Feeling frustrated with your child’s incontinence? It’s totally normal! No father revels in the activity of constantly changing wet sheets, or washing endless clothes due to pediatric incontinence, which refers to a child's lack of control over their urination or defecation. As parents, we all want to see our kids succeed, but while some children age out of bed wetting or incontinence, for others it's a journey. In this blog, we’ll give 6 self-care tips if you’re feeling stressed, and offer products that can make the problem a bit easier to deal with.
- Take A Breath!
When you’re dealing with a clean-up you may feel frustrated, which is completely understandable. However, you don’t want to share that feeling with your child, as it can end up harming them, exasperating their anxiety, and making the problem worse. When your child has an accident, stop, and use some breathing techniques to center yourself. An easy one is called box breathing, which is where you imagine drawing the lines of a box with your breath. To practice this, breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breath out for four, and hold for four. Doing this two or three times can give you the moment you need to check your emotions and avoid doing damage to your child’s psyche by shaming them.
- Know When to Get Help
If your child is suffering from frequent nighttime bedwetting or daytime accidents, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better with time, you may need to visit the doctor. A primary healthcare provider or a specialist can rule out any underlying causes, and give you and your child peace of mind. If necessary, a doctor can provide a treatment plan which can include exercises to increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscle, voiding habits to practice before bedtime, and sometimes even prescribe medication.
- Always Have A Plan In Place
If you’re regularly feeling frustrated, it could be because you aren’t prepared enough. If you know this is an issue, you should plan accordingly, for some, that means waking up 20 minutes earlier to deal with wet sheets, for others it means always keeping an extra set of clothes at school or in the car in case of daytime accidents. A good rule of thumb is to keep a bag of supplies on hand with wipes, a change of clothes, leak-proof underwear or pull-ups, and plastic bags to put soiled clothes in. If you’re squeamish, throw in some plastic gloves and hand sanitizer, so you don’t feel like you have to run home just to wash your hands.
- Practice Healthy Habits
A great way to avoid getting stressed surrounding incontinence is by practicing healthy habits. Instead of waiting for your child to let you know that they need to go to the bathroom, set an alarm on your phone for every few hours, as well as after meals. If your child is a frequent bed-wetter, start to notice when the accidents occur and get ahead of it by setting an alarm for that time and waking them up. Hopefully, after a while, they’ll start to wake themselves up and use the restroom!
- Include Other Adults In The Conversation
One difficulty in dealing with incontinence is the stigma surrounding it, keeping many parents from getting the support they need. The truth is that many children deal with bedwetting and incontinence, and it's incredibly helpful for parents to share their struggles and get information on how others deal. For example, a parent may not know that although the inclination may limit drinks for the child, dehydration can actually make the problem worse, as it can put additional stress on the bladder.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Use Toilet Training Underwear
Sometimes, our schedules don’t allow for accidents, and in these times it is more than ok to use potty training underwear, particularly when dads are already feeling frustrated. While you do want to practice healthy habits, having “backup” products such as those that Tony and Ava offer can keep everyone feeling calm, which is essential to the learning process. Tony and Ava design products for children of all ages with a variety of absorption levels such as their leak-proof, waterproof training underwear. The products are made with flex-stretch fabric that’s comfortable for the child and keeps them dry while masking any unpleasant smells.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for incontinence, it’s a journey. However, using these self-care tips, along with the products like wipes, clothes, and kid or toddler potty training underwear can help dads keep their cool and practice self-care for stress management.