The bladder is a pear-shaped muscular sac, which stores urine it receives from the kidneys. When it has reached capacity, the bladder contracts and the urine flows out of the body via the urethra. The ability of the bladder to store urine means we can hold it in our bodies until it is convenient for us to release it.
Development in the Bladder
THE BLADDER IS A BIG MUSCLE, LET’S PUT IT TO GOOD USE
BLADDER CONTROL DEVELOPMENT
The development of bladder control is a crucial step in overcoming bedwetting nocturnal enuresis. Bladder control is achieved when your child can:
1. Recognise that they need to urinate
2. Hold their urine until they are seated on the toilet
3. Release urine
Night time bladder control is usually the last step in the development of both bladder and bowel control. This makes sense, as the child has to wake to the brain’s signal that their bladder is full and requires emptying.
WHEN WILL MY CHILD GAIN CONTROL OF THEIR BLADDER?
Each child will develop bladder control in their own time, but it commonly occurs between the ages of 18 and 30 months. Daytime bladder control comes before nighttime bladder control, with many children not achieving nighttime control until 4 or 5 years of age. If your child is older than this, don’t worry – it’s quite common for kids to struggle with night time bladder control up to the age of ten.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE BLADDER CONTROL
Muscle-strengthening exercises can help some children develop better bladder control. Feel free to try the following if your child agrees and feels comfortable with them.
- While your child is urinating, have them stop and start the flow up to five times. These exercises help your child recognise that they do have control over their bladders if they focus on it.
- Encourage your child to hold their urine for just an extra 10 to 15 minutes after the initial urge to urinate occurs. This will improve bladder control and increase bladder capacity.