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

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

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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