Dear Doc | About to start school and still wetting himself
Q Dear Doc, my child is about to start school and I am very concerned, because he still keeps wetting himself. He has gone through toilet training and he knows how to use the bathroom, but for some reason he still wets himself. I am afraid now that he is about to start school, and this will cause problems with his teacher and classmates. Is there something wrong? And is there anything I can do apart from sending him to school in diapers?
A Yes, this is a concern for quite a few parents and contributes to first-day-of-school stress and jitters. To help you feel a bit better, daytime wetting can be normal.
By age four, most children are able to control their bladder and stay dry during the day. However, even normal children at ages four to six years old, and even older, can still have ‘accidents’ during the day and wet themselves.
Daytime wetting can be very upsetting and stressful not only for parents, but also for children, especially when they go to school.
Most of the time, daytime wetting is not caused by a medical problem, but because of various reasons, such as:
- The child’s behaviour and habits. Children who are very active might wet themselves because they are busy playing, and then wait too long to use the toilet.
- Constipation, which is when children have trouble having a bowel movement.
- Urinary tract problems or infections.
- Nervous system problems.
Even if you do not think there is a medical cause for his daytime wetting, you should still consider taking your child to see the doctor if you notice he:
- Is upset, stressed, or anxious by the daytime wetting.
- Started having daytime wetting after he was able to stay dry all day before.
- Has pain when urinating or feels the need to urinate often.
- Leaks urine after he or she has finished urinating.
- Has constipation or another condition that could be causing daytime wetting.
The doctor will talk with you about your child’s symptoms and do a medical examination. The doctor might also do a urine test, as well as ask you to keep a record for a few days, to take to a follow-up appointment, of your son’s habits, such as:
- How much your child drinks.
- How often your child urinates and has bowel movements.
- When the daytime wetting happens.
If your doctor finds a medical problem, he or she might treat the problem, order more tests, or have your child see a specialist. But this is not common.
Until then, you can also try different things at home to stop your child’s daytime wetting.
- Make a schedule and have him urinate every two to three hours during the day. Give your child rewards for following the schedule.
- Remind him not to hold his urine and to urinate before he feels the urge to.
- Have him wait for a few minutes after he urinates to let all the urine drain from the bladder.
- Treat your child’s constipation, if he is constipated.
All of this will require a lot of patience, as stopping daytime wetting can be very hard and can take a long time.
Remember that children cannot help their daytime wetting. So please, try never to punish, tease or get mad at your child for it.
If your child still has daytime wetting after trying the tips above, he might need to have other tests done and to have other treatments that could help.