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At wits end - 4yo starts school in 6 weeks and still wets herself

(19 Posts)
MaisOuiMaisOui Mon 20-Jul-15 21:55:39

My DD is driving me mad. I would be really grateful for some advice.

DD was 4 last week and is very bright and developmentally on track for her age and has been out of nappies since she was 2y4m old - potty training her was really easy. However since 6 months or so ago, she goes through phases of wetting herself at nursery. She's fine when with us, taking herself to the toilet or telling us she needs to go in good time. She always leaves poos until the very last minute, we all know she needs one long before she will give in and actually go to the loo, but she is pretty good all the same and rarely has accidents.

After a good few months of not wetting herself at nursery, she wet herself last week. When I asked her what happened she told me she must have sat in a puddle of someone else's wee because she didn't wet herself. And she didn't want to discuss it any further. I know from the look on her face that She didn't sit in a puddle of wee, it was her own wee.

Then today I picked her up from nursery and could instantly smell and see that there was a poo in her knickers. It had clearly been there a while. She had wet herself too. Sigh. Again she didn't want to discuss it and wouldn't tell me what happened. She has never had a poo in her knickers like that before so I am worried things are escalating.

The most worrying thing is that she starts school in September and I really don't want her to be the kid that poos and wets herself and has to be changed at school.

Has anyone else been through this? I don't know whether to be cross with her and punish the incidents she really has no excuse for letting happen, or whether praise and reward for the good behaviour is the way to go. We have been through reward charts for this in the past, but as soon as she gets her reward, the behaviour returns. So she knows exactly what she is's so frustrating.

reynoldsnumber Mon 20-Jul-15 21:59:00

I asked our reception teacher about this recently as our dd- also just 4 - is still having accidents. The teacher said don't worry, some kids are still having accidents at the end of reception year and they are used to dealing with it.

I was worrying about it like you are, but this has put my mind at rest. They are still so little.

RandomMess Mon 20-Jul-15 22:02:52

I would ignore it as an issue and get her to clean herself up with minimal help aka give her responsibility for her own toileting.

Is there any chance she could be constipated at the moment as that could make wetting and soiling more likely?

DrownedGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 22:04:31

Might be worth getting checked out in case of uti or constipation.

But I wouldn't stress. Life is so busy at that age, easy for them to get distracted and gave an accident. The school will be used to it

Perhaps tell her that many 4 year olds have the occasional accident, that she needs to go to the toilet regularly and allow plenty of time, not get distracted. That at school they will have spare pants just in case and staff who will help if she needs it.

Then just try to relax

tumbletumble Mon 20-Jul-15 22:05:15

When my DD started pre-school she was nearly 4 and had been dry since 2yrs 2 months. She suddenly started having lots of accidents a couple of weeks before she started pre-school. I was surprised because I was expecting there might be a regression after she started - not before.
Anyway, it only lasted for a week or two and then back to normal. Hopefully it will be the same for you! I didn't use star charts or punishments or anything - I tried not to make a big deal of it.

MaisOuiMaisOui Mon 20-Jul-15 22:06:37

Thanks! It's just so annoying. If it genuinely was an accident I would be fine because as you say at just 4 they are still little. But she knows what she is doing and just doesn't take herself to the toilet.

Twistedheartache Mon 20-Jul-15 22:10:30

Same issue here - it's hard to get the balance right between she needs to be able to do this & not "fussing" (her words) which upsets her

MaisOuiMaisOui Mon 20-Jul-15 22:10:36

I don't think she has a uti as she is fine at home and isn't going more frequently than normal or anything. She also isn't constipated.

Thanks for all the advice. I am trying my best to not make a big deal of it. I love the idea of getting her to help clean up so will definitely try that.

tartiflette Mon 20-Jul-15 22:11:12

Dd1 was still having regular accidents until around January of Foundation year. It felt as though it would never resolve itself and I was so upset and worried about all the things you mentioned op. However at a certain point it just seemed to sort itself out.
I also helped in DD2's classroom throughout the spring term of Foundation year and can assure you that many of them are still wetting themselves at this stage.
Try not to worry; I don't have any practical tips as I don't think I handled it especially well with dd1. Just wanted to offer reassurance that she won't be the only one!

tartiflette Mon 20-Jul-15 22:12:33

Agree that she is most likely getting distracted/desperate not to miss stuff.

Buttercup27 Mon 20-Jul-15 22:12:41

This can be normal behaviour for a 4 year old as there are so many changes being discussed at this time (ive worked in preschool for many years now teach reception) First trip to gp to check no infection.
But at this stage of preschool everything is so geared up to starting school eg lest practice sitting on the carpet like in big school etc and there is so much talk of starting school in September it can panic children and loads start having accidents.
It doesn't help that children of this age have no sense of time scale, so could be worrying about all of the changes.

