Ask the Doctor - Answers to your Parenting Questions

4 Year Old Pees All Over The House

We have a very bright, very active 4 y/o son. He was potty trained at around 3 y/o. We waited to do it because I was pregnant and we didn't want to add to the already stressful event of adding a new sibling. It seemed to work for him and shortly after our 2nd son was born he moved to big boy underwear. We skipped the "pull ups" because he viewed them as a diaper. He did very well with the transition and only ever had one accident.

Now, fast forward a while. Within the last 6 months (roughly) he's picked up a horrible habit. He will hide somewhere, under the dining room table, beside mine and my husband's bed, the back corner of the hallway, and pee. He takes his bottoms off and doesn't wet them, then hides the mess with whatever he can find, a blanket or laundry, anything. We did discover that it was intentional behavior the day he ran out of the bathroom, pulled down his pants and peed on the bedroom floor right in front of us.

We have tried everything we could think of. We've tried talking to him about why he did it and why it was wrong. We've gotten angry. We've taken things away. We've tried making him take responsibility for his actions and help clean up the mess. Nothing worked for more than a day or two. Then one day it stopped as quickly as it had started, until these past few weeks. It had probably been a couple of months since he had last done it. Now when you ask him why he did it he says "I guess I didn't make it to the potty in time."

I should say though that in those months he was terrible about getting to the potty on time. He was always too "distracted" to get to the potty. He would get too involved in playing or a cartoon and either miss or ignore the need to use the toilet. There wasn't a single day this summer he didn't dribble in his underwear because he was too "busy" doing something else to use the potty.

My husband and I just don't know what to do anymore. It's obviously behavior that can't continue but we don't know how to end it. We don't know if it's something he thinks is fun or if there's a real reason behind it. At this point the only thing I do know is I'm incredibly frustrated.
-- Kate

Kate-
This would be a frustrating situation for any parent. It is normal preschooler behavior for a four year old to be so busy that he ignores his body's signals and doesn't make it to the toilet until he is actually beginning to pee. The bothersome thing is that he is peeing somewhere besides the toilet, even taking the time to take his bottoms off, and then hiding the pee.

I'm gathering from your note that your son does use the toilet for poop, and pees there sometimes. If that is true, and his peeing in out of the way places is a "sometimes" behavior, then our goal is to make it more rewarding for him to use the toilet.

While he almost certainly stumbled on this behavior by accident, clearly there is something rewarding for him in it. He knows it's not allowed, so he hides the evidence, but he does experience something positive when he does it or he wouldn't go to the trouble and take the risk. I suspect that he's feeling a sense of thrill that he's breaking the rules, as well as a sense of freedom, reinforced by the relief of peeing when he really needs to. Most little boys experience that rush of freedom when they pee outdoors occasionally.

However, most little boys don't pee in random places inside their houses, particularly when they discover that it bothers their parents. The relationship with their parents is too important to them.

Usually this kind of behavior is seen when a child is feeling stressed, unfairly disciplined, overlooked, or over-controlled. It seems to be a kind of secretive rebellion, a way of "marking territory." I suspect your son's habit may be linked to the baby's getting older and cuter and clearly showing no signs of going away. Or it may be that he is reacting to your discipline methods.

It is most interesting that the behavior stopped for a few months, but then began again recently. Can you put your finger on anything that might have triggered it? Was he worried about starting preschool, by any chance?

Regardless, you obviously want to redirect this behavior immediately, so he doesn't start falling back on it whenever he's angry or stressed. What can you do?

1. Increase his visits to the bathroom to make it less likely that he'll find himself with a full bladder and feel tempted. Make rules about bathroom habits: "The rule is that we use the bathroom before we go to bed, get dressed, before and after snack, lunch, etc." When he doesn't like the rule, empathize: "I know, you don't want to go right now, but that's the rule. We all go right after meals."  Externalizing the rule reduces the chance of a power struggle between you. Many 4 year olds are very attached to rules and will follow them as long as they don't feel bossed around.

2. Make it clear that "All people pee in the toilet" but don't get into a struggle with your son about this. You can't win it, because he can always continue the behavior, and it will just require that you up the ante to a level of punishment that would be clearly inappropriate. The truth is that improving your relationship with him will have move impact on eradicating this behavior than any kind of punishment you could devise, and punishment always undermines your relationship.

