John's Story - An artificial urinary sphincter changed my life

In 2010, John Deady was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The cancerous cells were unable to be fully removed via operation, so he underwent radiation four times a week over eight weeks. However, a subsequent PSMA PET* scan showed there were still some cancerous cells present. This was treated by five doses of targeted radiation. Later when John’s prostate specific antigen (PSA) increased, he received twenty more doses of radiation. The radiation John received brought on urinary incontinence.

Providing a Light at the End of the Tunnel - Dr Michael Whishaw

"Nocturia is more common as you age, but it is not always an issue with the bladder, it may be related to sleep issues, kidney issues, fluid intake or even respiratory issues. The majority of older people who get up at night make more urine at night than is normal. To wake once in the night is common, twice or more is worth investigating.”


Ray's story - Managing incontinence after an accident

In May 1999, on the night of his 50th birthday, Ray was involved in a serious car accident. He suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs, but his most

Faecal Incontinence by Dr Rosemary Crone

Dr Rosemary Crone is a geriatrician who specialises in continence. She works at Barwon Health in the community continence clinic based at the McKellar site, comprising a sub-acute rehabilitation area, community clinics and residential aged care facilities (RACF). For Dr.

Council on the Aged (COTA) Victoria

Sadly, older people often experience ageism, which can result in them being viewed as a homogenous group by policymakers who make decisions on
funding, support services and legislation. In some settings, our rights and opinions appear to matter less as we age.

Nicky Barry from the Council on the Aged (COTA) Victoria says she often assists people who are capable of making decisions and interacting with services independently but are not given the opportunity because of the way the system is set up.

Ann's Story - "A Bladder Augmentation Gave Me Freedom"

As a child, Ann developed an aversion to using the toilet, and instead attempted to hold her urine. Consequently, the muscular wall of her bladder thickened, and her bladder worked less effectively, making it harder for her to pass urine. Eventually, too much pressure in the bladder may overwhelm the urethral sphincter and cause the bladder to leak. Ann was repeatedly told her inability to hold urine was either psychological or because of bladder stones.

Debunking Myths about Older People and Incontinence by Dr Joan Ostaszkiewicz

Dr Joan Ostaszkiewicz, Director Aged Care Division, National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and Ms Elizabeth Watt, Senior Research Fellow, Aged Care Division, NARI

Continence Foundation Board Member and physiotherapist Dr Janet Chase was working at the Mercy Hospital for Women when her interest in women’s health increased.

As a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, I regularly see children and their families to help improve their continence issues. Most children are primary school age from around 5 -12 years old. Common issues include nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting), day wetting, urgency, giggle incontinence and faecal incontinence.

Levi’s parents learnt he was born with anorectal malformation (ARM) when he was two days old. Now, three years later, they are navigating toilet training and understanding if he has regular healthy bodily sensations. Levi was born in Echuca and airlifted out to another hospital three hours away. His parents were told via phone that Levi needed a stoma put in, because there was no connection between his bowel and his bottom.

Toilet Training Resources

The Continence Foundation of Australia has several resources available to help your child reach those important development milestones and gain greater toileting independence. All our resources are user friendly with pictures and easy to follow steps, providing a general guide for parents and caregivers. Download your free copies today.


Raven had two surgeries within the first seven months of life after being born with anorectal malformation (ARM). Her level of continence will not be known until it is time for toilet training.

Associate Professor Sebastian King is a paediatric surgeon whose specialty interest is children born with congenital bowel conditions such as anorectal malformation (ARM), and Hirschsprung’s disease. A/Prof King completed his PhD in slow transit constipation at the Royal Children’s Hospital, in Melbourne.

Although it is usual to begin toilet training between two and three years of age, like any developmental milestone, there can be tremendous variation, but commonly day training occurs before night. Try not to compare your child with other children (even their siblings!) and instead respond to their individual needs and personality. It is important to encourage children to respond to messages from their bladder and bowel - teaching them to ‘listen to their body’ and taking their time to use the toilet - no rushing, no straining.

“Incontinence is associated with older people; however, it affects so many children. It is important to talk about it and remove the stigma. Let’s learn to talk about incontinence like we now do periods.”

Loreto is a Clinical Nurse Consultant with thirty-six years’ experience in stomal, wound and continence care. She works with Associate Professor Sebastian King at the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service (CPRS) as a Stomal Therapist and has been instrumental in implementing new and innovative ideas into practice to improve the lives and outcomes of children. While working at Monash Hospital, Loreto and a colleague began using the ultrasonic-assisted wound debridement equipment for wounds.

Bronwyn Ford’s journey with pelvic organ prolapse has been emotional. She describes frustration, sadness, anger and disbelief but on the other side – acceptance, resilience and empowerment. 

As COVID-19 crept across our shores and lockdowns followed, a typical scenario was the panic buying seen in Australian supermarkets. Whilst toilet paper was in high demand, spare a thought for those who also had trouble accessing essential continence products. Living with incontinence is already challenging without the fear of not being able to access the right products, such as continence pads and pants.

Of all the changes a woman can face after giving birth, for Elicia O’Reilly, unexpected incontinence was the worst. After giving birth to a large overdue baby, Elicia was shocked when this happened to her and although a midwife explained that immediate post-partum incontinence was common after vaginal birth, it was something Elicia felt completely unprepared for.


Last Updated: Tue 19, Apr 2022
Last Reviewed: Tue 17, Mar 2020