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Navigating the issues of urinary incontinence

A little girl in her school uniform looks to the left
Regardless if it’s day-wetting or bed-wetting, talking about and managing your child’s incontinence can be a tricky. As a parent or carer, it’s important to not only find the right incontinence products that will support and comfort them, but also to offer your understanding and reassurance to help ensure their wellbeing. Here are some tips on what to think about when talking with your child and managing their incontinence.

Be calm and open

Children are alert to impatience. So remain calm, open and talk about the issue in an honest way. Talk often as well, as it’s important to check in and see how they’re feeling and if they have any questions or concerns. Like with any topic, the more you talk about it with your child, the more normal and okay it feels for them to talk about it.

Normalise the situation

Your child may feel worried that there is something wrong with them. So it’s good to reassure them that, it’s not their fault and other kids are more than likely feeling the same. Explain to them that there are probably one or two others in their class who have the same problem, and are just as shy when it comes to talking about it. It’s good to point out that it is nothing to be ashamed of and that there are good treatment options available.
 
If you, or one of their siblings, have had a similar problem, mention it. It gives children hope to realise that others have been through it, and that it was just a temporary phase. 

Some facts and figures on children’s incontinence

When it comes to age, generally speaking;
 
  • Bed-wetting is the most common form of children’s incontinence, with day-wetting affecting 2-4% of 5 to 7 year olds. 
  • By age three, around 3 out of 4 children are toilet trained.
  • At age of five, around 1 in 10 children still wet the bed.
  • At age of ten, around 1 in 15 children still wet the bed.
 
Every child is unique and different and so are the factors surrounding their incontinence, so if you have any questions, or concerns it’s always best to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional.  

A little lesson in biology with Mr. Bladder

Explaining why and how to children helps to take the mystery out of situations and make things easier for them to understand. Talking with your child about how their bodies and bladders work can help reassure them. Visit your local library and borrow some books on the topic, having a visual aid can make it easier for children to take in and understand what you’re explaining. 
 
For younger children, you could even try creating a story around the situation to make it a little bit more relatable. For instance, ‘Mr Bladder is still learning his job and getting to know everyone else, soon they’ll be getting on great’. 
 
To get you started, read more about bladder basics and the causes of urinary incontinence.

Embarrassment

Your child may be an actor, an artist, a sportsman, or simply your child, but he or she should never be known, defined or described as a bed-wetter. Doing so heightens the negativity around the issue. Instead, make sure they understand that it’s something that is not their fault, nor something that they have control over. It’s also good to help them understand that there are good products and solutions available to help manage their incontinence.