3 Year Old Girl Pees on Floor

Updated on July 10, 2008
N.B. asks from Jackson, NJ
11 answers

My 3 year old daughter is potty trained at day care. Hardly any accidents. The teachers tell me she goes independently and accidents usually happen during an activity. At home is very different. She doesn't want diapers or pull ups but will not use the potty. She will pee on herself and not say a word. When I talk to her about it she laughs. I told her Sunday it makes me sad when she pees in her panties and it would me happy if she didn't anymore. I caught her taking off her panties, peeing on the floor and putting the panties back on. I made her clean her mess and told her this made me sad. She is back to peeing on herself. When we force her to sit she cries and screams like she is being beaten. When she does go when forced we praise and hug and kiss and dance and candy and stickers, it can't be a bigger deal, but she continues to do this. I know she can, she does it all day at daycare. Any suggestions.

I appretiate the responses I have received so far, all great suggestions. I have put her in diapers (one size too small to be uncomfortable) and after a couple of days her behavior changed only to revert back about a week later. Jer accidents in school are accidents. She is trying to pull her pants down, they were coming in for recess. All kids are sent to the bathroom at a set time and they are free to go whenever needed. 3 year olds have accients, they are acceptable. We spend a great deal of time together playing games, reading stories, and both of my girls actively help around the house. The 3 year old has been setting the table for about a year (plastic plates and cups) and helps in clearing the table, holds the dustpan to sweep the floor, picks up clothes & toys, dusts, etc. Nothing has changed in the household other than this behavior. My older daughter would use the potty at school and not at home, her thoughts were it's something I do in school like circle time. I explained to her she is too big for diapers and they don't fit anymore, bought a small pack a size to small, after a week she told me she wants panties and was potty trained. Easy. We have a small potty and a conversion seat for the regular potty with a step for her. There are books for her to read while she sits. My 3 year old used to use it on occasion without a problem. She absolutely gets time out for deliberatly peeing, once she has cleaned the floor and changed her own wet clothes.( i might wait till after time out for her to change) ( a month ago she was starting to go on her own, telling us she had to go, finding pee in the potty) This is a recent change that none of us can think of a cause for.

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So What Happened?

She is finally fully potty trained. I stuck with the time outs and the diapers and she came around. We went to the store and bought a pack of never soiled panties, and we made it a big deal. She got to wear them when she went a week without accidents. Now that's all she wears and no accidents in 3 weeks. Thanks for all of your help.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Hi N.,

First, was your daughter pot trained early? Children take two steps forward and one back. My daughter was and at (3)years old she did the same thing. Your teacher said she has accidents during activities, right? So she's doing the same thing at school, but by a different name "accidents". When she's doing it at home is she in the middle of something that she doesn't want to stop? My daughter did not want to stop whatever she was doing to go and pee. When I realized that I was able to handle the situation better. You're trying to "guilt" her into not peeing on the floor, because it makes you sad. That doesn't work for a kid, they need consiquences for their actions.

If your daughter can take her panty off to pee on the floor and put them back on after she's done she is fully potty trained. If she pees at school have the teacher call you and go pick her up. My daughter was surprised to see me in school changing her clothes and stopped peeing at school immediately. I didn't even get to take her home. I told her if she peed on herself again we're going home to discuss it. She never had an accident in school again. For home your saddness or happiness is not in the equation. When it comes to potty training or retraining keep your feelings to yourself unless the kid does what you want than positive praise is necessary, because you don't want a power struggle. If she pees on the floor with panty or not she goes into time out for three minutes (she's three) with pee clothes still on and than as you clean her off you explain that peeing is for potty and if she pees on the floor she will be punished with time out each and every time until she stops.



answers from New York on

hi MOM,

I would force her to pee, and sit there till she does.

DO NOT PRAISE HER. Make it as matter of fact as you can.
Just like at school.

However before pee time. play with her, and read her books.

Seems like she wants some attention.

My son also 3 took forever to train, and finally one day I just got mad and said HURRY UP and pee so we can go out.

so he did.

He pees on trees when we are out.
( I pick and choose my battles, trees don't argue back LOL)

we still have our share of accidents but its usually my fault because i was busy doing my things, and not paying attention to him.

Remember your daughter is 3, not 30

Its a process, takes time to perfect it.

At 3 she needs lots of structure, discipline, attention, and affection.

When she pee'd on the floor, she should have been punished.
I send mine to bed.

Cleaning up the mess is just a gimme not the punishment.

I like you also have other children, and am an older mom.
So i know how easy it is to compare.

But each kid is diffrent, little ones get jealous too,
just try and re organize, and plan your time DIFFRENTLY,
she needs more attention.

I include my kids in my cooking and clean up schedule.
ask them to help me, and assign small chores to them.

