Wetting at School: Tips that Help

The start of the new school year can bring about unexpected surprises, such as wetting or leaking in the underwear in a child who has been dry. The most common cause of new wetting is not noticing the need to use the bathroom until it’s too late.

Here are a few tips to help stop wetting at school:

Talk to your Child

• Ask about bathroom policies at school. Are they asked to “wait” frequently?
• Ask about the bathroom specifically. Some children voice concerns such as “It’s too dirty. It smells funny. It’s dark and I can’t reach the light.”
• Is your child worried that they will miss something important while in the bathroom?

Talk to the Teacher

• Learn about the rules, location of bathroom, ask teacher for suggestions she has used in the past.
• Inform her/him that your child is having a problem. A busy teacher may not notice wet clothes unless it’s a large spot or even know your child is having difficulty staying dry. Pretty, discreet washable, waterproof underwear prevent leaking onto the clothes.

Associated Problems

• Constipation can contribute to wetting problems. The goal should be a soft stool every day or every other day.
• Urinary tract infections or vaginal irritation can cause frequent voiding, discomfort, and leaking. If suspected, have your doctor rule this out.
• Is your child fearful, embarrassed and hiding evidence? Reassure them that you will work on a solution to this problem together and getting soiled clothing washed is the best action. Kids don’t smell themselves so reasoning that they will address this because of the bad smell is not the case.
• Not drinking enough during the day. Concentrated urine can be more irritating to the bladder. Dilute urine and voiding regularly and frequently is healthier.

Solutions
• Make sure your child takes their time in the bathroom. Girls should spread their legs and wipe from front to back. Make sure their clothing is easily removed, zipped, or buttoned. Dark colors show less stains.
• Arrange with the teacher to have unlimited bathroom privileges and access to enough fluids. Try to improve bathroom usability.
• Start a timed voiding program. This is when a child uses the bathroom every 2 hours, even if they don’t feel like they have to go. Use a discreet vibratory reminder watch, such as the Rodger Vibrating Watch, to remind kids of this. Don’t expect a busy teacher to do the reminding.
• Be patient. Know that support, and not punishment is more helpful. Regular bathing and laundry can help kids stay odor free.

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