5 Year Old Has Started Having Accidents

My son just turned 5 yrs. old. He's been potty trained since he was 2 1/2 but just recently for about 3 or 4 months he's been going in his pants. Is something wrong with him? Should I take him to the doctor? Why do you think he's doing this? Could it be that he is too lazy to go to the bathroom? Please help.


By prov31woman08 from Denver, CO

July 23, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, I am a parent and parenting educator and want to say that I know toileting changes can be tough for both you and your child. I've known a number of children who have had this kind of experience - it can be physical, but it is often related to some kind of emotional stress usually resulting from some changes in the child's or families life. Like a new baby, a new home, starting school or attending a different one, parent's separation/divorce. Is there anything going on for your child right now? If so, one step you might take is to talk with your child about the issue that may be connected to these toileting changes.

Make sure you have the slack to listen to him and his feelings. Since that is often what a child needs. One thing we know about 5 year olds is that they are often in a developmental place to begin to worry about things that they might not have thought much about when they were younger. There is lots of good info out there re child development. Are there any parent resource centers near you that you can also connect with? Good luck!

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July 23, 20090 found this helpful

I think my first response would be to have a talk with the child. It would probably be at bed time or some other peaceful, non-stressful time. Listening to what is NOT said is just as important as what is said. My next order of business would be a visit to the doctor.

I would not assume the child is lazy or doesn't care because I believe he most likely does care very much. As suggested by listeningmom, I'd look for changes in the life of the child. If nothing is different at home, what could be different at day care or where ever else the child goes. Bullying is my first question.

He could just be playing too long and then when he does decide he really needs to go it's too late. Maybe frequent calls by you to "go potty" could help. I know this must be terribly frustrating but with love and patience you should be able to discover the cause.

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July 24, 20090 found this helpful

For some reason, your child has reverted. Like the other poster said, he could be under stress over something. Has something happened that you are aware of?

I had that problem myself once, at the same age, and I know what caused mine----be sure to talk to your child---at least you have noticed a change in him, and don't just brush it off.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

For some reason maybe your child is seeking attention. How is the home relationship? Does he get as much attention as other children? Or he could have a medical situation needing to be addressed. Or It could just be a stage or Many other numerous things. I would try this, Try rewarding him for going to the bathroom. Like a dollar or something that might catch his eye. It may make wonders then tell him Big boys go to the bathroom in the toliet. If he still doesn't do that. Talk to him. A little talking can do wonders.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

I have read the responses that have posted to this point, and agree with parts of all of them. The only thing that I think each one of them came close to, but just didn't actually mention. Are there times when your child is alone with a person that he was not alone with before? Do not, I beg you, rule out any form of abuse, as in sexual. I was abused by a step grandfather who died when I was 10. It was years later before I could tell my mom, (not her step father, by the way), because I knew she would have to tell my dad, and I felt he would believe his step dad, not me. I am nearly 71 now, so you have an idea of the way things have changed since then, but do all you can to see if there has been improper touching, or worse. A 5 year old does not know it as being "bad".

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

First I would take him to the doctors and make sure everything is okay. Then has something changed in his life. Also if he is fixing to start school in the fall this could do it, AS a preschool teacher I have seen this happen and I have seen 5 year olds get very clingy to mom also just before school starts.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

Look for something causing him great anxiety. Might be something obvious but it could be something you don't even know about. I'm a teacher and this is usually what it means. Don't let this go until you know what it is. Don't mean to scare you but, you just never know.

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