My son has been potty trained now for well over a year. He'll wake up dry most of the nights but when he's at daycare ( a private home) he won't go to the bathroom unless he's told. He'll have an accident maybe 1-2 times a month. I see it as "an accident". The teacher see's it as a problem. She's informing me that if she didn't tell him to go, he would have daily accidents. I need help. I have taken toys/games away, I've taken TV away. They have made him sit on the toilet for a little bit, they have put him in time out. He will be starting VPK in just a few weeks and I do not want this issue to happen at school. He knows when he has to use the bathroom, he just won't tell anyone and then he'll have an accident. He also holds his bowels until it's too late. But I have been doing some research on that, and he poops everyday, several times a day.

I want to make sure I'm doing all I can for my son. If I have to contact his DR then I will. I need some help. He'll be 5 in February.

  • 1
    Could you clarify please: Does he need a reminder at home too? Do the accidents happen at daycare only or at random everywhere? How would you characterize him? Rather outgoing and confident? Shy? Your post is quite detailed (thanks!), but I have a hunch that a bit more info might be helpful. Welcome to the site!
    – Stephie
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 7:07

4 Answers 4


First, don't punish him! I highly doubt he is intentionally deciding not to use the restrooms because he just feels like being naughty, these are accidents that he is unable to avoid. I'm sure the embarrassment of them is more then enough punishment to make him want to stop them, further punishment will not help. Worse, punishing him for accidents he can't control sends a bad message, causing him to feel guilty or bad about things outside of his control. It may also cause punishments for other behaviors to be less effective, if he starts thinking of punishments being because of things outside of his control and thus not something he can avoid.

If the accidents are actually only happening at daycare then I would try to determine what is different about his daycare. Have you talked to him about this? Does he have trouble going to the bathroom, is he afraid to go etc? Does he know he needs to go to the bathroom, or not realize until after his accident occurs?

The most common cause I've seen for accidents like this during the day time has been distraction. The child is so busy that he does not realize his own needs until the accident occurs, a problem I have seen at much older ages. However, the reason I see that so often is because I worked a bit with special needs children and kids with ADHD, and ADD/ADHD children are far more prone to hyperfocus which can cause them to miss their other needs. I'm not sure how this is to be a problem with non ADD children.

Though, again, if it's really only at his daycare it may be an issue with the daycare. Shyness and being afraid to ask to use the restroom has already been mentioned, likewise a shyness or fear to use the restroom at the daycare could theoretically be an issue as well. The important thing is to talk with your son and figure out what he is feeling and what he is thinking when he feels the need to use the restroom.

Finally, the easiest short term solution is to set up a schedule, as already mentioned. Pick a few times during the day and have him always use the restroom then, before nap time, after snacks etc. Work with his teacher to have her remind him of these restroom times, and encourage him to try even if he doesn't need to. Eventually he will learn to simply use the restroom at these times during the day without further prompting from the teacher. The key thing is to pick times that are easy for him to remember and learn, so he can eventually learn when he should go without prompting from the day care, as it sounds as if they are either frustrated with prompting him or occasionally forgetting leading to accidents.


My brother had this problem and my mum tried to ignore it and he still had accidents until he was at least 12 (although he was ashamed and tried to hide it). My brother's counselor and doctor solved the problem by making him go to the bathroom on a very strict schedule.

My brother had to "go poop" every night right after dinner, and he wasn't allowed out of the bathroom until he had, and he also was made to go number 1 after breakfast, after lunch, and right before bed.

If you get him into a schedule like this it should reduce accidents. (It helped with my brother at least.)


If it's only at daycare there maybe a cause. Ask him about it, don't let him give you an 'I don't know'. If there isn't a certain cause he's probably scared and shy. He need to be assured that it's okay to tell the teacher, even if she is busy.

I know I had a problem with approaching my teachers, still do, have him try and talk to her about something everyday that way he'll get more comfortable talking to her. Don't say he can stop once he's comfortable either, this will help him when he gets into grade school too.


Another possibility: at daycare, your son needs to navigate the possibility that the bathroom will be occupied by someone else when he wants to use it, or that someone else wants to use it when he is inside, or that he needs to ask permission to go. Any one of these could prevent him from doing so in a timely manner.

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