Should I use incontinence pads?

Daughter is 7, and has never been consistently dry. She went through a soiling phase a couple of years ago, we didn't think she was impacted but we did the whole movicol thing which made things much worse! We now have that under control by sitting her on the loo for 20 mins after breakfast and tea and she nearly always poos after breakfast and then doesn't soil.

The wetness though.... She has been dry at night for years. She can go all day without an accident, in fact has once gone a full week. Other times she will have complete bladder emptying. Other times she will leak small amounts. She will sometimes go to the loo by herself, but if not told to go would just not. There is no point in asking ' do you need a wee?' as the answer is always 'no' but she will wet a few minutes later. She claims to be dry all day at school, but I don't think it is the case. She is sometimes very wet when we get home and has clearly just wet herself on the way or as we get in and although she is sometimes dry when we get in her clothes smell of wee so she has obviously wet herself earlier in the day and dried out. She always has clean things to change into, but she never tells anyone and never just goes and changes herself, so unless she has wee'd enough for it to go through her school skirt no-one notices.

It is that that bothers me more than anything. If she would either say she had wet herself or even just go and sort herself out i could relax a bit but I get so frustrated at finding her sitting around in wet things and leaving patches on the furniture. I also hate complete strangers coming up to me in play centres and supermarkets and pointing out her wet leggings to me.

I have recently started using incontinence pads. We have got nowhere with the continence clinic (I think they have shared in reward charts). I think she needs a psychologist but the GP says she can't access one as she is 'fine otherwise' and we 'haven't reached that point'. I don't know if I am doing the right thing though. I thought it would take the pressure off a bit, but I have seen her squatting down and looking like she is weeing in her pad on purpose. I don't know whether to back off, or whether to take control a bit more like sending her to the loo every 2 hours and checking whether her pad needs changing for her (we did have a wobl watch but she ignores it).

I have lost my temper with her a few times recently because I find know what to do to help her. I actually don't think she even wants my help. Maybe I should leave her to it, but I was bullied badly at school and I'm paranoid the same will happen toher. She doesn't have many friends as it is and it makes her sad that she doesn't get asked on playdates.


7 Replies

I can't really help as my son has poo issues rather than wetting but want to say hi. Do/Can school send her to the loo every few hours to sit or for her to change the pad so there's a routine? Have you got a school nurse you can speak too? There are many parents on here with similar situations that will have better suggestions but I feel that you GP should listen to you better. I do believe we are fobbed off too quickly as I feel Incontinence effects the whole family not just the child.

As for bullying I have the same anxiousness for my son but with the help of the school I am managing to move through my fears as they are very supportive to our needs for regular checks and change times. Do you think her school can help out more?


Oh that sounds so familiar! Wish I had the magic answer but sadly I don't. The old "Reward chart answer" is so annoying - all I found was that my daughter just started hiding things which was 100 times worse!! She does seem to be better at school than at home and school have been really good in making sure she goes at every break and she is also allowed to go during class if she asks. She's in year 3 so strictly should wait until break. Definitely worth talking to school to see if they will help get a routine.

With that in mind we've also started using a vibrating watch at home set to go off every two hours and I am actually rewarding her for going when it goes off and for changing at that point if she's damp to try and get the right behaviour (ie at least dealing with accidents even if it's not stopping them) but I'm specifically not tying the reward to being dry. Seems to be working at least in managing the smell for now which was my biggest worry with regard to the other kids. In my head, if I can at least get her to recognise that she's had an accident then that's step one towards then trying to stop them!

We also have night time accidents and I've recently gone back to using pullups as I just couldn't take the continuous washing any more but like you am worrying that I've now given her the excuse to not bother anymore. Not sure there is a right or wrong answer to this!

Sorry, am now rambling but hope something in here gives you some ideas, or if nothing else, helps by knowing that you aren't alone! It's the worst feeling in the world as a mum not to be able to just "make it go away".....but keep trying, it's all we can do!

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My daughter is also 7, and we've been through years of withholding, soiling, wetting etc! With the wetting, she would often ignore / deny the more minor accidents and was usually very smelly by the end of the school day! Also got very sore (chafed thighs!) from running around wet. Would also say she doesn't need a wee and then 2 minutes later be bursting. I found that she would appear to not really care but was actually deeply troubled by it - the casual, don't care attitude is self defence. The child doesn't know how to cope, so simply pretends it isn't happening.

Anyway, two answers for us. One was speaking to the school about management of the accidents. It is only a small school and they were helpful. She was given access to the disabled loo for changing which was ideal as actually there are no disabled children in the school so it was basically a private loo! But she wouldn't go there - it's in the part of the school where the offices are rather than the classroom bit. The key thing was when the head teacher got involved and actually took the child to show her the toilet, and promise her that none of the teachers would ever question her if they saw her running down that corridor. She also has free access to the toilet at any time - she doesn't need to ask permission. So she can slip out discreetly from class or the playground at any time without drawing attention to herself and go and sort herself out. It didn't solve the wetting, but she keeps herself clean and dry now and feels very supported by her class teacher and the head teacher which has really helped her self confidence and she says that she doesn't feel alone with her problem any more. So I would say, approach the school and ask for help / support.

Actually solving the wetting is more complex, as you know! We (finally) got a referral to paediatrician and spent another year messing around with Movicol etc - they won't even look at bladder issues if there's a hint of bowel involvement. Finally had some bladder investigations and diagnosed with irritable bladder. This means that actually the child may well not need the loo and two minutes later not be able to hold on, because the bladder gets a sudden urge to empty even though its not full (so sometimes little wets, sometimes big). Also a suggestion of giggle incontinence which is a bit different, but I'm not sure she actually has that. She was prescribed oxybutynin a few weeks ago, and 1 tablet a day had no effect. But we have upped it to 2, and she has now had 3 days dry at school in a row - better than for a long time. So I'm optimistic at the moment that we might be on the way to controlling the wetting.


A bit of feedback.... it's only been 10 days but interestingly I think there have been very few accidents since daughter started wearing the pads (I cannot be sure as the pads absorb small leaks completely). Only one large wet in a week. I don't know if it is because she can feel the pad so is more conscious of her body?

I am a lot more relaxed- i am not checking up on her so much, or sending her for a wee so often.

Early days but I think it might not have been an awful idea.


That's great news! Can I ask which type of pads you are using? I've thought about them for long journeys but never really found any that don't look so cumbersome and uncomfortable.


Dry like me. They seem to fit pretty well and aren't too bulky. It leaked badly when she had a big wee in one, but they are pretty absorbent for smaller leaks.


Thanks. Might give them a go!


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