4 1/2 Year Old Won't Stop Peeing Her Pants

Updated on March 28, 2010
A.D. asks from Newberg, OR
24 answers

We are at wit's end with our 4 year old. She has a horrible habit of not going potty when she needs to. Her panties (and sometimes she) always reek of urine because she consistently pees in her panties a little, and then goes when it's super urgent. Since the baby was born in July she full on wets her pants, even though we ask her constantly to go potty. Mind you, this has been going on since before the baby came. It used to be just leaking, but she has had quite a few full on accidents since the baby came 8 weeks ago. We have tried punishing her with time outs, having her smell her underwear so she understands that peeing her panties is yucky, we've tried rewarding dry panties, we even bought her a necklace, tacked it up to the wall, made a 30 link long paper chain and told her if she can go dry for 30 days she can have the necklace (oddly enough, we still haven't had the chance to remove a single link). We've reiterated over and over that she is a big girl and that big girls don't pee in their pants. We both spend one on one time with her everyday, and include her in as many activities as we can as a "helper" or "big sister". We arrange playdates and invite relatives over to play with her. We've also taken steps to give her a little independence, so she can take pride in things like getting her own cups of water or snacks. Short of putting her back in diapers, I have no idea what to do. I feel like we've tried everything. Does anyone have any advice? We've talked to her doctor who said it was normal for little girls to "forget" to go, but our problem seems to be getting worse, not better. She's been potty trained since last June, but it wasn't like she said, "hey, I wanna use the potty!" it was more like, "you're going to start using the potty now" and I wonder if that is affecting her? She never wets the bed, so I know it isn't a medical issue, just a straight up behavioral issue.
ETA: I'd like to clarify for the people who read this and assume the worst.
We have spent plenty of time rewarding her for dry panties. Plenty. We rewarded her with snacks, with trips to the park, with extra cuddle time, with books, with movies, with games, slumber parties, putting her in preschool (which we'll have to take her out of if we put her back in diapers, and which she so badly wanted to go to), we've taken her to the store and let her pick out panties as a reward for dry panties, we've let her pick out new clothes, we've let her pick out new toys...so it's not like it's all been time outs.
Second, she's VERY sensitive to smells. She is very picky when it comes to things that smell unpleasant and in fact, talks about smells as a very integral part of her daily exploration ("Mommy! That smells like this, and I don't like the smell of that, and I wish this smelled like this, and at daycare so and so brought in something that was fun to play with but didn't smell very good!") . She was the first to comment on the smell of her baby sister's cloth diapers right before they get washed, which is what prompted us to tell her hey, your panties smell too when you pee in them. "You know, when you pee in your panties, they smell bad like baby's diapers do. Go you like to see for yourself," at which point, she grabbed a pair of her wet underwear off the floor and gingerly leaned close enough to smell them. "Yuck!" she said. "I know!" I said. "What can you do to prevent this? Oh, not pee in your panties? Well, then you need to run to the bathroom when you feel that tingle that says you have to go." It's not like we rub her nose in her dirty underwear and yell at her every time she has an accident, it was a one time thing, it was based on her observation of her sister's dirty diapers and was treated as a fact. It's no different than observing that Daddy farted and it stinks, or daughter took a bath and smells like melons, or Mommy brushed her teeth and has clean breath.

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answers from Seattle on

My daughter had similar issues. After my son was born, she started having accidents. She also has a problem with waiting too long to go to the bathroom.

Part of that could be physical. I remember as a child, not feeling like I had to go to the bathroom, then all of a sudden, having to go so bad that I had to run to the bathroom. I don't know whether I missed the early signals, or whether my body just wasn't sending them.

We finally helped my daughter get over her issues by leaving them alone. This was after a year of trying everything we could think of. In the end there was nothing we could do. I think she got some sort of satisfaction out of the struggle. So I sat her down and told her that if she peed in her pants she would have to wash her laundry. I also told her that I was not going to worry about what she did. I thought it was best for her to use the potty, but she was on her own. I then followed through on it. I helped her do her own laundry. And I completely separated myself, emotionally and physically, from the process. Eventually she took care of it on her own.

I don't know whether this helps with what you are going through. I hope you get some advice that helps you deal with this problem. Good luck!

