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In search of advice and experience.
My very intelligent 3 year old has been 'potty trained' for a long time. I say 'very intelligent' to get across the understanding that she communicates at a very high level has a complex understanding of emotions and feelings and has no issues with understanding what we're saying or sharing her thoughts, which makes this all the lore difficult.
She first self trained at just over a year old. We got a good couple of months of dry days before she started wetting herself frequently again. We knew she'd trained very early so we put her back into nappies. By the time she was two we'd done things the proper way - typical potty training, not a 1 year old that does it all herself - so we'd been through the accidents and the clean ups and the constant reminders and rushes to the toilet.
Again I think we got a good couple of months, then she'd have a week where she wet herself frequently. We'd persist, she'd get back to using the toilet properly, we would get another good month or two out of her, then she'd start with the frequent wetting again.
This has now been an ongoing pattern for more than 18 months. I would have considered her trained. She can stay dry for months at times, use the toilet when she needs to, then she'll wet herself once and we'll know, without doubt, that we're in for a week or two of multiple big accidents a day until she'll suddenly be dry again... for a few weeks to a month.
The scenario is the same at nursery. Every now and again, coinciding with her wetting herself at home, I'll pick her up to see her in different clothes to the one I dropped her off in.
I have tried everything over the last couple of years. Being matter of fact, offering rewards, forcing her to stay indoors and miss fun days out because I can't trust her not to wet herself...
The problem is, it's now more frequent than ever. And where she used to tell me that she wet herself because she was having too much fun and didn't want to stop what she was doing, even though we explained that it's quicker to stop and use the toilet than to need a shower to clean up, now she just says she gets too desperate. She can't answer why she allows herself to get to that state and still doesn't go.
She has no fear of the toilet, so it isn't that. She doesn't seem to care about wetting herself and often won't even say when she's done it and will wait to announce it a little while later. I know she realises she needs to go because often she will be dancing around and when you say 'Do you need the toilet?', she'll say yes and run off stressing about how she won't make it to the toilet in time, but until she's prompted she'll not even attempt to go.
I can't cope with it any more. I can't trust her to take her out anywhere because she wets herself frequently enough that it's putting a stop to our fun. It's very hard to chance a soaking 3.5 year old (and a very tall one at that) in public toilets.
Yesterday I told my husband I couldn't cope with it any more and was considering going back to nappies and starting over, which sounded ridiculous but I was at breaking point from dealing with accidents so often. He told me it was a bad Idea, put her in knickers as usual and sent her off to nursery.
Today, I picked her up from nursery and when I lifted her into her seat I noticed her trousers were soaked. When I asked her why, she told me that she wet herself that morning at nursery. She didn't tell anyone. From what I gather, she was wet for a minimum of an hour, including lunch, before I picked her up and noticed. Presumably spreading her wee all around the nursery during that time.
So I'm putting her in a nappy this afternoon. I can't keep doing this. It feels like giving up and taking a dangerous step backwards, but I can't keep cleaning up in public and I can't lock her away at home. And the longer it goes on, the more I find myself shouting at her about it instead of doing anything calm and reasoned.
She is generally an extremely well behaved girl. She always has been, and we've been so lucky with that, which means that this feels even harder to deal with because I just can't understand it.
Just use pullups, that way she's still able to go when reminded, so not a total step backwards, but it doesn't matter when she wees.
Have you spoken to your GP? That would be my first port of call to rule out a UTI.
Are there a lot of changes happening in her life at the moment? It could also be an emotional reaction to things she can't control.
If she is dry for weeks/months, then she is toilet trained and there are other issues here.
I think you need a chat with gp - Utis and constipation both causes symptoms like you describe
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