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Potty Training a Four Year Old

I have a 4 year old and he starts school in September, but he can't stop wetting himself. I tell him everyday, every couple of hours, and I even tell his nursery teachers. I've been to the doctor's and everything seems normal. I just don't know what to do.


I've punished him, for example, I took his DS, television, and toys out of his room, the lot. I have rewarded him for going to the toilet, but yet nothing seems to be working. I don't know what to do I'm at my wits end!

By shell

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July 13, 20110 found this helpful

Don't punish him. He can't help it. He isn't doing it on purpose. Some kids bodys are slower to develope control than others. If he has to stay out of school a year so be it.

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July 13, 20110 found this helpful

I don't think you should punish him either. Remember he is a little boy. Sometimes kids get to playing and wait too long or just forget. My grandaughter is 3 and has been potty trained for 8-9 months now and she still forgets. Be patient he'll learn.

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July 13, 20110 found this helpful

I've heard some parents say when they switch the child from cow's milk to soy milk, the problem goes away.

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July 13, 20110 found this helpful

Please do not punish him, he's not doing it on purpose! There are a few things I would like to suggest. Since it's urine it maybe he's not aware of the need to urinate. Take him to the toilet and tell him to try, you're trying to train his bladder. Don't ask him if he needs to go as some kids are so engrossed in whatever they are doing they forget to go. Has he been checked for a urinary tract infection as that can also contribute to it? Also when I wasn't drinking enough water I would also have accidents, water down juice and try to limit any pop/ soda as that irritates the urinary tract also. Have they checked the size of the bladder? If it's too small he'd tend to have accidents. Good luck. Linda

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July 14, 20110 found this helpful

This is what my daughter did. She had our grandson (age 4) try to pee in the toilet by using cheerios or fruit loops(placed in the toilet water) and told him to aim for the middle and sink them like a battleship. He thought this was great fun and couldn't wait to go potty. She rewarded him with a cookie, even if he had to go around dinner time, a reward is a reward. Please do not punish him. He can't help it. Your son will relate peeing in the toilet with a punishment and not want to go out of fear. He might not have the sensation to go yet. You can call your son's Dr., and get any information from them. Sometimes they will go at a later age. Remember he will not be peeing his pants when he is in junior high. It will take a bit of time but you will succeed. Good luck to you both, and I hope this helps. Hugs.

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July 15, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with everyone else, don't punish him. But, I don't necessarily agree that he isn't doing it on purpose, & I also have another suggestion below this. If he is a strong willed, stubborn, smart kid (or if there is any kind of anxiety in his life) this could be a control issue. If so, by punishing him you would be unwittingly contributing to his desire to be in control & his determination to not let you control him. And no, he doesn't have to be a bad kid to do this, I am certainly not saying anything like that!

My 3rd child did the same thing, he wasn't potty trained until he was 4 1/2 (2 weeks before he started school!) and this at a time when they expected kids to be trained by 2 1/2! It's a long story, but basically he was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 2, had 2 1/2 years of chemo that totally traumatized him. We tried & tried to potty train him, tried everything we'd done with our other 2 & everything everyone suggested, nothing, he actually got worse!


Doctor checkups said there was nothing physically wrong with him. By age 3 1/2 we were told this was a control issue, going potty was about the only thing in his life he could control. We couldn't make him use the potty! So we backed off with the pressure. Age 4, still not interested. We knew he had to be trained to start pre-school in the fall but he wouldn't listen when we tried to tell him, he just kept peeing in the pull-ups & ignoring the underwear.
Four weeks till school starts. I take him to the store to buy a package of pull ups & calmly tell him that this was the last package. When they were gone, they were gone & he'd have to start wearing "big boy pants".

Three weeks before school-Pull ups run out & he whines for more. I stayed calm & sympathetic as I repeatedly had to tell him no more & put his underwear on him while he whined.


Honestly, he 'trained' himself in a couple of days. He didn't like the feel of wet or dirty underwear when he went potty in the cotton underwear, even though I cleaned him right away (explaining to him as I did that this wouldn't happen if he used the potty). After a couple of days he told me he was going to go potty! And he never looked back!

Now, with that said, you got a lot of really good ideas & suggestions here, maybe some of them will help you. I would also like to say to make sure there isn't a medical condition & offer another suggestion.

My mom was apparently a bed wetter until she was around 10 or so. All her life she's had to hurry when she got the urge, especially now that she's older. Nothing wrong with her medically, or so she was told. Then during medical tests for something else, she was told that she had a very small bladder (the Dr. asked her if she'd ever had trouble holding her urine) & the Dr. said that her bladder had never "matured" & grown with her as she grew up! No wonder she couldn't wait! And it only took her 70 years to find out!

So, I wouldn't worry about that right now, but if he doesn't outgrow this in a few years, it might be something to talk to your doctor about.

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July 17, 20110 found this helpful

I have a six year old who has days where she will continually wet herself. The problem is if she's fully engrossed in something she doesn't pick up on the signal that she needs the loo, until its too late. So she will wet herself. However, at school she hardly has any accidents. This could be because they remind the children to go to the loo every break time. Maybe we should make sure they use the loo every couple of hours or so.

When my little girl has an accident I just give her clean clothes to change into. There is no point in chastising her for something she has no control over.

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July 18, 20110 found this helpful

Please stop punishing this child. I would bet anything that he has a small bladder/and/or he is not feeling the urge to urinate on time. If you can talk to your doctor and get him to a urologist, there is a test that can be done to see how much liquid your bladder can comfortably hold. I have a step son who will be 35 this year, he still wets the bed and occasionally soils himself, children are very resilient and when he starts school if he wets himself at school it won't take long before his peers let him know this isn't acceptable.

You might try using pullups if there is no known cause found. I come from a family with constant bladder problems on the female side and I can remember my sister being punished for wetting the bed, something she found out when she was older that she couldn't help.

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