4 year old peeing his pants multiple times a day — The Bump
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4 year old peeing his pants multiple times a day

DS2 has been potty trained since he turned 3, so it's been a year and a half.  He would occasionally have accidents afterwards, but for the most part it wasn't really an issue.  Since around Christmas, he has had pee accidents almost every day, multiple times a day.  It's not enough to make a puddle, but it's enough that he needs to change clothes.  He waits until the very last minute, and then it's an emergency.  Sometimes, I'll just find him running around with a huge pee spot between his legs.  He argues with me every time I suggest he should try to go.  It doesn't seem to happen at preschool, but it does happen the second we step in the door after I bring him home.  

A couple of months ago, we used a responsibility chart, and he got a prize after going 7 days with no accidents.  He did it, and it did seem to help for a while.  Now we're back to where we started, and the chart doesn't seem to be helping.  I'm at my wits end, and I'm just so so sick of this!  

 Any advice?   

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Re: 4 year old peeing his pants multiple times a day

  • lwsnakelwsnake member

    :popping in from lurking because iI was just talking about this topic with my sister: my niece is 4 and was having a similar issuand of for quite so long though, and it turns out she had a mild bladder infection.  Maybe something to get checked out? UTIs do make it feel like you gotta go all the time. 

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  • My DD went through this.  She is better now, but still wets occasionally.  Her ped assures me that some kids just do this.  She has been doing it for a year now.  She gets gum every day at the end of school from her teacher if she doesn't wet, and that has been effective at school.  The doctors theory is that she is very involved in activities, so she misses the initial signs and by the time she has to go, it is too late. She has a few other theories too that I don't buy into.  We have had good luck with rewards and such in the past, but they have faded over the year.  I know force her to go when we are coming home or leaving the house and before or after snacks and meal times.  This has helped, but again it is somewhat of a battle, at least initially.  Good luck.  She only gets in trouble if she doesn't tell us right away because that is just gross, and whether or not she knows she has to go in advance is irrelevant to stopping and telling us she needs to be cleaned up. 
  • We went thru almost the same thing with DD1. Honestly, it lasted almost 9 months of off & on accidents. We took her to the dr, did charts, ignored it, bribes, threats, made her clean it up, you name it - we did it. Nothing worked & I thought I was going to lose my mind. Like your DS, it was mostly at home & mainly with me. It seemed like a control thing & she got very difficult about changing her wet pants. It was awful. Right before her 5th birthday she just stopped - no big deal & it's like it never happened.

    I don't really have any advice since nothing we did seemed to help. Ignoring it & making her deal with it matter of factly were the best options for us. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone. Our pedi said that he's never seen a typically developing 5 yo continue with this type of pant wetting & that it can be a control thing. Not that I would have believed him at the time, but that is the way it seemed to work out - she just out grew it. Hopefully your DS will get on board more quickly. 

  • image mulrooney:
    Our pedi said that he's never seen a typically developing 5 yo continue with this type of pant wetting & that it can be a control thing. Not that I would have believed him at the time, but that is the way it seemed to work out 

    This is interesting because our ped says she sees it all the time.  In some kids up to 14 with night wetting.  I am curious of what the difference is in populations.  Our ped basically told us to let it go, just remind her and give her rewards at at school, but that beyond that it was common.  Her teacher, a kindergarten teacher, who has taught kids for 30 years says she always has a couple of kids in class like this each year and has been very supportive and helpful with the problem. 

  • image JOEBunny:

    This is interesting because our ped says she sees it all the time.  In some kids up to 14 with night wetting.  I am curious of what the difference is in populations.  Our ped basically told us to let it go, just remind her and give her rewards at at school, but that beyond that it was common.  Her teacher, a kindergarten teacher, who has taught kids for 30 years says she always has a couple of kids in class like this each year and has been very supportive and helpful with the problem. 

    Night wetting is a completely different issue.

    Not sure what the "difference in populations" would explain.

    Our pedi, based on his knowledge of my DD, felt that it was a control issue & as such, his experience is that kids grow out of it by 5 years old.

    It is great that your DD has supportive environment.  

  • OPs have great advice. The other thing I've learned is that many otherwise PT children who start having accidents are often the result of constipation, and that constipated kiddos can still poop every day - they just don't poop enough. It was shocking really.  GL!
  • image akimbo:
    OPs have great advice. The other thing I've learned is that many otherwise PT children who start having accidents are often the result of constipation, and that constipated kiddos can still poop every day - they just don't poop enough. It was shocking really.  GL!

