How long should a 5yo girl be able to "hold it?" - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > How long should a 5yo girl be able to "hold it?"
fiddledebi's Avatar fiddledebi 03:52 PM 07-10-2007
My 5yo DD1 is STILL having regular accidents, and not always staying dry at night. I would be ok with this, but when the accidents happen, they are so clustered together that I worry that there might be something wrong, medically.

For example, a few days ago, we had her go to the bathroom before dinner, around 6pm. Then around 6:45 we decided to go outside to play, and we asked her to go to the bathroom before we went out. At around 7:10, she came running to me to say she had to go to the potty REALLY BAD, I raced to the house with her, and she went, but her underwear was already soaked. Sometimes she refuses to go to the bathroom, and if she does that and then has an accident, I get angry, but this is different. She had gone twice in the previous hour!

It's not uncommon for her to do this. It seems that we'll have a few really rough days -- one or two accidents a day, for example -- followed by a few weeks of no accidents at all. Every so often, she even wakes in the morning with a dry pull-up (we ALWAYS have her pee before bed).

So, how long *should* she be able to "hold" it? Should she need to pee every hour or more?


becoming's Avatar becoming 05:04 PM 07-10-2007
I would probably ask a doctor. I don't think she should need to pee every hour or more unless she is drinking a TON. My niece just turned 6 and probably goes every 2-3 hours.

One possibility is that she might not be emptying her bladder. Have you talked to her about sitting there until she's sure she's finished?
sunnysideup's Avatar sunnysideup 05:11 PM 07-10-2007
Originally Posted by fiddledebi View Post
So, how long *should* she be able to "hold" it? Should she need to pee every hour or more?
How long a child can "hold it" varies depending on their individual physiology. If a child were going as frequently as every hour or more, I would suspect she could have a bladder infection or an over-active bladder. I'd see your dr.
aris99's Avatar aris99 05:28 PM 07-10-2007

Barring any medical condition like a bladder infection or something else that your dd's ped might test for it could just be that your dd needs to mature a little more bladder-wise. My 6 yr old dd was born very small, not prematurely but small...she was only 4.5lbs. Though she is very bright she did not toilet train until she was 4 and she still has nighttime accidents sometimes. I believe that her bladder is small and immature and though she was mentally ready to train at 2 she physically couldn't. So maybe your dd just needs a little extra time? When we go out we usually take a little plastic potty w/us to avoid accidents and one of things that helped my dd avoid accidents overnight was to avoid dairy products for dinner. She LOVES yogurt but if she has it too close to bedtime I know she'll wake up wet in the morning and she always does! I make sure I take her to the bathroom before I go to bed at about 11 and she usually stays dry til she gets up at 7.
hottmama's Avatar hottmama 05:32 PM 07-10-2007
I would take my child to the doctor if they had to pee every hour and couldn't make it to the bathroom on time. My 4.5 yr. old pees every 2-3 hours and hasn't had a daytime accident in 2+ years (although he does still wet the bed sometimes).
That must be really frustrating!
chfriend's Avatar chfriend 01:53 AM 07-11-2007
I understand diabetes can cause frequent urination. Sounds like time to see the doc.
velochic's Avatar velochic 10:22 AM 07-11-2007
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
I understand diabetes can cause frequent urination. Sounds like time to see the doc.
I agree. This was the first thing I thought of. A trip to the doc is warranted, I think.
Chessie_BZ's Avatar Chessie_BZ 12:25 AM 07-12-2007

My 4 y/o is the same way. She began using the potty before she was 2, but at 4y, 2m she is still wet most nights and has accidents if we don't make sure she goes frequently. It seems strange to me b/c her habits are so different from her sister's (only 53 weeks apart) - she was completely thru with diapers before her 4th bday. I also have some concern about her health. The frequent urination along with her tendency to be extremely thirsty and drink tons of water lead me down the diabetic path as well. It never hurts to get things checked out. GL!
fiddledebi's Avatar fiddledebi 03:25 PM 07-12-2007
Thank you all for your posts. Our pediatrician is pretty convinced this is behavioral, though she seems perplexed at the bouts we have of this every-hour-urination. We've had her urine cultured and it doesn't show excessive sugars or anything to indicate diabetes. She doesn't even drink all that much. She has had one very very bad UTI (fever of 104+, vomitting, etc.), but the one other time I was sure she had a kidney infection because of the days of accidents, the backache, and the vomitting, I took her to the ER and they found nothing.

One suggestion she had was that DD1 is an inefficient eliminator (I believe that was the term). The theory is that because this is the ONE thing DD1 has always been difficult about, perhaps she has always held back a little when she peed, therefore getting herself off the potty too soon. I'm not sure I buy that, because often we find ourselves annoyed by standing around waiting for her to FINISH ALREADY.

Yesterday, for example, we went to the park around 11am. She peed right before we left. We got home around 1:15 and I suggested she go right to the potty. She said she didn't have to go, and since this often becomes a huge control fight, I suggested that she read one book (we were outside with a pile of library books) and then go. She said ok, but she didn't have to pee. Then, five minutes later, the book was done, she stood up to walk the 20 feet to our house and said, "Mommy! I have to go REALLY BAD!" and raced into the house, just barely making it to the bathroom. While we were gone at the park, she drank perhaps 4 oz of liquid, and ate maybe a little bit of fruit.

That said, she's had no accidents in about a week (except for night time, which I don't count). This always happens -- I think I should take her to a specialist, and then she improves and I think maybe I'm overreacting...
4evermom's Avatar 4evermom 09:56 PM 07-12-2007
Urinary frequency can also be a symptom of a food allergy. My dad got that reaction to rice and oatmeal and my brother gets it to whole wheat. Reactions to food allergies can get worse when other (seasonal, dander, etc) allergies are present so it can be tricky to pinpoint. Certain foods are diuretics. I think watermelon, apples, and red food coloring can cause more frequent urination. Also, people urinate more when they are coming down with a cold. I know all this, yet can't figure out what is up with my ds' new peeing a zillion times a day! I hope he isn't allergic to wheat, in addition to dairy and soy.
Momily's Avatar Momily 10:26 PM 07-12-2007
My DS is usually a "camel". For the past 3 weeks he's been at day camp 8 hours a day. I was there today for parents day and asked him where the bathroom was and he said "I don't know, I've never needed it".

However, he also has problems with constipation, and when that strikes he becomes very much like what you describe -- not at 8 he always makes it to the potty, but often it's a close call. At 4 he would have accidents and wet the bed. His doctor says that the full bowels put pressure on his bladder, and that when his bowels are stretched out it's harder to read signals.

For him at least he can be constipated and have what looks like loose bowel movements, which is leakage around what ever's stopping him up. Lots of liquid, prune juice, and warm baths are our favorite way of treating it.