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answers from Corvallis on

When my oldest was already potty trained then lapsed to peeing her undies, I put her in a diaper. She was 3 1/2. One day I got so tired of it I layed her on my bed and put her in one of her cuisin's diapers. Oh she hated it, kicked and screamed the whole 20 minutes she had it on (and never got off my bed). I finally went back in there and took it off of her and never had a problem with her wetting again.
I know this doesnt work with all kids but it worked with her.

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answers from Portland on

Hi A.,

It sounds like everyone in the situation needs to take a BIG step back and gain some perspective. First of all, your daughter has just gone through an enormous transition: she's spent all of her life, so to speak, being your one and only, and now she is really having to share everything about your. It sounds like you are trying to include your daughter in the care of your new baby, however, I think that it's likely she's going to really miss the one-on-one with you.

It also sounds to me like the ante has been upped significantly. That is, she's getting LOTS and LOTS of attention and engagement in the area of wetting her pants. Whether it's "good" or "bad" attention, kids want our time and will do whatever necessary to get it. I understand that you feel like you are running out of option and may be at your wit's end...I get it, I really do. I've worked with some children who regressed in this way and it was extremely challenging.

One thing I have learned over the years is to neither punish nor reward children for biological functions. Period. I am as matter-of-fact as possible when kids have accidents, and when I have a "repeat" wetter, who I think is doing it for attention, I often put them in the bathroom to change themselves. Proactively, I tell them that I need to go do "x" (say, finish what I was doing, putting away something, doing a few more dishes...I invent a task for myself that takes about five minutes) and ask the child to go ahead and work on things and if they need help, I'll be back in a few minutes once I'm finished. This sends a message to the child that I am walking away, not because I'm mad at them, but because my work is important to me and I need them to take care of their own problem...but I will give them help when I can, if they need it. They are not abandoned, but they are not receiving the attention either. (Never make the task about the baby unless absolutely necessary!)

This Laissez-Faire approach often has the affect of softening the interaction between adult and child. Child realizes that the adult knows, and expects, that the child is capable of managing some self-care (I never say as much, it should not be discussed, just implied by calmness and action); and the adult let's themselves off the hook. This isn't YOUR problem, it's your daughter's challenge. Let her figure out how she's going to solve it. I have more details in the area, but my time is running short...personal message me if you feel like this is a route you'd like to try. In short...less talking from the adult, more letting go of the situation...she'll figure it out.

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answers from Seattle on

I'm really sorry. I know how frustrating and even frightening this can be when you don't know WHAT to do to fix the problem!

I'm no expert: these are just some ideas.

1) emotional intensity. Sounds like there's a lot of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY surrounding this issue of peeing her pants. She feels your displeasure powerfully. She's not convinced in her own mind that she WANTS to go potty, PLUS there's the issue of the new baby sister. If possible, I would urge you not to react with emotion when she pees her pants. Don't get all upset, don't show you're upset. Be really matter of fact. (Who knows, you might already be this way.) Focus on action = CONSEQUENCE; don't focus on Bad behavior = disapproval/displeasure.

2) consequence. At this age, I would identify all the different places she cannot go or things she cannot do because she has gotten into the habit of peeing her pants. And make those be the consequence. This way you can matter of factly even sound sympathetic toward her that because she peed her pants, she will not be able to ... ? Sit on the couch and watch tv, go to the park, etc. because it's not safe for other kids to be playing on peed on equipment, you don't want to ruin the couch, etc. I mean, each time she has an accident you can spontainously decide what thing that will really affect her she can't do because her pee would ruin the thing.

3) make her clean up after herself and make it a real drag (not vindictively, but if she makes a puddle ont he floor, make her clean it up and don't let her quit til it's really cleaned up. Remind her, sympathetically, this is a real pain isn't it? It's so much quicker to just use the potty.

4) ? perhaps you should give it a rest for a few months? I don't know. I'm not saying you SHOULD. It depends on it you think it's taking over your whole relationship and doing damage to her emotional health, you might want to drop the subject and bring it up again later.

I don't think it is at all unusual to regress when a baby enters the family.

