Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why would a child have toilet trouble at school?"
My five year old daughter has wet her pants at school multiple times during this school year. I know this is becoming uncommon for kids her age. Should I take her to a psychiatrist? We've talked about it, but I don't know why this is happening.
Gaining control of bladder function can be trying for young children, and it can also be difficult for parents who are trying to help them. Overall, a large percentage of your daughter's classmates will have similar problems from time to time, as high as 20%, with 3% of children having incontinence during the day at least weekly. The percentage of children with intermittent diurnal enuresis (the doctor term for day time pant wetting) gradually decreased in one study, until only 5% had any daytime incontinence by the time they were 10. It is important to know if your daughter had previously been continent, and only began to have trouble as she started attending school. It is common for children, in new environments, to attempt to hold their urine for too long, which is obviously problematic. If such is the case, encouraging frequent trips to the restroom--before the urge comes--can solve the problem quickly. That being said, most physicians would recommend a visit to the doctor--not a psychiatrist--for daytime incontinence that occurs beyond the age of 4. Urinary tract infections, constipation, and other problems can all cause incontinence in young children, and all can usually be quickly resolved with a simple visit to the doctor. Either way, he or she will be able to give you further direction based on the results of a physical exam and some simple lab tests. Your daughter will appreciate a quick resolution. And so will you.
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