A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Bedwetting: Don’t wait for kids to outgrow it

Young boy sleeping - Managing voiding problems

Improved bathroom habits, bed-wetting alarms and medication may be helpful if your child experiences nighttime or daytime wetting.

Many children and some adolescents have problems managing when and where they urinate.

Bedwetting is the most common wetting issue. However, wetting accidents can happen during the day, too. Though common, these incidents can be embarrassing for your child.

“It can be stressful and affect kids’ socialization and self esteem,” said Sara Collins, the pediatric nurse practitioner who runs Marshfield Clinic’s Voiding Improvement Program. “Kids miss social activities like sleepovers because they don’t want their friends to know they wet the bed. In addition, daytime wetting may affect their school performance.”

A medical professional can help improve involuntary wetting sooner than your child will outgrow it.

What is voiding dysfunction?

Voiding dysfunction is an abnormal urination pattern for your child’s age. For many children it is a day and nighttime issue.

Most children have daytime bladder control by age 5 and nighttime control by 6, but full bladder control can be as late as high school. Consider making an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or the Voiding Improvement Program if your older child is having wetting accidents.

Signs of a voiding dysfunction may include:

  • Bedwetting or daytime wetting
  • Sudden urges to urinate
  • Frequent or infrequent urination

“Voiding problems normally are not behavioral,” Collins said. “Kids are not wetting for attention, so rewards and punishment will not help. This is a health problem that needs to be treated by a medical professional.”

Testing and treatment

The Voiding Improvement Program will evaluate your child to try to determine what is causing incontinence. A customized treatment plan will be developed for your child.

You may be asked to keep a voiding diary to gather details about your child’s bathroom habits and wetting accidents. Collins checks children for constipation, urine stream abnormalities and whether they are completely emptying their bladders.

Common non-invasive, non-painful interventions that may improve incontinence will be recommended for your child. These include but are not limited to improved bathroom habits, bed-wetting alarms and medication.

Voiding dysfunction can be a sign of a more serious health problem that requires treatment by other medical specialists. The Voiding Improvement Program can perform more diagnostic tests if needed.

To make an appointment with the Voiding Improvement Program, call 715-387-5251.

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Incontinence: How to beat the urge

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