How to handle intentional pants-wetting?

Marie - posted on 02/17/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm new to this community, and I already have a question for you all. :) How would you handle the situation of your almost-preschool-aged child seemingly wetting their pants on purpose?

My daughter (4 in May) has been "potty trained" for over a year, though with the occasional accident. Nothing particularly unusual. Even after her brother was born, most of the attention grabbing antics have been stuck to forcing herself into whatever conversations are going on (which actually has been great for getting her speaking more) and being obsessed with grabbing her brother's hands.

Recently though, it seems like she has been prone to too many peeing "accidents" to have them be called accidents. I know my daughter is capable of going a whole night without wetting herself and she still does most nights. Yet there are times when ten to fifteen minutes after she was supposed to get her pee out, that she'll wet herself, and it's usually closely timed to when she wasn't getting something she wanted, whether it's getting attention, playing in a specific area, or not wanting to go to sleep. On the flip side sometimes she will make a fuss about needing to go potty....while she remains sitting or laying down where she's at and proceeds to go anyway. Doesn't even try to go to the potty and she's been specifically been told that the only reason she shouldn't run right to the bathroom at home is if she was told to stay somewhere on account of being in trouble.

The only reasons I can think of why she is wetting herself so much are
1. She is copycatting her brother being able to go pee in what he's wearing and not getting in trouble
2. She is using it to demand attention, even if the attention is negative (though my husband and I do try to give her positive attention and reward her when she is behaving herself)
3. She has decided that because she is not being allowed to use the bathroom attached to the master bedroom, she won't use the toilet unless told to (and sometimes fussing the whole time).

The last comes up because just about two/three weeks ago, she was allowed to use the second bathroom while I was trying out an attachment on the main toilet (for cleaning cloth diapers) rather than using the main bathroom as usual. I didn't leave the toilet attachment on the toilet in the main bathroom and I don't think she even saw me using it. My daughter has decided that the second bathroom is better than the main bathroom and occasionally still asks to use it when she has been told to do her "potties". The increase in wetting seems to have started very near to when she was not allowed to go in the second bathroom anymore, which has most of our bathroom stuff that we don't want her playing with.

At this particular moment, I have her pantless (and underwearless) with the rule not to sit anywhere but on one of her plastic kid chairs, or on the toilet if she needs to go, but I was wondering if anybody has more ideas on stopping this behavior.

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This is a very ahrd situation to handle, I had the same problem with my 4yrold stepson. He had been completly potty trained for like a year and all of a sudden started wetting himself. What we found that worked is telling him "No, that is wrong, you are a big boy and you need to use the big boy potty." Having him "help" clean up the mess, and then making him sit on the potty once every hour for a while until the behavoir stopped. He learned very quickly that he'd rather play than have to sit on the potty. Please remember not to embarress her in any way about it, or make a big deal about it...that will only promote the behavoir! Firmly but kindly let her know that you are upset with her for her BEHAVIOR and her behavoir is bad, not HER. We found that he was feeling insecure about his new living situation (going back and forth from mom and dads) and that is what made the behavoir pop up. It is quite possible that she is feeling insecure as well...dont worry she'll come through!

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Marie - posted on 02/17/2010

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I'd been aiming to send her to the bathroom every other hour, but I'll try having her go every hour. Thank you. :)

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