Children may have a bladder control problem - also called urinary incontinence (UI) - if they leak urine by accident and are past the age of toilet training. A child may not stay dry during the day, called daytime wetting; or through the night, called bedwetting.
Children normally gain control over their bladders somewhere between ages 2 and 4 - each in their own time. Occasional wetting is common even in 4- to 6-year-old children.
By age 4, when most children stay dry during the day, daytime wetting can be very upsetting and embarrassing. By ages 5 or 6, children might have a bedwetting problem if the bed is wet once or twice a week over a few months.
Most bladder control problems disappear naturally as children grow older. When needed, a health care professional can check for conditions that may lead to wetting.
Loss of urine is almost never due to laziness, a strong will, emotional problems, or poor toilet training. Parents and caregivers should always approach this problem with understanding and patience.
Bladder control problems are also called urinary incontinence or enuresis.
Children usually have one of two main bladder control problems:
Some children may have trouble controlling their bladders both day and night.
For infants and toddlers, wetting is a normal part of development. Children gradually learn to control their bladders as they grow older. Problems that can occur during this process and lead to daytime wetting include
Children who wet the bed fall into two groups: those who have never been dry at night, and children who started wetting the bed again after staying dry for 6 months.
Bladder control problems are common in children. About 1 in 10 children has trouble with daytime wetting at age 5. Nighttime wetting is more common than daytime wetting.
|Age 5||About 1 in 6 children|
|Age 6||About 1 in 8 children|
|Age 7||1 in 10 children|
|Age 15||1-2 in 100 children|
Daytime wetting is more common in girls than boys.
Bedwetting is more common in boys - and in all children whose parents wet the bed when they were young. Your child's chances of wetting the bed are about 1 in 3 when one parent was affected as a child. If both parents were affected, the chances that your child will wet the bed are 7 in 10.2
Most children with bladder control problems are physically and emotionally normal. Certain health conditions can make a child more likely to experience wetting, including
Children can manage or outgrow most bladder control problems with no lasting health effects. However, accidental wetting can cause emotional distress and poor self-esteem for a child as well as frustration for families.
Bladder control problems can sometimes lead to bladder or kidney infections (UTIs). Bedwetting that is never treated during childhood can last into the teen years and adulthood, causing emotional distress.