I'm at a complete loss. My 4-year-old daughter is potty trained and all is well. But recently she keeps moaning and complaining she peed in her underwear but upon checking, she's completely dry. This is an ongoing thing that can last hours where she'll repeat the same thing every three minutes. We tell her to go to the bathroom and she'll pee or claim she doesn't need to. It's exhausting. I have no idea what's going on. I've had a lot of urinary tract infections and it doesn't seem to be the case for her, as she's not in pain or anything of the sort. She's been doing it at daycare as well.

I just tried to put socks on her feet in case she's cold and made up a story telling her she won't feel like that if she wears socks. It's lasted 10 mins but who knows? I'd think if it was some form of UTI I haven't experienced or diabetes, she wouldn't be dry...

Any suggestions? Has this happened to any of you?

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    I think you need to discuss this with her doctor. She seems to be experiencing (at the minimum) urgency, which, if she's moaning, could be causing significant discomfort. This is highly abnormal behavior at her age. Oct 24, 2014 at 17:59
  • @anongoodnurse is totally right, you need to take her to a doctor and rule out medical issues before treating this as a behavioural problem. "Although physical causes are rare, your child should be examined by a healthcare provider."
    – A E
    Oct 29, 2014 at 11:11
  • @AE The URL you provided is not valid now, March 2017. Possibly they moved the page? Based on the line cited I found this one (with Google search): Urination: Frequency and Urgency. Hope it's the same page you referred above.
    – CiaPan
    Mar 25, 2017 at 17:23
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    It may be something else. When our eldest daughter noticed certain stuff made her... Well, wet, she was extremely confused at first and mixed up that wetness with peeing herself. Of course, the two things are pretty different but sexual matters can be really confusing for kids.
    – T. Sar
    Mar 27, 2017 at 17:01

6 Answers 6


Assuming this isn't a medical issue (and for that, talk to your pediatrician!), I would wonder if this is one of three things:

  • A need for attention. When you're wet, you get a lot of attention, right? Not all good attention, but sometimes any attention is desirable.
  • A confusion of feelings. She's not wet, but she feels like she peed - like the muscles feel when they've released pee. This is a learning process; it's common for kids to get confused with one feeling for another.
  • She's warm, and sweated a little in her crotch area; that's not uncommon, and might be confusable for pee.

I think you.need to check this up with a doctor. Sometimes we may feel an urge to pee but only 2 or 3 drops come out, so she felt she peed whereas when u checked those drops must have dried or may be u were expecting a urine soaked panty so didn't realise that there were few drops . (Assuming this is not a medical reason)

Another reason could be the attention, but I highly doubt it in.this case


I am posting this on several sites as we have had this issue and it really distressed us. We received advice which immediately resolved the issue. There can probably be several reasons for this but it seems to happen to girls around four to six.

Our little girl all of the sudden started experiencing the exact same issues. DD dreaded going to the bathroom and when she did it mostly ended up in her being very upset. She would spend several minutes trying to try herself to no avail (she was dry but still complained). She would try to sit again but this also did not help to calm her down. Lots of tears. Such an episode lasted for about ten to twenty minutes at a time and caused distress to the whole family. If this happened at night when she was very tired she would become somewhat hysterical.

After going to the doctor he suspected urinary tract infection and put her on antibiotics (the tests later came back indicating no infection was present but we had to complete the antibiotics which was dreadful).

We tried a few things at the same time. Firstly we got cranberry juice but this did not resolve the issue (it might have helped but we are not sure). I came across a great article (Google: Help! i think my 6 year-old is incontinent!) which described a problem little girls have with sitting posture. To my mind this made the most sense. Her body grew past the point where her previous posture could work for her. She used to sit on the toilet with her hands next to her legs - with the new posture she has her hands on the seat in front of her and her legs over the sides where her hands used to be.

The times when she used a new posture she was fine - it took about a week for her to turn this into a routine. The problem has been completely resolved simply by changing the posture! Thank goodness!

  • Welcome to Parenting SE. I am happy this worked for your DD and hope this simple solution will work for others. It can't hurt!
    – WRX
    Apr 18, 2017 at 13:17

My five year old daughter is now having those exact same issues. She is constantly telling me she peed her pants when she did not. The doctor ruled out any UTI and her urine was fine when tested. He said that girls her age can be OCD about the potty and wipe too hard, irritating the area and making it feel like they need to pee. She was definitely wiping too hard and we stopped her doing that, but the problem still persists- she is still asking us if she peed her pants when she did not. The doctor said to put her in a warm bath for 15 minutes twice a day to reduce the irritation. I wonder if those parents who reported this problem earlier have had any resolutions. Did the problem just go away or was something done to solve the problem?

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    You have asked a (good, imo) question BUT you have not answered the original question. A mod may delete or ask you to modify this. I think you have a good question, but you need to make it just different enough from the one you answered so that it is not marked as a duplicate. So, I am suggesting you reword this and post it as a question. I hope you get more/different answers than the original questioner received. Mention that your child has seen the doctor and you are trying to deal with the results.
    – WRX
    Mar 24, 2017 at 15:55
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    If you have a new question please use the Ask a Question link, but in any case please read our tour, How to Ask and How to Answer pages to understand how Stack Exchange is different to other online forums you may have used in the past. Thanks :)
    – Acire
    Mar 24, 2017 at 16:04
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    I actually think this is a very useful answer --- it proposes an explanation not provided in the other answers (wiping too hard and causing irritation) as well as a potential remedy (frequent warm baths). It directly addresses both questions posed by OP ("any suggestions? has this happened to you?") Mar 24, 2017 at 19:24

Kids often don't distinguish between a single drop and a flood. Both of my kids went through that phase, and learned the difference soon enough.


Well, when my 4 yr old was playing hide and seek, (I play that with her to learn to count) she hid under a table and peed her pants. She hadn't done that in forever... I figured out that she was heading to the potty, but was to late... I cut back on her drinks, make her go potty anyways, and if she refuses, cut back privileges as watching tv, playing my phone, or whatever... If she pees, I tell her to change herself. I wipe her but she has to change, it worked! She hasn't done it sence and she uses the potty. Hope it helps!!

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    Welcome to the site! One word of warning: restricting the amount of drink may seriously backfire and cause physical harm (UTIs, for example) so this is a risky advice.
    – Stephie
    Mar 30, 2015 at 13:24
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    Punishing a kid for trying but failing is a recipe for disaster.
    – T. Sar
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:20

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