10 Year Old Daughter Peeing in Her Room

Updated on October 15, 2019
A.B. asks from Wrightsville, PA
16 answers

I'm at a loss here. I have a soon to be 10 year old daughter and 4 year old twins. My oldest has been peeing on the floor of her bedroom since before my husband and I decided to have more children. Its stopped for a few years and recently started up again. I've taken her to doctor after doctor. She doesn't have any health issues which would make her lose control of her bladder. Shes choosing to pee in her room. Now, the other kids are seeing her do this and I dont want them to pick up on this behavior. She was diagnosed with adhd in first grade and more recently ODD. She's taking medication for adhd and anxiety. I honestly dont know what to do about the peeing. Shes taking cups in her room, peeing in them and tossing it out the window. We live near others and I'm worried the neighbors see her doing this. I remind her to use the bathroom every hour and I limit her drinking habits to avoid the sudden need to go. I cant keep a constant eye on her because shes nearly 10 and needs her space away from the other two. I make sure to spend quality time with her as well. All the psychologist and psychiatrists tell her is that she shouldn't be doing it and she knows it's wrong. I've spoken to other moms about this, but I have no ideas on what to do. Any opinions are appreciated. I'm doing the best I can, but I'm lost.

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answers from Wausau on

"All the psychologist and psychiatrists tell her is that she shouldn't be doing it and she knows it's wrong."

That's not how psychiatry works. Pdocs don't tell kids 'don't do that' they work with the child to get to the bottom of the reason for the action/thought.

She needs to be seeing a therapist - one person, long term, so a rapport an be established - on a regular basis.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My sister use to do this at this age. She has anxiety. I think it was just too stressful walking to the bathroom sometimes...if there were people around. If anyone were using the bathroom. If we were playing a game and she felt stressed for some reason. Anyway, as an adult she has a lot of anxiety. My only suggestion is to have her see a really good child therapist who deals in anxiety and behavior and can give her some tools for when she is feeling anxious. Also, ask her what it is about walking to the bathroom that she does not like? Does she feel safer in her room? If you got her a small toilet for her room would that help for now?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

At the point that she has already been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, I think that you need to prepare for a very long road ahead. If I were to hazard a guess, she is feeding off of your reaction to what she is doing. Every time she does it, you react, she seeing the reaction and does it again. When she feels like you aren't reacting, she still does it again, to get you to react (vicious circle for sure).

I would consider looking into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to start - it is a different and more hands on approach than say just meeting with a psychologist and "talking things out." I'd also consider having her tested to see if Occupational Therapy and Play Therapy would be of help (during which you should ask about brushing therapy, joint compression therapy, and listening therapy).

Don't limit her water and don't remind her to go to the bathroom (unless she is also developmentally delayed and needs reminders?). You are just creating a battle of wills that you won't win. Also, worry less about what the neighbors think. If they ask, be truthful that your daughter has some behavioral issues that she is working very h*** o* and you apologize for the inconvenience on her behalf.

Good luck - I've been a veteran of the very war you are fighting for a long time. It isn't easy . . .

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

you're right to be concerned. this is not a normal behavior.

the main red flag i see, though, is 'all the psychologist(s) and psychiatrists tell her is that she shouldn't be doing it and she knows it's wrong.'

first off, just how many psychologists and psychiatrists have you enlisted?

where do you live that all these legions of mental health professionals are so outrageously unhelpful about a clear issue of mental health?

i strongly suggest that you stop obfusticating the issue by telling yourself this is what's happening, and take her to an actual psychiatrist and get her some actual professional help.

this isn't something you're going to fix by normal behavioral advice from laypeople on the internet.


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I imagined myself in your daughter's skin, playing and then having the urge to pee. I have 3 hunches...and I could be all wrong.
1. That she was already a 'poor shifter' as many kids with ADHD are, and she doesn't want to have to leave what she is doing. Contrary to popular belief, it has been discovered that children with this condition can be hyper focussed on what they are doing. The drugs may even make her less able to shift to tending to her toilet needs. Is she particularly imaginative and deep into her own imaginary play world?
2. That she for some reason does not like the bathroom. Maybe people have barged in on her. Maybe it is often occupied. Could the light be very bright and bothersome where her room is darker and soothing. Does she think neighbours can see in? Is it so far that in her mind she doesn't like to have to go the distance? You could with her make the bathroom a place she likes. (wallpaper, low light night light even during the day, a colour she likes, a nice bathmat, colourful toothpaste...anything where SHE makes a decision about the room and even helps paint it. Let her do the planning and think up what needs doing which teaches her planning and 'controlling' a project.
3. She may feel that she has little control over her day to day life; what she wears, what she eats, the length of her hair, what hair ties she wears, what activities she is involved in, having to watch baby TV shows. Maybe there is too much structure for her liking, going shopping when she doesn't want to go etc.. One thing she DOES have control over are her bodily functions. Giving her more autonomy could help. Also asking HER how she would approach an issue. i.e. "You have homework. What time do you think would work best for you to do it? ".
BTW, Dr Phil, whom I watch daily, says that it is extremely rare that a girl is hyperactive. He is against medicating a girl for this condition. The drug she is taking could cause anxiety.
Keeping the doors of communication open is important. A little 'chat with Mummy time' each day could be an idea. A box that she or you both decorate together where she can put her problems on a note on a daily basis to discuss with you. (a school mate called me a name...etc..)
Is she eating well and getting enough sleep? Can you talk to her about her issue and ask her what the solution is? Offering suggestions may be helpful. A chart on the bathroom wall that she makes with your help if she wants, and ticks off after every visit to the loo?
Is Daddy close and supportive? Every little girl needs to feel special to her Daddy.
Good luck!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I am sorry you are dealing with this behavior it must be very very frustrating to you. If it were medical then hopefully you could deal with it quickly but because it isn't then you are left with a really hard behavior to control.

