21 answers

Daughter Refuses to Pee

My 4 year old refuses to "let go" of her urine. I have been trying to potty train her for the past year and have found it very difficult. 2 days ago I put her in "big girl" underwear and have gotten rid of all the diapers. She knows exactly what to do. She will even sit on the toilet for 30 min. but will not let go of her urine and will not soil herself. I would be more than happy to clean soiled underwear if she would only go! After about 12 hours she will finally run to me screaming that she has to go and will finally go in the toilet. Yes, we have a very big celebration, I even play the harmonica! But then the wait begins again. She doesn't even pee when she sleeps.

My biggest concern is her developing a urinary tract infection. I try to load her up on liquids from cereal at breakfast to chicken soup for dinner and of course water and milk during the day. I spoke to her doctor the other day and he said it would take a long time for her to develop a UTI but I am still concerned and she hasn't pooped for 2 days now. Has anyone ever experienced a child holding their pee for 12 hours? I do have a reward poster up and a doll stroller that she has wanted for a long time just sitting in the bathroom so when she goes in the toilet 8 times she can have but she is unphased.

I could really use some "thinking out of the box" advice.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the help ladies! We have been trying now for three days with success. She has gone in the toilet and is still holding back a bit but with less and less resistant each time. Now we are just waiting for a bowel movement then I think she will be on her way to success. I am not concetrating on it and just letting her lead the way and letting her make the decision as to when she wants to go. I am not going back to diapers because I have tried that in the past and switching back to underwear gets harder everytime.

Thanks again.

Featured Answers

When did you start trying to potty train her? Is she in school? I was wondering (if she is in school) what she does there?

When I was ready to potty-train my daughter, I stumbled across a book at the library. It is called, Toilet Training in less than a day, by Nathan Azrin. I read it through and thought is sounded ridiculous, but also thought it was worth a try. I did it and it actually worked!!!! In one day, my daughter was potty-trained and after 2 weeks she didn't even have accidents at naptime or at night. They have advice for older kids, too. It might be worth a try. Good luck!

More Answers

lol. my son went through this. he was fully potty trained at around 2 yrs. but boy was he stubborn. once he didn't pee for over 15 hours! At first the "your bladder is gonna pop" worked then when that failed, bribery worked. When he got bored of that, we just fought. He would be shaking and jumping, but still held onto his pee. Finally, I gave up. I told him, "I'm done. Just go when you want". You know what? He did. He's now three and goes whenever he has to, by himself. I stopped nagging and he stopped holding onto his pee.

Hi G.,

I had the same problem with my daughter. She was actually easy to potty train, just woke up one day and decided that would be the dsy of no more diapers (she was 3) and she never so much as had an accident. But then I noticed it was hard to get her to go. We drove 12 hours in the car and she didn't go once (doesn't like potty's that "flush by themsleves") Took her for a pelvic sonogram, no problem. My pediatrician's response was, "Wow, I wish I could go that long without peeing!" She is 7 now and still can hold her pee for an extraodinarily long time, but it has not caused any health problems. She has never had a UTI.