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answers from Seattle on

A. - I might be the only one that suggests this....
First, make sure there is not a medical reason she is having all of these accidents. (I am willing to bet there's not since she is staying dry all night)
Put her back in diapers, NOT pull-ups. Tell her that you are sorry that she is no longer able to make the choice to go the potty and that when she is willing to try the potty again she may go back in panties.
Stop talking about it with her. Let her come to you.
Seriously, that would make me just as angry and frustrated as you are. Good Luck to you

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answers from Seattle on

I am sorry that you are going through this. Your post really expresses the frustration you are feeling.

Now I would strongly suggest that you go back to your pediatrician and ask them on how to best handle potty training. I happen to share his opinion that what your daughter is going through is perfectly normal AND the escalation of her wetting problem is also to be expected in the context you just having had a new sibling.

I really urge you to take a step back and look at your post and how you have been reacting to this. I am pretty sure (about 99.9%) that she is not doing this to provoke you. Yes, having a potty trained child is more convenient, but she may just not be ready and now the situation might have escalated into a point were she is actually even less in tune with her body because she is afraid of punishments.
This should not be about your feelings towards her wetting her pants, but about helping her taking a developmental hurdle.

Punishment and humiliation (making her smell her stained clothes) are just not good teaching strategies. You have some great ideas for positive rewards - just make them more achievable.
Take baby-steps with her, instead of having a 30 day goal, have a daily goal, or a weekly goal.

Your situation may have escalated to a point in both your and her perspective, that maybe taking a step back and starting fresh would be a good idea. Get some underwear like training pants, so you won't have to full on change her and deal with a "full accident" cleanup, while tending to your newborn.

Good luck.

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answers from Portland on

Well, I agree with the previous posters ... and would add, if she's not wetting at night that doesn't mean she has a behavioral issue during the day, actually.

Medically, there are many reasons that kids do and don't wet at night ... the one that finally made sense to explain our night wetting issues (I use diapers, so it is not a "bedwetting" issue--I don't have the time or emotional energy to deal with that, at least not in a healthy way!, and am much happier for admitting that and putting kids back in diapers!) ... anyhow, the one that came out just about a year ago was that there is a hormonal change when we hit deep sleep--either a new hormone that keeps urine from forming or the stopping of a daytime hormone that assists in triggering urine formation--and some bodies take longer to learn that than others. It's a biochemical developmental delay (in my family's case), or--in your case (yay!!!), your kid's biochemistry got that part of the whole urine thing figured out right on time (and very conveniently for you, too :) ).

However, you are facing not only the normal "regression" of new life-stress (baby), and probably also the for-whatever-reason less-firm/confident use of pelvic muscles that is (as your pediatrician probably meant to imply but apparently didn't specify) common to female humans of any age (you should ask your ped, by the way, WHY he thinks it is "common for girls," he might have some entirely different biological explanation which might be useful to you).

I suspect you are facing the little kid problem (not-girl-specific) that they are very busy doing very many things (learning intensely at this age!!) and they either literally don't notice the urge to go (because their mental channels are full)--I think this is WAY more common than anything else, perhaps particularly for boys--or they don't properly prioritize it (probably more likely for girls).

Prioritizing can be viewed as a behavioral problem, and as such can be 'corrected' by punishments, but only if you want the person in question to never be able to rationally approach this part of their life. (I knew a man who in his 60s was advised by his therapist to "just wear Depends until you feel like you are ready not to" ... he said it was incredibly freeing and helped him access and let go of a lot of pent up fears and emotions ... while I was surprised at the 'extreme' of that recommendation, I guess it was deeply appropriate and direct!!)

Putting natural consequences in line will help your daughter learn that she has not only physical control over her pee (which she probably does, since she was making it to the bathroom on the strong urges--true incontinence doesn't work that way), but also EMOTIONAL control over her pee situation. The other mom is right, things like no sitting on the couch if she's peed ... for my kids it was "no chocolate" because chocolate was obviously a direct trigger for them, and if they didn't control their pee they simply weren't allowed to have any ... and we definitely had places we didn't go (or places we left abruptly) because of the potential (or actual) pee accidents, and I let the child in question know (unfortunately often in No Uncertain Terms) the how and why of that.

I tried rewards (stickers) with the first kid; I didn't really see that they helped a lot after the initial "hey yo you need to pay attention to this funny feeling, it means you need to pee" stage. But then I'm not a big believer in rewards, perhaps because people tried to 'buy' my behavior as a kid and I resented it. Accomplishing the task and growing in competence (and being verbally recognized by parents and other important people) are their own reward.

