Home > Behavioural Problems > Children and Urinary Incontinence

Children and Urinary Incontinence

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 5 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
Incontinence Child Children Urinary

Incontinence, or the loss of urinary control, can be highly embarrassing for children whether it happens in public or in private, during the day or at night. The good news is that incontinence tends to reduce and disappear over time, but that is often cold comfort to children who want to stop experiencing it right this moment. Knowing the facts about children and incontinence, what causes this embarrassing condition and how to address it both during the day and at night should help you get your child through it.

Children and Incontinence: The Facts

Urinary incontinence is fairly common in children under the age of five years. Up until about five years children’s bodies are still learning to listen to themselves, so during and even after potty training there are bound to be accidents when a child’s bladder just gets too full and (s)he doesn’t make it to the toilet in time. At about five years of age, around 10% of children still experience accidents related to urination though this drops to about 5% of children by age 10 or so. Boys are twice as likely to experience bouts of urinary incontinence as girls.

Causes of Incontinence In Children

There may be many causes of incontinence in children. Overproduction of urine and an inability to recognise the “feel” of a full bladder are two basic causes of incontinence. Infrequent urination, small bladder capacity, abnormalities and/or problems in the urinary structures, an over consumption of caffeinated drinks or other diuretics and genetics may all cause urinary incontinence as well. On an emotional level rather than a physical level, fear and anxiety may also cause urinary incontinence in children.

Addressing Incontinence During the Day

There are many things that parents and children can do to try to address and treat urinary incontinence during the day. Sometimes all you can do is wait to see if bladder capacity will increase, but you can also try to limit the number of caffeinated drinks a child consumes during the day, to limit drinks when the child is not near a toilet, to have the child go to the toilet at set intervals throughout the day, and to ask the child if they need to use the toilet regularly so that (s)he starts to think about how the bladder feels. If none of these steps work then seeing a GP may be important to find out if there is an underlying physical condition causing incontinence during the day.

Addressing Incontinence at Night

Changes to your child’s nighttime routines may help alleviate any bedwetting (s)he experiences at night. Limiting the amount of liquid (s)he consumes in the evening, making sure (s)he urinates before going to bed and waking him or her about two hours after going to sleep should all help void the bladder before a longer night of sleep. Dressing children in two piece pyjamas so that it is easier for them to undress for the toilet, putting a mattress protector and/or water-resistant sheet on the bed and setting up a night light so that children won’t be afraid to get out of bed to get to the toilet may also help them overcome bedwetting as well. If none of these steps help, don’t be afraid to contact your GP to ask for more help.

Urinary incontinence can be embarrassing for children, but it is more common than many might think. Understanding the facts of urinary incontinence, common causes and ways of addressing it both during the day and at night should help parents help their children overcome incontinence.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
My three & half year daughter lies in her tummy on a chair & rocks wecadk hervdo you have a tummy ache she says no goes to the toilet in the day & poos daily although pees the bed occasionally thecricking is getting to us as parents as she will do it at home and out of the house could she haveurine infection or could it be something else ???
Rae Rae - 5-Jun-18 @ 11:14 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Momofchild
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I’m looking for alternative methods to help my 15 yr old stop rocking. She has been doing since she was a baby. It is consuming her…
    16 June 2018
  • priscilla
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    I have a 7 year old who seems to have a hard time paying attention in school and home he seems to always be in…
    8 June 2018
  • Mommadanniibear
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    I’m so exhausted with my 5 year old son. No matter how much I punish him or how many times I tell him about…
    7 June 2018
  • Nate
    Re: Grounding Children
    I mean I do get grounded all the time but because of how much trouble me and my three sisters get into sometimes we deserve to be punished but…
    7 June 2018
  • Rae Rae
    Re: Children and Urinary Incontinence
    My three & half year daughter lies in her tummy on a chair & rocks wecadk hervdo you have a tummy ache she says no goes to…
    5 June 2018
  • KidsBehaviour
    Re: Grounding Children
    Nate - Your Question:You will not believe this I just got grounded tonight I felt so stupid my mom was taking a picture and I put bunny fingers…
    4 June 2018
  • Nate
    Re: Grounding Children
    you will not believe this I just got grounded tonight I felt so stupid my mom was taking a picture and I put bunny fingers up behind one of my…
    3 June 2018
  • Debbie
    Re: Children and Hitting
    I have an 9yr old grandson, and last 3yrs has refused to go to school, he goes for 1 hr a day, as school cant cope with his behaviour, he has…
    1 June 2018
  • Tgibbs
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    My son is 5yrs old. When i talk to him he acts like he doesnt hear me. He doesnt listen and he cant be still…
    31 May 2018
  • Maz
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    Hi I have a 12 year old boy who I feel like I am walking on egg shells with he can be fine one minute but the simplest of…
    29 May 2018