3. Give your son permission to pee outside if he wants. Tell him the rule is that people are allowed to pee outside, but only over here behind the house where no one can see and it won't hurt any plants. That way he will be able to have the satisfaction he's getting from this behavior, but in an appropriate way.

4. Help your son with whatever feelings are driving him.  Your son peed right in front of you because he wants your help.  He can't help himself.  He also can't explain what feelings are driving him.  Your job is to help him vent any big feelings of fear or anger that are causing him to act out.  The best way to do that is to notice when he is close to a meltdown, and then to "love" him through it.  Check out this letter for an example of how to do that.  Another good way is to initiate a play session with his stuffed animals, and have one of them pee all over the house.  Make it funny.  If you get him laughing, you'll know you're on the right track.  (Laughter releases tensions as well as crying.) You might even have one stuffed animal you're holding ask the one your son is holding, "Why is he doing that?!"  You might be surprised at the answer.

5. Consider a reward chart.  I'm not a big fan of star charts in general, because they get kids focused on the external reward, rather than on the rewarding feelings of "doing the right thing."  More important in this case, if you don't get to the feelings underneath that are causing your son to pee all over, it won't work. However, if you do give him help with those feelings, a reward chart could be helpful as an additional incentive to help him break this bad habit.

To try this, Every single time your son pees in the toilet, he gets a star, and a certain number of stars get him something he really wants, within a few days. Make sure those stars seem really valuable to him. In fact, you might want to launch this by giving him a small reward that he values (a sticker, a small candy) every single time he pees in the toilet. This may seem like overkill, but you need to make the toilet MUCH more rewarding than those other hiding places.

6. Be effusive with your praise in addition to the rewards. You want your ''You remembered to use the potty every time today! Great Job!'' to feel so good to hear that he'll want to hear it again every day.

7. Be matter-of-fact about the clean-up.  Say, "Oops, did you pee here?  Come on, let's get this cleaned up."  Stay calm, hand him the paper towels, have him help.

8. Shower him with unrequested love, appreciation and attention. I realize you have a younger child, so setting aside a regular daily time just to spend with your older son could be challenging, but that may be the most important action you can take. You want him to feel so connected to you that he just can't bring himself to do something that he knows displeases you.

9. Just in case he's rebelling against what feels like too much control, give him fairly constant choices. Don't overwhelm him with ten choices at a time, just let him choose, whenever it would be ok for him to decide between two things.

10. In general, you will get better cooperation if you use positive discipline, which is even more important for your son, in case he is rebelling against your discipline practices. Click here to read more about how to implement positive discipline in your own home.

11. Most 4 year old boys are feeling their testosterone. They need opportunities to wrestle, play superhero, and demonstrate their prowess in any way they can. This is totally age-appropriate, including when he brags to you that he is stronger than Superman. (Your response to that? "Wow!") Make sure he has plenty of opportunities to feel powerful, so he doesn't need to use his territory-marking strategy.

I know this is frustrating, but he did stop it once on his own. That it has restarted is the perfect opportunity for you to address whatever underlying issues make him vulnerable to it, so they don't surface in some other way. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

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Shannnon commented on 19-Dec-2009 12:49 PM
I am going through the same thing! It infuriates me to no end. I have been scolding my 4 year old son when he does and I take his toys and privledges aways and it doesn't seem to help. We moved in with my parents a few months ago and I am sure the stress of all the new changes has a lot to do with it. At first he was just having accidents in his pants so I used the reward system with stickers and that worked for that. So I guess I will try it for this as well. It is so hard to stay calm when he does it though. How should I address him when I find that he has peed some where?
Laura Markham commented on 07-Jan-2010 11:32 AM
Shannon- Dr. Laura here. I think your diagnosis is spot-on. You moved, lots of changes, your son is stressed.

Obviously taking his privileges and toys away isn't helping, or it would already have worked. If you can work with the feelings under his behavior you can eliminate the behavior. Aim to reduce his stress, increase the regularity of his schedule, increase your affection.

And when you do find that he has peed somewhere, take a deep breath, get yourself calm, and say something like "Oh, oh, looks like you weren't able to make it to the toilet. Pee goes in the toilet, right? Don't worry, soon you will be able to make it every single time. I love you and I know you're getting better at making it to the toilet all the time. So let's get some paper towels and cleaner and get this cleaned up, ok? We don't want it to smell! Will you help me get this cleaned up?"

