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Daytime Accidental Wetting (Diurnal Enuresis)

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Evaluating daytime accidental wetting

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:

Treatment

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:

  • Medicine.Oxybutynin (such as Ditropan or Oxytrol) may be used to treat daytime wetting in children and adults. It helps control the bladder muscle that releases urine.
  • Surgery. If the child has daytime wetting that is caused by birth defects within the urinary system, surgery to correct the defect may be needed. But sometimes the surgery does not make the accidental wetting stop.
  • Counseling. Sessions with a counselor may be helpful for the child who has accidental wetting that is caused by emotional stress. Counseling may involve psychotherapy or hypnosis (hypnotherapy). The goal is to reduce or help manage the stress or to prevent stress.

Home treatment

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:

  • Encourage your child to go to the bathroom whenever the urge happens.
  • Reward your child for being dry. You may use hugs, stickers, or special treats as rewards.
  • Don't make your child wear a diaper. Wearing a diaper may make him or her feel babyish. Also, it may be hard for a child to get the diaper off when using the toilet. Wearing disposable underwear, such as Pull-Ups, may be helpful. But it may also make the problem last longer, because the child may have less motivation to learn bladder control.

If your child delays going to the bathroom and holds on to urine until he or she loses control and wets, try the following:

  • Encourage your child to use the toilet when you notice signs that he or she may need to go, such as squatting, squirming, crossing the legs, or standing very still.
  • Offer more liquids to drink. Drinking more liquids will increase the amount of urine in the bladder, causing your child to need to go to the bathroom more often.
  • Have your child go to the bathroom every hour during the day.
  • Encourage your child to take extra time on the toilet so that he or she will be more likely to empty the bladder.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 24, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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