28 answers

5 Year Old Constantly Wetting His Pants- I Cant Take It Any More!!!

I really hope someone here can help me!
My 5 year old boy is constantly wetting his pants. At least once a day but usually 2-3x. He also wets at night (but I am more concerned about tackling the daytime wetting first). This has been going on for at least 3 years- he was potty trained for about 6 months but we have been dealing with this since then. He has been checked by doctors at least 4 times now for this, but there are no urinary tract infecions, bladder abnormalities, extra urethra or anything else that they can find that would lead to this. the doc figures he may not be able to control the bladder muscles. he is on oxybutinin but it is not helping. We have tried reward systems, praise, punishment, constant reminding... I am at a loss as to what to do. I am so tired of the constant laundry and bathing, not to mention he is in kindergarten and i fear he wont have any friends due to this (he has wet 3 times at school and at least 6 on the bus so far. we do send him with extra clothes in case). this is causing problems too in the family as my huband thinks he is being lazy, so he is all for punishment... where I go back and forth and really dont know what to think. please help!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

it has been a while since I posted and boy, how things have changed. I think this is a good time for me to add on to the "what happened" section.
I finally took my boy to a pediatric urolgist. We has to drive down to Primary Childrens in SLC. With insurance, we didnt even have to pay anything for the apptmt!
The doctor put him on a voiding schedule, every 2 hours. We had to remind him every 2 hours to go to the bathroom, no matter what. We had a chart by the toilet so he could mark off each time he went. If he went at each appointed time that day, he got a treat. the doctor recommended a daily reward and suggested that at age 5-7, they are too young to be motivated by a long-term reward. She also recommended no punishment. If he had an accident, just remind him to change clothes is all.
This is a medical issue, in a nutshell the child has "held it" for so long and so many times that the bladder muscles bulk up. over time, the bladder wall may reach 2-3 times normal thicjness because of the enlarged muscle fibers. it now becomes dificult for the child to hold back such a powerful bladder. the voiding schedule not only helps avoid accidents and reminds them to take time out of their busy play schedule, but also helps relieve those bladder muscles so they can start getting back to a regular size.
We bought a 10.00 watch for my boy and taught him how to set the alarm for every 2 hours, also talked to his teacher so she knew he needed to be allowed bathroom breaks whenever needed, and i requested a classroom schedule and told him over and over at what times he needed to go to the bathroom each day. As a result, he rarely has accidents anymore. This changed from 3-4 accidents daily over the last few years to maybe 1 accident every 2-3 weeks. He still wets at night but I have been told this is a seperate issue and also that about 75% of the time once the daytime issue is resolved, the nightime accidents will go away in their own.

I should also add that the medications (oxybutinin) my pediatrician had him on apparantly do more harm than good in this particular situation. Oxybutinin is good for children who are experiencing "urgency" as it makes the bladder less sensitive, however this is NO GOOD if the problem is your child cannot actually feel when he or she needs to use the bathroom!

Featured Answers

Here are two options my pediatrician gave me about this issue after we ruled out infection:

Dry Time Clinic at Childrens Hospital ###-###-####

PEEP Clinic - Pediatric Effective Elimination Program Clinic ###-###-#### or www.peepclinic.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., My son had a similar problem. You are not alone. Just remember he won't go to college wetting his pants. I know this is a hard thing to deal with. I had to put my son back in pull-ups until he decided to use the toilet. I also made him do his own laundry. When he started pooping in the tub, I had him wash the tub. It really helped me. I hope these suggestions help you too.


More Answers

I know that this question was posted a while ago, but I have the exact problem with my 5 year old. Almost your same story. This helps me so much as I have had a rough day with this, and wondering what I can do for him. Thank you.

1 mom found this helpful

Here are two options my pediatrician gave me about this issue after we ruled out infection:

Dry Time Clinic at Childrens Hospital ###-###-####

PEEP Clinic - Pediatric Effective Elimination Program Clinic ###-###-#### or www.peepclinic.com

1 mom found this helpful

Please don't punish this boy -- he is humiliated enough by this problem! Doesn't anybody have compassion anymore?

Go directly to Children's Hospital, where they have a specific program for this problem. And for God's sake, put him in pull-ups so that he doesn't pee at school. Nobody will know.

My niece has had this problem -- also has a very unusual condition which might mean that she wears pads/etc. forever. You need to be prepared to accept such a possibility.

Counseling couldn't hurt. May I delicately suggest that IF your husband is hostile on other topics as well, the hostility could be contributing to this problem. Certainly he may not be, but it's a slam dunk source of the problem if he's one of those ANGRY people.


I'm not sure if this will help you, but my girlfriend had this problem with her daughter. She ended up getting some sort of monitor that went in her daughters panties that sounded an alarm when they got wet. Basically reminding her to head for the bathroom. With this (it was all medically supervised, but in CA, so I don't know who the Dr was), they did fluid challenges. Her daughter would drink a set amount of liquid, but then she would need to hold it for a set time to help her learn to control the muscles. The time would increase as her ability increased. I know it sounds funny, but it worked. It was a very large time investment on her part, but it sounds like you are already spending a lot of time on this. Maybe ask your ped about it? Good luck! J

My daughter just turned six and has several accidents a day. She too was potty trained (for over a year!) and then in the space of a week suddenly started having multiple accidents daily. We tried many things and what seems to (finally) be helping her is an increase in fiber. Apparently she is constipated, which causes the bladder to get squished and leak urine, and which if left untreated can take months to get entirely under control so that supplements are not neccessary. We got the Fiber Choice chewable tablets and give her one morning and night. We started with just giving her one in the morning and that helped a little, but it wasn't 'til we went to two a day that we really saw improvement. Now the problem is remembering to give them to her. Hope this helps.

I am going to recommend Holistic Chiropractic. It's not usually covered by insurance but it's really worth it. It is long term so expect 3 months of extensive visits and continuing follow up care. I am participating myself even though I was really really skeptical. I can't believe what a difference it's made. My chronic sleep problems have compeletly disappeared and my asthma is getting better. My sister turned me onto it when they used it for her son's bedwetting problem.

Hi A.,
I have an son who is almost 12 and is still having problems during the day and night. His dr. recommended that we have him on a timer. Every hour or so his timer goes off and that reminds him that he needs to go to the bathroom. The dr. thinks that when he has done this for awhile it will become habit and then we can stop the timing. I haven't tried it yet but I hope it will work.
Just thought I would share this with you.


p.s. Punishment does not work! trust me I've been there done that!! I do agree that you can have him pull is bedding off and make his bed when he does have an accident, that will teach him to clean up after himself.

Andrea, I pray that you and your husband would not punish him anymore. I know that this your choice because he is your son but I have had two children; a girl and a boy that have had this problem and I have a friend that has a son that did this way into his teens and punishment is not the answer. With my daughter the issue was that her bladder was smaller and it could not hold all that she was drinking and unless I reminded her to go to the bathroom every two seconds she would often have problems either wetting herself at night or during the day "leaking" just a little bit out. I would get very frustrated beacuse as she went into middle school I was worried that the other kids would smell her and tease her. I believe her bladder is catching up with her now because the accidents are slowing down. My son was a very big kid for his age and had some sensory things and he just did not feel when he needed to go as quickly as me or you would and his accidents were all at night. He also grew out of this problem actually a little earlier then my daughter did. I know this can be very difficult and embarrassing, just remember that if you are embarrassed just think of how much more so your son probably is. Do not look at ihs reponse, my daughter acted as if she did not care but I could tell she did. It takes time and patience, may be letting your husband read some of the reponses you agree with will help him better understand. And if there are any ladies out there that have not responded that have a husband that was caring and understanding and had to go through this situation may be one of you could get your husband to write how he dealt with it so it could help Andrea's husband get a male perspective (just a thought)I am single so I cannot offer that help. One thing I did do with my kids is have them strip themselves down and the beds and wash the sheets themselves each time this happens. You can of course help with a younger child. This is as far as you should go; no yelling , no hitting, no demening, and absolutely do not say anything in front of your other kids, or anyone else. Help him clean up and that is the end of it. If it is for attention (which it does not sound like but I am not a doctor) then even negative attention will feed the problem. With the school you can talk to the teacher if you have not alredy have, and also the school nurse. Take extra clothes and leave them in the clinic along with wipes so he can clean the urine off of himself and have fresh underclothes and pants. I have found the school nurses (I hope they have these hear in Colorado schools) to be very open and helpful in how to handle this situation. You would be surprised at how many people have kids who do this. I hope I helped some. If you just need encouragement one day because you feel frustrated and overwhelmed and upset about the issue please feel free to send a message to me and we can just vent it out together:) A.

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