Giving him a chance to redeem himself by helping clean up makes him feel better about himself instead of ashamed. Kids who feel better about themselves do better, kids who feel ashamed act worse. Just keep your comments matter of fact and upbeat. Don't label him, and be clear that you know he is changing all the time and will soon master this challenge. He will. Good luck!
Anonymous commented on 26-Apr-2010 02:10 AM
My son has recently started this behavior as well. I know that it has do with my husband losing his job, though we have tried hard not to mention it in front of him, but I'm sure he realizes Dad doesn't leave for a majority of the day anymore. Perhaps he is also marking his territory because for so many hours of the day he was the "man of the house." I will try the star system to reinforce the behavior of using the toilet, thanks for the tips. It is reassuring to know that I am not the only one that has been through this. K
Anonymous commented on 28-May-2010 12:11 AM
OMG!!!!!MY 4 y/o has been urinating in odd places (ie, behind the doors, besides couches, besides the bed on the T.V.) . all without wetting himself or his underpants. I am frustrated because he has been potty trained since age 3. As an african american woman I have discussed this with my some of my peers and was given a multitude of responses, some of which are not "politically correct". It comforts me in knowing that I am not alone.
SE commented on 28-May-2010 11:36 AM
I'm having a similar problem except it is with my 4 year old girl. She will just pee on her blankets on the floor and she even did it right in front of me. I was horrified. I think she doesn't feel like she is getting enough attention or something. She has an older brother who is autistic and I think she sees him getting more attention or something. I am just at my witts end with this one. I hope this rewards system starts working for me. It's very annoying to find pee blankets all over our house.
Amanda commented on 14-Jun-2010 06:32 PM
We have been having the same problem lately. My son started last fall when we had moved to a new house and I had enrolled him in preschool perhaps a little too soon afterwards. He would pee in random places and then I would discover it and accidentally blame our dogs but later found out it was him. Well the behavior quit for the remainder of the school year however now that it is summer and there is no preschool for him, the other day I found that he peed in the kitchen by the cupboards, and also he was very naughty and put chocolate milk in the dogs food dishes, so I yelled at him for that. Well later I dscovered he peed in my purse of all things, when I asked him why he had done that he said because I yelled at him for the chocolate milk earlier in the dogs dishes. I don't know what else to do with mine either, and lo and behold I am wanting another one?? Am I crazy?
Anonymous commented on 24-Jul-2010 02:23 PM
My 9 year old has been doing this occasionally for the past 3 years (like twice a year). It was interesting that you think stress might be causing it. He is the oldest and seems very well adjusted. He comes from a two parent family and is enjoying summer break. Just a warning to all though: Last night he chose to urinate inside a subwoofer speaker. Luckily it shorted out and he turned off the power to it. He could have electrocuted himself. Not cool. I'm at my wits end and don't really know what it will take for him to stop. We've talked extensively about respecting a home. We've grounded him. We've put him to work to clean the whole house after an incident. I just hope that there is no internal behavioral problems associated with this behavior. He is a great kid. He is kind, smart, and makes friends easily. When I asked him to please tell my why he does it he simply said its fun. If anyone comes up with a solution please respond. We keep thinking it's over and then he does it again. Help!
Anonymous commented on 11-Mar-2011 03:12 PM
My son has been potty trained since he was 2 and just recently started peeing in random places too. I am very comforted knowing that he isnt the only one. Thank you for all who have left posts on this. I was thinking it was something wrong with him.
Amber commented on 15-Mar-2011 12:28 PM
My almost 3 year old does the same thing and he's been potty trained for a year. Lately, it's been fun to pee down his heating vent in his room. This morning, he really pushed me to my limit when I came out of the shower and realized he had peed on his 9 month old brother. And then when I put him in time-out in his room (instead of spanking him, which is really what I wanted to do) he peed in his heater vent again. I feel like I try to be a good parent, so I don't know what I'm doing wrong. How much more love and affection can I give him? We'll start a sticker chart today and hope that works. Because once you pee on your brother, you've gone too far, and we have to fix this now.
Anonymous commented on 19-Apr-2011 08:10 PM
My 4 1/2 yr oid grandson does something of the same thing. But his twist on it is he goes to the potty (tells them he has to go) at pre-school (that's 3 mornings a week) and he also go to the potty when were out shopping, dinning, etc. (tells us he has
