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We have had our 2.5 year old potty trained for at least 6 months. He knows when he has to go and asks accordingly. At night he stays dry.

However, when he is at home and he is in trouble (or gets really upset) he frequently ends up peeing his pants. This last time I saw him run into the laundry room, stand in the corner and pee himself.

My wife and I have told him repeatedly that he needs to use the potty. This last time, my wife spanked his butt for doing this as he told me he did it on purpose. Other than these circumstances, he never has any issues going to the bathroom on time.

Are there any ways to discourage this behavior or is this just one of those phases that kids go though?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sounds like a fear reaction to me. Telling him to use the potty won't work, because he's not peeing in response to a bladder urge. Spanking is counter-productive, since that will only make him more fearful.

When his parents are scary, he pees to remind them that he is small and helpless and doesn't know what is expected of him. Think of it as a request for help. The peeing doesn't have to do with having to go, it means he is feeling cornered and frightened. It will stop if you can find a less scary way to correct his behavior.

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Just to clarify...we don't ordinarily use spanking as punishment. In general it tends to be more detrimental than not. However, we have tried reasoning with him that he needs to go. He just gets so upset that its like he forgets to go. This last time, my wife tried spanking him after he went. – Johnny Arizona Oct 15 '13 at 16:21
I don't think it's a fear reaction. My 3yo does the same thing, and I don't raise my voice at her or hit under any circumstances, so she has no reason to be afraid. She does it when she is mad that she isn't getting her way. I don't know what the solution is, but it's so frustrating! – user18952 Sep 13 '15 at 12:43

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