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Urinary incontinence facts (and fiction!)

A little girl standing up being held by a person
Many of us have misconceptions about children’s incontinence and bed-wetting, unfortunately this is one of the reason why your child, or yourself, may feel embarrassed to talk openly about it. So knowing what is fact and what’s fiction can help bust the myths and ease this stress for everyone. Below are some facts and answers to FAQs from fellow parents and carers to help do just that. 

Bed-wetting is more frequent than you might think

By the age of three, 3 out of 4 children are toilet trained however on average;
  • At age of five, 1 in 10 wet the bed 
  • At age of ten, 1 in 15 wet the bed 
  • Day-wetting affects 2 – 4 % of 7 year olds

Most children grow out of bed-wetting

While your child’s urinary incontinence might be stressful for both you, often it’s something that they will grow out of as their bladder and body develop.  To understand a little more on how a child’s bladder works, and what causes children’s incontinence, see bladder basics and causes. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s always best to talk to your doctor or health care professional.

Children don’t wet themselves on purpose

Like learning to walk or talk, your child’s bladder develops at its own rate. So sometimes, no matter how hard your child might try, they might still urinate involuntary. 

It’s a recognized medical condition

The medical name for children’s incontinence is enuresis; diurnal enuresis for day-wetting and nocturnal enuresis for bed-wetting. Together, with explaining to your child how the bladder works, you might find that using these medical terms can be a good tactic when tackling the issue with older children. It can help demystify the situation for some and it also doesn’t have the same associations that the term bed-wetting does. 

Anxiety is not a cause

Although it is not a known cause of bladder weakness in children, it can be a result of the issue so it’s important to deal with it sensitively. If you feel that your child is anxious, it’s best to have a talk to find out the reasons why so you can help them solve the situation.

Drinking less won’t help

Drinking less just makes the urine more concentrated and in turn irritates the bladder.  So it’s always best to let your child drink when they’re thirsty and need to, they’ll learn to regulate their fluid intake. However, you can help by avoid giving them drinks that could irritate their stomach like juice, tea, fizzy or sugary drinks and hot chocolate – especially before bed.

It doesn’t help to be firm

Your child cannot control the issue, so being firm won’t help. In fact, it’s important that you help them understand that there isn’t anything to feel guilty about and that it’s not their fault.