5 Year Old Daughter Wants to Be a Baby Again

Updated on March 08, 2011
C.A. asks from Allen, TX
8 answers

In the last few months, my 5 1/2 yr old daughter (who has been potty trained since she was 3) has been taking pullups from her daycare and putting them on and peeing in them. She will either throw them away afterwards or hide them somewhere. She tried to take diapers from her 8 month old step brother as well. She has told me a few times that she wishes she was a baby again so she could wear diapers. I'm just baffled. She has a twin brother and an older brother, so it's not like she's the only child when he baby step brother was born. Has anyone had this problem before? Help!!!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all very much for your advise. I had a feeling it may be a jealousy issue or not being the baby anymore. I talked to her last night and took some of the advice that you'll provided. I will keep you updated on her progress. Thanks again.

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answers from San Francisco on

It sounds like she just wants to be little again. baby step brother probably gets a lot of attention for being cute. Maybe give her other ways to be a baby, like wrap her up in a big blanket and hold her and say"oh what a cute baby! you will be by baby forever, no matter how big you get you will aways be my baby" Allow her to regress a little, she will soon be back to her old self wanting to keep up with her big brothers.
as for the diapers, you could buy her her own box of pull us and say that she can wear them at home, but please pee in the potty so that you stay comfortable. you could also buy them a size or two too small so that they aren't comfortable.
good luck,
she is only little once, don't push her too fast

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answers from Dallas on

She has siblings, but her new step brother is YOUNGER and is a very large focus of your attention right now. She's no longer the baby in the family. It's a little bit of jealousy and envy - not in a bad way. It's just what happens when a new baby is born. Talk to her and spend as much time as you can with her - special time that isn't new-baby centered. It's very hard when changes like this happen - they have a hard time communicating how they feel and the emotions come out a different way. Help her to feel your love during this big change in her life :)

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answers from Honolulu on

she's 5.5 years old.
Have you tried talking with her... just stream of thought, and seeing what she says, why and how come? She said she wishes she was a baby so she can wear diapers.
To me, this is just a way for her to feel secure again.
At this age, it is a whole other realm of 'expectations' on a child, per their age.
Sometimes, it is stressful for the child or they are not feeling like a "big girl' yet... but the schooling or age related expectations, takes a jump ahead at this age.
Maybe this is just her expressing.... ambivalence or stress or anxiety ab out it all.
At this age, they often start Kindergarten for example.
That can be real intimidating for a child. It being a whole world of unknowns etc. And a child does not necessarily know how to handle that, emotionally.

To me, this is not about her toileting ability. It is emotion based.

Just try talking with her... seeing what her feelings/worries are. Some kids worry! Whether it makes sense to us or not.
Can she express herself well? Just let her talk... openly about whatever.
My daughter, has always liked to just chat with me. And I would be surprised at what she says, her feelings, her apprehensions etc.
I would just let her talk, without scolding/lecturing her, Just chatting. Seeing what her perspective is and emotions.

all the best,

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answers from Pittsfield on

I think it will pass. My oldest son went through a time where he missed being 2 which was soon after his brother was born. I upped the attention I was giving him a little, and told him how glad I was that he was 4 because he was so big and such a good helper :) Then I gave him some simple ways to help me and made a big deal about it when he did something (without laying it on too thick and sounding phoney). He got over it pretty quickly. I think she will too. Good Luck :)

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answers from Santa Fe on

My son was 5 when his baby sister was born and he went through a phase where he wanted to pretend he was a baby every day for a while. I indulged him...called him my baby, pretended to give him a bottle, pretended to burp him etc. It made him really happy when I pretended this with him. He stopped doing it after a couple months.


answers from New York on

Take the time to sit her on your lap and cuddle her and tell her stories about when she was your baby, show her lots of pictures (she doesnt remember that she was once the baby who "stole big brother's spot" maybe even share that your oldest was a little jealous of all the attention twins got. Talk about how adorable she was as a little tiny baby and how beautiful she is now as a big girl. Tell her sometimes I miss cuddling you like a little baby but I really love how we can talk now, and you can use your words to tell me how you feel and talk to me about school and talk to me about books and gosh how wonderful it is not that she can talk and it was fun when you could dress her in little baby clothes but now she can pick out her own shirts to wear and she used to ride in the stroller but now she can pedal a bike....



answers from Detroit on

Sounds like it's her age coupled with the baby. I'd try to talk or play it out with her. She has feelings about getting older and about this baby. I don't think this will last a long time. She needs unconditional love in the meantime and a chance to talk about her feelings. You can use dolls, puppets, dollhouse people or stuffed animals to try to get her to get into this. Art would be good too. Hang in there!
Kids regress before moving to the next developmental level sometimes to reassure themselves that they're special to you and will be loved even if they are older and not as cute and cuddly.



answers from Portland on

Di has given you such good advice. Talk to her, get her side of it, and find out how SHE might want to solve the problem. There's a fabulous book that can help you with this process called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. The book spills over with real-life examples of how parents helped set the conditions for the child to address the problem himself. And though we don't usually think about young children in these terms. they can be creative problem solvers.

Re-reading your request, it appears that she has a fairly new sibling? Then she's craving the babying that he's getting. A child doesn't have to be a first child for this phenomenon to occur. Make a point of giving her lots of attention, and be sure to notice with appreciation all the age-appropriate things she does that you approve of. If you're busy and tired, you'll probably have to make a special effort, but it will be worth it for both of you.

Plus, kids are more invested in solutions they think of themselves, and are more likely to work at making them a success. I've used this approach since my grandson was 2.5 (he's now 5), and it works impressively.