12 answers

Potty Trained Son Having "Accidents"

My almost 4-yr old has been having a lot of "accidents" lately. He had three in one week at daycare. Someone suggested that he might be doing it for attention at home (we both work full time and he has a younger brother and sister). So that weekend I took just him running errands with me on Saturday, and on Sunday, DH took him to the park while the other 2 were napping. The entire next week, no accidents.

Now yesterday, I had a softball game and took the kids with me. 20 minutes before the game, I took him to the bathroom. 5 minutes before my game started, he had an accident. I changed him, and 40 minutes later, he had done it again. I changed him again, and when we were leaving the field... he did it again. My games are only 1 hour long. Now today, the babysitter just told me he's had another accident. He has already lost all of his privileges for the week, just from Monday! I don't know what else to do at this point.

Has anyone else gone thru this with a child with younger siblings? Is he doing it for attention? After the week, weekend and the following week I described above, it would sure seem that way.

He gets his own story time before bed everynight (unless he loses his priveleges), but otherwise, with a 22 month old and a 9 month old, it's difficult to find the time to devote to just one child.

Any advice how to curb this? (Helpful advice only, please. no judgements.)

ETA: I could not bear to have him "sit in it' as was suggested. Especially when he is playing with other, older children who might tease him for it. And I in no way shame him for it. I do not yell at him for it. I take him aside, talk to him quietly about what he did, clean him up and change him. But he does lose priviliges when he doesn't stop playing to go to the bathroom. I know he's only a little boy, but he knows how to: clean his room, use an iPad and use the bathroom.

I will talk with his pediatrician about a UTI, but yesterday it wasn't just pee, so I'm not really thinking that's it.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I am having a similar issue with my almost 4 year old boy. I am starting to think its a control issue. Yesterday he had 4 pee pee accidents at preschool and when his teacher asked him why, he said "MY pee pee does not want to do what YOU tell it to do". I have decided not to punish for accidents. I can lead him to the toilet but cant make him pee right? I have concerns with starting a battle I can't win. I am just going to give it some time and hopefully it will work out. If it lasts more than a couple months I'll talk to his pediatrician I guess.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I am having a similar issue with my almost 4 year old boy. I am starting to think its a control issue. Yesterday he had 4 pee pee accidents at preschool and when his teacher asked him why, he said "MY pee pee does not want to do what YOU tell it to do". I have decided not to punish for accidents. I can lead him to the toilet but cant make him pee right? I have concerns with starting a battle I can't win. I am just going to give it some time and hopefully it will work out. If it lasts more than a couple months I'll talk to his pediatrician I guess.

3 moms found this helpful

As I often say, when you get to where I am (grown kids), you will know that 4 years old was so very, very young. I don't believe that potty accidents at 4 are a reason to take away his privileges for a week. It's common enough, especially in boys.

Yes, lots of them do do it for attention. So give him the attention when you can, and clean up the accidents. It's unlikely he will be doing it in kindergarten, and extremely unlikely he will do it in first grade. It's not worth stressing yourself out over, or being mad at him about. He's only a baby. That's the beauty of washing machines and bathtubs.

(And any moms who don't think 4 is a baby, talk to me when your kids are grown and you look back on photos of that precious little thing.)

3 moms found this helpful

I hope you are not punishing/shaming him for having accidents. Really. That would be cruel and unhelpful.

Talk to your pediatrician. Maybe there is a medical reason. I have also heard that 4 or 5 yos sometimes regress a bit and have accidents (i.e., it's developmentally normal).

My 5 yo, who potty-trained herself in one day (both pee and poop) at the age of just-turned-2, has even been having occasional poop accidents lately. I don't know if it's from digestive ills or she's too engrossed in what she's doing, but it shows me that these things even happen to expert poopers.

2 moms found this helpful

I have two girls. My first didn't do this. Once she was potty trained, she never had any accidents. My second daughter, who is now 5 1/2, went through this phase, and I think it was when she was exactly the same age as your son. It was very frustrating. She was fully potty trained and then decided to have accidents, almost daily. I decided to handle it by not giving it much attention. Every time, I just reminded her what she should have done. Eventually, she stopped doing it. Just give it some time, he'll figure it out. I don't agree with handling potty behavior harshly or with punishment. I do believe in letting them suffer natural consequences of "forgetting" to go to the potty (like allowing them to sit in wet pants instead of rushing home to get them clean clothes), but just consistently remind him, and he will get it. He's still little.

2 moms found this helpful

I first read this as poop accidents. I think I got that wrong, but for those moms who are dealing with poop accidents, this is still worth considering:

If he's making solid, chunky poops, I'd guess it's a bid for greater attention. But if it's more like diarrhea, he may be an unable to control a fast, intense urge. If it's more like "skid marks," he may be suffering from encopresis, and simply not be aware of passing small amounts of poop when it happens (google the term for lots more info).

Assuming that this is in his control, you may be able to get wonderful results using this technique: http://www.rogerknapp.com/medical/pottytrainingrefusals.htm

I also agree with ℜ❀$eღud❧ , in that a 4yo is still very young, and quite a long ways (expecially in boys) from being able to apply rational thought to all decisions. Emotions are very strong and controlling in young children, and an awful lot of their behavior stems from their very immature tactics for trying to get what they need.

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't assume this is for attention -- at 4, they get really involved in what they're doing and may not remember to stop and use the bathroom. When he's with you, you're giving reminders and breaks, but that may not happen at daycare. They can also regress during growth spurts, periods of anxiety, learning spurts, etc. Both my kids had regressions after they learned. I would clear him with a pediatrician to be sure there is no UTI involved or something else you might be missing, but I would doubt it's for attention.

1 mom found this helpful

Before you get too wrapped up on trying to figure out what's going on with him emotionally, I recommend taking him to the pediatrician and having him tested for a bladder/urinary tract infection. A UTI can make you feel like you need to pee ALL THE TIME...and it can cause little ones to have accidents.

If he comes out clean, THEN talk to your ped about other reasons.

Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I'd take him aside and talk to him about it, saying that you are so glad he is a big boy and can use the potty and how his younger siblings are watching him and learning from him how to use the potty. Also, when he has an accident, tell him (not angry), "do you really want your friends to smell you've had an accident? You don't want them to not sit by you because you don't smell good. Is there something going on that I should know about?" He may surprise you with something like someone is bugging him or they're doing some new routine at school. I wouldn't let him sit in it. We had our boys help do the dirty underwear laundry; matter of fact, no anger no judgement, just this is what we have to do. I notice that when my younger son is stressed about something, he'll have accidents. Good luck!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.