to go). But when were at home he'll poop and pee in his pants. He has always done this. He pees the bed at nightstill too, so he wears pull-up to bed. Even after he does it he tells me he will not do it again and not 1 hour later he does. I've potty trained
2 of my own children. His mother & boyfriend are both in the Navy and on Sea Duty. My husband and I have had him since he's 3. She has visited him twice in that time. But also calls him when she can. Also sent a DVD of her reading a book to him. Which he watches.
She sends pictures. We send her stuff in the mail that he makes. My husband travels alot and for long periods of time he's gone. He very attached to his Pop Pop. So people are always coming and going around here. But My self, my older son 14, and mother-in-law
80, stay the same. I thought he was mad because his mom, father, and pop-pop are gone. But he still does it even when their home. Maybe he dry for a day or two. Then starts again. He's never dry at night. I even wake him and put him on the potty and he's still
wet sometimes poop in the morning. I give him plenty of attention. I'm home with him except on school mornings. We play, read, letters, TV, go shopping, make things. My other child is in school all day and my mother in law does her own thing. I've tried praying,
hourly visits to the toilet, candy, praise, disappointed in, stars on a chart, taking things away, time-outs, sent to room, no tv, no toys, couldn't go to events, spanking, cleaning up himself, ignoring it, leaving him in it, putting diapers back on him, make
him sit on the toilet until he goes, stand in corner, I've talked to him, had other people talk to him some his on age, told him babies pee and poop on themselves. Nothing has worked. I asked him if he could feel when his body needed to go, he told me yes.
He had a 4 yr old friend over today, peed and pooped his pants twice while he was here. The other little boy told him that was what babies do. I just don't understand. Should I take him to a doctor? Help me.
Sarah commented on 24-May-2011 08:28 AM
My little boy 2yrs 8months has been dry for about a year after potty training himself!But for the last few weeks been weeing on the floor. He does it next to the dinning table, on the lounge floor (mostly behind the chair in the lounge)and in the hall
and on the landing outside the bathroom! He first started doing this a few months back but stop after only a week. We think it all started when we put the paddling pool in the garden on a hot day and he and his 5 1/2yr old sister where playing in the pool
in their swim wear and when it become wet they sripped off which was fine but when my little boy needed a wee he just did it on the grass. That evening he started to pee indoors but only after taking his pants off. We told him not to do it and he told us that
he must do wee wees on the potty or the toilet, so he does know. But this time around he hasn't stopped on its driving us mad!!! Thankfully we have wood flooring in the lounge and dinning area but the hall and upstairs are carpeted and its starting to smell!We
have taken things away and tried not to get angry or to make a big deal of it but we are running out of ideas. PLEASE HELP!
Landon's Mommy-Erie, PA commented on 07-Jun-2011 11:53 AM
My 4 year old has been acting out with this also. It has graduated to him peeing on our dog! I am so horrified at the idea of him doing this! He knows that pee, poop, and ONLY toilet paper goes into the potty, but we have had to have 3 plumbers out in
a matter of two weeks to pull the toilet off the floor to get the severe clogs from him flushing odd things. We have tried the reward system, and positive reinforcement constantly, but this has been an ongoing issue for almost 6 mos. If there any helpful advice
would be appreciated.
Claire from Australia commented on 13-Jun-2011 03:08 AM
I am currently going through this process at the moment and have no idea where to start. I the reasons behind his anger.I understand that he is angry with me for what our lives have been like the last three years. We had a daughter who had been very unwell
for the last 18 months..H not only had to deal with a new family memeer but one who got so much more attention because of her health. He used to get very angry with the attention that my daughter was getting and now seems to be acting that anger out by peeing
on the carpet in his room when put in time out. His father is suffering from depression and has just received treatment but our household is a bit of a mess...thanks to the reply above ill try some techniques and hopefully get t the bottom of this :)
pashwa commented on 21-Jun-2011 02:26 AM
I don't think scolding, punishing ever works...even if it stops the unwanted behaviour, it does so for the WRONG REASONS. The question is whether we want our children to behave well, or to be psychologically and emotionally healthy and happy. If it is
the latter, understanding what is bringing this behaviour and trying to address those needs will be far more effective and loving an action than trying to control, shame, punish or even use rewards. I have found Naomi Aldort's book 'Raising Our Children, Raising
Ourselves'and her articles (which are available online)as well as Alfie Kohn's book Únconditional Parenting'to be very wise, compassionate books...and I hughky recommend them for any parent who wants to raise their children in a loving and sane way, rather
