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4yo wetting pants and behavorial problems - please help

(10 Posts)
Kelly1978 Thu 28-Jul-05 16:55:25


I'm posting this for a friend who doesn't have a PC and is in a desperate situation. Her ds is four years old and things are very difficult. He was fully trained until abt 6 mnths ago or so, when occassional accidents became more and more frequent. Now it seems like he wets himself most days and poos occassionally too. He knows what he is doing, but refuses to use the toilet.

He is an exrtremely strong willed and demanding little boy. He demands his mother's attention most of the time - she can't even talk to abnother adult without him havign to be fully involved, or else he throws screaming fits. He did say on one occassion that he would go to the toilet when he wanted to, not when they wanted him to.

There are no medical reasons for the problem. His mother has tried ignoring the behavior, discipling it, and reward systems and has gotten nowhere. Itis really upsetting her, but I don't know what to advise her, and so have posted on here.

goosey Thu 28-Jul-05 17:09:20

this site does a REALLY good 'poo in the potty' board which I have had great success with from day one of using it, but if reward boards aren't working and your friend doesn't think that this one will help either than I would either ignore the problem completely and deal very calmly and disinterstedly with every accident (I personally wouldn't even give any praise for proper toilet use, I would ignore that too unless the child specifically asked for praise, and concentrate on just praising all other good behaviours), or put the child back into extra-large nappies. Has she been to the GP for any advice?
If she is allowing herself to get very upset then the child will pick up on that and exploit it. It's not worth getting upset about.

Kelly1978 Thu 28-Jul-05 17:13:57

She tries not to get upset, but it is gettitng to her. she has ended up in tears a few times at m&t groups, so I guess her ds is exploiting that. She is on a waiting list to see a specialist, but it will be at least Sept before she gets seen. The little boy starts school in Sept. He also doesn't care less if she puts a nappy on him or not.

edgetop Thu 28-Jul-05 17:14:56

hi kelly1978 i could have been reading about my own ds there, he is just the same also i cannot get him out of nappys at night,we have promisted him a tv if he goes without but no good.i talked to health visiter she said to leave it he would grow out of it.also when i take him out he is fine but if i talk to anyone he starts to run away or break things around him anything to get my attention.i will watch this to see if i can pick up any tips .

Twiglett Thu 28-Jul-05 17:16:49

personally I'd try to put him back in nappies and treat him like a baby because he's acting like one (you can get big nappies for sleeps) .. but treating like a baby also includes no privileges that big boys get .. tv, sweets etc

if there really is no underlying reason then it sounds as though its a battle of wills that she needs to win

what a horrible situation

JoPG Thu 28-Jul-05 18:11:32

Here is a websire that I've visited in the past which gives lots of info about this subject
They also will send you leaflets about the particular problem you are investigating. My DS1 is 4 and has had problems with toilet training - at the very least the case studies this site offers makes you realise you are not alone.

nell12 Thu 28-Jul-05 19:47:35

Having gone through late stage wetting with ds (9) I can ASSURE you that the only things that work are:

Ignore it; don't make an issue of it. If you do, you are rewarding his bad behaviour with your attention.
If he has an accident, get him to sort himself out(at 4 he is old enough to get changed and have a wash by himself)
Make sure he drinks enough (6-7 drinks at least a day. If he does not drink enough, his bladder capacity will lessen and he will be more likely to wet himself.

Basically it is about making him responsible for his own behaviour and giving him the tools to solve the problem.
Get her to buy some cheap pants and trakky bottoms so that she can throw away badly soiled clothes without getting stressed. I would not put him back in nappies... what would that achieve apart from denting his self-esteem?

I know how bad it can be, AND how stressful it can be, AND how disappointed you can get in both your own parenting abilities and your child. Please pass on my best wishes to her

shrub Thu 28-Jul-05 20:12:08

there is a brilliant book called (i think)potty training in less than a day which worked for us. to give a brief idea it says:
1. buy a doll - the type that comes with a bottle and wets itself (we bought ours from wollies for £6) and let him give it a name.
2. both you and your partner use the potty to help get the message across - also say 'i need a wee'/ 'i need the toilet' etc.
(yes horrendous i know!)also have a list of your son's heroes - his friends that have been toilet trained, members of his family, superheroes and talk about how they have nice dry pants and how pleased they will be when ** has dry pants. keep mentioning their names throughout the training - say over the next 2-3 weeks.
3. everything is on positive reinforcement so the word 'wet' is deleted from the vocabulary and replaced with 'dry'
4.start with the doll and lots of praise for the doll when she goes and then put some pants on and emphasise that they are 'dry'. get him to check the doll is dry. maybe you could even let the doll have an accident and show that you're sad, get him to clean her up and put pants in washing machine
5. buy him or let him choose some pants with favourite character on
6. buy him some jogging style trousers so he can go quickly. then begin to check him by feeling that he is dry. every 10/15/30 mins check and praise when he is dry saying 'great you have dry pants'
7.over the day gradually get him to check if he is dry saying in non-judgemental voice '** have you got nice dry pants?' and thoughtout say out loud when you want to go the loo
8.nightime - take off his pj bottoms use night light, mattress protector and potty by the bed reminding him just as he goes to sleep where it is having nothing on on his bottom half will help him to go the moment he feels the wee rather than having elastic around his waist makes him think subconsciously he has a nappy on- remember how difficult it must be for some children when we have taught them for the last 4 years to wee/poo in them.
9.keep repeating over the next few weeks and no response when accidents just get him to clean himself up and put his own trousers and pants in the washing machine
good luck x

Kelly1978 Fri 29-Jul-05 09:28:42

Thanks for the tips, I will print this off for her later. A lot of the potty training stuff she has already tried - he has been perfectly trained before, and now simply refuses to do it, it isn't that he can't if he wants to. Which makes it so much more difficult to deal with.

Nell - it sounds like you have been thru the exact same thing. What you (and shrub) are saying about making him responsible for his own behaviour sounds spot on. After all, it is the independance that he is trying to assert - just need to switch it round so that he asserts it by going to the toilet rather than doing it in his pants.

However, he is incredibly strong willed. I am not sure that he wouldn't just sit there in his wet pants and refuse to do anything about it. If his mum approached it the way twiglett suggested all hell would break loose. He would just scream and scream and not give in. Any ideas how to make him take responsibility?

Btw, he wouldn't care abotu what ppl thought, and nice pants also don't work. The site with the reward charts and stickers is lovely, I will show that to her.

KiwiKate Fri 29-Jul-05 10:02:02

Take a look here

Not sure if you get these shows on TV in the UK, but I saw the show on this page titled "winning the Power Struggle", and the follow up show. They obviously have a lot of issues to resolve, but thought your friend might be interested in this 4-year old who would wet himself to get out of time out. Dr Phil (a registered pshychologist) suggested leaving the child in his wet pants for the day (basically make it horrible for the child). The mother did not want to do it, but was desperate. She did it once (and put a rubbish bag around the pants so he didn't wet the furniture). After doing it once he never wet his pants again.

If you trawl through the site there are also other helpful tips about dealing with tantrums etc. Your friend might pick up some useful info.

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