Pediatric voiding dysfunction

What is Pediatric Voiding Dysfunction?

Pediatric voiding dysfunction in children occurs when the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) are not working together with the bladder and/or bowel, and the normal voiding or emptying reflexes are disrupted.

Children may develop a chronic abnormal pattern of elimination, which does not allow the bladder or bowel to empty completely.

Conditions Treated:


Abdominal discomfort

Nighttime bedwetting

Daytime urinary leakage

Bowel leakage

Dribbling after emptying

Recurrent urinary tract infections

Incomplete bladder emptying

Children may have urinary leakage during the day or wake up wet in the morning or both.  Patients often experience embarrassment and avoid play dates with friends. Urinary and fecal leakage can also be uncomfortable.

If your child has experienced any of the above symptoms, a physician or specialist may recommend pelvic floor physical therapy with biofeedback to retrain the pelvic floor muscles.

How Can Physical Therapy Help my Child?

Physical therapy can provide the resources your family needs to help your child improve bladder and bowel function.

You and your child will learn about the relationship between the pelvic floor muscles and correct bowel and bladder function.

As part of therapy, your child will use biofeedback to learn to control the pelvic floor muscles.

Strengthening weak muscles and relaxing tense muscles will allow voiding and empty completely, and avoid urinary and/or bowel leakage.

You and your child will also learn:

Proper toileting position for optimal emptying

Fiber and fluid guidelines for ideal stool consistency

Use of timed voiding to train the bladder to maintain normal emptying schedule without leakage

The role of stress in bladder urgency and constipation

What to expect in Physical Therapy?

Expect help! 

Once we complete a thorough evaluation, a treatment plan will be developed and will include:

Education regarding normal muscle function

Education on normal bladder and bowel function and its relationship to the pelvic muscles

Initiation of a bowel and bladder home training program

Initiation of a home exercise program

Getting Started

Discuss your condition with your health care provider and ask for a referral.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 520-885-5125.

After you call to schedule your first appointment, a packet of information will be mailed to your home or emailed to you.

The packet will include a description of what to expect, as well as a patient history questionnaire to be completed prior to the first visit.

You will be asked to complete a bladder diary with your child for at least 3 days prior to the first appointment. The bladder diary is a record of amounts and types of food and fluid intake as well as voiding patterns. The bladder record is very helpful information to have completed before your first visit.

Children usually need to be seen 1 hour the first visit and then 1 time per week for approximately 30 minutes.

At the first visit we will discuss with you and your child the previously completed questionnaires, the bladder log and the medical history.

We will discuss the condition directly with you and your child as well.

A treatment program is established at the first visit with child/family education.

While each person has unique and different needs, you can expect to come to our clinic an average of 6 to 8 visits.

In addition to clinic visits, you will receive exercises and instructions that you can do in the privacy of your home.