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Going to the bathroom at school often takes the top spot on kids' list of anxieties, and for good reason: Young children still don't have total control of their bladder. "At age 5, 15 percent of kids are still at risk of having daytime wetting accidents," says Chris Cooper, MD, director of pediatric urology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Your child may have bladder signals that come on suddenly (so he'll have to dash to the bathroom ASAP), or he may not recognize the early warning signs that he has to go. Plus, kids this age tend to get so absorbed in an activity that they'll wait until the last minute to pee.
Teachers will schedule bathroom breaks, but reassure your child that he can ask to go anytime. "By kindergarten, kids have the bladder capacity to last only three to five hours, so they should be going at least twice during the day," says Dr. Cooper. It's especially important to remind your child to go about an hour after lunch, since most accidents occur between 2 and 5 p.m. Explain that even if he does have an accident, the teacher will help -- and that he shouldn't worry, since it happens to lots of kids.
You can help make your child's bathroom trips easier by ensuring that he can undo his buttons and snaps. Even though your child may look adorable in overalls, he probably can't get them off very quickly. Tights are another big challenge for little girls, so try swapping them for leggings until she gets the hang of quick pull-downs.
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