We hear a lot about incontinence in adults, especially older people, but not as often in children. Incontinence in children is actually not so uncommon. It is expected in really young children who have not yet been toilet trained or who have not yet finished training. But it does occur in older children. It is normal in children under age 5. Usually nighttime incontinence tends to still occur at a later age, usually up to seven.

There are several causes for incontinence in children and bed wetting, these include but are not limited to the following.

  • Family history of incontinence
  • Incomplete toilet training
  • UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
  • Overactive bladder
  • Problems waking up from sleep
  • Weakness in the muscle that controls the release of urine
  • Incomplete voiding
  • Pressure from constipation


Anxiety during toilet training may make children unable to completely void their bladders. They may not be able to relax well enough to fully empty their bladders. This can cause voiding in inopportune times.

It’s also best to keep fluids to a minimum before bedtime, to keep the bladder as empty as possible. Also try to keep excitement before bedtime to a minimum. Remember, we have some helpful hips for handling bed wetting as a family.

Daytime incontinence is much less common. While it is sometimes caused by incomplete toilet training, the most common cause is an overactive bladder. Softdrinks, lollies and anything that contains sugar or caffeine can irritate the bladder and cause frequent urination during the day. Other causes of daytime incontinence include urinary tract infection, incomplete voiding or pressure from constipation.

Occasional bed wetting, while disconcerting, is not a source for worry. You shouldn’t be concerned about bed wetting if your child is under five years of age. Toilet training takes different lengths of time for different children. It’s quite possible for children not to stay dry overnight all the way up to age seven. It’s also quite possible that your little one will outgrow bed wetting on his or her own. Bladder capacity increases with age. Children also pay closer attention to their body’s signals as they mature. Keeping your child on a schedule may help prevent accidents.

It’s best to be at ease and not worry, so that your little one also stays calm and relaxed and doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong. Always feel free to consult with your doctor if you think it is advisable.

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