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Ask Dr. Matt: A guide for happy peeing

click to enlarge Matt Thompson is a pediatrician at Spokane’s Kids Clinic.
  • Matt Thompson is a pediatrician at Spokane’s Kids Clinic.

Let's talk about peeing. For boys, good voiding technique just has a few variables relating to handedness, fly management, aim and toilet-seat stewardship. For girls it's a bit more involved. This article is for all the ladies.

The goal is to empty the bladder, completely and at will — no sooner. This sounds easier to a guy than it is. First of all, girls need to stay well hydrated, so the urine is nice and dilute as it passes through the delicate tissues. Good hydration means it will be necessary to empty the bladder more often, and this is a good thing. Please, let's encourage our daughters to not wait for the urge to go to go, but to stay ahead of the call. Too often we see little girls doing the potty dance (also known as Vincent's curtsy — for those who are fans of micturition trivia), alerting onlookers to their need to go. It helps if parents and teachers can encourage girls to use the potty at least every two hours.

Next, upon arriving at the potty, girls should pull their pants all the way down and take one leg out of the undies (pants, tights, jodhpurs — whatever one is wearing). This is important, so that they can spread their legs. They also need to have their feet well supported. If they are on tiptoes, their abdominal muscles are tightened, like sitting on an exercise ball. So you may need two stools to support the feet, so that the legs remain spread and the abdominal muscles are relaxed, or the modern miracle "The Squatty Potty." (I'm serious; check it out online and in stores.) When they think they're done, they should stand up and sit back down again. This is called double voiding, and it eliminates the few more drips that would otherwise end up in the undies, with potential for irritating the labia.

A few other tips: Wipe front to back, of course, but gently! They're not scrubbing grout, after all. No bubble baths until they are in their 80s. If they do get a bit irritated, add a tablespoon of baking soda to warm bath water for a soak that should simmer things down. Waterproof the area as needed, with something like Vaseline if irritation is common.

If accidents start occurring — day or night— when they weren't previously, or a girl is experiencing pain or increased frequency with urination, it's time for an office visit to make sure there are no complications, like a bladder infection or constipation.

Happy peeing! ♦


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