Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Firstly, it is important to separate your daughter’s daytime wetting from her nighttime wetting. Nighttime wetting is largely unconscious and uncontrolled as it happens when children are asleep. Nighttime wetting is reasonably common and considered to be developmentally normal up to the age of 6 or 7 years of age, with at least 1 in 5 children your daughter’s age continuing to wet at night on a regular basis. Daytime wetting is quite different. While it is not unusual for young children to experience the occasional accident for months (sometimes years) after being toilet trained, what you describe here appears to be more frequent. In order to know how to best support her we need to think about what may be causing this behaviour. Constipation can contribute to children’s daytime wetting so it is very important that you get this ruled out first by making an appointment with your GP. Young children are easily distracted and can find it difficult to tear them self away from a game or favourite toy in order to make it to the toilet in time. If you think this may be the cause it is important to remind her that whatever she is doing will still be there when she returns – and in fact wetting her pants will only result in her being away from the game even longer. For some children daytime wetting is a matter of control – this is often the case where there are lots of changes occurring in children’s lives. In these cases it is important that we transfer the control back to the child so that they feel it is their decision to use the toilet. While the use of rewards and incentives are useful in the early stages of toilet training, you need to try and encourage self-motivation and a desire to achieve. You can do this by discussing with your daughter the many benefits of being dry. Some children regress back to wetting their pants at times of stress. Common childhood stressors include the birth of a sibling, starting a new preschool, bullying or friendship difficulties. If you think stress may be contributing to her daytime accidents then the best approach is to spend calm, relaxed time with her, help her to verbalise any fears or concerns. Try to involve her in situations where she can succeed. If stress is a contributing factor, then once she feels secure her wetting should subside. All the best! Regards, Dr Cathrine