I have seen children with ODD and ADHD and anxiety in school as a teacher and usually by age 10 there is a clear way of what typically works with them and what doesn't and they have found one really good therapist and have been using them for years. I would suggest finding a therapist or physiologist or psychiatrist that works with these diagnoses and stick with them...after you have gone enough times to make sure they are a good fit. (I know this is hard because really good mental health care is difficult to find...but start looking for a long term doctor to add to your team of doctors.)

Lastly, I have seen this behavior living with hundreds of foster children growing up. My parents were foster parents and the only kids who did this were girls who had been sexually abused. They would be afraid to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and pee in their bed, trash cans and on the floor rather than risk being out of their room in the night.

So, my only advice which I know is hard to do: is find a good mental health professional in your area and as with what others have said ignore the behavior until you can find a professional that can help you. Hugs!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!!

Your daughter is getting what she wants. ATTENTION. You are giving her what she is SCREAMING to you she needs. She just isn't verbalizing this need.

You "make sure you spend quality" time with her? Is that YOUR words or HERS? If you eek out time for her during your day and not really pay attention to her? You're not giving her quality time. She's just getting some of your time.

Schedule a manicure and pedicure with her. Put the cell phone and tablet down. Make it about the TWO OF YOU. Have her help you with dinner preparations. Sit down when she is doing homework. Heck, have the 4 year olds do "homework" when she is doing it. Make it a family thing.

Stop reminding her to go to the bathroom.
Stop telling her every hour.

You have doctors and others telling her she shouldn't be doing it. She's getting attention. Stop. GO about your day. Don't shame her. Don't remind her. BE with her. LISTEN to her. You need to ask her what SHE wants and NEEDS. Not about peeing or anything else - what would SHE like to do? It's not about YOU and what YOU FEEL is quality time.

And on the good side? She's peeing in a cup and not on the floor!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If doctor after doctor, psychologists and psychiatrists haven't got any solutions I'm not sure what anyone on the internet can do for you.
If the average person sees someone throw a liquid out a window I don't think most people will leap to the conclusion that it's human waste.
She's not hiding what she does - shes willing to show/teach the other kids to do it - so she has no sense of shame about it.
What does your daughter do at school?
If she's making a conscious decision to do this what happens if you completely back off and give her zero zip nada attention when she does it?
If you've tried everything else maybe its time you completely ignore it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

So this is happening only at night? Could it be she's afraid of the dark and chooses to just stay put and pee in a cup, rather than venture into dark hallways to find the bathroom? I know my daughter sometimes has had this issue. I have given her a night light and left a flashlight for her to use when she has to use the restroom at my mother's place (my place has the bathroom within the bedroom, unlike my mother's house that requires you to walk to the other end of the house if you're staying in the guest room). Another reason my daughter has had accidents is waiting too long to pee and being unable to hold it in any longer by the time she reaches the bathroom. She would get distracted playing games or watching a movie she did not want to miss. I always insist she uses the bathroom even when she says she doesn't feel like it. You may want to find out if the darkness thing is at play, or maybe something else happened (she saw a scary movie where a monster comes out of a toilet, so now she is scared of sitting on a toilet, the toilet she last used overflowed, she was beaten in a bathroom at school by bullies, etc.).

I'm surprised none of the psychologists are helpful or see that her ADHD may have something to do with this. The medication may also play a part in it (some medications have diuretic effects), as well as her ODD and anxiety, and the fact you're scolding her and getting upset at her actions, which cause her to again resort to peeing in a cup, like a vicious circle. She may feel she is disappointing you and wants to be the perfect kid you want her to be, but cannot bring herself to break the cycle and go into a restroom and she keeps punishing herself, and the vicious cycle continues. Professional psychologists certainly should be able to provide remedies, rather than stating the obvious about her not peeing in cups and that she should stop and it is "wrong." Maybe it's time to find a new psychologist -- one whose focus is on children, not a social worker, not an adult therapist, not some advice columnist, but one trained specifically to talk to kids and get answers out of them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We see a psychologist for kids to help one of ours with mild anxiety.

