Children who do not completely empty their bladder during the day probably do not empty their bladder prior to going to bed. If they go to bed with a partially full bladder they are more likely to wet. If the bladder is trying throughout the day to empty, and the child postpones going by holding, then the bladder becomes thicker and it is more likely to contract and empty at night. This is commonly referred to as a bladder spasm. Usually a child can hold urine during the day by squatting, wiggling and tightening their bottom muscles. At night the child is not able to squat and tighten their bottom muscles because they are sleeping and unaware of the bladder’s need to empty. If a child has excellent daytime potty habits, his bladder is more likely to be completely empty when he urinates prior to going to bed.
Daytime urine and stool patterns significantly influence a child’s tendency to wet at night. Personality traits and lifestyles that lend themselves to abnormal daytime potty habits are also more likely to contribute to bedwetting. Current medical literature supports a strong correlation between constipation and daytime accidents and bedwetting. Yet most physicians have not yet recognized this connection.
Pediatric urologists often care for children who have failed all other bedwetting treatments and still wet at night. Yet it is still not commonplace for them to recommend improving all of the daytime potty habits to see if the bedwetting stops. Even if the bedwetting child does not have any obvious daytime problems, it is reasonable to make the child pee and poop regularly during the day to see if it helps the nighttime wetting.
Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.