December 06, 2011,
C.M. asks from Beloit, WI on December 05, 2011
6 Year Old Is Peeing His Pants Quite Often
My son just had his 6th birthday last week. For the past few months, he's been having quite a few accidents. There was a time he was peeing his pants everyday. It got slightly better (only 1-2 times a week) and now it's getting bad again. He peed himself twice today at school and at his after school program. He claims that he doesn't want to stop playing or doing whatever he's doing because he doesn't want to lose whatever he's playing with or he doesn't want to stop playing in general. He's been having problems in school as well. I am thinking it's partly stress (it's not an infection - I did a test). But what do you do? I've put him in pull ups again because frankly, I'm sick of seeing him in wet pants and I'm sick of his stinky laundry basket (i've actually made him put is own dirty laundry in the washing machine) and now I feel I can't trust him at all. I'm ready to start carrying a diaper bag again for him. He's also getting rashes on his legs from running around in wet underwear. We've taken toys away, privileges away, time outs, yelling, not yelling. I'm at my wits end... suggestions?
E.B. answers from Beaumont on December 05, 2011
Please don't punish him. My son did that and I'm ashamed that I punished him too. Years later, I realized he just had a harder time than most. I found a device that fit in his underwear that would alert him at the first drop of moisture. It worked like a charm. I forgot the name of it but this device seems similar. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/bed-wetting-solutions-cure... Within 3 weeks we didn't need it anymore. Good luck!
3 moms found this helpful
L.H. answers from Abilene on December 05, 2011
This is a problem completely OUT of your control. This is HIS problem and you can't fix it. He is the only one who is in charge of whether he pees in his pants or not. I don't think having him wear pull ups is a great idea. I can identify with what you're thinking, but if there are no consequences to his choice and if you make it easier for him just to pee in his pants, why should he change? If he's able to tell you why he's doing it (doesn't want to stop playing) then he's conscience of the decision he's making. I know you're probably embarrassed (I would be too), but he needs to be embarrassed or have the right incentive before he's going to change.
My son had a similar deal except it was with poop. He would wait until he started before he would try to go as quickly as possible to the bathroom. I explained to him very calmly that the next time he didn't make it to the bathroom in time he would be doing his own laundry. I'm happy to do laundry for people in my home who are responsible about their habits, but not this. He had an "accident" and I told him I hated it, but he would now be doing his own laundry. I took the time to show him how to sort his clothes, pretreat his soiled clothes and made him responsible for all his clothes. I had him do it for a week. (He didn't know I was thinking about a short term). After a week I looked at him very seriously and said, do you think you are responsible enough now to go when you need to? He said yes and I told him good, I would resume doing his laundry however if there was another accident he would be doing it indefinitely. No more issues. We travel a lot and so I also told him he would be paying for his laundry to do it separately when we traveled out of his allowance.
Are the adults around him aware of his "accidents". If they are, I would ask them to assist you that if he has an accident they are to make him sit on the side lines doing nothing (or maybe homework) until it's time for him to be picked up. If you don't want to make him responsible for his laundry, maybe he has to take over a few of your chores because you have to go lie down after you wash his smelly under clothing. Somehow he has to develop the will to change. Until then it will be a battle you can't win.
Just wanted you to know you're not alone in this situation. By the way my son was the same age when he had issues as well.
Blessings to you!
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E.T. answers from Rochester on December 06, 2011
I would strongly recommend taking him to the doctor. Excessive urination and accidents can be a sign of juvenile diabetes. My best friend growing up was diagnosed at about the age of 6. One of my coworkers has a son who was diagnosed last year at the age of 6. Her first clue that something was wrong was when he started having accidents. Before you start punishing him, please make sure it isn't a medical cause that he can't control.
