Children who are working on potty-training may urinate as frequently as once an hour, but for most children using the bathroom more than once every two hours may indicate a problem. There are several common and treatable issues that cause a child to need to pee more often than normal. Consult your pediatrician if you're concerned your child may be experiencing one of these issues.
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are common in children. About 8 percent of girls and 1 to 2 percent of boys will have one by the age of 5. A UTI is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract, which includes the bladder. In babies and toddlers, the symptoms may be a fever or vomiting. A child who is preschool-age or older and has a UTI may feel like she needs to urinate frequently. She may use the bathroom often but will probably only produce a small amount. She may also complain of burning when she goes to the bathroom, wet the bed at night or have a fever. You can help prevent a UTI by teaching children how to properly clean themselves after using the bathroom. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics that will usually clear up the infection in two to three days.
Type 1 Diabetes
About 13,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. This disease occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin, which is a hormone that helps the body break down glucose in the bloodstream. Children who develop type 1 diabetes may urinate frequently, lose weight, start wetting the bed or be abnormally tired or thirsty. There's no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled with a healthy diet that is not too high in sugar. Children will also need to check their blood sugar level a few times a day by running a drop of blood through a small machine, and will need to get insulin injections frequently. Working closely with the child's doctor is also very important to manage the disease.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed. It most often occurs in children between the ages of 11 and 20, and is not very common in small children. Symptoms include severe belly pain, nausea, fever, diarrhea and frequent urination. The most likely symptoms for children under 2 years old are vomiting and a swollen abdomen. Appendicitis is very serious. If the appendix isn't surgically removed within 24 to 72 hours of symptoms starting, it can burst and spread infection throughout the body, but the child should recover completely after the appendix is removed.
Overactive bladder is a sort of blanket term for a variety of issues that causes frequent urination. A child may have bladder muscles that haven't fully developed and have spasms, causing the need to urinate often. She may also be stressed or anxious about something; for example, the start of a new school year or fighting between her parents. She may also be allergic to something in her diet, or be consuming caffeine. Many children with an overactive bladder will outgrow the problem by age 5. If not, a doctor may prescribe medication or exercises the child can do to strengthen the bladder muscles.