Daytime Wetting / Overactive Bladder

Children’s Outpatients Department

Tel: 01473 702181

Information for parents, guardians and carers

Some children and young people have problems with bladder control, which may cause difficulties such as:

  • needing to pass urine very often (sometimes called frequency);
  • day wetting or bed wetting; or
  • urgency – this is when your child has to dash to the toilet at the last minute.

Your GP may refer your child to the paediatrician who will take a full history and test your child’s urine to rule out problems such as urinary tract infection.

There are several things you can do to help minimise the problems caused by an overactive bladder:

  1. Ensure your child drinks plenty. It can be tempting to reduce the amount of fluids your child drinks but this usually doesn’t help. It can actually make the situation worse because your child never gets used to the feeling of a full bladder.
  2. Avoid certain drinks. Some drinks such as squash, fizzy drinks and drinks containing caffeine, such as tea or coffee, can irritate the bladder making the situation worse.
  3. Ensure your child goes to the toilet regularly. If your child does not pass urine regularly the bladder will be full most of the time and will be more likely to leak. Try to get your child to pass urine 6-7 times a day.
  4. Ensure your child empties their bladder completely. If they just pass enough urine to feel comfortable there may be urine left in the bladder, so it doesn’t take long for it to fill up again. Some children need to be encouraged to slow down and spend enough time on the toilet t o completely empty the bladder.
  5. Avoid constipation. If the bowel is very full it can press on the bladder and make things worse. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating fruit and vegetables will help to avoid constipation. If your child has problems with constipation your GP or paediatrician can help with this. You can find more advice in our leaflet ‘Constipation in Children and Young People’.

Occasionally the paediatrician may refer your child to another department in the hospital, for example the Ultrasound Department for a scan of their kidneys or bladder.

If you have any other questions about an unstable bladder please speak to your paediatrician at the next appointment.

Enuresis Resource and Information Centre
36 Old School House
Britannia Road
Bristol BS 15 8D8Tel: 0845 3708008