About Bladder Control in Children

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While nearly all adults can control when and where they relieve themselves, developing this bladder control proves difficult for many children. If your child struggles to control his urination, an assortment of factors could be to blame. Deal with this potentially embarrassing issue head on by considering the potential reasons behind this potty-related disorder and assisting your child in overcoming this bathroom battle.


Childhood Bladder Functioning

As an adult, the process of filling and emptying your bladder is systematic and controllable. For children, this is not the case. Before potty training, a baby’s bladder functions automatically. Each time his tiny bladder reaches a certain fullness level, it empties. As the child ages, he develops the ability to sense when his bladder is reaching its limits and control the release of the fluid that it houses.

Prevalence of Bladder Control Difficulties

Incontinence in children is hardly a rare occurrence. The younger a child is, the most likely he is to suffer from bladder control difficulties. As the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports, 10 percent of 5-year-olds suffer from bladder control issues. This percentage drops significantly to 5 percent by the age of 10 and down to an almost nonexistent 1 percent by the age of 18.

Bed Wetting

Bed wetting is the most common childhood bladder control challenge. Many children struggle to control nighttime urination, even after they have mastered daytime bladder control. This difficulty can be due to an assortment of factors, including overproduction of urine at night, deep sleep patterns that prevent the child from recognizing the signs of a full bladder and even, in some instances, anxiety. The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports that there seems to be a hereditary link, as many children of childhood bed wetters become bed wetters themselves.

Overactive Bladder

For some children, the need to go to the bathroom seems almost constant. This is due to a condition called overactive bladder. Some children suffer from overactive bladder because the muscles surrounding their urethras do not function properly. Others experience this condition as the result of a urinary tract infection. Still others can pin the cause of this condition on pollakiuria, a condition that impacts the bladder and is believed to be caused by stress, reports WebMD.

Parents Role in Promoting Bladder Control

Many parents of children who struggle with bladder control find the battle against incontinence difficult to wage. While you certainly want to ensure that your child develops the bladder control necessary to make it to the bathroom in time, you do not want to punish a child who lacks this control, as this failure is often due to medical conditions outside of your child’s control. If your child is not the bladder control wiz-kid you wish she were, focus on celebrating her successes. Also, if bladder control continues to be an issue, speak to her pediatrician and ensure that she gets the medical attention she needs for this potentially serious problem.

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