This is a question that many parents ask, but there is no definitive answer. Each child is different and will develop at their own pace. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine if your child is on track with their incontinence.
If your child is over the age of four and still wetting themselves regularly, this is usually not considered normal. Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, is common in young children and usually nothing to worry about. However, if your child is wetting themselves during the day or having accidents frequently, it could be a sign of incontinence.
There are many different types of incontinence, and the cause can vary. If you think your child may be incontinent, it's important to talk to your doctor. They can help determine the cause and create a treatment plan.
Incontinence affects about 18 percent of 5-year-olds, about 27 percent of 7-year-olds, and about 33 percent of 9-year-olds. Most kids who wet themselves during the day have bladder incontinence, which means they can't control when they urinate. (source: NIDDK)
There are many reasons why kids might wet themselves, including:
- A small bladder that can't hold much urine
- Diurnal incontinence, which is when the urge to pee happens during the day (this is more common in girls)
- Delayed bladder development
- Poor toilet habits
It's important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Once any potential medical causes have been ruled out, you can work on helping your child overcome incontinence.
There are many things you can do to help your child, including:
- Helping them control their bladder by teaching them to pee at regular times
- Giving them plenty of fluids during the day
- Encouraging them to go to the bathroom when they feel the urge
- Making sure they use the toilet before and after activities that make them feel the need to pee, such as swimming
- Helping them relax when they use the toilet by reading a book or singing a song
- Teaching them how to do Kegel exercises (this help strengthen the muscles around the bladder)
- Avoid drinking too much before bedtime
With the right support, most children can overcome incontinence and regain control of their bladder or bowels.
Some things you can do to make them more comfortable.
- Make sure they have a good selection of absorbent underwear and pads to choose from.
- Let them choose their own clothes, as long as they are comfortable and easy to move in.
- Help them to understand their incontinence and how they can manage it with incontinence aids for kids.
- Encourage them to stay active and involved in things they enjoy, even if they are worried about having an accident.
- Be understanding and patient – incontinence can be frustrating for both you and your child.
You can also check a wide range of incontinence aids for kids to help manage wet accidents.