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Staying hydrated

How much water should my child drink?

All children should aim to drink at least the following amounts of water or diluted squash, depending on their age:

  • up to 6 years old should aim for 1 litre of water
  • 7 to 11 year olds should aim for 1 and a half litres of water
  • 12 to 14 year olds should aim for 2 litres of water
  • 14 years and older should aim for 3 litres of water (including adults)

Remove all fizzy drinks, blackcurrant, orange juice and caffeine from your child’s diet. These drinks can affect the bladder causing more difficulties for children with continence issues.

Going to the toilet

Encourage your child to go to the toilet regularly throughout the day. Especially if you child holds in their wee or they are reluctant to go to the toilet. It can be helpful to go after mealtimes to establish a routine.

Make sure your child goes to the toilet an extra time before going to bed. It might be a good idea to go to the toilet after they have brushed their teeth, ready for bed.

All children and adults should use a footstool or step while sitting on the toilet to make sure your body is in a good position. This helps your bowels open more easily to completely empty the bowel and bladder.

It can be very difficult when your child is having issues with toileting. It is important to remain calm and encourage them, and focus on positive achievements.

Wee colour chart

This wee colour chart can help you check if your child is drinking enough throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Wee colour chart

Between colours 1 to 3, the wee is a good colour and indicates your child is well hydrated.

From 4 to 7 or even darker, your child is dehydrated and they need to drink more fluids.

Remember that your nose knows. A strong smell can be another sign of dehydration.

Be aware if you child is taking vitamin supplements or multivitamins, they can affect the colour of the wee for a few hours afterwards, making it bright yellow or discoloured. You may need to check your child’s hydration by other ways.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: CON11

Resource Type: Article

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