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Enuresis - Daytime Wetting

Enuresis is the involuntary discharge of urine. It is considered to be a problem after the age of five, by which time it is generally accepted that children should have bladder control.

Children who wet themselves during the day characteristically feel the urge at the last minute and may suddenly demonstrate holding postures, such as the ‘curtsey’, using their heel to stop the flow of urine.

Around 3-4 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 12 struggle with enuresis, but it tends to be twice as common in girls (Lane and Robertson, 1997). Two-thirds of these children have both day and night time wetting. It is important to address their daytime wetting first.

First Steps

  • Keep a diary of fluid intake and volume of urine output for a few days using the chart below.
  • Take the child to the doctor to be assessed and rule out any urinary tract infection. Make sure to mention any pain on passing urine, poor urinary stream or continuous dribbling of urine. Constipation can also impact bladder function and it is important to rule this out.
  • Contact your local continence advisor. See our Continence Service Providers section to find an advisor in your area.
  • If your child is school-aged contact the Public Health Nurse affiliated with the school for support.


  • Ensure the child drinks well during the day. The recommendation for children is 6-8 glasses of water or water-based cordial evenly spaced throughout the day (including 3-4 glasses while at school).
  • DRINKING LESS DOES NOT HELP as the bladder fills more slowly therefore making it harder for a child to recognise a full bladder. Limiting fluid intake also reduces bladder capacity, causing the urine to be more concentrated which can irritate the bladder wall.
  • Once the child is drinking more, encourage them to pass urine at regular intervals (2.5 – 3 hourly) throughout the day. ‘Timed Toileting’ or bladder retraining may be helpful to support this.
  • If they are at school it is important to communicate with the child’s teacher about management during school hours.
  • If using rewards/incentives these need to be for something they have control over e.g. drinking well, using the toilet. Reward them for sitting on the toilet regardless of the result, as they will not be able to achieve dry pants initially.
  • Encourage them to take time to empty their bladder. Children whose legs don’t reach the floor will be able to relax the pelvic floor more effectively if they have a low stool for their feet. Ideally, boys should stand on a low stool (if needed), make sure their pants are down properly and point the penis downwards into the toilet.
  • Double voiding can be useful. The child passes urine then counts to 10 or 20 and tries to empty their bladder again.

Further Management

A urine test and ultrasound are usually the only investigations most children will need.

Urinary tract infections can cause frequency (going to the toilet a lot), and urgency (needing to go urgently). Any child who has a urine infection should be seen by a doctor.

Antibiotics are used to treat urinary tract infections and can reduce related bladder instability.

Bladder Retraining

This is used to expand bladder capacity and is a technique used once continence is achieved. This involves the child holding on for a set number of minutes after feeling the urge to go.

Timed Toileting

Timed toileting is a symptom-relief technique whereby the child goes to the toilet at regular times. This is used to manage their wetting, while other components of the management plan are put in place.

Fluid Balance Chart














































































Lane, M and Robertson, MD “Diurnal Enuresis” Paediatrics in Review Vol 18(12) Dec 1997


New Zealand Continence Association KEEA - Kiwi Enuresis and Encopresis Association