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Daytime accidental wetting is much less common than bed-wetting. But about 1 out of 4 children who wet the bed at night also wet during the day.footnote 1
Knowing the cause of the wetting will help you and your child's doctor decide on the best treatment. Daytime accidental wetting is more likely than bed-wetting to develop after a child has had bladder control for at least 6 months to 1 year (secondary diurnal enuresis). This pattern of wetting is often related to a medical condition, such as an infection or a defect in the urinary tract, or emotional stress. Treating the condition will usually stop the wetting. But daytime wetting can be a matter of normal development, with no medical cause.
If daytime wetting begins after a child has had consistent bladder control, consider the possibility that stress, such as the birth of a new sibling, is the cause. Accidental wetting often stops after the stress is addressed and managed. Some children may benefit from seeing a mental health professional.
Daytime accidental wetting (diurnal enuresis) is common in younger children. Children may become so involved in play that they forget to go to the bathroom. Also, they may hold on to urine too long. These children:
Some children have accidental daytime wetting because they try to hold their urine too long. To keep from wetting themselves, children may:
If a child has accidental wetting during the day, it can affect his or her performance in school or friendships. The child may be afraid of wetting at school or on outings. He or she may also be afraid of being teased by friends. Treatment can help the child lead a more normal life and have higher self-esteem.
Daytime accidental wetting may be a normal part of a child's growth and development, or it may be caused by a medical condition. Getting your child's problem evaluated by a doctor is important if there is any chance that a medical condition is the cause.
Call the doctor if:
If you take your child to the doctor for help with the child's accidental wetting, a medical history and physical exam will be done to discover if the wetting is a symptom of a medical condition. The doctor will ask you and your child questions about the wetting, such as when and how often it happens. As part of the physical exam, the doctor will examine the child's abdomen, rectum, spine, and genital area and may watch the child urinate. Depending on the results of the physical exam, the doctor may do other tests, such as:
If a child has both daytime and nighttime accidental wetting, the doctor may treat daytime wetting first, because children normally gain daytime control over their bladders sooner than nighttime control. Accidental daytime or nighttime wetting may increase after treatment is stopped.
If daytime wetting is caused by a medical condition, you can have treatment for the medical problem and the daytime wetting will stop.
Treatment for daytime wetting that is not caused by another medical condition may include:
Home treatment may be all that is needed to improve daytime accidental wetting, especially if the wetting is not due to any medical condition or stress. Try the following:
If your child delays going to the bathroom and holds on to urine until he or she loses control and wets, try the following:
Elder JS (2011). Voiding dysfunction. In RM Kleigman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 1847–1852. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Current as of: December 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
December 12, 2018
Medical Review:Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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