I am completely at a loss here. Our DS1, who potty-trained in a matter of days just before the age of 3 and has never had an accident since, has had a series of accidents over the past few weeks - all, as far as I can tell, related to his realizing he has to pee, but not getting to the bathroom in time. I'll hear the thundering little-boy feet, the crash of the bathroom door, and then a wail: "Moooooooommmmmmm!! I need heeeeeelp!" - meaning, he didn't get his pants down in time, or to the toilet once the pants were down, and he has peed on himself.
Then today I got an e-mail from his first-grade teacher, telling me that he wet himself at school today and had to go to the school nurse for a change of clothes. She mentioned that occasionally she'll see him doing "the pee-pee dance" and will remind him to go to the restroom, but today was out of the blue - particularly as it was during a time when the kids are free to go and don't have to ask for a pass to go down to the bathroom.
I've had UTIs myself an worried that might be a contributing cause, but a culture came up negative. I honestly think he gets distracted and doesn't heed his body's messages until it's too late - but the worst part is, he won't discuss it. At all. I've tried reassuring him that it happens to everyone at some point - I even reminded him of when I was in labor with his brother and managed to pee on the floor of our bedroom (he finds this hilarious), but he just backs away from me, shaking his head and waving his hands and going, "No, no, no, I'm not talking about this, it was nothing, it didn't happen...!" I know he's mortified but clearly there's something going on here, and I want to help him figure it out!!!
Ideas? Anyone BTDT?
My best friend's ds did the same thing at that age (and even a bit older). He'd often wait just a bit too long and let out a bit of pee in his pants/undies before running to the bathroom. And sometimes he wouldn't even notice (or perhaps he just wanted to ignore it) and an adult would have to ask him to go to the bathroom and change his pants.
He is now 9 and has long out-grown it. His parents just had to do what you and your ds's teacher are doing: keep an eye out for the pee-pee dance and send him to the toilet. They never came up with a better solution than that. As he got older he had fewer accidents and eventually they stopped.
Good luck mama. You might want to also consider some sort of short-term reward system to get him back into the habit of going when he needs to go. It sounds like right now the motivation to go is not strong enough to make him stop whatever he was doing. If you feel comfortable doing this you could make a reward chart or similar where you mark each day he goes without an accident. After a certain amount of days there could be a reward. It might be enough to re-establish the whole "listening to my body when it tells me I need to go" habit.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
ETA: Did they test for diabetes? This is something my dd's pediatrician does routinely when kids start having random accidents so it made be worth looking into. They do just a quick stick in the urine to detect sugar rather than a blood test so it isn't invasive.
I've talked with DS about it and he says there's no pain or discomfort at all, and his urine is not cloudy, so I'm not inclined to *think* there's an infection - all the same, I'm watching the sugar/juice intake. A friend's DD was just diagnosed with diabetes, and for them the trigger was that she was thirsty *all the time* and just peeing like crazy - but our problem is rather the opposite - DS is peeing probably less than he should, and for sure he's not drinking more than normal. All the same, I will ask his ped when we go next week with his baby brother, and perhaps she can do a urine test while we are there.
I decided against a behavior chart (he has one of those for doing his chores, where for sure he needs a little extra boost...but I'm kind of inclined to think that not wetting your pants at school is its own reward.) However, the suggestion did prompt me to have a conversation with him about how it feels to get to the bathroom in time vs missing a cue and having to get dry clothes from the nurse. I went to great lengths to reassure him that I wasn't mad at him at all, nor was I ashamed of him. I just said we needed to work together to make sure his body's signals weren't going ignored, and I told him about how ignoring them repeatedly might make him sick, so I wanted to make sure that didn't happen. This startled him and made him think, which is a good starting place.
Thanks for the input, mamas!