The evidence base

At ERIC, we strive for all our information, tools and resources to be clear, up-to-date and reliable. It’s very important that the health information we provide for anyone caring for a child with a continence condition is accurate and evidence based.

We also use research evidence to inform decision-making and enable better health, care and wellbeing for children and young people affected by bladder and bowel problems.

The following are references for the key pieces of research, recommendations and studies that have informed our resources and messaging grouped by condition:


Neither waking nor lifting children and young people with bedwetting, at regular times or randomly, will promote long‑term dryness. Waking of children and young people by parents or carers, either at regular times or randomly, should be used only as a practical measure in the short‑term management of bedwetting. NICE Guidance: Bedwetting in under 19s 

Further links to research publications can be found on this page of the World Bedwetting Week website.

Constipation and Faecal Incontinence (soiling)

Randomised controlled trials (RCT) indicate that increasing fibre is not an effective treatment for constipation in children. Hard stools can precede and predict later fibre intake. Genetic inheritance explains most childhood constipation. Challenging the view that lack of fibre causes childhood constipation. 

Bladder conditions and urinary incontinence

Children who wet themselves both during the day and at night are more likely to have bladder and bowel problems in adolescence if left untreated. Trajectories of urinary incontinence in childhood and bladder and bowel symptoms in adolescence: prospective cohort study.

Toilet training and health outcomes

There is evidence that initiating toilet training after 24 months is associated with problems attaining and maintaining bladder control. It is possible that delaying the onset of toilet training until after 2 years prolongs the exposure time to potential stressors that could interfere with the acquisition of bladder control, resulting in delays in achieving continence and susceptibility to relapses in daytime wetting. A prospective study of age at initiation of toilet training and subsequent daytime bladder control in school-age children.

Download an Annotated Bibliography for a full list of references collated by Rebecca Mottram, Children's Research Nurse and ERIC's Potty Training Expert.

Psychological impact of continence conditions

Incontinence in young people is challenging to manage. Young people may need to try a range of treatments before their symptoms improve. Due to challenges in treatment, there is an increased risk of poor adherence. 'What does that mean?': a qualitative exploration of the primary and secondary clinical care experiences of young people with continence problems in the UK.

Key organisations we link with for research

On this page...

    Upcoming events

    Share this page