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcemia, renal tubular acidosis, or other secondary causes of hypercalciuria. The calcium/creatinine ratio in a fasting urine specimen was elevated in all five children who had hypercalciuria, with a mean value (+/- SD) of 0.34 +/- 0.06 (normal, < 0.2). In one child who had renal colic with spontaneous passage of gravel-like material, the idiopathic hypercalciuria persisted after 1 week on a diet containing 2000 mg of sodium and 300 mg of calcium. On the basis of studies that examined the site along the nephron responsible for hypercalciuria in rats with streptozocin-induced diabetes, we speculate that in children with renal glycosuria, there is defective reabsorption of glucose and calcium in the straight portion of the proximal tubule or in the collecting duct. It is likely that a similar mechanism accounts for the idiopathic hypercalciuria in children with diabetes mellitus.