Saturday, 16 January 2016

Bladder Control - Children Who Continue to Play in Wet Clothes

Some children wet their clothes and they continue to play in the wet clothes. This behaviour is a source of concern and frustration for parents. 

In most of these children, the wetting has become so pervasive in their life, that they accept this as the usual and "normal" situation. 

The wetting is not their fault. Children who are always wet and who play in their wet clothes do not have control over their wetting. When wetting is not the fault of the child and when the wetting is routine, the child accepts that wetting and wet clothes are inevitable and they carry on with their play activities.  

This behav
iour might be evident from the start of toilet training or might develop after daytime wetting is well established. 

When a parent discovers that their child is playing in wet clothes they usually either take the child to change or ask the child to change. When this becomes a regular event, the body language of the adult usually evolves from patient and and concerned to less and less patient and upset. Depending on the parent, the verbal language of the adult might become negative. Some parents eventually punish the child for this behaviour. I am careful to explain to these parents that the child has no control over the wetting and they should not be punished or blamed for this behaviour. 

To help the child and the parents with this problem, I explain that the child needs to learn to "value" dryness. When the parent notices wet clothes I ask them to insure that their body language is totally neutral. They should acknowledge the wetness and take the child to change into dry clothes. Next the parent should explain to the child the benefits of dry clothes in language the child can relate to. Dry clothes feel good. Dry clothes are clean. Then the parent should ask the child to advise them right away after wetting so that they can feel good and clean in the dry clothes. The parent should offer a reward for each and every time the child advises that they have wet their clothes. The reward needs to capture the attention of the child. If the language is neutral, the explanation consistent, and the reward attractive, the child will learn to value dryness and walking around in wet clothes will become less and less common. 

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