When we think about children who struggle with bladder control, it’s often nighttime wetting (nocturnal enuresis) that comes to mind. However, it’s not the only type of accident kids can have. Accidental daytime wetting is a common medical condition in kids and can be brought on by a wide variety of factors. If you have a child struggling with daytime accidental wetting, you’re not alone. Many kids struggle with an overactive bladder that leads to daytime accidents. However, with treatment, you can make accidental wetting stop and get back to a happier, dryer life.
What is Daytime Wetting?
Daytime wetting, sometimes called diurnal enuresis or voiding dysfunction, refers to a loss of bladder control while a person is awake. When a person struggles with daytime wetting, their bladder dysfunction will cause them to involuntarily wet themselves. This is a condition that is most common in young children. Though most children by the age of four will have gained bladder muscle control via toilet training, daytime wetting can still be a persistent problem for some. In fact, research shows that 3-12% of children aged 5-17 will struggle with a daytime wetting problem.
What Causes Daytime Wetting?
There can be a wide range of factors that can lead to daytime wetting. These include:
Children with an overactive bladder will find themselves going to the bathroom more often than is normal. Typically, a child should use the bathroom 4-7 times a day. More bathroom trips than that could indicate issues with bladder capacity leading to more peeing than is normal.
A child with an underactive bladder will find themselves not peeing as often as they should, going three times a day or less. This can cause the bladder to overfill, or lead to issues like a urinary tract infection or kidney infection that puts stress on the urinary system and causes involuntary release.
Bad Bathroom Habits
Your child’s bathroom habits could also be contributing to daytime wetting issues. Sometimes children will struggle in toilet training and find themselves unable to notice their body’s natural bathroom cues. Putting off going to the washroom can cause issues with leakage and peeing before they have time to reach the toilet. Some children may also struggle with fully emptying the bladder, which can also lead to an increased number of accidents even after they’ve already gone.
Other Medical Issues
Your child’s struggles with daytime wetting may also be a symptom of a larger medical issue. This is most common if your child is struggling with secondary diurnal enuresis, a form of daytime wetting that develops after your child seemingly had control of their bladder.
If your toilet-trained child has suddenly lost control of their bladder, it could be a result of a medical condition that is reducing their bladder control. This could be anything, from diabetes, to urinary tract abnormalities, to a psychological problem.
In these cases, a healthcare professional can determine the best course of treatment.
Talking to Kids About Daytime Wetting
You should always take a gentle approach when talking to your kids about daytime wetting. Remember, daytime wetting is often not the child’s fault. No child would voluntarily start daytime wetting to look for attention, or even out of laziness. There are often other factors at play that cause this issue and placing blame will only make it harder to treat.
Talk to your child about daytime wetting with patience and understanding. Don’t shame your child for any accidents, contributing to their emotional stress. Instead, try creating an open line of communication so you can gain a better understanding and insight into the situation.
How Do I Treat Daytime Wetting?
If you have a child struggling with daytime wetting, there are a few steps you can take to help:
Track Bathroom Habits
Before you can start to treat daytime wetting, you need some data. Over the course of a few days, tracks your child’s bathroom habits. Track the following:
- How often your child uses the bathroom
- How often your child wets themselves
- How much fluid your child drinks a day
- What types of fluids your child drinks
With this type of tracking, you can gain better insight into your child’s bladder behavior. This can help you figure out potential triggers for daytime wetting and how overactive or underactive their bladder is. This information is also super useful to relay to a doctor if you’re seeking medical help.
Avoid Certain Drinks
There are some types of drinks that can lead to bladder issues in kids. Try to avoid drinks with caffeine, lots of sugar, and drinks with carbonation. They tend to move through kids fast, and lead to an overactive bladder.
Watch for Signs
Some children struggle with daytime wetting due to fears around using the bathroom, or not recognizing signs they have to go. If this is the case for your child, take care to keep an eye on their behaviours during the day. If you notice your child squirming, squatting, or crossing their legs, they may be involuntarily holding their pee in. Use these signs as an opportunity to try going to the bathroom and praising your child once they do so! This can help them to re-learn their bathroom signals.
Utilize Liners or Disposable Underwear
Daytime wetting can be especially hard to deal with if a child is in school. If your child is struggling with daytime wetting at school, using disposable underwear products can help to offer them some peace of mind in case an accident does happen.
When to Seek Help
With some daytime wetting cases, it’s best to seek the help of a medical professional. You can’t always fix this type of problem on your own. A full physical exam and ultrasound can provide insight into severe cases of daytime wetting, so you can better treat it.
In some cases, your child may also need to see someone who specialises in paediatric urology, who is well equipped to deal with any child’s urine issues. They can help to coordinate more intense treatments centered around medication, Physiotherapy, or surgery.
Book a Consultation With Us
The staff at Sydney Pelvic Clinic are here to help! If you are looking for medical support for a child’s daytime wetting issue, book an appointment with our Kids’ Continence service and meet with one of our Pelvic Health Physiotherapists. We can conduct a full consultation and exam and create a custom treatment plan for your child. Click here to learn more and book today!