How to handle your child’s toilet accidents

With encouragement, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medical care, most children can overcome daytime wetting.

 It is not uncommon for children who are toilet trained to wet their pants from time to time.

It’s the middle of the day, and you’ve just sat down for a cup of tea on the sofa. Before you’re able to take a sip, your toddler walks into the room with a frown on his face – and his pants soaked.

Whether a novice at the potty training process or an experienced toileter having a bad day, toilet training accidents are par for the course in every household.

Maybe children are just too immersed in play to even register the need to go to the bathroom, or the message from young bladders just doesn’t travel quickly enough to the brain, or a child simply feels a little under the weather but, whatever the reason, these leakages can, and will occur.

How should you handle toilet accidents?

  • Firstly, be kind and patient when toilet accidents occur. Whatever the reason, your child must be comforted with encouraging words, smiles must be returned to teary faces, and the big clean-up and sanitisation must be performed by mom or dad.
  • Encourage regular toilet breaks. It is vital to regularly remind your child to visit the potty or go to the toilet.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for signals that your child is ‘holding it’ with crossed legs because they don’t want to be distracted from a game or activity.
  • Ensure you a reserve stash of three sets of clothes when you go on an outing should your child have an accident – and a plastic bag where you can stash soiled items.
  • Use a sticker chart to track your child’s trips to the bathroom and reward progress.
  • Make sure your child is eating a healthy, fibre-rich diet and drinking lots of fluids. This can help prevent constipation, a common cause of daytime wetting accidents.
  • If your child is having regular accidents, instead of returning to nappies, offer to put your child in training pants that can be worn under their underwear for a while.

Five daytime wetting facts

  1. Daytime wetting (sometimes called “diurnal enuresis,” or “daytime urine accidents”) is twice as common in girls as it is in boys.
  2. About 3 to 4 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 12 have daytime wetting.
  3. It is most common among young school-aged children.
  4. Children with medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may continue to have daytime wetting at a later age than other children.
  5. If your child’s daytime wetting continues – or you have any concerns – you may want to consider taking your child to a paediatric urology specialist.