A case control study was designed to study self-esteem in children with nocturnal enuresis and daytime incontinence. The patients and the controls were recruited from the normal population in the town of Umeå, Sweden. Medical and psychological examinations were performed before the start of treatment. Follow up investigations were carried out at 3 and 6 months after starting treatment. Self-esteem was measured using a Swedish self-answering questionnaire that was known to have good psychometric properties. Statistically significant impairment of self-esteem was observed between patients and control children before starting treatment (P < 0.001). After 6 months treatment, the patients had the same levels of self-esteem as the control group. Self-esteem was significantly better in patients that were totally dry at 6 months follow up compared with the patients with persisting urinary problems (P < 0.01). Children from lower socioeconomic groups were found to have lower self-esteem than children from higher socioeconomic groups; boys were also found to have lower self-esteem than girls.