Incontinence and Children

Incontinence and Children

Most children gain daytime bladder control by the age of four but for some children, bladder control is more difficult. Fortunately, the reasons for daytime wetting are usually innocent.


Daytime wetting in children is a common problem. Approximately 3-4% of children between 3 and 12 regularly experience daytime wetting.

Most children indicate when they are ready to be potty trained. This could be by tearing or pulling the diaper when it is wet or by standing in a corner while peeing and letting you know when they are finished. In most children, this starts to occur around the age of two or three.

However, some children may not be ready and do not consider wetting their diaper or their pants as a problem. They may forget to use the toilet while playing and thus wet their pants.


Reasons for daytime wetting

Daytime wetting is quite common in the younger years, but becomes a problem as the child gets older – for both child and the parents. The child can be bullied in school, when playing with other children or participating in sports. This can lead to decreased performance in school and also affect self-esteem.

Daytime wetting can have different reasons. Some children may not be sufficiently aware of the bladder signals, especially while playing. This is also called „Play-Enuresis". These children tend to hold their urine in for too long (emptying the bladder just 2.3 timer per day), and may not empty their bladders completely when they use the bathroom.

Even though daytime wetting often goes away by itself, it is important to seek help in time. Sometimes daytime wetting can indicate obstipation (bowel obstruction) or a urinary tract infection. It can also be caused by an anatomic deformity of the urinary tract.


Apply Structure

As soon as children realize that parents and siblings do not wear diapers but use the toilet, they tend to want to do the same. It is important to explain to them to go to the toilet in due time. This should be repeated regularly so that the child remembers to go.

It can be a good idea to plan fixed times for the child to use the bathroom and try to keep track of how often the child goes to the bathroom, how long it stays there and how often the child wets the diaper/wets their pants. Sometimes, children leave the toilet very quickly without having urinated or without emptying the bladder entirely. Try to avoid this by joining the child until it has urinated.


Tips and solutions against daytime wetting

  • Punishment for daytime wetting makes no sense and can in fact, be counterproductive, as it can make the child insecure. Instead, encourage the child's confidence.
  • One tool that is often used for daytime wetting is a urination calendar with stickers or something similar to track the daily toilet training.
  • Make sure the child is hydrated by offering plenty of liquids. Drinking plenty of liquids also increases the amount of urine in the bladder, causing the child to need to go to the bathroom more often. This is good for toilet training.
  • Encourage the child to spend extra time on the toilet to ensure the bladder is emptied completely each time.
  • A urination diary can help identify a urination pattern and the reason for the daytime wetting. Therefore, this will often be the first question asked by a doctor or health care professional. The diary should state the time of urination and the volume. In addition, each daytime wetting should be stated, as well as the amount of liquid the child consumes per day day.
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