Bladder issues in children

What’s wrong?

Children can be affected by a range of bladder issues.

Much can be done to support children experiencing bladder issues, and these can often be managed, improved and cured.

Day and night time wetting

The the most common problem affected children is wetting. However, children and adolescents can also be affected by wetting during the day.

Urgency and frequency

Having to rush to get to the toilet (urgency), or having to go to the toilet more often than is normal (frequency) or a combination of these.

Urinary tract infections

Although less common, urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause discomfort for children and young people who are affected. 

Physical causes

Some children are born with problems affecting their kidneys, bladder, ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder), or urethra (the tube from the bladder, that the wee comes out of). These problems are quite rare.

Helping a child who is affected

Understanding the problem

Initially it can be difficult to understand why a child or young person has a problem with their bladder. Sometimes, parents or carers might think it is a behavioural problem, or that their child is being lazy. For younger children it might be thought that they are not ready to toilet train. It is important to seek any help you need to understand the issue affecting your child.

When are most children dry?

Most children are dry in the day by the time they are three years old and at night by the time they are five.

When should I ask for advice?

Parents and carers should ask for help if a child is still having bladder or wetting problems when they are approaching the age of five, or sooner if the problems are impacting on quality of life or school attendance.

Children with additional needs

If a child has additional needs, it may be thought any delays in achieving dryness are related to the disability. However, all children with daytime wetting, frequency, urgency or any bladder difficulty should be offered an assessment and treatment if appropriate.

How can we help?

Whatever your situation, take a look at the options below for advice and information.

Support for families

Speak to specialist nurses and our continence product experts

We can also suggest how to approach your child’s GP, health visitor, school nurse, or other healthcare professional for treatment if appropriate. They should be able to offer individual assessment and treatment or refer you to a specialist for this, if necessary.