Daytime wetting in older children is a little more common in girls, but both sexes can be affected. Children often describe that they don’t feel like they need to go to the bathroom until the last minute. Then it’s too late and urine begins to come out in their underwear.
Parents describe the frustration of noticing that their child is fidgeting or reminding them to go to the bathroom, with their child responding “I don’t have to go”. Five minutes later, urine is leaking out or they are urgently trying to find a bathroom.
Here are some strategies to help solve your child’s daytime wetting.
Use a timed voiding program with a vibratory reminder watch.
Set the watch to vibrate about every 2 hours to remind your child to stop what they are doing and use the bathroom. The newest watch is this kid-friendly Rodger 8-Alarm Reminder Watch, which even comes with two replacement bands.
Use the watch for several months, until your child begins to anticipate when they need to go.
Since the other children don’t know the watch is a special reminder, there is no reason that your child can’t use this daily until they develop a new habit.
Use the bathroom at the scheduled time even if he or she doesn’t feel like they need to go.
Since many children can tune out messages from their body, they may not “feel” the urge until it’s too late. Emptying the bladder regularly prevents it from becoming overfull.
Make sure there are no problems with using the school bathroom.
Remove obstacles such as teacher not giving permission, bathroom too dirty, scared of who might be in the bathroom, getting lost, no toilet paper, etc.
Insure that your child has enough fluid during the day.
Taking a water bottle to school may help. If urine is too concentrated, it can irritate the bladder and make the problem worse.
Forget to talk with your child’s health care provider to rule out any medical reasons for the wetting.
This is especially important if your child had been dry and has just begun have daytime accidents.
Punish your child for wetting.
Use positive reinforcement if they follow the watch’s reminder to go the bathroom at the regularly scheduled time. This is something they can control, that will ultimately lead to dry underwear.
Forget to monitor bowel movements.
Constipation and infrequent stools contribute to wetting accidents.
Talk to your pediatrician about diet changes or medications that can help with this.
Let wet pants become a family battle.
Instruct your child in changing wet clothes and where to put them. Help them prevent odor by cleaning skin after wetting.