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Daytime Wetting Treatment

What can you do about this frustrating problem?
By: Renee Mercer, MSN, CPNP

Daytime Wetting

What causes daytime wetting?

As frustrating as it is, daytime wetting is actually a common childhood condition. It occurs in both boys and girls, though it is more frequent in girls. In fact, daytime wetting is a frequent occurrence in 3% of girls around six years of age. Children with daytime wetting may have frequent urination, urgent urination, or dribble after urinating. Some causes are:

  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Irritable bladder, urgency
  • Constipation
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Anatomic abnormality
  • Poor toileting habits

What can I do to help my child stop wetting in the daytime?

One of the most common non-invasive approaches is that of timed voiding. Timed voiding means that the bladder is emptied on a regular basis—not only when the urge to void is felt. Other extremely successful methods include hydration, correction of constipation and in some cases, computer assisted pelvic floor retraining.

The most effective way to implement timed voiding is with the aid of a vibratory reminder, such as a regularly worn watch. (Read our tips for choosing a watch.) A programmable watch with which you can specify exact times may be preferable. For example, if lunch is at 11:55, voiding before lunch at 11:50 would make sense.

Vibralite 3 Pink Vibrating Watch

How do I set up a timed voiding program?

Familiarize yourself with your child’s daytime schedule. Avoid setting times that are impossible to follow. For example, it is impossible to follow the reminder if your child is on the bus, coming home from school.

If you’re using an interval watch, carefully about the exact intervals you program. Most timed voiding programs recommend emptying the bladder every 2 hours, but an interval of a few minutes more or less than this may be necessary.

A programmable watch with which you can specify exact times may be preferable. For example, if lunch is at 11:55, voiding before lunch at 11:50 would make sense.

How do I ensure cooperation

The watch should be used seven days a week. Children learn new behaviors more effectively if they are consistently reinforced.

If it isn't possible for a watch to be worn, an effective alternative is the Invisible Clock. This small, vibrating unit clips to a waistband or pocket to provide a discreet reminder.

Initially, a reward or token system for following the watch’s reminders may motivate your children.

Remind children that they must go to the bathroom at the specified time, even if the urge to urinate is not present.

What else should I know?

  • Since constipation and daytime wetting often happen in the same child, setting a reminder for a scheduled time to sit on the toilet to have a bowel movement may be helpful.
  • Do not let your child rush through toileting. Children who rush often do not empty their bladder completely.
  • Preserve self-esteem. Washable absorbent briefs contain urine and prevent leakage to outer garments. OdorZyme can be used as a pre-soak to treat clothing or bedding that smells of urine.
  • Voiding posture is important. Girls should sit with their legs spread apart and a small supportive stool beneath each foot.
  • Use the vibratory watch several months past the time that you think the problem has been resolved.