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Daytime Wetting

Accidental daytime wetting (diurnal enuresis) is common in younger children and in children who are toilet training or who have just gone through the toilet training process. In rare cases, daytime accidental wetting is a sign of an underlying medical condition. It is also common to see children who wet the bed at night to have some form of daytime wetting.

Occasional daytime wetting in younger children is a normal part of development. However, if daytime wetting begins to interfere with your child’s social skills, academic progress in school, or sense of well-being, a discussion and evaluation with your pediatrician or with a pediatric urologist may be recommended.

What Causes Daytime Accidental Wetting?

In very young children and a child who has just been potty trained, some daytime wetting or accidents are not unheard of.

  • Young children often get so caught up in playtime or activities, they forget to go to the bathroom or ignore their body’s signals. Often, these children are too distracted with what they are doing to pay attention to their need to urinate.
  • Younger children often wait until the very last second to urinate, and, by this time, it is too late to get to a bathroom.
  • Some children hold their urine because they are too busy doing something else to take a bathroom break, resulting in an accident.
  • Stress or a change in life circumstances can be emotional for children of any age. Accidental wetting often stops once your child’s stress is addressed.

In these instances, parents can do the following to help ensure a child uses the bathroom regularly to avoid accidents:

  • Make sure your child goes to the bathroom as soon as they wake up in the morning.
  • Gently remind your child to use the bathroom every few hours to ensure they are not “holding it in.” Ask your child’s teacher or daycare provider to do the same.
  • Modeling good bathroom habits by announcing your visits to the bathroom may help in establishing a normal routine for your child.
  • Using the Chesapeake Urology for Children Bathroom Chart can be helpful.

In other cases, there may be an underlying cause of your child’s daytime accidental wetting:

  • Urinary accidents may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
  • Rarely, daytime wetting can be a sign of an undiagnosed structural abnormality of the urinary tract.

When to Call a Pediatric Urologist

After evaluation or discussion with your primary care physician, you may be referred to a pediatric urologist because of:

  • Recurring pain during urination
  • Troublesome, frequent urination
  • Urge to urinate frequently but only urinating small amounts at a time
  • Documented urinary tract infections