Anyhow, rejoice :)! that your child is dry at night, and check out pullups or cloth diapers that let her feel the pee.

When she goes back to just leaking (no full on accidents), you could consider using pantyliners. I used "comfy pants" (the padded trainer underwear) if there were accidents and "pretty pants" or "big boy underwear" (thin undies) if they stayed dry. (And at first this meant, one instance of staying dry ... then two or three ... then a whole day ... then 2 or 3 days ... however works to get the kid drier and drier over time.)

And, in the end, I just decided I didn't care. I taught my kids, during the learning time, to put peed underwear in the diaper pail (I use cloth), or in the bathtub (if a big pee, all the peed clothes go in the bathtub). This isolated the smells more or less and made the laundry situation easier. (Now I use it, myself, for nighttime diaper leaks, too ... I don't try to start a wash of all the bedding in the middle of the night, I just dump everything in the tub and deal with it when I'm actually awake the next morning!)

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answers from Portland on

A., I can tell you really care about doing the right thing. And you've written a few things that could very well be contributing to what is a pretty normal problem in toddlers, especially when a new baby enters the household.

(1) A great deal of tension around any bodily function tends to create problems. It sounds like this has become a central issue in your household, with plenty of bad feeling all around.

(2) Connecting rewards and punishments to an essential body function often works against success. Natural consequences, on the other hand, will gradually bring her closer to wanting to be potty trained. Don't employ these in a punitive way. Stay sympathetic. As other moms have suggested, if she "simply can't" go some places because of not being able to use the potty, or if she has to go to the trouble of changing clothes and wiping up pee every time she has an accident, she can gradually "discover" that going on the potty would be faster and easier. It's best if you leave room for her to reach this conclusion herself. Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for.

Likewise, natural rewards, such as freedom to go places she likes, are more effective than a necklace, which has nothing to do with pottying. (By the way, if the necklace is something you decided upon as a reward, it may not have much real meaning for her.)

(3) Reward charts and the like can be effective in the short run to interrupt a pattern, but a 30-link chain is far too long to seem possible to a four-year-old. You may as well ask her to pole-vault over your house. If you want to use such an approach, start VERY small: reward a day or two of success. Gradually increase by a few days.

The other thing to remember about reward charts is that the sense of achievement and accomplishment are external. For success to eventually translate into self-esteem, a child has to feel successful and satisfied for herself.

(4) You give her extra cuddle-time for success. Good instinct, wrong message. This suggests to a child that you love her IF and WHEN she is successful. The cuddle time, which I expect she needs desperately now that a new sibling has booted her out of "first and only" place, must be independent of her behavior if you want her to feel secure.

Looking in dispassionately at your whole-family distress, I'd suggest you back off of this issue entirely. It has certainly had at least some effect that you insisted she be trained on your schedule. (This sort of edict has had some pretty dire effects on plenty of children, including a couple of my grown-up friends.) You might offer her the choice of getting back into diapers until she's ready to use the potty. Consider requiring only one or two simple rules: Gotta change into dry clothes if you wet the ones you're wearing. Gotta wipe up the pee. Mention, only occasionally and very casually, that you'd love to take her someplace she loves WHEN (not if) she learns to use the potty.

I'd also be inclined to talk to her about her sibling's place in the family. Express sympathy if she reports any negative feelings. DON'T tell her she shouldn't have those feelings (we don't control our feelings; they just exist). DO say something like, "Yes, sweetie, I can see that is hard for you," or, "Of course you wish I could snuggle with you all the time – who wouldn't love that?" or, "You are feeling sad/mad/jealous right now, aren't you?" Simple acknowledgement of feelings often gives us the chance to process them and move on to something else.

If she seems so inclined (please don't push her), you might follow up with comments about how you notice her delight in or helpfulness toward the baby. Ask her to notice something that evokes funny or tender feelings. Let that sit there next to the sad, confused, jealous feelings. Family love is a complex experience, and contains all of everything. Acknowledging that complexity helps with emotional growth.

Also tell her early and often how much you adore her, every bit as much as the new baby. How glad you are that she's your little girl. How you love her just the way she is, just because she is herself. Don't we all long to know such things? A little kid adjusting to new siblings have these needs much exaggerated.

