Dr. Alan Viau

Yoga teacher, health scientist, dad & stage artist

When Kids Have to go Pee

Little kids always seem to need to pee when it is most inconvenient. However, most times it is our lack of planning that is at fault.

It was inevitable. I’d just bundled up my kids for them to play outdoors on a beautifully crisp and sunny winter day. “Go outside and play” I tell them. Like clockwork, they are back inside the house in fifteen minutes screaming they urgently need to pee. “But you just went out!” I’d exclaim in exasperation while unbundling them before an ‘accident’ happened.

Although the scientific explanation makes sense – it still doesn’t help with the frustration of the moment. Our bodies use the production of Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) in the pituitary gland to conserve the fluid volume of our bodies by reducing the amount of water passed out in the urine. When we produce less of it, we excrete more fluid. As a survival mechanism, when exposed to cold we produce less of it. Our bodies want to have less fluid to warm up in a cold environment. Within 15 minutes of exposure to temperature change, ADH levels fluctuation to help us adjust. And this is why after 15 minutes outdoors the kids are clamoring to get back inside to pee.

Sometimes it is our fault that causes the pee-crisis. Our lack of attention to our little kids’ bladders and lack of planning. I’ve learned two things in avoiding the pee-crisis.

Don’t believe themDisney World is very kids friendly. With our three kids, we enjoyed the various attractions despite the line ups. We were just about to enter an exhibit of film effects when the tour guide announced that there were NO bathrooms along the way. I turned to my kids asking if they needed to go. “No!” they affirmed. Silly me in trusting them. We were a third of the way through when my daughter urges, “I need to pee now!” I embarrassingly implored the tour guide for an exit. She rushed us through the exhibit so we could deal with the pee-crisis. The lesson is Don’t Believe Them – have them go before any crucial event.

Snowbirds over Parliament in Ottawa. July 1, 2008.

Snowbirds over Parliament in Ottawa. July 1, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have a container handy – You can see the pee-crisis on any highway. Cars are stopped on the side of the road so that little kids can relieve themselves (see rule above). From experience I can assert that it is easier for boys than girls.  Having a container can be really handy. We attended the 125th Canada Day Celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. We enjoyed a full day of events and were now into the evening concert. In  the middle of the Hill grounds, surrounded by 150,000 people, my younger son announces his need to pee. There was no way I was going off with him as I’d lose the rest of the family (this was in the BC era: Before Cellphones). Since it was dark, I took an empty can of soda and had him pee into it . Problem solved and we stayed to enjoy the fireworks.

Two great rules for kids. Of course, as I am marching towards becoming a senior – I’m thinking the same two rules may well apply to me!

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