At 5 your daughter can set the table, take out garbage, pick up and collect dirty laundry, pick up toys,get her clothes out for the next day.for 3 dollars at walmart you can get a small broom and dustpan, she can help you spot clean.

at 3 your daughter can help you push the wet clothes into the dryer, load the dirty clothes into the washer use a step stool if its a top loader.
toss things into the garbage for you. pick up toys.

I also give snacks to my kids while I am attempting to clean the house. it keeps them busy.

Your 5 year old can try reading a story to her sister, or help her color, change the TV stations. keep her interested in any activity, and notify you if the 3 year is acting up.

Hope this helps MOM.




answers from New York on

Gosh, I thought this was a boy thing! I keep reminding myself that it's a phase, it's a phase!

You have gotten lots of different advice, and I'm really uncomfortable with the advice to use shaming tactics. In the long run, I think this will backfire. I do agree that making a big party out of success is also the wrong message though. The best I can suggest is that you not show the anger and frustration you feel (for a small child this is a lot of control and so it is a big reward for them). I would also suggest you try to think out what would be a logical consequence. An example, my son pee'd in a basket of books right before reading time, so I explained that we would not have reading time because he had pee'd on the books. Logical consequences are sometimes hard to identify, it takes some thinking and lots of practice, but they help kids, especially younger ones, to feel that the world makes sense. They feel more relaxed, less out of control. Time outs are not conected to the crime. I think having her clean up is fine as long as it does not involve shame, but rather, more like "it's ok, we just have to clean up when we make messes, and we have to do this before we can go and play". Trial runs to the bathroom are another tactic, when I catch my son getting ready to pee somewhere, I say "that's not where we pee you silly, and usher double time to the bathroom, but as a fun thing. I make them silly, "run run run, silly, quick, to the potty!". Another idea someone suggested I think, regular potty breaks. Let her understand that it is not a punishment but until she is ready to use the potty on her own , you will need to help her practice. Maybe she will just get sick of that. The behavior has diminished in my son, but I expect it will take a bit of time. I can also get him to pee by asking him if he needs to go. when he says no, I say "is your bladder empty?" he says yes, and I tell him he has to show me. He accepts that as a challenge, trys to show (in the toilet) and giggles when it turns out that his bladder was not empty after all.

I say avoid shame, also avoid excessive rewarding, and try to keep it light and make it fun. It's hard because of the yuck factor but I think it will be worth it.
All the best,



answers from New York on

I would say try to figure out what may be causing this behavior. Was there any sort of major change for her? A move maybe?

SEcond, I would pt her in a diaper. and amke a big deal of it. Take hte panties away when she is home, and tell her she has to wear a diaper because she has shown you she is not a big enough girl to have panties, and if she woudl like her panties back, to start usign hte potty.

you can also tell hr it makes dora/barbie/ponies/whatever on the panties sad that she does potty on them. But be warned. My 3 year old son peed on his thoma underpants, and i told him thomas was sad and crying because of it, and my boy burst into hysterics for like 10 mintues he was so upset... (it worked though, he stopped peeign on thomas)





answers from New York on

Could it be an issue with your particular bathroom? Daycares and schools generally have real toilets and sinks that are child-sized. Perhaps she is uncomfortable on your adult-sized toilet? Even if she had no problem before at your house, she may just have gotten used to the feel of it at daycare.
I assume you already have a stool at the base of the toilet to help her up, as well as for her to rest her legs on while sitting. Maybe she also needs a child seat attached - I bought ones that just come right off and so my daughter put it on herself whenever she was ready. Another idea is to put something at her eye level while she sits on the potty - maybe it's a picture she drew, a photo she picks out, a favorite character, etc.
Good luck!



answers from New York on

Hi N.,

Since your daughter goes potty without problem in daycare, it's obvious that she does it on purpose at home. The question is why? Did she always do it, or did she go potty and then started to pee on herself? Is it a way for her to get attention? If that's the case, being very matter-of-fact about it, without display of emotion, just letting her be in her soiled clothes for a while and have her clean up might do the trick. If she doesn't get the attention she wants, she'll stop.

Another option is to put her in time out every single time she does it (after having made her clean up the floor, but possibly before changing clothes. If she's uncomfortable in wet clothes, it might drive the lesson home faster.) again, I wouldn't show particular emotion, and most certainly not tell her that it makes you sad. She's obviously not reacting to this. It doesn't matter if she "screams like she's being beaten." My son would do this too, but stopped pretty quickly when he found out that screaming to the top of his lungs didn't bring any results. Just like temper tantrums, we let this run its course, and then address whatever was going on if he refused or was unable to calm down.

But first and foremost, I'd try to understand why she's doing it - is she looking for attention? Did something happen lately, big change, etc. that she's reacting to? and address the underlying reason as much as the behavior.

