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How would you discipline a 5yr for peeing in closet?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I just found out, after paying 300 dollars to get our carpets cleaned, that ds has been peeing in our walk in closet. It smells awful and has leaked all the way to the underlay. We assumed it was the dog but ds just admitted that he was "sneaking" by peeing in the closet. He shows no remorse or hard feelings even though he can see we are both very sad and disappointed in his actions. He is a super smart boy and he knows this was wrong and he understands that we had to spend a lot of money trying to fix our carpet. I am just so sad right now. How do I handle this? What can I say or do to make him understand that these actions were not ok, cannot continue, and most importantly, how do I get him to care?

post #2 of 32

Did he say *why* he was doing it?  I think that is crucial information.

post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

I asked him and he said he doesn't know why..........just said he was "sneaking" I told him that I knew he was a smart enough boy to know that it wasn't ok to pee in our closet but he just stared at me. He could tell I was very sad but couldn't really say much.

post #4 of 32

ask him why he wanted to "sneak".  really getting at the *WHY he was doing this* is what needs to happen, and discipline is going to be useless there.  i doubt that most 5yr olds perceive peeing somewhere inappropriate in the same ways that we adults do (i.e, disrespect, hateful, etc)


sometimes, kids do things because the results benefit them in some way.  what kind of "benefit" could he have been getting out of this?  Has he been having problems in other areas, getting disciplined for some other thing routinely, or maybe some big change happened that he felt out of control about?  


alternatively, and i hesitate to say it...but could there be some sort of hidden trauma/abuse going on?  I hate to suggest it, but it is awfully strange behavior, esp. if he is otherwise not having trouble.  I think a lot more open and gentle discussion is going to be key in solving this one.  Good luck!

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

No he hasn't been having any other problems.........he is super loving, active, smart. He only goes to montessori kindergarten 3 mornings a week and the rest of the time he is with me. He gets lots of attention and love from his whole family. The only thing I can think of about the sneaking is that he is really into the whole good guy, bad guy thing right now. We are a total non-violent family with hardly any tv but he has still managed to aquire a great desire to act out guns, swords ect. I don't know if maybe the sneaking has something to do with acting out a "bad" guy or something along those lines??????????


oh and i have realized that an actual punishment would not be appropriate......i just explained how sad and disappointed I was with his actions and he could tell I was on the verge of tears. I guess my biggest concern is how to teach him to be empathetic.

post #6 of 32
Originally Posted by kdescalzi View Post

oh and i have realized that an actual punishment would not be appropriate......i just explained how sad and disappointed I was with his actions and he could tell I was on the verge of tears. I guess my biggest concern is how to teach him to be empathetic.

this is true-- i just think at this point you're so far removed from the time of the incidents it's a little pointless (and i am not big on punishment etc anyway)

if you wanted a consequence, you could probably make the kid be in your presence or his room for a week or so (no solitary time anywhere besides his room or being supervised by someone) to show that he'd lost trust, etc.  and at the end of that time discuss what has to be done to be given free range privileges?

post #7 of 32

I don't think you can make someone be empathetic, or force/teach remorse.  I think that empathy is something that is still developing in kiddos that age.  Probably the best thing you can do (in a long-run kind of way) is to model empathy.  Speak about how you think your actions may have affected someone else, and how you could make amends.  Or how you can see that someone you know is having a rough time and brainstorm about what you can do to help them out.  Be empathetic about his problems - try to see beyond the behaviour (in general... not just this peeing incident) to the motivation behind.  Name his strong emotions for him.  Also talk about how you're feeling - name your emotions.  In other words, take every opportunity you can to teach about empathy, recognizing emotions (in others as well as yourself), thinking about others etc. 


Regarding the pee incident you can ask the famous question "how would it make you feel if fill in the blank".  Try to relate it to something that will register with him.  "The closet is a part of the house and the house is very important to me.  Your toy *whatever* is really important to you.  How would you feel if someone did something to make it very yucky and dirty?".  Either he answers "sad" or whatever.  Or he isn't able to give an answer.  You can suggest "I think that would probably make you pretty sad - what do you think?".  Then you can say "And I felt really sad when you made the closet floor really yucky by peeing on it".


