My 4-year-old daughter was potty trained at 2 or maybe 2 1/2. At night she had quite a few dry nights, but not all were perfect; so she has worn a pull-up while sleeping. During the day we never had any issues though. Recently she has reverted. She now pees her pants over and over. She has not pooped them yet and she'll still go to the potty for that. But she no longer goes pee on the toilet.

We have had to put her back in diapers. She seems excited by this and is now happily using this to go in. Again, not poop - just pee. She says she doesn't know why she does it.

We cannot figure out if some event caused this or why this would be. A doctor wasn't any help. How might we try and correct this behavior? What could be the underlying cause?

[Edit] - Though I marked an answer below I thought I'd update this question with the ended outcome. She got worse after the post and began hitting mom and other children, yelling, and throwing tantrums. This was only during daycare. For this reason we believe it was all a ploy for attention. Being that babies get the most attention this could explain the diapers.

We believe she simply doesn't want to share mom with other children in the home daycare. We put her into external daycare 2 days per week. We hated to do it. She behaves there just fine and is improving at home from it.

  • Has anything changed in her life? New school, new house, etc? Does it seems she might be enjoying 'being a baby again' because of a desire for more attention or more nurturing?
    – Meg
    Aug 19, 2019 at 19:30
  • No, nothing. My wife runs a daycare (always has) and we are guessing that she wants to keep the attention on her and not the other children. Why it started now is a mystery. We have had to resort to putting her in a separate daycare where she now behaves normally again. My wife misses her during the day but we felt we didn't have a choice.
    – Paul
    Aug 20, 2019 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


Ask yourself what need your child is satisfying by this behavior, and then see if you can find a way to meet the same demands in a way that is more compatible with your needs to not do an excessive amount of laundry.

I think you're onto something regarding attention. My uninformed assumption would be that intimacy and a feeling of being nurtured when you change her diapers is what she gets out of this. Perhaps you can acknowledge and validate her need to feel nurtured by cradling her, playacting at times that she's an infant and joking about how she can't talk or walk, looking at photos and talking to her about when she was an infant, or even handling her a pacifier?

It's seems obvious that this behaviour fulfills some need she has. Find it, and find out how you can meet that same need in a manner that is more convenient to you. She is obviously doing something that's working for her, so approach it as a you-problem.

  • 1
    Yeah that really seems to have been it. I'll update my OP with what we ended up doing and mark this as the answer
    – Paul
    Aug 22, 2019 at 15:31

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