HELP- 3 Year Old Won't/can't Pee

Updated on March 03, 2016
Z.C. asks from Poughquag, NY
7 answers

My three year old daughter is being potty trained (started a few days ago). We decided to go cold turkey on the diapers and she was very excited to wear underwear. She has been waking up dry for at least 3 months now so we figured she could do it (plus she wanted to). Problem is, practice as we may (and we have been practicing at least every half hour since Friday) she just can't seem to actually go. And I know she needs to when we are trying. In the mornings she wakes up dry and still can't actually pee two hours later. Then eventually she goes in her underwear and tells me while it's happening like she is surpised.
So, my question is, how do I help her learn HOW to pee? I'm willing to put in the time as long as it takes to help her. Her daycare teacher is in on it and willing as well (as long as we provide lots of extra clothes and underwear). We are using training pant underwear so they don't really leak at first but it she pees a lot (which she does) it ends up leaking. (I don't want to use Pullups because I don't believe they work - bad experience trying to train my son using them).


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

So it's been two months since I posted this request. Sorry for the long wait on results but I just finally got the final info I needed to share. She had a UTI which cleared up but the Dr. said she had to have an Ultrasound (of bladder and kidneys) and then a VCUG (X-Ray with dye inserted through a catheter). The Ultrasound came out negative. The VCUG looked like it was possibly postive for Reflux (from bladder to kidney). We went to a specialist and that was not the case (thank God). But she Does have an unusually large bladder and he could see that she was trying to urinate but was unable to (which I already knew). So the diagnosis was "voiding dysfunction". He said that the brain was not communicating properly with her bladder etc. and that the bowels were most likely involved too. It is genetic. He said that it was good we caught it because it gets worse the longer it goes on and it could go on forever. That most people who have urinary trouble as adults had this as a child.
So my 3 year old is now on Miralax once per day for 4 weeks, a laxative once a week and she has to drink at least 32 ounces of water a day and 8 grams of fiber a day. This is supposed to clean her bowel out. Hopefully that will help clear up the confusion in her brain. If not, she will need meds to help her relax her bladder.
She stores urine for a LONG time and then when she finaly goes, she doesn't empty it completly.
Anyway, sorry for the long rambling post. I just wanted to let you all know what was up and maybe if anybody else has a child who is holding it for a long time and having trouble with potty training, you will call the Dr. You never know.

More Answers



answers from Albany on

Did you try letting the water run-putting her hands in warm water-or, last resort, pouring a little warm water down her front while she is on the potty?



answers from San Diego on

Hi Z.,
Can you please let me know if you could potty train your lo after this treatment or did she just outgrow this on her own? I see the same exact behavior with my nearly 4 year old. I see that she tries, but does not go. Right now I make drink water and she does it in 1/2 hr and I feel again is involuntary because of all the water. I had noticed that she does not pee after she wakes up or after nap even before she was 2 and the doctor checked for UTI and everything was fine. So told me it is all fine. After several unsuccessful attempts to potty train her nearly an year and 1/2. I started more persistently in the last few days and see the same thing. I will be taking her to the doctor after observing for a couple of more days.
She already had to go through a lot - a surgery, EEG etc. I do not want to put her through more tests unless it is absolutely necessary.

Thank you.



answers from Washington DC on

I heard of one parent who kept a TV tray (small folding table) in the bathroom and a dishpan of bath toys that were only allowed to be used in the dishpan. While her child sat on the toilet she was allowed to play with those toys in a the pan of warm water (the temp. was impt.). Hands immersed in warm water can encourage urination and the distraction of play may help her relax. Good luck!



answers from New York on

Hi Z.,
Maybe she is just not ready. I had the same problems with my first son, and while everyone kept reassuring me that he wouldn't be wearing diapers in college, I wasn't quiet so sure. He just wouldn't do it! I can't tell you how long we spent on the toilet running water, singing, cheering, reading, playing CD's,... Well, after about 2-3 weeks, I just stopped trying. We did give it a few more tries while he was 3, but he finally got it as soon as he turned 4. Could I have gotten him to do it earlier? Maybe, but it wasn't worth the stress for me. Good luck!



answers from New York on

how about putting blue food coloring in toilet and telling her its gonna change to green when she pees???



answers from Syracuse on

Hi Z.,
It sounds like your daughter may have shy bladder. they know they have to go but it is hard to make them go on command. So a couple of things may help, no guarantee though.
try running the water when you sit her on the potty.
Or playing a CD of running water since water is expensive.
Also try putting her in a warm bath and tell her if she feels like she needs to pee to tell you and see if the warm bath won't relax her enough that she can go. If she continues not being able to feel like she has to go after a couple of weeks I might think about bringing her to the Dr as it could mean she has a more serious problem like urinary reflux.



answers from Richmond on

have you tried running the water when she is sitting on the potty or putting her feet and hands in warm water while she sits on the potty, i also had a friend tell me to tickle the back of their necks while they are sitting on the potty. good luck , i have an almost 3 year old who does not want to potty train because he is extremely smell sensitive and the cat box is in the bathroom and he gags everytime he goes in the bathroom!! children are so mcuh fun!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions