Good fluid intake helps increase bladder capacity, and helps children understand the sensation of a full bladder and to develop day and night bladder control.
Why are healthy drinking habits important for potty training?
Good fluid intake can help your child master potty training easier and quicker and can also reduce the likelihood of developing complications such as constipation and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
In a study carried out in 2009, (NICE, 2010a;Van Laecke et al, 2009) it was reported that good fluid intake helps increase bladder capacity, and helps children understand the sensation of a full bladder and to develop day and night bladder control. Furthermore, there is a clear and established link between inadequate fluid intake and bladder and bowel problems such as constipation. (Nursing Times 09.10.12)
It is therefore vital to ensure your toddler is well hydrated.
Good drinking habits are developed in toddler age children, therefore it is important to teach these good habits from a young age.
How much should children drink each day?
Drinking sufficient fluids each day is particularly important for toddlers as they have immature thirst mechanisms, relatively high fluid loss (due to a large surface area to body mass ratio) and high activity levels. (Kaushik et al, 2007). In addition, they are more susceptible to dehydration due to less developed sweating and kidney functions.
Children won’t feel thirsty until 1% – 2% loss of body mass has been reached and the kidneys have started to concentrate urine. (Kaushik et al, 2007) It is therefore important to try to avoid your child getting to the stage of being thirsty.
The British Nutrition foundation recommend that toddlers drink 6 – 8 cups of fluid equating to 1 litre each day.
What should my toddler be drinking?
Unsurprisingly, water is the top recommendation from health professionals and should be the main drink consumed each day, and the drink of choice between meals. Milk is also a good choice as it’s relatively low in sugar and provides important nutrients for children.
Smoothies and juices can be a great way to get children to increase your child’s vitamin and mineral levels and can provide fibre. These drinks should however be limited to 150ml per day as they contain high levels of sugar in the form of fructose and they can also be quite acidic. It is also recommended that these are consumed at mealtimes to reduce impact on teeth. Diluting all juices with water is a good way to decrease sugar intake.
Fizzy drinks are not generally recommended due to their sugar content and the fact that they can encourage your child to develop a sweet tooth, however if you do wish to give children fizzy drinks it’s best to serve them at mealtimes.