There are a number of questions to look at here. Is there any hint of any developmental lag in other areas? Some children with delayed development take a little longer to potty train. It seems your doctor does not think that there is any physical problem. Has she been examined to see if this is true? Has your doctor offered any suggestions? Does G. fight you in other areas of life as well? Do you have a lot of energy around this?
I suggest laying off. Have a talk with her, explain to her that you understand that it is hard, you will be there to help her whenever she needs it, but for now there will be no more chart, no more harmonica, nothing. It is ok if she goes and it is ok if she doesn't. Tell her that she can suggest what she wants you to do if she goes. She can also tell you what she needs to be able to go, does she need you with her, does she prefer to go alone? Make notes if you need to BUT RESPECT your new rules. NO conditions.
It is very scary to let go of a part of yourself. Was she scared by a bathroom or something in a bathroom at anytime that you know of? I've seen children that refuse to use bathrooms outside of the home because of this.
If she is afraid of the toilet she can have a potty in another area of the house where she feels comfortable. You can redecorate (temporarily if you want). There are many child friendly bathroom accesories. A shower curtain and bath rug can change an entire bathroom. Let her choose the new accessories. Don't link the redecoration with her potty training.
Encourage independence and choices in all other areas of her life, brush her own teeth, brush her hair at bedtime, choose from two outfits, choose her own shoes etc.
Give her chores around the house. Emptying and taking her plate to the sink, putting her clothes in the laundry, simple dusting etc.
My four yr old just came in and asked what i was typing so i explained G.'s situation and asked if she had any suggestions. She suggests letiing G. use a diaper if that's what she wants. I think this might be an interesting approach that might backfire. But if you're willing to start the process all over again, it might not be so bad. If the goal is to get her to go, and this is why she's not going, I say go for it. If she has total control of her situation (potty training is all about control) it might give her the push she needs. You know G. best, you also know what you are able to tolerate and what your lifestyle will allow.
Maybe starting all over with a new approach and new attitude from everyone may help.
Also don't let dissaproving friends and family who are ignorant of your process push you to make her do something she isn't ready to do! Everyone's process is different. G.'s road to pottytraining is different from any one else. Only she is G.!
Hope you can something of what I have to offer.
Good Luck to you both.

Thinking that maybe the big celebration might be giving her the insentive to hold out...and thinking maybe when she comes to you screaming she has to go...slow down in getting her to the bathroom...maybe if she has an accident or two, feeling the shame of this....she'll begin to get that holding out isn't a good thing...

I would try sitting her on the toilet several times a day each time running the water in the sink. The sound of water flowing sometimes makes people want to pee.

I would also go for a second opinion with another doctor.

At 4 years old she can understand just about everything you say to her. Just use words she will understand and tell her that if she doesn't use the potty more often her body will get sick. Let her know that it will hurt a lot.
As for the not pooping part, give her more apple juice, and she'll probably go.

It's obvious your daughter has some fear about using the toilet. A child psychologist might be necessary to help her get over this problem. 12 hours is WAY TO LONG for her to go without urinating. I don't see how she will not develop serious urinary/kidney and bowel problems. Urine and stool contain toxins that are extremely harmful to our bodies if not expelled. Normal bowel movements are 3-4 times a day. Each meal is supposed to be expelled after digestion.

It's possible she's afraid of losing a part of herself when she is on the toilet. My daughter used to want me not to flush after she went. I respected her wishes and would flush later after she forgot about it.

This is the ONE thing she has control over. No one can force a person to urinate or defecate so the less you make of this, the better, otherwise it become a battle of wills. I would not make such a big deal about this - when she goes or when she doesn't. Lose the harmonica and reward chart since they're not working, obviously. Be positive, but in a calm, not-over-the-top way. She is old enough to know her body and this is a great lesson for you to teach her. Stop talking about it. Make it no big deal. Yes, the regular, "Do you need to use the bathroom before we leave in the car?" is fine. However, she'll learn soon enough that it's more comfortable to go than to hold it. I bet after a week or so, she's going more regularly. Good luck!

12 hours!!! I try desperately to get women to work on holding it for a minimum of 3 hours so that they will develop stronger pelvic floor muscles and not have urgency issues waking them in the middle of the night (I do physical therapy with women's health issues). I have not ever seen a woman develop a UTI from holding her urine too long. I think the problem is too much focus on her "going" and she's developed performance anxiety or it's a battle of wills. Drop it. She clearly is not going to have an accident, so as long as she always knows where the bathroom is she will go when she's ready. As far as the bowel movement is concerned, make sure she is getting lots of fruit and as much veggies as possible. If she gets enough fiber on a daily basis it will be difficult for her not to go, especially since you are making her consume so much liquid. But please, don't bring up the subject with her anymore.

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