Toilet Training Your Child & Keeping Them Dry

26 April 2017

Being a parent is one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences that we ever experience. However, the path of being a parent will always have bumps in the road.

Boy on toilet

Toilet training is highlighted by many parents as one of the most challenging and frustrating periods in their and their child’s life. The lack of consistency, where a child can go for days without an accident, followed by a day where they might have an accident several times can prove to be a challenge.

The problem with urinary incontinence in children is that it is rarely diagnosed before the age of three. The good news is that in the vast majority of situations it disappears naturally over time.

How The Urinary Tract Works

The urinary tract is the system that the human body uses to rid itself of waste and excess water. It works via sphincter muscles which tighten like elastic bands, preventing the bladder from leaking.

As the bladder slowly fills up it transmits the urge to urinate to the brain. In a synchronised move, the brain then simultaneously squeezes the bladder and relaxes the sphincter muscles allowing the bladder to empty.

Sometimes things don’t quite work to plan and this causes urinary incontinence. Often in children, it can be as a result of various health problems, including;

This is further complicated by the fact that a child can become more embarrassed and upset every time an accident occurs which, in turn, compounds the issue. Regardless of whether or not your child is suffering a medical issue, the following tips can form the basis of your strategy moving forward.

Don’t Rush Things – Is Your Child Ready?

Every child develops at a different pace and it may be that, in your eagerness to get your child dry and clean, you are starting the process too early. This can have a negative affect on your child’s confidence and ultimately prolong the process.

Many experts recommend waiting until you child is at least three years old, before beginning the process but this will depend on your child and is a decision that only you can make.

Mistakes Will Happen – Avoid Criticism

Girl on pottyThere is no doubt that there will be blips along the way and more often than not this will be during the night. Your child will have a bed-wetting accident and will no doubt be upset at the fact. It is so easy to be critical and berate your child but in doing so you will only make the situation worse. Instead, speak calmly and explain that accidents happen. Try to reassure and build their confidence whilst also setting them a target of being dry throughout the next night.

Medical Issues To Be Aware Of

Because the prognosis is normally good and children grow out of urinary incontinence, in most cases a cause is never established. However, in certain instances, the incontinence can remain and this is when you should be aware of potential underlying problems.

Child urinary incontinence is also known as enuresis and there are four different types of the condition;

  • Primary enuresis – is where a child regularly wets themselves and has never been dry for a long period.
  • Secondary enuresis – is where a child has been dry for a period of at least six months, and then starts to wet themselves
  • Nocturnal enuresis – is when the accidents tend to happen at night when the child is asleep
  • Diurnal enuresis – Is when the wetting predominantly happens during the daytime when the child is awake.

In conclusion, the vast majority of children will grow out of the problem so try not to be too concerned.

Patience with your child is paramount and quite often it can affect one child but not their siblings so there is no strict pattern.

If you have serious concerns about your child then making a GP appointment should be the first course of action. They will provide advice and if required further investigation.