Daytime wetting is common in preschool children and may continue into kindergarten and elementary school; in fact, daytime wetting has been found to occur about once a week in 3% of girls with the mean age of 5.9 years. Not only are accidents embarrassing for children, but they're also challenging for teachers and caregivers.
If you're a teacher or caregiver experiencing a child's daytime wetting problem, here are some tips for effectively dealing with the issue:
Make yourself available for the child and let him know that you're there to help.
If the child's parents haven't already contacted you, get in touch with them to discuss the problem.
If the child's parents don't already have a plan for eliminating his daytime wetting, recommend some solutions such as timed voiding watches and absorbent briefs. Offer to help implement the solutions to the best of your abilities.
Request that the child's parents send along an extra set of clothing in case of accidents.
Always make bathroom breaks available for the child and remember to allow extra time for successful elimination.
Make the Most of Bathroom Breaks
Relaxation plays an important role in proper elimination. If your child experiences daytime wetting, it becomes even more important. Here are some tips for helping your child be calm during bathroom breaks:
Encourage girls to remove at least one pant leg (or one leg of tights), lean forward with the elbows on the knees, and relax the legs.
Encourage boys to stand with their feet shoulder-width apart and their knees slightly bent.
Help young children get more comfortable by using a small foot stool.
Remind your child to relax, rather than push.
Turn on the faucet and have your child think about running water.
Read stories or talk about things unrelated to going to the bathroom.
Allow plenty of time for elimination—it may take a few minutes. If your child is unable to urinate, assure him that he can always come back later.
If you're trying to keep bathroom visits on a schedule, look for vibrating wrist watches and other timed voiding alarms. Going to the bathroom at the same times every day is a great way to overcome incontinence and boost your child's self-esteem.
Overcoming Bathroom Phobia
Sometimes, daytime accidents are a result of the child's fear of the bathroom. This "bathroom phobia" can make your child uncomfortable with using the bathroom in unfamiliar places. Perhaps your child uses the bathroom at home and only experiences wetting at school, daycare, friends' houses, or in public places.
Once your healthcare provider has ruled out any medical causes of the wetting, keep a detailed journal of wetting times and places. Include eating and drinking habits and any stress-inducing events. If it looks like your child is uneasy with bathrooms in general or in certain places, here are some tips that might help:
If your child is attending a new school or daycare, arrange to visit the bathroom once together. Be positive and point out nice things about the room.
When you and your child are out and about, try to visit bathrooms in several locations (for example, the mall, movie theater, etc.). The gradual exposure will eventually make different bathrooms seem more normal to your child.
Talk to your child about his fear. There might be a simple misconception that you can clear up for him.