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My 5 Year Old Deliberately Wets Herself: How Can I Stop This?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 10 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
My 5 Year Old Deliberately Wets Herself: How Can I Stop This?

Q.

My 5 year old daughter is constantly wetting herself both at home and at school and also at night. I have taken her to our GP and Health Visitor, but as there is no medical reason for this, they have put it down to sibling rivalry.

Her baby brother is now 2 1/2 and I really thought she would have grown out of this by now. I have watched her and it is not that she has an "accident" but that she deliberately does it in her pants. I am getting to the end if my tether. Her room smells like a toilet no matter how many times I clean it. My washing basket is permanently full. This really is causing unbelievable stress on the family. What can I do to stop this and help my daughter?

(C.R, 1 July 2009)

A.

Sorry to hear that your daughter is wetting herself, what a worry it must be for you.

Firstly, just to reassure you, it’s not entirely uncommon for five year olds to wet themselves. In fact, it can often start when they first go to school, often because they don’t like going to the school toilets, get embarrassed about asking to go to the toilet or simply forget and not go in time before they wet themselves.

Obviously, in your daughter’s case, it’s not just a case of her wetting herself at school, but also at home. It’s interesting to note that your GP and Health Visitor have both put it down to sibling rivalry. Wetting is known to be linked to anxiety and behavioural problems and can occur if a child is seeking attention, which is probably where the sibling rivalry theory comes from.

Although it is really annoying for you, especially with having to constantly clean your daughter’s room and do lots of washing, you may need to play it easy as far as getting cross goes. In the first instance, you could try implementing a rewards system – for example, a star or small treat for going to the toilet instead of wetting herself or a star for staying dry all day.

It might be worth just double-checking that child doesn’t have a phobia of going to the toilet, as some children can, and this may be the cause of it.

If the reward system doesn’t work, then some parents find getting stricter works. For example, if your child gets your attention after wetting herself, stop that and ignore it. Don’t get cross and walk away calmly. In extreme cases, some parents have even been known to make their children wash their own underwear and clothes after wetting themselves – which can make them less likely to wet themselves.

If all of this fails, then do go back to see your GP again. Extra help may be required with getting to the bottom of the issue and they’re the best person to help you, or refer you on to someone else who can help.

