What You Need to Know About ADHD and Potty Training

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often struggle with impulsivity, focus, hyperactivity, and impaired motor function. These factors can impact pelvic floor and urinary tract health, leading to difficulties with potty training and other developmental milestones. Our pelvic health therapy experts have outlined the common links between ADHD and pelvic health-related issues.

Common Disorders

Due to impaired motor function, children with ADHD are prone to developing the following pelvic floor and urinary tract health issues:

  • Underactive/overactive bladder
  • Dysfunctional voiding (when urinating)
  • Primary bladder neck dysfunction

Underactive/Overactive Bladder

An underactive bladder (detrusor underactivity) means the bladder muscles are weak or don't contract enough to empty the bladder. This can result in symptoms such as difficulty in starting to urinate, a weak urine stream, or incomplete bladder emptying.

When bladder muscles contract too frequently or unexpectedly, our pediatric incontinence physical therapy specialists will treat patients for an overactive bladder. Common symptoms include the sudden need to urinate (urgency), leakage of urine (incontinence), and frequent urination (more than eight times a day).

Dysfunctional Voiding

Dysfunctional voiding involves problems with the coordination of muscles involved in urination. This can lead to daytime wetting, night wetting, a feeling that the bladder is always full, and straining to urinate.

Primary Bladder Neck Dysfunction

Primary bladder neck dysfunction is a condition where there is a problem with the muscular valve located at the base of the bladder, known as the bladder neck. This valve normally prevents urine from flowing back into the urethra. In primary bladder neck dysfunction, the valve does not function correctly, causing difficulty in emptying the bladder.

How Does ADHD Affect Potty Training?

Children with ADHD may have difficulty with impulse control and struggle to delay gratification, which are important skills for successful potty training. They may also have trouble recognizing the need to go to the bathroom, or they may struggle to sit still long enough to fully empty their bladder.

Since children with ADHD struggle with routine and consistency, they may struggle to follow a consistent bathroom schedule or remember to go to the bathroom at appropriate times.

Additionally, ADHD causes a heightened sensitivity to sensory input. Children with ADHD may find the sensory experience of using the bathroom uncomfortable or overwhelming, which will make potty training more challenging.

What Treatments Are Available?

Our team of pelvic health therapy experts at Peak Physical Therapy can provide a range of treatment options to help children with ADHD overcome their pelvic health and urinary tract disorders. Possible treatments may involve bladder muscle training, exercise, stretching, education, or behavioral modification techniques.

Consider Our Pelvic Health Therapy Treatments

If a child is diagnosed with ADHD and is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek the help of a healthcare professional. At Peak Physical Therapy, our physical therapist Braintree MA can provide the leading pelvic health therapy treatments. Our team will work with patients to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their unique needs. Visit our website today to learn more.

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