Almost 4 - not quite making it to bathroom - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-17-2007, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Need opinions on this. My almost 4 year old dd has gotten into this routine (for the last 2-3 weeks) of not making it to the bathroom before she wets her underwear just a bit. I'm trying to decide if this is her just readjusting to learning to wait a little longer to go (or maybe she's preoccupied and doesn't want to stop playing) or if there might be a medical thing going on. I started to post first in health and healing, but I wanted to check here to see if others had experienced this just as a normal developmental adjustment (I tend to overreact a bit on medical stuff and think everything is a problem).

I think the consistency and duration are what are worrying me. At the end of the day, there are usually a pile of 4 - 5 pair of underwear that we've been through (she usually insists that they are dry, but when i check they aren't). I NEVER make her feel ashamed or make a big deal out of it, but I am pretty adamant about making her change (or go without - whichever she prefers) if they are wet.

so, is this a normal thing or do I need to be looking for the underlying cause? She does not seem to be in pain before, during or after going.
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#2 of 5 Old 05-17-2007, 03:54 PM
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My DD went through this for quite some time (and still does sometimes) where she waits until she HAS to go before she'll stop what she's doing and go. She would sometimes make it just steps from the toilet before peeing all over the floor.

If she's not in pain, I wouldn't worry too much. A simple urine test can see if she has an infection (if this is something new, definitely get her tested.)

Otherwise, you might want to start reminding her (I know, a pain) to go potty when she is playing for long periods of time.


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#3 of 5 Old 05-17-2007, 09:03 PM
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My 4 yo dd does this in spurts. I think it's just that she wants to keep playing.
She also has spurts of needing me to help her/go with her...even though she is perfectly capable of going by herself.

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#4 of 5 Old 05-21-2007, 02:27 PM
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> My 4 yo dd does this in spurts.


My dd did this too, for at least a few months, with many accidents. She obviously knew she had to go, and she meant to go, just 'not quite yet'. So 'in a minute' could easily become 'in a puddle' (which she then was happy enough to sit in until found), or 'in the bathroom, at a run, having done half or even all of the job on the way'. We used to joke about 'the princess and the pee', for the trails she left behind her. Oh, so funny... now that it's all in the past. Not quite so much at the time.

This was ultimately a good lesson for me in (if you'll pardon the expression) 'letting go'.

Through lots of reasonable talks, nagging, encouragement, vigilance and stress I learned that I could worry a lot about this, and be embarrassed about it, and try to stop it, and we'd be in a fair bit of conflict and unhappiness about it -- and she would still pee her pants like she had some kind of quota to meet. (At least it mostly happened at home.) Or, I could accept the reality that for this particular kid things were going to be damp and unpredictable for a probably not too long while, make her more responsible for the learning, changing and cleaning up, love her wet or dry just as I did without a thought when she was in a diaper, and laugh at my own lost illusions about parenting. (And, she would pee her pants like she had some kind of quota to meet...)

She really didn't mind being wet very much, so what eventually ended it was her learning her own signals better, maybe starting to feel a bit of peer pressure, and finally grasping through (laundry) loads of practice, that it was more of a bother to change wet pants and clean up a trail than it was to go in time the first place.
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#5 of 5 Old 05-21-2007, 03:28 PM
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Has she recently had a growth spurt?

My son, who is also 4, went through a period like that a few months ago. Around the same time I noticed that his pants were all suddenly too short! I'm pretty sure that what had happened was that he had had a growth spurt and that it was affecting his bladder in some way. I've heard of that happening to kids (can't find a decent reference, but it was suggested that the bladder doesn't grow as fast as the rest of the child, and needs a little while to catch up). We were just really vigilant about his potty cues for a while and suggested bathroom breaks, but eventually he regained more control.

may my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living whatever they sing is better than to know  - e.e. cummings
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