Three Year Old Daughter Pees a Little Bit in Underwear

Updated on August 06, 2009
G.V. asks from Olean, NY
7 answers

My just turned three year old daughter has been peeing a little bit in her underwear. We have been in the process of potty training for 4-6 months. Just when I think she is trained, we seem to have a complete turn around. I am getting frustrated! She has been having more and more accidents lately. Last night after she got out of the tub, she went in her room and peed on the floor, which she hasn't done since she first started potty training. I make her go in and pee quite frequently, and a lot of time she fights me on it, just out of sheer will, because most of the time she does have to pee. She NEVER poops in her underwear. She wears pull ups at nap and bedtime, and it seems as soon as we put them on she pees in them and then changes them. I have wondered about a UTI, but I thought they ran a fever with it? I think she pees a little in her underwear at daycare before she gets to the bathroom, then wears underwear with a little bit of pee in them all day. Please help me! I am frustrated and feel so bad for her! I know she wants to go on the potty.

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answers from Albany on

After checking the UTI possibility, try this: Periodically tell your dtr, "If you need to use the bathroom, go ahead and go." Frequency depends on how often your dtr. needs to go, maybe once every hour, just as a reminder. My son, with developmental delays, was dry at school all day, but at home frequently "had accidents", I read this idea someplace and said to myself, no way will this work! But it did. It was always a fight to get him in the BR, now he has a choice. We remind frequently, and he usually goes in on his own with the reminder. Give your dtr. a choice and a reminder.
Good luck,
J. R.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

I'm having the same issue too. My daughter is turning 4 in another month and has been in underwear for a year now. I have tried the "if you need to go pee, you can go to the potty" suggestions, but she gets angry with me the more I say it. She is perfect at day care and does not pee at night. She tries to hide when she does it too by closing the bathroom door (which she usually doesn't do). It's extremely frustrating. I am trying a sticker chart and taking her out for an ice cream after 7 accident free days. We made it through the first day, so I'm hoping it works.



answers from New York on

If your daughter has been dry at all for a period of time (weeks) then you may want to consider a UTI or possible need to have her back adjusted.
My daughter, in Kindergarden at the time started having little bits of pee in her panties too and she said she could not help it- there was no discomfort for her though. She was checked by the doc and was ok but I was being seen by a chiropractor at the time and decided to have the children brought in for minor adjustments/check up with him since he specialized in children as well. I did not tell him she was having that problem but he came out from his time with her and asked if she was expereincing urinary issues... because the spot on her back that correlates was out of whack. He said 1-2 more visits and she should be corrected. By the second visit she was fine- no more problems- ever. Now she is 12. I would never have thought that could make a difference, but it did. It is far worth the $30 or so to get a quick visit in with a chiropractor I would say... but do also make sure it is not a UTI as well- sometimes you do not run a fever.
The other option (I think I saw someone mention this already) is that she is just not quite ready? Give her 4-5 months and then try again... make it no big deal- if she wants to pee on the potty she can- if not, shrug your shoulders and say ok. Sometimes if you have a stubborn child who is trying to gain some control in her life they will use what they can for control... and this is the perfect tool at that age.
Best of luck to you!!!



answers from New York on

I can't offer any help but wanted to say my daughter is going through the same thing.

She's almost 3 and has been trained for like a year and all of a sudden she pees just a little and then yells that she has to go potty. Also suddenly has had accidents (not much but enough to question). No fever, no big sickness lately, etc. I was worried about UTI too and asked her if anything hurts "down there" or if it hurts to go pee. She said no and she's not sure why she does it. Would love to hear if you figure out if there's something behind your daughter's issue.




answers from New York on

She could be testing her limits & control. My daughter went through a period where she'd get really involved with playing and wait till the absolute last second before deciding to go pee, then she'd run (or shout pee-pee) for the potty and make it there, but have damp undies.

UTI is another possibility--if there's any indication of one, it can't hurt to get a culture done.

Constipation is another possibility. It's much harder to control your bladder when you're constipated.

Changes in hydration can be difficult for newly potty trained kids to adjust to (ie heat waves, or cold spells where their liquid intake changes)

Illness (or teething) can cause less bladder control in young kids. Even before they get sick sometimes poor bladder control can indicate an illness coming on, because the kids are struggling to fight off the sickness, and feeling lousy, so they don't notice their bladder getting full.

Food/environmental reaction is another possibility. If your daughter is showing any signs of a reaction (sudden mood changes, flushed skin, eye rings, reddened vulva/anus, rash, etc) this could be the cause for her lack of bladder control.

Talk to her about it. Explain sometimes we have to be proactive about using the toilet, so our "play time" isn't interrupted. Find out if she is surprised about the accidents (possible reaction to food/environment) or if she was just putting off using the toilet. Ask her if she's having any pain when she pees (indicator for UTI or other urinary problems). Check on her bowel movements, less than once a day, consider she may be a bit constipated.



answers from Albany on

The ultimate age to potty train is at three years & three months old. That's when they are ready. Good luck to you both!



answers from New York on


When you bathe her, do you ever add bubble bath to her bathwater? The reason that I ask. is because bubble bath is a leading cause of aUrinary Tract Infection, especially in little girls.

It sounds as if a Urinary Tract Infection might be what the problem is, even if you don't add Bubble Bath to her bath watet. A mild Urinary Tract Infection generally doesn't cause even a low grade fever, unless it progresses to the point where it becomes really bad, but even a mild UTI can cause her to not be able to completely empty her bladder, which may be why she is dribbling in her pants, and trying to hide it from you.

I would definitely have her checked out by her pediatrician, or at least see if you can collect a urine sample from her, and take it into his office to have it checked. UTIs can be a real nuisance, even in adults, but they are fairly easy to get rid of, with an appropriate antibiotic.