J.L. answers from Milwaukee on December 06, 2011
R.Y. answers from New York on December 05, 2011
Your son is not the only one (and my son's K teacher says that too). My son is 6 in February and we are having a similar problem. He frequently doesn't remember to go in school and now he is there for a full day. Last year was half days and I reminded him every day to go before leaving school and there were almost no problems. This year there have been several accidents (though not every day). I think it helped that I reminded him a lot to go at least once in the morning and at least once in the afternoon--he doesn't always remember but it is getting a bit better. I imagine if your son has a full day of school plus aftercare it is a long day for him (if you are working that is not likely to change). Is there anyone who can remind him during the day? So far both the preschool and K teachers were okay with just reminding my son to take a bathroom break. Also I noticed that when my son is tired or sick he struggles more. Maybe letting him get a bit more sleep would help (even 15 or 20 minutes more a night may make a difference).
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on December 06, 2011
I was not clear from your post whether this has always been a problem for him or whether he used to be dry but has more recently regressed. Therefore I will answer 2 ways.
If he has never been 100% dry, then he probably has some sensory issues that desensitize him to the need to pee and make it so that he doesn't really feel uncomfortable when he has wet pants.
If this is a recent regression, is it timed to him starting school (I assume K) this fall? A lot of kids do regress when there are new, big stresses in their lives.
In both cases, I really don't see punishment as the solution and obviously you have said the punishment isn't working. I suggest a two prong approach. First, set up a reward system. Don't worry, once he is in the habit of always going to the bathroom the reward system will be easy to transition out of. It is just to give him the needed boost/encouragement to choose bathroom over play. The reward can be food/treat based or it can be earning a special game time with you at the end of each day that he stays dry.
Second, talk with his teacher. Ask what the classroom policy is regarding bathroom breaks. Most K teachers have a set schedule of breaks where all the kids go at once so he should not feel he is missing any play time. Make sure the teacher says your son is taking advantage of those breaks. My son would just end up standing outside the bathroom and never going in to try. Bring the teacher up to speed on the problem and what you are trying to do.
A.C. answers from Madison on December 06, 2011
I agree with the poster that your son might have some sensory issues.
My daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder. She was the opposite--any little tinkle was cause for us to change her diaper. When she was in daycare, the daycare lady told us one day to send in extra clothes--my daughter had expressed an interest in learning how to use the potty. She was trained (at 3 years) in one week, and never had a potty accident (peeing).
Going number two was a different matter; my daughter had lots of issues with that, including ecopresis. Her reasoning was the same as your son's for not wanting to go to the bathroom; she didn't want to take the time to sit on the potty and go.
For my daughter, it took going out and buying the Poop book, which shows all the different types of animals and their poop. It took her just long enough to get through the book that she spent enough time on the potty to get the sensation going so that she'd void.
Another thing a poster brought up: yes, having issues with bathroom "oops" can have to do with the other system. My daughter's inability to poop/not wanting to also caused her to have an overactive bladder, because when the body's constipated, that puts extra pressure on the bladder, causing the person to feel like they have to go all the time. If that's the same issue with your son, then he's probably fed up with his body telling him all the time that he has to go potty when he's not ready or wants to go--so he just has accidents. Miralax works (my daughter was on it for years), but if you're looking for something more natural and that doesn't need a doctor visit, then try buying some CALM. You can find CALM at Whole Foods. It is magnesium powder that you put into water and drink. It comes in different flavors. The magnesium softly works on the elimination system so that you naturally and safely eliminate. You can use it indefinitely; it won't hurt the body. My daughter currently uses this when she hasn't gone for a couple days. I usually give it to her at bedtime, and it usually works the next day (or at least by day two).
At the age of 6 years, it might be time to find a good Childhood Specialist who can meet and talk with your son about why he doesn't want to go and work with him to subtly find ways to get him to go to the bathroom. For him, it might be a very real fear that if he goes to the bathroom, whatever game or toy he was playing with might be taken by another child--and he can't stand that (especially if he has any sensory issues at all, this would be a big, big issue/problem for him). A good Childhood Specialist can help him work through his fears, which should transfer over to improved bathroom hygiene.
N.R. answers from Des Moines on December 06, 2011
A six year old will NOT pee their pants, especially at school, unless there is a medical reason or emotional reason. Something serious is bothering him and ANY form of discipline is damaging his self esteem further. This is a very serious matter and you should have him tested by his physician right away and have him see a therapist for his emotional issues. If he is having emotional issues it is because something is NOT right at school or home.