You could also ask him to brainstorm with you how to make amends.  Along the lines of "if someone wrecked your toy and you felt really sad, what do you think they could do to help make it better?".


If you have even a suspicion that he might do it again I think I'd follow a pp's advice and have him play only in your line-of-sight for the next little while. 


Beyond that I think it's still important to do a little more digging into the why of the "sneaking". 

post #8 of 32

There has to be more of a why, as it isn't less work to pee there than the bathroom really. I'd keep trying ot figure out what's going on in his head, because that's the key to keeping him from doing it again.

post #9 of 32

Edited by ChitownTracy - 7/19/12 at 7:59pm
post #10 of 32

... having worked with kids for so long, i really don't know that it's an indication of anything scary, myself.  i have seen kids exhibit huge amounts of weird pee behavior, from peeing down a slide to see what would happen, to peeing in front of each other, etc.  i personally would vote for "weird kid thing that's normal + he has a penis." 

Edited by hildare - 10/15/11 at 5:37am
post #11 of 32

It may be a strange behavior for an adult, but not so much in a young boy imo. Boys (even men on occasion) do weird things with their penises. Apparently they're a lot of fun. Come on, who doesn't know at least ONE grown man who likes to write his name in the snow? A friend once caught her son (at age 3 or 4, I think) walking down the hall, penis in hand, attempting to urinate on the pictures hung on the walls. My brother liked to pee from trees. I learned first hand that it really sucked to be the unlucky individual who happened to pass under his tree. I've known numerous little boys to pee down slides. I've also known a bunch to pee in cups, bowls, bottles, whatever receptacle they could come up with in their rooms either because they didn't want to leave to go to the bathroom or simply because they could. When I was little, a friend got really upset when she discovered that her 6 year old brother had peed in her tea set. He didn't see what the big deal was. Is peeing in the closet gross? Definitely. But I wouldn't jump to assuming there's something seriously wrong, especially since I can't think of single boy who hasn't peed somewhere weird at some point.


Any idea how long it's been since he last urinated in the closet? If it's been awhile, I'd probably let it go. If it's still going on, I'd stick to "line of sight" with him until he was better able to control his impulses. You can't really force empathy or remorse, and trying will just drive you batty. It'll come with time.

post #12 of 32

I'm hardly a hokie parent but I'd chalk this one up to weird kid behavior. I echo the comments that it MIGHT indicate some sort of abuse...maybe. If that is unlikely I think it is just boys being weird. As a man, I've known lots of guys who pee in weird places and get a great kick out of it. I had a buddy in highschool who would walk down the sidewalk and urinate while walking. We're just a weird, uncivilized group of people.


I don't think a punishment is required at all. A good stern talkin' to should do the trick. I had problems with my oldest at 8 peeing in his pants repeatedly, almost daily. It was unbelievably frustrating. We eventually broke out the big guns. Doesn't sound like you are to that point yet, and certainly not with a 5 yo. Also, if this is happening at night, which it may be, he may be scared to leave the bedroom in the dark. If this is the case try to leave the hall and bathroom lights on at night. Yeah, it's an energy waster but it'll save your carpet and sanity.




 We are a total non-violent family with hardly any tv but he has still managed to aquire a great desire to act out guns, swords ect.


Speaking of us being a weird, uncivilized group of people; welcome to having a boy. Acting out violence is beyond normal. As a pacifist who runs in pacifist circles I am always amazed when my (female) pacifist friends are shocked when their little boys start stabbing at things with Lego swords. Boys will totally do this with barely a whisper of outside influence. It's how we are. For instance, I'm mostly a pacifist, but I still play Call of Duty and Socom and love shooting at imaginary, pixelated people on the TV. I can't really explain this divergent set of values but I know something deep down inside me craves the bloodlust, even if it's only digital.

post #13 of 32

My friend's little girl had a "pee spot" in the basement at 5yo.  She was just too lazy to go up to the bathroom.  So, another vote for 'random weird kid behavior' here, unless you have another inkling or reason to suspect something else.  My DD is almost 5 and still wets her pants - just a little bit - when she gets too busy playing, she doesn't want to stop and go pee.  So, where an adult would clearly see that it's really not more trouble to go in the bathroom than in the closet, I'm not sure that trickles down exactly the same way into five year old logic.