I wish I could help more, but it's tough without knowing more specifics.




answers from New York on

Hi N.,

It sounds like your daughter has you trained. If she is capable of being fully trained at daycare, she is just as capable at home. At daycare, she sees this as the rule and that she does not have another option. Stop the dancing, the stickers, the candy. Stop making using the toilet seem like something she can control or do to please you. Make it the rule, with consequences for breaking the rule just as there are for breaking any other household rule. I don't suggest this when a child isn't capable of using the toilet, but she has shown that she knows when she has to go and can choose to do that. Don't let her have a choice. If you know that she knows when she has to go and is willingly doing it elsewhere, there is no reason that she should be allowed to do otherwise at home. Tell her she must go to the bathroom when she needs to, or you will take her every 1.5 hours and there will be consequences for accidents. If she continues going in her underwear, or on the floor, and finding it funny, I would go out and buy some cheap, basic cloth diapers with plastic pants. She may not find the toilet so unappealing or her behavior so funny anymore when there's no mess on the floor for you to clean up and she's sitting in sopping wet cloth diapers. That may be just the motivation to get her to use the toilet. Good luck.



answers from New York on

Sounds like she is looking for the attention...........



answers from Albany on

N.. as you can see, she knows how to do it and she needs to know what consequences will be for doing that because she is not having accidents when you caught her doing that. I didn't have that problem with my sons, but I told my oldest son that Spiderman doesn't like to be peed on. So, he pooped it and I wasn't specific enough. I then told him and didn't punish him. I said to him, Spiderman doesn't want to peed on or pooped on. So, if you feel you have to go poopy, you pull your undearwear down and go poopy in the potty. My seond one didn't need much help because they are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart and he was basically following his bother very early, but to catch on he did alittle bit early. They know that when I toell them not to do something and they do again, that time I warn them what consequence will be if they do such and such and I follow through. I hate to but I don't want problems with them when they get older which will be harder to deal with and I want them to be God-fearing Christian men like my husband. It's your call how you want to discipline her in that area. Make sure you don't punish her if she ends up having accidents. AT the school they should have her go to bathroom before and after activites. It's hard to stop playing when you have the urge to go to bathroom. Stop playing may mean she will miss out all the fun and never play again....ha,ha,ha. Let us know how it goes....



answers from New York on

I agree that she's doing this for attention. It needs to stop. She needs to know there are consequences for her actions and that she can't treat you this way. It's extremely disrespectful and will lead to further disrespectful behavior if you don't nip it in the bud now. I agree with the poster who suggested that you should buy the cheapest, most uncomfortable cloth diapers on the market and start putting them on her when she appears to have soiled on purpose. But first you have to let her know it's coming. When you buy them calmly tell her that her behaviors and your past reactions to her behaviors are no longer acceptable. You will no longer tolerate it and show her what she will wear when she defies you. Get a kitchen timer and set it for every 1.5 hours to remind her and you that it's time to go. When she openly defies you she goes right into the plastic/cloth diaper until the next time she goes on the potty. After the next successful potty trip she gets to put on underwear again and the process starts over.

Since I read someone's comment suggesting this I have to say that I am strongly against putting a child in their bed/crib as punishment or for time out. Their bed should be a relaxing, safe haven not a place they go when they are bad. I wouldn't even send her to her room at this age. Confine her to a corner or on the bottom step of a staircase.

Good luck. This must be very frustrating. Just realize that this is no longer about "potty training". It's about not letting her disrespect you in an effort to get attention. If it's attention she wants then time outs, where you're removing her from an activity and ignoring her for the duration of the time out, should work well. But the added discomfort of the "diapers" will drive home the concept that she needs to be in panties and that it's a privilege to wear them. If she's going to soil them she'll have to go back into diapers until she can "respect" them.



answers from New York on

Hi N.,

I am a new mother to an adoerable 4 1/2 month old. I was also a toddler teacher before I had her and at the school I taught at I was the potty training queen!! Hopefully I can help. I do need some more info on your child though. Is she normally a happy child is there any sibling rivalry? ? From what you have said what I may tell you, you may not like. Was she ever in pull ups? At 3 children want to be very independent. One thing that I find works when kids have a potty problem is try the she is a "big girl" routine. Take away things from her that she likes to do, because only big girls can do those things. It seems like she is trying to get attention. Or Tell her that if she can stay dry in her underwear the whole day she can do something that she really likes to do. Do they give her an incentive at school?? stickers , verbal praise? It could be that she misses Mommy and wants to spend time with you , and this is her way of getting that time. Potty training is tricky! You could also treat her like a baby, if she wants to pee on the floor tell her only babies pee on the floor or where ever. Use your other daughter to help. Your sister is a big girl she pees in the potty so she can choose something fun that she wants to do. You three year old will get sick of being treated like a baby if being a big girl is more fun! I give you a lot of credit for working full time and raising 2 daughters! Let me know if this helps :)

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