COVID-19: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Living Well > Health Library > Daytime Accidental Wetting (Diurnal Enuresis)
Daytime accidental wetting (diurnal enuresis) may be a normal part of a child's growth and development, or it may be caused by a medical condition or by stress.
Daytime accidental wetting is more likely than bed-wetting to develop after a child has had bladder control for at least 6 months to 1 year (secondary diurnal enuresis). If daytime wetting is caused by a medical condition, such as an infection or a defect in the urinary tract, then treating the condition will usually stop the wetting. If it's caused by emotional stress, such as the birth of a new sibling, then the wetting often stops after the stress is addressed and managed.
Daytime accidental wetting is much less common than bed-wetting. But about 1 out of 4 children who wet the bed at night also wet during the day.footnote 1
Daytime accidental wetting (diurnal enuresis) is common in younger children. Children may become so involved in play that they forget to go to the bathroom. Also, they may hold on to urine too long. These children:
Some children have accidental daytime wetting because they try to hold their urine too long. To keep from wetting themselves, children may:
If a child has accidental wetting during the day, it can affect his or her performance in school or friendships. The child may be afraid of wetting at school or on outings. He or she may also be afraid of being teased by friends. Treatment can help the child lead a more normal life and have higher self-esteem.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
If you take your child to the doctor for help with the child's accidental wetting, a medical history and physical exam will be done to discover if the wetting is a symptom of a medical condition. The doctor will ask you and your child questions about the wetting, such as when and how often it happens.
As part of the physical exam, the doctor will examine the child's abdomen, rectum, spine, and genital area and may watch the child urinate. Depending on the results of the physical exam, the doctor may do other tests, such as:
If a child has both daytime and nighttime accidental wetting, the doctor may treat daytime wetting first, because children normally gain daytime control over their bladders sooner than nighttime control. Accidental daytime or nighttime wetting may increase after treatment is stopped. "
If daytime wetting is caused by a medical condition, then treating the medical problem may cause the daytime wetting to stop.
Treatment for daytime wetting that is not caused by another medical condition may include:
Oxybutynin (such as Ditropan or Oxytrol) may be used to treat daytime wetting in children and adults. It helps control the bladder muscle that releases urine.
If the child has daytime wetting that is caused by birth defects within the urinary system, surgery to correct the defect may be needed. But sometimes the surgery does not make the accidental wetting stop.
Sessions with a counselor may be helpful for the child who has accidental wetting that is caused by emotional stress. Counseling may involve psychotherapy or hypnosis (hypnotherapy). The goal is to reduce or help manage the stress or to prevent stress.
If your child delays going to the bathroom until he or she loses control and wets, there are some things you can try.
Elder JS (2011). Voiding dysfunction. In RM Kleigman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 1847–1852. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Current as of:
September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Susan C. Kim MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.