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My 5 year old daughter has always wet her pants from the time she was toilet trained at 3! She night wets too but I feel I really need to address the day time issues before I even start on the night time issues, she used to wet in playschool and always at home however since starting primary school she has never wet in school and very rarely in afterschool(creche facility). When she wets at home she will use the toilet occasionally and wet the rest of time, either hide her pants or just appears to be happy out sitting in her wet clothes. She gets quite sore at times and needs quite a few showers. I have had her urine tested quite a few times to rule out any infections and always comes back clear, if fact in the two times in her life when she has had a kidney infection she never wet at all while sick!! The behavior would start once she was well enough again so I believe 100% it is not physical. I have tried explaining to her that she needs to use the toilet more often when she feels the urge and that her wee's burn her skin and that's what makes her sore so if she does have any accident she needs to remove her wet clothesand replace them with dry clothes, we have praised her on times when she is dry and remind her to use the toiletat times but nothing seems to work. She wants a new tablet(ipad) since she broke her old one and I have told her I will get her one if she stays dry for two weeks and we haven't even had one day yet a month later. I set the two weeks (which I do know is a long time for a 5 year old) as she broke her old tablet due to bad behavior. Her behavior in general, she is a loving caring funny little girl but she is the most strong willed and stubborn child I have ever met, we would ask her to perform tasks like clean her room and she would point blank refuse, we would then give her the option of either her cleaning her room or we will do it but if we clean her room we clean to the bin, she just responds 'yes just put them in the bin', we have bagged up toys from her floor and binned thembut it makes no difference, she seems to get more determined each time we try disciplining her. I have tried focusing on the positives and telling her I love when she does 'whatever good behavior she has done' and ignoring the bad behavior and I have tried coming down hard on her and giving her ultimatums and following through but she still digs her heels in and does things her way. Would love peoples thoughts on this or any tips on how to handle this as I'm at my wits end.
Billybobjoe - 10-Apr-19 @ 11:23 AM
Put her back in nappy's 24/7 & used for their purposes, no toilet allowed.
Ed - 28-Jul-18 @ 3:23 AM
I don’t know if this will help giving that I am not old enough to have children. I’m not going to give away my age, but I’m too young. I suggest you ignore her when she does it. Try that for maybe a week, just whatever feels right to you. If that fails, acknowledge the fact she is wet, but make her suffer some consequences. I’m not saying beat her, but take away something of importance to her for a short period of time. If this also doesn’t work, you might want to try this. Have her wear a watch. Set an alarm that goes off every hour, when it goes off, have her use the restroom. She needs to be there for at least 3 minutes, and she needs to try to go. If she doesn’t, it’s okay. Don’t punish her. If she stays dry the entire day, put a sticker on a chart. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just needs to be something like a calendar. If she has an accident you have to baby her for the entire day following. Put her in a diaper, feed her soft food such as applesauce, please don’t feed her baby food it tastes like trash. Choose her outfit, speak to her in baby talk. Do not take her out in public! It can mentally scar her. Public humiliation can cause serious effects on her sanity later on in life. Depending on how bad it was. Anywho, if she stays dry for a week, or any amount of time that feels sufficient to you, let her take off the watch. Trust her to make decisions. If all else fails, take her to a child psychologist. They do help. I don’t know about your financial situation, but if you can afford it, it will help immensely. I’m sorry if these are bad, but I just wanted to help.
Pseudonym - 17-Feb-18 @ 2:51 AM
l also havea 5 yr old baby girl who has jst started wetting her pants during the day the pants would be really wet it started a week ago am really worried what might be the cause
nono - 27-Aug-17 @ 8:06 PM
I have the exact same problem. My daughter is 5 turning 6 in October. She's been doing that since we started potty trainging her at age 3, at almost 6 she's still doing it. I've repeatedly asked her and told her to go to the toilet the moment she feels the need, she simply told me she doesn't feel she has a pee it just comes. This happens during the day and at night. I can understand it happening at night at but during the day? I don't know if something's wrong but when she's at school she NEVER wets her pants. She never forgets to go to the toilet when she's at school. Sometimes I'll see her jumping around trying to hold it in, I'll tell her to go to the toilet and she'll say she doesn't have a pee, only to pee her pants a few minutes later. It's gets so frustrating at times cause it's been this way since age 3. I really thought it's something she would outgrow but right now it doesn't look that way. We haven't taken her to the doctor yet although I'm starting to think we should get it checked out. I'm just so tired of having to wash mountains of wet clothes and underwear everyday, and I'm sad to say that yes, I've lost my patience with her quite a few times, only to end feeling horrible for not going about it a different way. Also, she wets herself all day, like literally every hour or so, so you can see my dilemmahere. Needless to say, we need help. Any good advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Sheri - 10-Mar-17 @ 8:43 AM
A few yrs ago my wife and I was out shopping waiting for a bus when a child (boy) of about 7 yrs of agewet themselves he was clearly soaking and this mother pulled down his pants and underwear to his bear bottom and proceeded to smack him and then to further humiliation she pulled out of her bag a nappy and plastic pants and in full view of everyone proceeded to put a nappy and plastic pants on him saying he should have asked to go to the toilet .
Sapphiresdad - 26-Dec-16 @ 2:53 PM
My grandson came to stay with us after a few weeks we just had the odd accident during the day and after a few months was nearly dry at night .I go in to him every night at about 12 turn of as many lights as possible only using night light lift him and take him to the toilet then carry him back to bed and as a rule he is always dry . During the day at school he can wet up to 6 times and on other days not at all . When his mum and sister are here he will wet constantly till she goes home .if he is just with me and my husband he doesn't wet but I do have to put him on the toilet sometime as he won't go when asked .he has behavioural issues and this is why he is staying with me.he also has very bad eye sight the days that he wears his patch in school he seems to wet a lot but 4 days ago I stopped the patching in school and he has been dry . There are many reasons as to why a child can display upset ant at the younger ages it's hard for them to understand how to tell us .we have a tub of marbles 20 of them if he does wrong we take a marble away if he's good he can get it back .every week I buy a small toy and put it on display so he can see it or if he wants to go somewhere I write it in big colours and stick it to the wall if on Friday he has all his marbles he gets the reward .if he hasn't he can't have it . When he sees he has to change his clothes and put the dirty in the basket .he well tell me like he wants a reaction from me on don't say anything I just get his hand and take upstairs then tell him what he must do .when he starts shouting and banging I simply say do not come out of this room till you have changed your clothes then he has to take a marble out of good tub and put it in the bad tub .they have to learn that in life there are rules and punishment for there actions .
Jojo - 13-Oct-16 @ 7:29 AM
Some of these stories are close to mine,but not exactly the same. My child is (4) . potty training is the issue.his Dad & i have tried potty training on& off for a year. The last (3) months leading up to his 4th birthday. We got rid of pull-ups,only undearwear. He goes to preschool half day 1x per week. He only had (1) accident @ school. After that dry. He does not have accidents outside.@ home he peas & poops everywhere& anywhere. He has only poop 2x on the toielt. He does not seem to care if you praise him,let him stay wet, or have him clean it. He is the youngest& he has low muscle tone. Tried incentives. Being upset when he does it, ignoring it.What now or what's nexted.
Kel - 22-Aug-16 @ 12:05 AM
JoJo - Your Question:
My 5 year old daughter would purposely wet her pants rather it was pee or poop so I started spanking her with a belt and put her in time out for two hours and took away all privileges for a week (such as) no going to the park, no playing out side in the back or front yard,no coloring or drawing on papper,no puzzles,no watching TV we also have a inside swimming pool and hot tub so no swimming or hot tub,the only things she was allowed to do was read or play with her baby dolls,or play with her leap frog or other toys (such as) her yoyo,bouncey ball,tops,beads,blocks,leggos,dollhouse, tea play set cooking kitchen play set,or her marbles. I would also make her go to bed two hours early tell one whole week had passed and when one whole week was over I would give all privileges back to her and I got her to quit purposely wetting her pants after 3 months