    Oh, this kid poops PLENTY.  Thank goodness we are not dealing with poop accidents on a regular basis.  We just got my youngest DS potty trained, and if one of them regressed to pooping his pants again, I would probably need to be locked up in a padded room.  This is one reason I know I am not meant to have another child, BTW.  :)

    Thanks for the responses!  Even if the advice is to wait it out, it's comforting at least to know that we're not alone in this.  I feel horrible, because I yelled at him today about it, even though I know getting angry with him will only make it worse.  

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  • We're going through this to a lesser extend. DD1 has been potty trained since 2.5 years. About half way through kindergarten (so ~5.5 yrs old), she started having occasional accidents at school. She'd wait too long and then have to wait to ask her teacher's permission and have a small accident. I'd say she's averaging around 1 accident a week now.

    She doesn't seem to have any other symptoms of a UTI. I've thought about taking her in to get checked, but I really think it's just because she's too busy to go. I can watch her wiggle around for 15 minutes before she'll finally agree with me that she does in fact need to pee.

    Lately she's been having an accident and then not doing anything about it. I find out at night when her undies are wet and smell like pee. So I've been emphasizing the fact that she can get an infection from that, and she needs to change into clean undies right away.

    It's starting to get better. I sent a couple extra pairs of undies to school is a hidden pocket in her backpack, and she hasn't had an accident at school since then. Our pedi suggested having her take a bathroom break every 2 hours (and set a timer), but I think that's hard to do consistently. I can't get a straight answer out of her about whether she knows that she has to go and is too busy or if she has no idea until the last minute.

    If he's having accidents frequently, you may want to find out if he has some sort of infection.

    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
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  • jlw2505jlw2505
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    My DD sounds like your DS.  She has been day trained since around age 3 and is now 4 years and a few months.  She will do great for a few months at a time with no accidents (night trained shortly before she turned 4) and then she will have a few days with 1 or 2 accidents and then be fine.  FOr her, it is 100% that she doens't want to stop what she is doing - mostly happens at preschool.  The last regression happened when they had some staff changes at preschool and didn't suprise me at all.  We have gotten her back on track with simple rewards - 1 Skittle if she is dry all day and then we do a bigger reward if she goes 2 weeks with no accidents (we pick an outing she really wants to do like roller skating or the zoo).  Some regression is very normal and kids get busy and while they know they need to go, they just don't want to stop to go.  I always try to explain to DD that it will take her way longer to get cleaned up, change her clothes, etc than it will to just stop what she is doing to go potty and that helps.  I keep up the simple rewards and that seems to work for her - honestly, if I need to give her a Skittle a day for the next 5 years - I will if it works.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • jlw2505jlw2505
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    image JOEBunny:

    image mulrooney:
    Our pedi said that he's never seen a typically developing 5 yo continue with this type of pant wetting & that it can be a control thing. Not that I would have believed him at the time, but that is the way it seemed to work out 

    This is interesting because our ped says she sees it all the time.  In some kids up to 14 with night wetting.  I am curious of what the difference is in populations.  Our ped basically told us to let it go, just remind her and give her rewards at at school, but that beyond that it was common.  Her teacher, a kindergarten teacher, who has taught kids for 30 years says she always has a couple of kids in class like this each year and has been very supportive and helpful with the problem. 

    Day time accidents and night time accidents have nothing to do with each other.  I have both a niece and a nephew that didn't night train until they were older - my 8 year old niece still sleeps in a under jams - but she has been totally day trained since she was like 3.  Very different things and you can't compare the two.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • DS goes through these phases every few weeks. We can't figure out what triggers it.  He just wants to wait until the last possible minute and then it's too late.  He gets mad when we ask him if he has to go and tells us to stop asking him.  But during those periods, he won't go himself unless we force him.  It usually lasts a week or two and then he'll go back to being accident free.  We've been potty training since August and this has happened the entire time.
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  • My son is 5 and does the same thing.  He potty trained at 3 and did great at school with no accidents... until the start of this last school year.  In preschool, I think everyone peed on a schedule.  Like, class pees, snack.  Class pees, go outside.  Class pees, lunch time.  Class pees, nap time.  With the start of K4 this year, everyone is expected to pee when they need to, and ask the teacher to go.  He always waits until the last minute and then it's a huge hurry.  I think that he's noticed the world doesn't end if he walks around damp, so it has lead to accidents at home, sometimes, too.  I am OK with it and I do think he'll outgrow it (and it has gotten better during the year) but I just worry about the smell and don't want him to be teased at school :(
    Noah (12~28~06) and Eli (8~5~10)

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