I really think backing off will get you there faster. Good luck to all of you.

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answers from Seattle on

Any attention, every bad attention, in the eyes of a displaced toddler is great attention. First of all, you need to be firm. Get yourself some satin or rayon panties. When she wets them, just a little bit, they're going to be uncomfortable. Sweat pants or elastic waistbands that will make it easier for her to take herself to the bathroom, not having to wait for you or another adult to help her achieve this function. If she wets her pants, immediate reaction, take her clothes off, in the bath, shower or sponge bath to clean her up.
Let her know that if her behavior continues that she won't be able to go places or do things as you won't have access to all the clothes and bathing facilities to clean her up after ward. 3 yrs old is late to be potty trained, especially during the day. That being said, you created a habit of taking care of things and she's expecting more of the same. Make the time and take the time to get her to the bathroom at various times during the day, so her bladder isn't so full that she can't control the flow/need. When you go to the bathroom, put pride aside and sit her on her potty chair. Mom's going, you're going. Before you leave to go anywhere in the car, she goes to the bathroom and you don't leave until she voids. When you get to a restaurant or a store, visit the ladies lounge and use the facilities. Success for both of you, reducing the chances of accident or failure. Having others come to play with her isn't what she wants, she wants you. You'll need to carve out that one on one time for her. When you nap the baby, it's an opportunity for the two of you. She can help you with picking toys up, you can read a book with her, she can help you make the dessert for that evening's dinner, she can fold washcloths while or sort/pair the socks in the laundry. There is family time, but there is her time with you. She just wants your attention.

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answers from Seattle on

Well, she is a bit jealous, as she is no longer the center of attention. But you are doing a lot of the right things.

Tell her new rules.

My one suggestion would be to make the rewards come in one day at first. That would be more manageable for her. Thirty days is just to long right now. Make the reward something like having a grab bag of toys (not too expensive) and she gets to take one out. Make sure the bag is full of toys that she likes. Perhaps she can go to the store and help pick them out. So this goes on for a month.

Then she has to stay dry for two days at a time. The toys are better, because she has to stay dry for two days.

And I am sure you can see how the method would proceed for three days, and then four. When you get to five days, then she gets to take on parent to a movie or outing (beach, shopping for clothing, etc.).

Never react disappointed or angry. Do not punish. Just stay calm and return to the beginning day of the cycle that she is in.

Also, show her how to clean herself up, put her dirty underwear away, and get new underwear to put on. It is after all, her responsibility to take care of her body.

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answers from Seattle on

I would suggest that first you need to make sure that the problem is not medical and if everything is fine, just put her in pull-up and back off. There have been far too much punishment here and that includes even the necklace that she can look at but can't have. I find your methods very unatracctive and all that is too much pressure for a 4 year old. Just let her do it on her own and when she is ready. You might be suprise with the results. Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on


I work as a behavior specialist with children from 3 to 13; here is the advice I would give to any parent I work with.

Stop punishing her for having the accidents but have natural consequences as well as rewards. Don't threaten her, it will only make it MUCH worse and she will then start to fear you which will cause her to hide things from you now and in the future--not the result you want. Natural consequences, as others have said, would be to have to clean up her mess--do the laundry she soils, take a bath, clean the floor if there is a puddle PLUS no reward for the day (nothing taken away just not earned). No big deal is made of this you simply say "oh, I'm so sorry you had an accident. Please get it cleaned up (you will help some especially until she learns what she has to do but make her do the bulk of the work remembering she is 4 so she won't do the "sparkling" job you would do) and we will try tomorrow to earn _________ (whatever you work out)". At this point you have her clean up and move on to the next activity. Her rewards would be "big girl" activities and she can earn one EVERY day. 4 year olds do not have the attention span to earn a weekly or monthly reward. When she has stayed dry she earns something that only kids who are potty trained can do like playing in the ball pit at McDonalds, that special necklace that big girls would wear, special time cooking in the kitchen with mom, etc... It doesn't have to be anything that costs you money just something that if she isn't potty trained she couldn't do--change it everyday or she will get bored and stop trying to earn it. You have to be consistant and don't put off giving her the reward--make the time to follow through everyday.

