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Learning Center - Causes of Daytime Wetting

Daytime Incontinence and Your Child

Daytime incontinence can be frustrating, but it's not uncommon for busy children to delay using the bathroom. Sometimes, a child may hold his urine without being aware of the need to go—kids can get so caught up in what they're doing that the need to go to the bathroom doesn't occur to them until it's too late. Certain medical conditions and developmental issues can also be responsible for daytime accidents. If accidents are frequent, seek help from your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your child. Report any of the following symptoms to your doctor immediately:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Constipation
  • Genital pain
  • Urinary tract infections

Whether your child is experiencing urinary accidents due to a developmental, behavioral, or medical issue, products like absorbent briefs can help keep him dry. For example, there are all kinds of disposable underwear for kids that look just like regular underwear. These products can save your child from embarrassment and keep him from feeling "different."

Stress Triggers and Daytime Wetting

If your child begins wetting during the day, take steps to understand what's causing this new problem. Start by talking to your child's healthcare provider in order to rule out or identify any medical issues that could be causing it. If it turns out that your child's daytime wetting isn't the result of a medical problem, consider possible sources of stress for your child.

It's not uncommon for a child's stress or anxiety to manifest itself through daytime wetting, even if she appears at ease. Remember that figuring out how to deal with less-pleasant emotions is something that happens gradually as we develop. Here are some common stress triggers for children:

  • Going to school for the first time
  • Moving to a new town
  • New additions to the family (i.e. siblings)
  • Family problems such as fighting or divorce

If you identify a stress trigger, try to make your child feel better about it. For example, if you've just moved and she's scared to go to a new school and meet new kids, assure her that it's normal to feel a little uncomfortable at first, but that it will feel more normal in time. If you can, talk to some other parents in your new community and arrange a play date or get-together to help start the process. Whatever the situation, as the stress is reduced, you might just see the accidents reduce in frequency as a result.

Reasons for Daytime Wetting

There are many possible medical, developmental, and psychological causes of daytime wetting. The first step in solving the problem is talking with your child's healthcare provider. Your child's urinary accidents could be the result of one of the following conditions, reactions, or behaviors:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Juvenile diabetes
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder (due either to rushed elimination or a medical issue)
  • Constipation
  • Highly focused attention to play or other activities
  • Fear of bathrooms
  • Emotional stress
  • Consumption of soft drinks and/or caffeine

Determining why your child is having daytime wetting episodes is crucial for creating an effective treatment plan. If your healthcare provider determines that your child's problem is not medical in nature, talk to him or her about behavioral solutions like a timed voiding program. To make your child's visit to the doctor as productive as possible, keep track of his bathroom habits for a week or two (if possible, ask his teacher or caregiver to help you out with this while he's at school or daycare). The more information you can provide your healthcare provider with, the more he or she will be able to help.