than a convenient, quick-fix, but ultimately damaging way. I feel this way of parenting has not only been great for my children, it has also been amazing for me and my husband to grow as people and undo some of the unconscious hurts and negative conditions
that we were handed out to us as children (even though parents do the best they can, and are innocent, ignorant of the effects of some messages and actions they use). All the best.
Laura commented on 10-Jul-2011 07:56 PM
My son will be 4 in January...He was great with toilet training at first, we moved in march, he's started daycare. He was awesome then, now all of a sudden he goes wherever he is standing at the time. The daycare has called me a couple times now and are
saying he thinks its funny to go on himself or the bathroom floor. Today for instance, he was in the bathroom (suppose to be going) he peed in his underwear, pants and all over the floor, then he left the bathroom to go get some clean underwear, and continued
to pooh on his bedroom floor..This happens nearly everyday, I have tried stickers, rewards, taking things away, being calm and talking to him about it (he avoids answering any questions about it) nothing works, I am at my wits end..And to add to the bathroom
problems, he also thinks he can do what he wants, when he wants with no regard too anyone or anything..I am frustrated, and have no idea what to do anymore..Please Help!!!!
DD commented on 18-Aug-2011 11:00 AM
My son will be 5 in Oct. He just gets busy and pees his pants. Playing, watching TV or Computer time... He has done this at daycare and at home. He is going to be in SK in September so I am hoping to get his under control. He was never a baby that fussed
about a wet diaper. was changed often. and potty trained really well. We are also having issues with wetting his bed at night. I wake him up and put him on the toilet before I come to bed but sometimes he pees before I take him or he will pee later in the
bed. we try to limit beverages before bedtime and sometimes he goes a long time with out wetting this past week it has been almost every night. Will keep any eye out for the behaviour you have shared here. Thanks for posting good to be aware of this.
Anonymous commented on 04-Sep-2011 11:23 PM
What do you do with a 2 year old boy that pees on his friend, who is also a 2 year old boy The boy that pees has also bitten his friend many times over the last year We thought he would grow out of it but now this is worrying us that he has actually urinated
on his little friend What can we/they do, this is worrying and our friendship is at risk PLEASE HELP
Jenna commented on 05-Sep-2011 07:10 PM
Ughhhh... my 3y/o has been potty trained for a yr now.. buuuut recently started going into the bathroom and peeing, not only on the floor, but all over the walls on the mirror... everywhere... I'm so frustrated... and like many parents on here, I have
tried everythinggg... but when I ask him why he is doing this, he make up a story like " well, when I was a little boy.."or even an "I dnt kno".... any advise!!!??
Anonymous commented on 20-Sep-2011 05:09 AM
Thank you for this site and for sharing your stories, I thought my four year old was the only one behaving like this! I can't wait to get home and give my little super hero extra love and attention (not that he lacks in it) but to try and help him through
this! I like the idea of role playing with the teddies, I'll try it this evening! Good luck mommies! x
Anonymous commented on 29-Sep-2011 10:26 AM
My 6 year old just started this peeing about the house. He is a happy well adjusted little boy. With a very present mommy. I always give all %100 to him as a single parent home with him every day. I just don't get what he is looking for when he pee's about
the house. We have 3 toilets & lots of pasture to water! I just don't get it.......Any one have any thing to share??
Anonymous commented on 14-Oct-2011 10:48 PM
Im going thru that with my 3yr old daughter. She makes the effort to take off her pants and undies and also the effort to pee in something that will hold the pee (Her box that her books are stored in, a cardboard box). There isnt any new additions to the
family, we havent recently moved, I work part time and when Im home she has 100% of my attention unless Im cleaning or cooking and even then she sometimes helps me. I've tried taking away her toys, tv, books, putting her on time out, everything. The other
night she got everything back since she went pee on the potty for the whole day and not even 10 mins after she went pee in her book box. I just dont know what to do and its fustrating. When I ask why she just says "I dont know" or "I needed too." I would appreciate
it if anyone could tell me what they have tried that has worked for them.
Anonymous commented on 27-Oct-2011 04:35 PM
Just another comment to add to the compiled list here of, "I'm glad I'm not the only one." My three-year old, approximately four-month potty-trained child has been doing this. I Googled this issue and found this web page because he had just done it right
in front of me, and in front of a bathroom. We too have been blaming it mostly on our dogs, especially since we do have a new puppy. But we have since caught our youngest son peeing on the carpet in our house. Often, he has been within a few feet of the bathroom
