Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

Main Phone Number800-342-9919   Online ChatOnline Chat
Nephrology & Hypertension

Voiding Dysfunction

What is it?

Voiding dysfunction (urinating problems) is a condition where the bladder does not empty completely. It is very common in children, and as a result, this can set the stage for urinary tract infections as well as daytime and nighttime wetting.

Want to know more? Learn about causes and treatments(PDF) and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Diagnosis & Procedures


Your doctor may want to learn more about your child's habits at home. Completing a Patient Voiding Diary(PDF) or answering some detailed questions can help us better understand your concerns.


  • Bladder Scan- Doctors may perform this scanning procedure to check how much urine is in a child’s bladder. This information will help show whether a child is emptying his/her bladder
  • Renal Ultrasound - A renal ultrasound aides doctors in understanding a child's kidneys, ureters and bladder conditions
  • Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG) - If a child has a history of urinary tract infections, this procedure checks for urine going backwards, up into the kidneys

Common Treatments / Suggestions:

  • The child should void (urinate) every 2-3 hours while awake
  • Timed Double Voiding (PDF) helps the child empty his/her bladder completely
  • The child should have 1-2 soft stools (bowel movements) per day

Constipation may make it difficult for a child to empty his/her bladder. Surprisingly, good bowel hygiene(PDF) is important for good kidney health.

Other Treatments / Medications:
  • A medication called Miralax(PDF) (also known as Polyethylene Glycol, Smoothlax) may help the child have softer stool (bowel movements)
  • Children eating foods with fiber will also help with constipation
It is also important for the child to drink lots of fluids.  Water is best. Check the color of the child’s urine to know whether he/she is drinking enough.  The child’s urine should look pale yellow or almost clear.