– Why as adults do our bodies wake us up to tell us to use the restroom, but not as toddlers or younger kids?


– Why as adults do our bodies wake us up to tell us to use the restroom, but not as toddlers or younger kids?

In: Biology

No expert here but I wanna say experience. We dont REALLY stop feeling when we sleep, so chances are that our subconscious realises the Peeing feeling and engages the “Wake Up” process to prevent the emotional turmoil wetting the bed brings. Basically we have the experience of the Negative emotions tied to it so it jumps us awake to avoid those emotions.

It’s mostly neurological development, as well as learned muscle memory.

There are two reflex arc that govern urination. The micturation reflex, and the guarding reflex.

The micturation reflex is a subconscious reflex that we’re born with. Your bladder wall has stretch receptors in it. As the bladder fills, the receptors at activated, and trigger two sets of neurons to fire. One set stimulates the bladder to contract, the other sends an inhibitor signal to the rhabdosphincter, telling it to relax. It also causes a collateral signal to be sent to the brain, to alert us as the bladder is filling. When the bladder is sufficiently full, this reflex kicks in, and attempts to empty the bladder.

This works in opposition to the guarding reflex. The guarding reflex maintains increased tone in the rhabdosphincter, and pelvic floor, when voluntary urination is not desired. This reflex is essentially absent during fetal development, and rapidly begins developing around birth.

Both of these reflexes can be overridden, to a degree, as our brains and muscles mature, and with practice. As we get better at it, our brain even learns to do it subconsciously. Eventually, most people even learn to do it in their sleep. Just as we learn as children how to differentiate pain from hunger or thirst, we learn the sensation for bladder urgency, and your subconscious taps the arousal neurons of the reticular activating center (part of the brain stem) to wakes you up when the urge is strong.