I see some people have posted that they don't like to reward kids for behaviors they should be having, that the feeling they get from accomplishment is the reward--I hear this frequently. What we as adults have to remember is that no matter how good we feel at the end of the day when we have done a good job and finished our work we still expect to have a paycheck at the end of the week or the end of the month--even if we love our jobs we don't do them soley because they make us feel good; why should a kid have to do a job with no pay and only because it makes them feel good?

I hope this helps, good luck to you and your daughter.

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answers from Portland on

I think it is common problem for kids this age.

My doctor recommending setting an alarm clock for 2hr increments and making her go when it goes off.


answers from Medford on

First, let me say how sorry I am that you are going through this. There is one other mom and myself that are also dealing with similar situations. We both have 4.5 year old daughters. I dont want to go into great detail right now (please see my files), I have written on this subject SOOOO many times. It is a continual battle. I sense though from your request that you are quite frustrated with this (though it sounds like your frustration is directed towards your daughter). I am not trying to sound judgemental, as I have directed my frustrations towards my daughter as well. However, I may be able to help! :)
Please read my posts about this subject, you may be able to find an answer. My daughter has been to doctor after doctor, and believe me when I say: It PROBABLY isnt all behavioral as your doctor states (unless he has checked everything else)...as for the full on accidents, yes that probably is behavioral (most ever child has set backs when babies come along)...but the wetting (drippling) could be several issues in one. my personal email address is [email protected]____.com please email me if you want to talk!



answers from Anchorage on

I pmmed you my response...boy..wish you could delete posts here can't believe i am forced to commit to it forever lol and cannot just delete it if I mess it up..gotta type something else or the same thing comes up when you click edit. Sigh. Anyway..pmmed you and hope it was written a little better than my original. It's like 3am here and I just simply started typing when the box came up..sorry ....goin to sleep now!



answers from Bellingham on

I don't know if your daughter has a similar reaction to mine, but my daughter would be mortified at the thought of wearing a diaper. Sometimes I threaten her with it if she won't just sit on the potty for a minute when I tell her to. Honestly, with my child, I'd put a diaper on her when she gets wet and tell her that panties are for the big kids who stay dry.

Some kids wouldn't react so well to that, so take my advice with a grain of salt. You know your daughter better than I do ;-)



answers from Portland on

No real advice, other than be patient, she has figured out that she can control this issue (some use food) and she is getting the attention that she wants from you. Many kids will seek any kind of attention they can get when things are changing.

She also sees that baby goes in her diaper, so why not her...

I understand that this is a perfectly normal reation for a potty trained child to go through when a new baby arrives.

My daughter, now almost 4.5 did something similar. Her baby brother was a bit closer, so we were still in the potty training phase and she knew she was going to pre-school that fall. Low and behold, she kept control of her potty issues at school, but as soon as she got home, she either wanted a diaper or pull up. If I wouldn't do it, she did it herself. She wasn't trained at night, yet, so diapers were still in the house.

We went through almost the whole school year with potty issues at home and I tried my best not to give her any attention one way or the other for the diapers. I praised her for staying dry at school and I always had her go before she left school. I dangled the proverbial carrot out there for only 5 dry days, no diapers or accidents and she would get a reward. We talked about it and she wanted a build-a-bear like her friend got. It took until the last month of school for her to finally get that reward. We did talk about the reward periodically, so she knew it was still available, but.... It was very frustrating and when she had accidents, she always had to rinse her panties and pants and put them in the laundry room.

Just be patient and if it is easier, put her in pull-ups or diapers again. I found that cleaning up after she "cleaned up" was more of a hassle and if she wanted to wear diapers, okay. I'd rather change the diaper than clean a bigger mess.

Good luck to you, things will get better eventually, but she needs to feel in control of this situation, actual, she knows she has control and you will just have a battle of wills otherwise.




answers from Seattle on

Sorry if you've heard this idea, but, i was having problems getting my daughter to agree to go potty regularly, so eventually she would wet her pants.
I got her a potty watch (you can find them at One Step Ahead among other places - i bet a web search would turn up a lot), and then every time it goes off she has to go. (Actually, we started this with a regular kitchen timer, which has more time increments available, and was already in our house, but, we needed something we could send to the playground and things like that.) When the bell rings, she has to 'try'. She just has to get to the potty, sit on it, go if she can, and then go play. By making it really quick and simple, and letting her get up if she doesn't actually have to pee, she goes without fussing at every ding. This really seems to have helped with the accidents.
We set the timer for different time periods - 15 minutes after the end of the meal, and shorter times if she doesn't actually go. If she does go, we'll set it for a longer increment - up to a couple of hours. Early on she got a puppy sticker for each successful potty, then for each half day, now she gets one each day she is dry all day. Your daughter could pick out her own stickers, if you go that route.

