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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!

I am at my wits end with my 3 yr old DS (he'll be 4 in August). In the last month or so, he has begun to poop and pee in his pants! He has been potty trained for almost a year, with very few accidents. I have pretty much ruled out that these recent incidents are accidents. 99% of them have occurred at home - during the normal course of our day.

Has anyone else experienced this? Was it just a phase? Was there something physically wrong? If so, what other symptoms were there, that I could be looking for?

I have tried talking, time outs, taking away toys and privileges, and lastly spanking - then combinations of everything. Yet the behavior continues.

Any insights about this behavior are appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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any diet changes? emotional changes?

my mom said seasonal allergies always played a role in my sisters "wetting" the bed, etc. also, a urinary tract infection sould be something to look into if things get really bad, otherwise maybe jsut give it time. i know ds has been potty trained for 6 months and i cannot imagine cleaning pee and poop off the ground again. messy stuff!!

jessie
 

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Well, I may be totally out line here since my 3yo is not potty trained yet, but I can't imagine punishing him for toilet accidents. Even if you don't think they are accidents, I know for my 3yo that there would be something behind it besides just being bad, you know? My ds would be so ashamed to be punished for something like that.

What is his reaction when it happens? Does he tell you, does he seem to notice, is he upset? Have you tried ignoring it and seeing what happens? (By ignore I mean not make a big deal out of it.) Maybe put him back in training pants for a bit? Depending on how verbal he is, try asking him why it is happening.

Again, I haven't done potty training, so I'm not speaking from experience, but it doesn't sound like punishment, especially spanking or time outs, will do much except make him feel scared and ashamed. And I can't imagine they are much fun for you either!
 

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I just have to ask:

WHY are you punishing him?

Do you think it will help ho NOT wet/soil his pants?

My personal bet is that it will not help at all. And what message does this send to a little boy?

Sorry I am not of much help here, but I can`t help but feel that it is completely worng to punish a child for wetting his pants.
 

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Yes, we've been through this. With bowel movement accidents, it was always because he just misjudged his timing a bit and didn't quite run fast enough. They don't happen often though -- maybe 1 time per month. With urine accidents, it is usually one of two causes. The first is that he just didn't make it in time. Again, these are sort of single-time incidents. If he has a day with more than one accident, I can always trace it to some sort of emotional upheaval in his life. Remembering that emotional upheaval for him is very different than it is for me. Once his world returns to normal, so does he. Also, he frequently has damp/urine smell pants. I have discovered that he frequently pulls his pants up too soon. He's not wetting his pants as in not going in the toilet, but they are getting wet in the process of using the toilet. We're working on this one.

I too feel that punishing a child for something that he has little control over is very unfair. His young muscles aren't as well trained as ours are in holding in urine and feces and his mind is less focused on juggling so many things at once. They get confused, accidents happen. Its part of a child's life. Help them change, tell them where to put their dirty stuff, and go on with your day. Making a production of is isn't going to solve the problem and will probably create a bigger one. Its just not worth it.
 

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I agree that physical and emotional regression seems to be a hallmark of emotional upset or sickness in children around this age. That means it is to be expected, and discovered by you, mama - not punished. Having said that, I hear your frustration!

Personally, though, I can't believe acts of violence against one's son would help him stop having accidents in his pants. I'm sure you will take the good, wise advice of the mamas here on MDC and stop using violence against your son in your efforts to change his behavior.

Perhaps you could also check out the Gentle Discipline forum here at MDC for some feedback and support?

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice all. I will take what I believe will help us most. I just need to make one additional comment here - I was going to put in my original post to "Please refrain from commenting on my choices of discipline, as the post is about another issue.", but I didn't because I felt that the people who use these Boards can differentiate the issues. I am sorry I didn't now, because most of the replies seem to address my choices of discipline. If I had questions about my discipline styles, I would have went to the Gentle Discipline forum. This is very disappointing.

Again, THANK YOU to those of you who responded to the actual issue of soiling his underwear. I have not been able to identify any upheavals in his life, including ones that would be major for him, but not for me. One of the struggles of parenthood, I suppose. DS is completely verbal, and I have asked him about this. He has no reasons to offer, and he says that it doesn't hurt when he pees.

COULD HE STILL HAVE A urinary tract infection or even a bladder infection without any pain? It probably is just the timing issue mentioned by one of the replies. I have stopped punishing, as it didn't work which tells me this is not happening consciously on purpose. I guess I think he wouldn't want to sit in wet underwear, but he doesn't seem to care. It is very frustrating, but he knows I love him and that nothing changes that.
 

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It is my understanding that boys have less pain or other symptoms with a UTI than we women are used to. So yes, I think it would be possible for him to have an infection and not know. Sort of like they say that most men don't have symptoms of and STD (not suggesting that is the problem at all, just noting that their anatomy is different.)

You know, I can see why you would be frustrated at the discipline comments, but I do think you should have expected them. You mentioned several things that are major hot-button items around here (spanking and time-outs) and most of us feel compelled to comment on such things. If you truly didn't want comments, you could easily have left out that whole paragraph.
 

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The reason I chose to mention the discipline aspect of your post is that it seemed to me that it could be a contributing factor to the toilet training issues, not because of my feelings about the discipline methods in and of themselves. Spanking and timeouts can make a child feel very ashamed, and when you combine that with potty training accidents, I feel it is a bad combination. So in my mind, the two cannot be separated.
 

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Spanking as a response to lack of toilet use does contribute to children's shame about their lack of control, for whatever reason. As with anything, I don't believe you can separate the "style of discipline" from the consequences of that particular style. It is not true that discipline is separate from our health, and our children's health. If you did not feel your method of discipline was relevant, I believe *you* would not have included it in your post.

I hope you can find out what is ailing your son; it is no fun to have to live with a problem like this for any length of time and frustrating to not know the cause.

Good for you for pursuing the potential medical link/possible uti.
 
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