Our Response:
Smacking in some countries, including Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, has been banned, but in the UK smacking or 'reasonable chastisement' is acceptable in the eyes of the law. A light smack to the back of the legs is acceptable and many say this is the best way to discipline their child. However, any smack or punishment that leaves clear marks, welts, bruises or scratches is a prosecutable offence, and a parent could face up to five years in jail. While every parent has their own ideas as to how best control their child, for many, a light smack to the back of the legs or hands is sufficient for the child to know that what they are doing is wrong. This can be supported by a verbal scolding but really should not go any further than that, and a belt should never be used on a child. If you are in any doubt as to what the law says on the subject of disciplining your child, it is worth visiting the website of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) who offer practical advice and support on this rather tentative subject.
GrowingKids - 22-Jul-16 @ 10:26 AM
My 5 year old daughter would purposely wet her pants rather it was pee or poop so I started spanking her with a belt and put her in time out for two hours and took awayall privileges for a week (such as) no going to the park, no playing out side in the back or front yard,no coloring or drawing on papper,no puzzles,no watching TV we also have a inside swimming pool and hot tub so no swimming or hot tub,the only things she was allowed to do was read or play with her baby dolls,or play with her leap frog or other toys (such as) her yoyo,bouncey ball,tops,beads,blocks,leggos,dollhouse, tea play set cooking kitchen play set,or her marbles. I would also make her go to bed two hours early tell one whole week had passed and when one whole week was over I would give all privileges back to her and I got her to quit purposely wetting her pants after 3 months
JoJo - 21-Jul-16 @ 12:42 AM
I used to wet my bed when i was 5 my mother bought me large size nappy pants I wore them one night and never wet the bed again,as I didn't want to feel like a baby,that was not my mothers intensions she just wanted to keep my bed dry but it worked.
cat - 19-May-15 @ 2:19 AM
My daughter does the same thing, we have tried everything from rewards to stickers to days out. and also taking her toys off her.she doesnt seem to care. but also she will sit in the wet clothes all day if unnoticed. It seems to be getting worse and she smirks when being told off. She does it in school, we had a 22 day dry period but now it seems worse than ever.she still wears a pull up at night time as we have never been able to crack this yetshe has had medication to try and help and will be seeing a neurlogist soonany help please
pete - 15-Mar-12 @ 10:57 PM
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