Hang in there, its amazing how stressful potty training can be, isn't it? And good luck.

ps. If this is still going on after a while, i really don't think it can hurt to ask the doctor to re-evaluate the situation. It is still possible that there is something going on.


answers from Portland on

I would check it out with the doctor to make sure she doesn't have a urinary tract infection for one. There are other things it could possibly be because of the frequent urinating.I wouldn't rule out the medical problem especially since you said it's getting worse.
I wouldn't punish her for lack of control, but you might just put her in pull up diaper or those patted underpants until the problem is resolved not making it a punishment but a temporary solution. Since she's almost 5 you could have her clean up herself. Giving her what she needs for cleaning herself and then a way to clean her panties (sink with warm soapy water for her to clean her underwear for the wash.



answers from Seattle on

I wouldn't take your Doctors word as gospel. I have a son 3 1/2 year old with special needs and have found that there is so much his Doctors don't know. Maybe she has some sensory awareness issues. Maybe she can't feel she has to go until it's to late. I would do some internet research. Google "sensory integration", "bladder dysfunction". " "ESTIM therapy bladder dysfunction". I just read an article on the web yesterday about how children were helped by low volt electric stimulation to their bladders so that they can feel the signals when it is time to go before they are to full. There is also "encopresis" to research. Acupuncture yields results when there is a problem. See if some if the symptoms "fit" your daughter. Remember, YOU know her best. It is so hard being a parent sometimes, trying to stay objective. Maybe it is just typical behavior. My other son, 8, still has occasional (every 3 months) daytime and night time accidents. He consistently wet his bed 3 nights a week until the age of 7. After he had his tonsils out the wetting stopped. Who would have thought that the two things were related. Not his Doctor.

Hopefully I have given you some food for thought. Hang in there. You will find the answer.




answers from Seattle on

This is a difficult problem, which is very common. Whether it be a behavior due to a "new baby" or just a defiant behavior, it really sounds as if you have done everything. You have checked off the medical problems, you have given positive and negative reinforcement, etc. I am wondering what would happen if you started just ignoring this altogether? I know it doesn't sound great, but it does sound as if this "problem" is getting a lot of attention one way or the other. How about you just act very benign whenever this happens, ask her to go clean herself up and change her pants ( she is old enough to know how to do this), very casually, and don't give any other attention to it for at least a few weeks. See if it makes things quiet down with her acting out. As far as the lite leaking, it is very normal for children to eb and flow with their potty training for a few years after Potty training success. My four year old can be successful for weeks and then have an entire week of accidents just because she isn't listening to her body tell her she really needs to go. Good luck with this. I hope it helps!



answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,
Obviously your daughter has been and is upset about having a new baby around. She first had to live with the excitement about the pregnancy which she probably only half understood in the first place. Now the new baby and she, as everyone else has already mentioned, has lost her position. As far as I know, she now has more to work on with trying to stop wetting than she had before and that is to try even harder so that she can receive that necklace. The first thing I would do is to give her the necklace and tell her you know how hard she has been trying not to wet her panties and you want her to have the necklace. Tell her how much you love her and put the necklace on her. Don't have the baby in the room. Make it personal. I think that alone will help a lot. Good luck. A.



answers from Portland on

I'm always amazed at almost 5 year olds that won't use the potty. They can't go to pre-scool or school if they wet their pants.
Is she a very stubburn child? Maybe take her every hour to go to the potty? I had problems with my now 12 year old, he had problems for a long time. He'd go weeks without an accident, then come home from school wet. I know each store that has public restrooms, and where they are. I got to the point where I just made him stop what he was doing and physically took him to the bathroom. He didn't get the whole, yucky smell thing either.
At her age, she is capable, unless there is a medical issue like CP ( my son has CP ), or if she isn't hitting milestones like she should. Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

Three day potty training..... Look it up every one i know who used it it working in 2 days!!!!!! GOOD LUCK

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