If it was me I would focus on the sneaking part rather than the carpet peeing.  I would kinda treat it as two separate things.  Maybe you can think of something more appropriate he could have for a special secret just for him?

post #14 of 32

I think the sneaking thing is probably a good enough explanation on its own.  There can be a thrill in doing something that seems illicit that you know your parents wouldn't approve of.  I remember feeling that way when I was young, like 6 or so, and also remember doing things as a kid just to see what it was like to do them, but having no real idea as to why.  I had issues with my daughter peeing on things, behind furniture, and one time she deliberately went up and peed on her sister's floor when she was angry at me, not at her sister.  She also went through a phase where she liked to pee outside.


If it is possible, you could show him the work that it takes to clean it up, and show him what the money could buy that was spend on cleaning the carpets.  Maybe you can work the money angle into something if it happens again.  Or if he does do it again and you discover it, involve him in the clean-up.  Which I say, but I don't think I did that when it was happening to me, it took me forever to get the corners of the carpet clean, I had to rip the carpet up from the floor to get at the subfloor, and it took a long time to get it to the point of their being no smell.  And since my daughter was often angry and uncooperative, getting her to help clean was rather a losing proposition.  She claimed she understood not to do it again and why, but it kept happening for awhile.  The last time it happened, she came and told me that she knew I'd be mad, but she peed on the floor again (on the carpet behind the chair). I just cleaned it up and told her her I wasn't mad, because honestly in that situation, it seemed like an accident, like she was playing and didn't realize she had to go.  She was really surprised that I wasn't angry, and seemed kind of happy, and then she told her sister, "I peed on the floor and mama didn't care!"  And that was the last time she ever did it.  But it doesn't sound like she had the same motivation as your son, although I think going into certain rooms and peeing in the corners under tables must have had some of the thrill of the illicit, just like peeing outside.

post #15 of 32

i remember being very little and peeing anywhere in my room that i could (carpet, on clothes, on a stuffy) so long as i didnt have to walk through the SCARY hallway to the bathroom. 

post #16 of 32

I vote that this is normal boy behavior. 


If you are concerned that this behavior is going to continue a logical consequence would be to have regular bathroom breaks where you make him stop his activity and you escort him to the bathroom. 


Alternately you might provide him another outlet for sneaking by letting him know that sometimes boys sneak and pee outside and that kind of sneaking would be a lot better because there's no clean up.  You have to be super sneaky and not let any neighbors see though. I'd only offer this if you're ok with it of course. 

post #17 of 32

OP, if it's an issue with him being afraid of walking to the bathroom there are few things you might try.  If it's a nighttime issue and he's afraid of the dark hallway you could do what a pp suggested and have a night light in the hall or even leave all the lights on outside his room.  Another thing that can work is making an "anti-monster spray" (works for ghosts or any other scary guys too!) that you go and spray around right before bedtime all over the hallway/bathroom.  Guaranteed 100% effective at keeping them away for up to 24hrs.  (Make by adding a drop of whatever essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water.  Made even more effective by decorating said bottle with cool sparkly star stickers.)


In the daytime you could tell him that you are willing to come whenever he needs to go and walk with him to the bathroom.  Or you could consider giving him a potty to use in his room (maybe not ideal... but beats having pee-soaked carpets).

post #18 of 32

I have three boys and I think that it's totally normal (albeit gross and annoying) behavior. I second the poster who suggested telling him to pee outside if he wants to pee somewhere other than the bathroom.

post #19 of 32
Originally Posted by beanma View Post

I vote that this is normal boy behavior. 

And, heck, normal girl behavior too, as long as we're on the topic. ;)

post #20 of 32

I would put a camp toilet in his closet if he is unable to stop, and he can empty it/clean it out every morning. Or a bucket or something. I think he might enjoy that you are working with him to find a way that everyone's desires can be met.

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