Help For Kids Going Back To School With Daytime Bladder Accidents

Help For Kids Going Back To School With Daytime Bladder Accidents

May 27, 2021

Kids around here have recently been able to get back to in person school. In many households, this was a cause for great celebration! It meant that COVID cases were finally going down, our kids could be around other kids and have in person teachers teaching them again!

But in some households, there was a different concern and fear that parents and children were going to have to navigate. How was their child going to manage when they had urine or stool leaks at school? Maybe they have been managing better at home when they can go to the bathroom anytime they want instead of asking for special permission from the teacher. Or they’ve been able to simply change their clothes when they have leakage at home. In person school presents itself with new unique challenges if your child still has leakage problems.

If this is not something your child struggles with, you may be thinking I must be talking about preschool. However, urine and stool leakage definitely happens to children in grade school, middle school and yes, even high school. Incidence of daytime urine leakage varies from 8 – 16% of grade school children and is still present in 2% of high school aged children.* I don’t want to bore you with a lot of math but there are around 56 million school aged children in the US right now. That means a LOT of families are trying to help their child navigate daytime urine leakage!

Multiple factors can contribute to daytime urine leakage. Sometimes children are really involved in their play and just don’t want to take the time to go. They wait until they literally can’t walk to the bathroom AND keep their bladder closed at the same time. Multi-tasking by your pelvic floor to walk and keep the urethra closed is hard!

Constipation can be so severe that the extra weight of the stored stool puts pressure put on the bladder. The weight of the stool irritates the bladder causing it to have strong spontaneous contractions that cause leakage. Think of it as a hiccup in your bladder. The pelvic floor isn’t strong enough to hold back the urine when these automatic contractions occur.

Finally, family history of urine leakage increases the chance of children leaking. We don’t really understand all of the genetic factors related to parents with urine leakage as kids, then having kids with urine leakage problems. But have you ever noticed how you stand just like your dad or uncle? Or that you walk just like your grandma or laugh like your mom? We inherit body types and movement pattern tendencies. This includes how we use our pelvic floor muscles. As I said, the pelvic floor is vital for controlling when and how we decide to void or not to void!

Pelvic floor physical therapy for children can be the missing component in helping your child overcome leakage! Learning how to use your pelvic floor is vital for bladder and bowel function. It’s important to know how to open your pelvic floor so you can empty your bladder as it is to close your muscles to not leak!

We specialize in understanding how to work with children and their families to navigate overcoming daytime urine and stool leakage. Families and parents are vital to helping children learn how to use their pelvic floors correctly. It takes a comprehensive team approach to make sure we understand why your child is having leakage so we can create a unique treatment plan.

In the meantime, here are some tips for heading back to in person school if your child is currently having daytime urine leakage:

1.   Get your school involved!

    • Schools can’t help with problems they don’t know about. You can work with the school nurse,  school counselor and your child’s teacher to set up a plan to help!

      2.   Put together a timed toileting schedule at school AND at home.

      • Kids NEED to go to the bathroom AT school! It is not good for anyone to hold urine or stool all day.

      • This might mean using a private bathroom at certain times of the day. It can also include timers, so kids are sitting long enough to actually give their body’s a chance to go.

        3.   Try to keep (or send) an extra pair of Identical pants to school – just in case.

        • Identical pants can help with embarrassment if they do have leakage during the day. Swap out identical bottoms and no one is the wiser!


If you have extra questions and want to chat about your child’s unique concerns, set up a free 20minute video consultation. We can set up an initial evaluation any time you are ready to find solutions for your child’s leakage.

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