5-yr-old having "accidents" at school

Stacey - posted on 11/02/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 5 year old is repeatedly having "accidents" at school and home. I have "accidents" in quotes - because she will continue to play and either purposely stand and pee or run toward the bathroom as she's peeing in her pants.

We've tried the "listen to your body", we've tried the "big girls use the toilet" - but to no avail.

Using the restroom (and using peeing at will) as a control tactic has been a problem with her since she was 3.

We were hoping that peer pressure from school would help, but to this point it hasn't made a difference.

She doesn't have a physical condition, she's making a conscious choice to do this. I'm not sure how to handle it and/or how to get her to tell me what's really behind this?

Any thoughts?

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Stacey - posted on 11/03/2010

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There have been so many changes in our family over the past 2 years that a series of factors could be playing a role. In the past 2 years, Mommy has lost 2 jobs; a younger sibling has been born; she had to leave her pre-K class mid-year (due to financial reasons); and Daddy got a promotion. If that weren’t enough, in the past 3 months Mommy has gone back to work and my daughter has started kindergarten.
Understanding that she’s been through a lot of instability and constant change, we’ve attempted to give her a little bit of latitude on true accidents – as they do biologically occur in children this young. We’ve also continued to talk to her about using words to express her feelings instead of actions.
My concern stems from the fact that even when things were relatively stable - she had "accidents". Not the type where she was afraid to use the toilet in the middle of the night; but that she used to pee on the carpet if we didn't open our bedroom door after her first knock. It's that type of punitive-type behavior that has me at a loss for what to do and how to help her.

Hesti - posted on 11/03/2010

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My son (also 5) is refusing to use the restroom next to his class at school because its fitted with small kids'sized toilets which he doesn't feel comfortable using because he is a really BIG child (head and shoulders above anyone else in his class) and he also confided in grandma that he doesn't like going at school because either their teacher or the teacher's aid takes them as a group (boys and girls seperate)_ at certain times during the day, and he doesn't like being 'watched', I found out that she only stands at the door and make sure they don't mess up the bathroom and that each one gets a turn and no funny business going on (12 little boys together, can you imagine the chaos!) By the time I use to pick him up at school at around one in the afternoon he'd be unable to walk from keeping it all in since 7-30 in the morning. Had a talk with him explaining that he's going to get sick if he keeps doing that and arranged with his teacher for them to let him use the teacher's toilet (same restroom, locked door) when they go because of above reasons. She was really forthcoming and helpful in helping solve the problem.

Could it be that your daughter enjoys the attention her 'accidents' are getting her? Do you (or the teachers aid at school) help her clean up and dress ? You also mention it being a 'control tactic' - what do you mean?

I cant remember this but according to my mom my older sister used to pee behind her bed in her room when she started school, had her assessed and found it to be a control-issue, she felt overwhelmed and peeing behind the bed was somehow comforting. Could it be that the sensation of wetting herself is in some way comforting for her? Maybe you need to get her a session or 2 with a child psychologist to assess her emotional state and to teach her (and you) how to handle stress and find another way to self-sooth and find control.

I know my heart sinks when I get to school and find my son in different clothes than what he put on before school.... i really hope you find help and answers for your little one. Good luck!

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