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  • Writer's picture Dr. Katherine Shephard, PT, DPT

Bedwetting in Children

Feel like you’ve exhausted all of your options? Worried this will never change?

I have good news: you’re not alone. And there’s hope.

Here is what’s going on:

Most often kiddos with bedwetting past a year of daytime dryness are dealing with constipation

When most people hear that word, they think of it in its simplest terms: infrequent bowel movements. In fact, constipation can have a lot of related symptoms most people don’t know about.

Constipation can look like many things:

  1. Extra large bowel movements

  2. Firm or hard stool

  3. Leaking/losing stool

  4. Bedwetting and urinary incontinence

  5. Recurrent UTIs

  6. Extremely frequent &/or urgent urges to void

  7. Decrease frequency of bowel movements

  8. Bowel movements >2x/day

  9. Abdominal discomfort/distention

  10. Skid marks or itchy anus

  11. Very loose stool

  12. Persistent difficulty with toilet training or refusal to make BM on toilet

  13. Irritability

  14. Difficulty with sleep

  15. Changes in mood/behavior

  16. Loss of appetite

Often, parents aren’t getting enough answers from pediatricians, even the most well-meaning ones. Many parents I’ve worked with are exasperated that the techniques they’ve been trying aren’t having an effect. They’re not finding success with cutting out fluids at night or asking their child to go one more time before bedtime. The vast majority have no idea that constipation is likely the driving force behind the wetting. Fortunately, once they’re armed with that information, they can begin to address the root causes—and finally see results.

Here’s what I recommend parents try:

  • Put a stool—like a squatty potty—in front of the toilet. Your child’s feet should be supported and knees higher than hips.

  • Encourage your child to drink more water.

  • Consider adding a fiber supplement to their daily diet (I like HyFiber liquid fiber).

  • Abdominal massage daily. This can be a nice way to wake up or an added part of the bedtime routine. Big, clockwise circles on the tummy help to stimulate a bowel movement.

And here’s a bonus: these techniques apply to adults dealing with constipation, too. Try it!

New Normal is here to support and guide parents looking for solutions to their kids’ bedwetting. Together, we can help you and your child get a good night’s sleep. Click the “Book” button to chat for free with a Discovery Call.

Katherine Shephard, PT, DPT is driven by a passion to help people rebuild their confidence, resume their lives, and reclaim their normal by improving pelvic floor health. 

Along with treating patients and running New Normal PT, she also mentors other pelvic health physical therapists and lectures at St. Catherine University in their doctor of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs.

Dr. Shephard treats adults and children of any gender with pelvic floor-related symptoms. With three littles at home, she can relate to parents and translate her care to work with their busy lives. New Normal PT offers both in-person and virtual care options for maximum convenience and flexibility.  


Katie Portrait

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