when it has happened. I think I can safely say that he completely understands the concept of how to pee into the toilet and could make it there if he wanted to. I have thought that this is something else. And from reading your comments and the advice given,
it appears that I am correct in that assumption. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly what that something is. He is a happy and normal three-year old boy, although incredibly stubborn, independent and willful. I have talked to my husband and we are going to
try the tactics that have been given. We have mostly been punishing and scolding him and it is obviously not working.
Anonymous commented on 12-Dec-2011 02:36 PM
My 4 yr old woke up from bed went into the living room then went into his room I thought this was strange so I went in his room to see if he had a bad dream or needed something ... and he had pulled his pants down and was peeing on his bedroom floor. I
asked him y he did that and he just cried. He is potty trained and has never did this before. I thought mabye he was sleep walking and thought it was the potty but his eyes were opened and he was talking. ???? I have no idea to make of it.
Cris commented on 25-Jan-2012 09:49 PM
I too am having issues with peeing. My 6 year old, soon to be 7 in about 2 months is peeing in his room. He is potty trained, has been for years. Couple of months ago, we realized that he was peeing in a corner of his room...for about a week. Clearly,
it had been multiple times. We made him help clean it up --- which he did not like at all. In fact he was very, very upset with the smell in his room. He cried because his room smelled like pee! We scrubbed the carpet 3 or 4 times by hand, then I used the
carpet shampooer twice – and fabreez – finally knocked the smell down. We explained that we pee in a toilet. Thought since he seemed so offended by the odor that he would never do this again! Wrong! HE is 6 --- and he clearly knows peeing in a corner, on the
carpet is WRONG! The behavior stopped and it did not happen again until tonight. He finished dinner and was told to go upstairs and put his PJs on --- instead he peed in his brother's room...and in his room, in the same corner. His underwear was found in the
corner completely soaked...it appears he took off his underwear, threw them in the corner and peed on them! He initially denied it, he repeatedly denied it -- but through conversation he assured me that he put on clean underwear before bed --- So finally,
I asked how the underwear he wore today ended up soaking wet in the corner...ultimately I made him look me in the eye and just told him I knew he was lying to me and I wanted to know what happened. He came clean, finally. BUT --- I don't understand WHY? I
cannot get him to tell me WHY or provide any reason. HELP! This is so frustrating. The corner he is peeing in…is literally 2 steps from the bathroom, in fact some pee splattered on the bathroom tile --- he is that close. And it is HIS bathroom. We have 5 baths/toilets
in our house…and 3 upstairs --- just no reason for him to peep in a corner in his room. Clearly there has to be some explanation – anger?
Brenna GP commented on 01-Feb-2012 03:04 PM
I am so releived to find this article. My son first peed in our dryer. Thank goodness I saw the "line of yuck" before I threw in the wash! After that it happened once a week for a while, now we're up to everyday. My son is the youngest of 4 boys, and for
the last 5 weeks we have been back and forth taking care of my mom while she goes through some procedures. He wasn't allowed to be his super energetic self, no running in the hospital or in her apartment while she recovers. One day my mom asked him if he was
spilling his drink, I jumped up because I poured fruit punch and she has white carpets, and I saw him pull his pants up. I was furious to say the least. While walking to get the bucket, I stepped in another spot of his where he was standing before. I used
my BIG voice at the point. After reading this, I feel awful, I knew it was hard on him, but we tried to make the best of it. It was a pajama party- that's what he and my mom called it. I'm going to read the letter above and see if I can get any more hints
of what to do. My sons are the world to us, so knowing we can do something through love and kisses and postive reinforcement is fantastic!
Anonymous commented on 08-Feb-2012 07:57 PM
Dr. Markham, I am desperately seeking your advice on helping my 4 yr old son. He is a twin with a communication delay. We are a very loving family who believe deeply in the parenting style you teach. We keep a consistent daily schedule with lots of outdoor
playtime. I am with my kids- really with my kids- playing all day. My husband is a wonderful, affectionate father. We teach open communicate and spend lots of quality time talking about emotions and how to express them in a healthy way. We are especially aware
of how our son may be feeling due to the trouble he has communicating and take steps to make sure he feels heard and loved. We always slow down and get down at the kids level. Our trouble is that he has been peeing and defecating in his room and smeering it
