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I have a 7-year-old daughter. She still wets her pants because she doesn't want to stop what she is doing to go to the bathroom. She waits and waits and waits until the last possible second to go and by then it's too late. She knows she has to go but she chooses not to. It doesn't bother her that she does it. There are more times than not that she will continue to play in wet pants rather than going to change and clean up. I am the one who has to tell her to change.

I have tried everything to get her to stop. Taking her things away, time outs, grounding, talking to her and 100's of others. I have taken her to her doctor multiple times and have been assured that she is perfectly healthy. I just don't know what else to do. I don't yell at her and the only time I get stern with her is when she sits on the furniture in wet pants or wets her pants while sitting on it. The laundry is killing me and I am having a hard time keeping her off the furniture because she wet on the couch countless times already.

How to make my daughter stop wetting her pants?

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    Possible duplicate of How to potty train my 7-year-old son? – elbrant Jun 23 at 20:10
  • My son did this but with poop. It was awful. You can see what I tried here: This solution is not for everyone. – Jax Jun 24 at 0:17
  • I checked the other question...I don’t think this is a duplicate because the OP here says the child has been seen by a dr and is healthy, whereas the other question doesn’t indicate whether or not a dr had seen the child. It’s a big difference. – Jax Jun 24 at 0:49
  • Thank you, its so hard not to get frustrated or upset over it. I don't yell at her and the only time I get stern with her is when she sits on the furniture in wet pants or wets her pants while sitting on it. I don't get the fact that it doesn't bother her that she does it. There are more times than not that she will continue to play in wet pants rather than going to change and clean up. I am the one that has to tell her to change. The laundry and cleaning the furniture after her is whats frustrating. – Tiffany Meyers Jun 24 at 1:56
  • @TiffanyMeyers was your child ever potty trained? – Adam Heeg Jun 28 at 11:39
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I am going to copy one thing of what Ben said, but specifically leave everything else out.

Start making her go to the bathroom every couple of hours.

She has to physically go to the bathroom and sit down and give a solid effort to try and 'go'. I played this game with one of my kids (by game I mean irritating back and forth power struggle) so I get the difficulty of accomplishing this simple task. Every time you ask her to do this she either gives an honest effort or sits on timeout until she does. No anger, no punishment other than timeout, no talking down or treating like a 2 year old. I specifically am against those things and think other answers are off base on those suggestions. Let me explain.

I'm against punishing your daughter for soiling herself. I'm against it for many reasons, but the basic reason is I think it is punitive (eg. avenging, castigatory). Punitive thus means dehumanizing which is something every parent should avoid at all costs. Also, any lesson which has natural consequences really doesn't need additional consequences. Use the natural consequences to your advantage, not your dismay.

To this point I say let her and not you suffer the natural consequences, and thus ease your burden. However, getting her to take the burden of doing that laundry and cleaning up will be a difficult task. However, the end result of that effort is a responsible child. This is much better than a child who feels greater shame and resentment from punitive punishment and degrading talk which will backfire in the end.

In conclusion:

1 - She must genuinely try to use the restroom every 2-3 hours
2 - She will be put on time out until she complies
3 - Timeout will happen in public or she will be removed from public/friends etc.
4 - Anytime an accident happens you will focus on your effort to help her be responsible for cleaning up.
5 - If she does't clean up as you determine is good enough she sits on timeout until she lets you teach her how and she does it.

Be patient, guide her, let anger hold no sway over you in this process. Kids have parents because they not able to do things themselves (this includes emotionally too). Keep the burden on her, but always be there to help her become successful in being responsible for her bodily functions and the cleanup when she fails at that responsibility.

EDIT
While personal opinions may vary among parents on punishment, experts say it is not helpful to punish over accidents. And I do suggest that waiting too long to go is still an accident, which is why my advice focuses the attention on the waiting to go part, not the accident part. This is an important point to keep in mind, you are to focus on the controllable part of the equation (waiting to go) not the uncontrollable part (the actual going).

Potty Training Regression

Experts say punishing your child for bed-wetting or any accidents will only backfire

Regression is when the behavior recurs for several weeks, such as when your 8-year-old regularly wets her bed after being dry at night for years.

It may be helpful to consider non medical issue, but rather psychological issues.

Stress is the most common reason for regression.

This fact lends itself to my concept of not adding stress to the situation, but rather letting the natural stress of responsibility do it's work in motivating correct behavior. Finally, taking responsibility is not a punishment.

  • I would be against punishing her if she had no control over it. At seven though, either she has control or she has a medical issue that probably would have already manifested. – Ben Jun 27 at 22:08
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If it was me, I would start by taking things away that are distracting her from going to the bathroom. I would start with one day, then take them away longer if she doesn't fix it herself. If that didn't work, I would start making her go to the bathroom every couple of hours, basically treating her like I would a two year old.

I may just be a jerk, but if she wants to act like a two year old, then she get treated like a two year old.

I hope it's not worth a note that some people will have their kids run around without bottoms on when they are potty training, but don't do that in this case.

  • Thanks for your suggestion. Thats a good idea, maybe taking away her things for a longer period of time will help, I will try that. I have told her a few times that if she continued to act like a 1 or 2 year old, I would start treating her like one. I just never gotten to the point and actually followed through. I was hoping just telling her that would get her to stop. – Tiffany Meyers Jun 25 at 12:38
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    Sometimes actions speak louder than words. She needs to learn that she can either go to wee and come back and play with the same toy, or wet herself and lose the toy for a day (or longer) - make it clear to her that this is what is going to happen before starting this though. Prepare for tantrums the first few times - and remember, if you don't ever follow up on what you say - she will learn that instead. – Smock Jun 25 at 14:06
  • For those that down-voted, could you please let me know why you think my answer is bad. – Ben Jun 27 at 18:02
  • @TiffanyMeyers, I know it's hard, but you can't threaten anything that you aren't willing to follow through with. Also, vague threats probably won't work because the child won't necessarily understand what you mean. – Ben Jul 1 at 14:34
  • @TiffanyMeyers, related to a comment below, if your biggest problem is laundry, maybe you could have her do the laundry. You would need to supervise and probably do parts of it, but at 7 she should be able to do a lot of it herself. I'm generally a big proponent of having kids do as much as they are able. It helps them to learn how to do things themselves, and hopefully creates some appreciation for things that are done for them. – Ben Jul 1 at 14:34
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Peer pressure can work to your favor sometimes. You and her should make a shirt together, something to the effect of "I wet my pants today, and I liked it" (something very noticeable & embarrassing). Tell her the next time she purposely wets her pants, she's going to school with this shirt on.

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    I dont think I could take it that far by embarrassing her in front of her classmates. She has never had this problem at school. The last accident she had at school was in kinder. She does it anywhere but school which tells me that she knows exactly what she is doing. She has a whole basket of clothes in the laundry room that need to be washed. I HATE washing her things all the stinking time ugh – Tiffany Meyers Jun 25 at 15:22
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    This is downright terrible advice. Don't degrade the humanity of a child for any reason. the repercussions are always far worse than any other lesson you are trying to teach. – Adam Heeg Jul 12 at 21:21

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