Habits can be associated with anxiety (and OCD, which is related to anxiety) - so I guess I'd be interested to know if it's related to ODD or more of an OCD/anxiety thing.

I know it sounds gross (to pee in one's room) but there are some unusual habits out there that people do to relieve anxiety. Picking toenails, chewing them, pulling out hair, cutting .. peeing in a cup may be one?

Or is she doing it just to be defiant? The throwing it out the window - is this so you won't find out?

My friend's son had ADHD and before he was diagnosed with another condition, he used to wet himself quite often (*I think it's something like 4 times more common with kids with ADHD to wet themselves). For a while, they made a big deal about it (the school, etc.) and it becomes a 'thing' and I think he was ashamed. He wouldn't tell his parents when he went. My friend would get upset to find wet clothes hidden.

I just wonder if there's more to it .. he was so busy/preoccupied, he didn't always know to use the washroom. He was still wetting himself at older than your daughter's age.

ETA - just curious - does she say why she's doing it?

** Suz makes good point, multiple psychiatrists? What have they suggested other than it is 'wrong' to do? Do they not have strategies? That seems odd to me. For our child's mild anxiety, we were given detailed plans and techniques - parents and child. Then we met separately and together.

With regard to the neighbors, I'm sure they have no idea what she's throwing out the window (what the liquid is). I certainly wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it was urine. I would let that go.

*** I like what Robin wrote. That sounds like my friend's son with ADHD - he would get focused on playing/at school and then be too late to make it to the washroom in time. Think of a toddler training - they know but can't run to get there (may be why she wants cup in room - if she's so engrossed in her play).

Or like Robin mentions, if it's just at home I think maybe it's a place where she has control - again, this could be the anxiety kicking in - some kids with anxiety have it become a bit like OCD behaviors (habits, routines) around puberty. They feel in 'control' of things to help with their anxiety. The psychologists should pick up on this. Some kids develop eating disorders for control (again, a bit OCD like) not necessarily because they feel they have weight issues, but because it's the one thing they feel they can control - a bodily function may be where your daughter is at at 10. Just a thought.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

My first advice would be to see a child therapist but since you are already doing that and they don't seem to think it is anything mental health related if it was my child it would be time for some tough love, this is just completely unacceptable behavior. I would ground her from things (like her phone, or whatever her "currency" is), and if it came down to it I would remove her door from the hinges (she can change privately in the bathroom). I would continue to take things away until the behavior changed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I hesitate to pass this information on to you, but after reading your post thought I had to be honest with you.

Have you talked to your daughter about i************ t******* by other adults? Do this without discussing it with anyone. First look online to see how to ask your daughter some questions.

The ADHD and anxiety along with the peeing on the floor are 3 of the symptoms. I would also suggest seeking a child psychologist who specializes in this area after talking with your child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think this issue is beyond what any of us on Mamapedia can help you with. There are some helpful insights and considerations below, but based on your post this must be left to the professionals -- a psychologist who understands ADD and ODD who can help you identify the root cause of your daughter's behavior and help her to move on from it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with the first two responses that you are probably giving this too much attention. Since that has not been working, I think it's worth trying the opposite, and ignoring it. Some kids thrive on negative attention, and your daughter is getting a lot of it for this behavior. Negative attention is better than no attention. And at least she's not peeing on the floor.

If it were me, I would start spending positive time with my daughter, reading with her and playing games with her. And I would completely stop discussing the peeing issue. I'll bet you any money that once you stop giving it all this attention, it will stop.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Good morning!

I will not anything new to what some great moms recommended. I think MILITARY MOM6.. gave an excellent advice. Redirecting behavior or changing your reaction.. something different because what ever you have been doing doesn’t seem to be having any effect. Maybe finding a support group that gone or going through similar.

But I will say this.. I was applaud by the “advice” of REALITYCHICK! Being a parent of a child is hard enough, add more and it’s exhausting.. add a special needs child -that’s when all rules are out the window. No two children are the same.. but to mom shame! And from a mother !!! Disgusting!

And I hate bringing politics into a mom advice but why is every loony from California! Here’s a reality check for the chick - I bet A. has been to more drs with the concern of her daughter mental and physical well being that you can probably pronounce! ( my friend has a child with special needs) and my husband has come across anti vaxers, organic water drinking nut jobs all day long.. yes sometimes you need drugs! Educate yourself! It’s actually parents such as yourself who cause problems of undiagnosed and u treated illnesses.

Sorry everyone.. I just couldn’t be quite when there’s mom shaming. We are all doing the best that we can. Trying to balance drs, suggestions and advices to fit into our lives.
I wish all the best A..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richland on

My kid was never like that when she was 10. I am sorry to hear that. The best way is to put soap and water and paper towels in her room, so you could wipe the pee smell away. Or you could use a vacuum cleaner so the pee gets off quickly. Maybe you could install a lock on her door, so your little children would not see it and you could put a ‘toilet’ bucket in her room whenever she really needs to go pee.
Take care.

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