Finola1step Mon 20-Jul-15 22:16:49

If she is fine at home and this is a recent development at nursery, I would wonder if she is bothered about using the nursery toilets.

It could be something minor. I know of dc her age who have been scared of hand driers, the low toilet doors, the spider they saw in there 3 weeks ago. All sorts.

MaisOuiMaisOui Mon 20-Jul-15 22:17:53

Thanks everyone, all great advice. I am feeling much better about it. I just have visions of her being changed in front of all the other children at school and them all knowing if she has an 'accident'. I would love to avoid that if possible.

MaisOuiMaisOui Mon 20-Jul-15 22:23:26

Yes I have tried talking to her about that Finola.

The toilets can be a bit yucky at nursery and she isn't keen on the black toilet seats, but there is one toilet with a white seat and she has been happy to use that. The worrying thing is that the 3 toilets between 20 supervised kids at nursery are likely to be much more pleasant than the 6 toilets between 90 much less supervised kids in reception!

She also hates it if we go in to public toilets that are really smelly. So she is a bit sensitive and that could explain part of the problem - I'm not sure how we get round that.

Cedar03 Tue 21-Jul-15 11:32:22

Loads of them wet themselves in reception year - the teachers are used to it - there was often a discreet bag of wet clothes handed over to a parent when my daughter was in reception. They will tell the children to go to the toilet at regular points during the day. So they will all go and it will be a normal part of the day's routine. However, they fully expect that some children either will forget to go in time or will be scared to ask to go and so there will be accidents.

Try telling her to breathe through her mouth so she can't smell the toilets.

starkadder Tue 21-Jul-15 19:56:59

I would also guess that it's connected to anxiety about school and/or dislike of grim nursery toilets. Or she could be worried about something else and finding it difficult to express.

The school toilets might actually be better - is it a private nursery? Sometimes they can be not that on it with the cleaning side of things, IME.

Also, this poo that had been there a while - why didn't any of the nursery staff notice it/do anything about it?! I think I'd be more concerned about that, tbh.

MaisOuiMaisOui Tue 21-Jul-15 21:54:19

Yes starkadder I was absolutely angry about the poo not being dealt with. Shocking.

It's a private nursery. The toilets are fine in the morning when I drop her off and not too bad when I collect her in the afternoon. I can't blame her for any reluctance to use them, but all the same would expect her to tell someone she needed some help or just grit her teeth and go rather than just stand there and wet herself. She is very articulate and confident about expressing her needs usually.

Maybe school will be better for her, here's hoping. But I suspect the pools of wee on the seats and unflushed poos will not be to her taste there either!

starkadder Tue 21-Jul-15 22:14:21

Ds had similar issues at his nursery actually - some years ago now - the toilets were a bit unappealing and also were in a kind of out of the way and inconvenient place to get to - sounds ridiculous, but when you're 3 or 4, it matters. And also, when you're 3 or 4, you kind of need the teacher or whoever to notice you're jiggling up and down a bit, sometimes. Anyway, he'd end up having "accidents" and the staff were really quite unsympathetic, which pissed me off no end. And he was fine at home and also when he changed nursery (we moved him to a different one for unrelated reasons).

So I bet things might improve in school a bit, and as others have said, it's really common anyway; I'd try not to make a big deal out of it or mention it too much, or it might end up a bigger issue than it really is.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 22-Jul-15 15:21:07

I wouldn't worry. Easy to say maybe an objective view might be helpful - it does sound to me from your OP like you are quite anxious about this and when you look at the cold hard facts all that's happened is that your very small girl (just turned 4) has had a couple of accidents recently. I would just help her clean up and not make any kind of deal of it.

I remember the summer before my eldest started school, I don't think I realised it at the time but it is a huge step on in life and stressful for everyone. I remember the first day - we were up at 6am because I thought the world would come to an end if we weren't there at 8.40am sharp (when the doors opened!) I laugh about it now that I am lucky if we get there before bell but at the time I was quite anxious all summer about how she would get on, whether she would manage and be old enough to cope (she was a summer birthday too). I wonder if your worries about her accidents are being magnified by the general anxiety you both probably feel somewhere deep down about the big step she is going to take in September?

In terms of school, loads of children have accidents. Teachers have seen it all before. YR are the babies of the school and it is quite nice for the 4 year olds, who all summer have been thinking about being "big" and going to "big school" to find that actually they are the littlies again and taken under everyone's wing.

The other thing is they grow up a huge amount very quickly. By Xmas this year your DD will be in a very different place in terms of maturity. Give it time.

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