all over his bed, walls, etc.. He has been successfully potty trained for over a year. We have tried "loving him" through this while talking calmly and compassionately about how unsafe this is and asking him why he is doing it to no avail. Tonight when he
did it, after what I thought was a great talk about how he would have a terrific night without doing it, I lost my cool and cried (hard) in front of him. I am so upset and ashamed, but I just lost it. I said things like, "why are you doing this? You are making
us so sad". I feel terrible about making him feel guilty. I got it together and showered him with hugs and made sure he knew I loved him no matter what he did, but I feel helpless at this point. Could you please, please advise? Thank you so much! I should
add, there have been no changes in his life recently and he has done this on and off for a year.
Page commented on 28-Feb-2012 01:26 PM
I have an almost 5 year old son, that has been peeing for the last couple of weeks. I walked into his room one day to find the floor and the wall was wet, he said it was pee, then I looked in his toy box and it was all wet, also the toys on the floor were
wet. I figured it was water at first because he knows better. Then I noticed the toys on his floor were sprayed with pee. He tried to blame it on the dog, but the way everything was peed on, i knew it wasn't. Then I noticed the bathroom reeked of urine one
day, come to find out he peed on the front of the bathroom cabinet, on the counter, and in my make up bag. He sometimes pees in the toilet, and he poops in the toilet. He has been grounded for a few days now (no tv, no toys). just gets to color and play on
his leap pad. I woke up this morning to find that he had peed all over the hallway floor. I make him clean it up on his own, but he just thinks it's funny. I am completely fed up with this behavior. I just don't know what to do.
Andrea commented on 08-Mar-2012 09:56 PM
My 4 year old is recently doing this as well!! How frustrating. I have been told its a stage and no form on punishment will stop it, they will just outgrow it. I hope he outgrows it soon, his room smells of urine. He has peen on the floor, on toys, on
pillows, in corners and in a ziploc bag and also in a humidifier base!! I told him if he wants to act like a dog I will treat him like a dog and he can stay outside all day... he didnt like that much, but obviously it didnt change anything bc its still happening.
He is very smart not add adhd or anything, he does have a younger sibling but shes going to be 2 and this hasn't been an issue til recently... any advice is welcome again..
Anonymous commented on 26-Mar-2012 02:58 PM
my son is 3 and half he has been weein in buckets and on plastic bags iv always been worried he has autism i also have a dog as iv read from some notes on here i just wonderd if we all had dogs or close to dogs from family could it be copy cat, iv just
drawn a picute for my son showin a happy man weein in a tiolet and a sad man weeing on the floor and stuck it to the back of the toilet he seems happy with it was excited to show me how he uses the tiolet i added a piture of a sad man wearin a nappy asweel
as a riminder that big poeple use a tiolet and are only happy wen doin so after explainin to him about the picture i told him i love him and i was very happy with his demontration lol he seemed very proud of himself and promised he would never do it again
so i hope he is right altho its al apart of teaching our kids right from wrong xx
Mama of 2 commented on 12-Apr-2012 01:30 AM
It's nice to know I am not alone in this situation! My almost 4 year old daughter just started doing this. I'm at wits end with her! She's not just peeing on the floor but pooping as well. I am at a loss for what to do. I know she understands it's not
acceptable behavior as she hides it with clean clothes out of her drawers. I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that she's doing it or the fact that she has TWO entrances into her own "master bath". There's literally a toilet steps away. I would love to think
she's just "waiting too long" but I know when she's waited too long because she'll run around frantically screaming she needs to go to the bathroom. If you ask her why she did it she will just tell you she doesn't know, or it was an accident. I can't stand
those types of answers anymore!!! I've had her talk to my mother and grandma but she gives them the same answers. Nothing has really changed lately. About a few months ago I became a full-time stay at home mommy, and she took about a month off from preschool.
The teacher has no issues with her using the restroom there and since being potty trained at almost 2 she hasn't ever had but a few accidents. She still wears pullups to bed because I cannot get her to use the restroom at night, not even if I wake her up and
take her. She isn't attention deprived, she gets arts & craft time, puzzle time, stories, songs, dance time, prizes if she's good when we go out in public (because she tends to have melt downs). These past few months I've just had enough. I can't control her,
I feel like it's something I am doing wrong and at times I feel like I just need a long break. I've tried taking things away, time outs, make her help clean it, extra chores, yelling, being calm. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
Anonymous commented on 15-Apr-2012 03:13 AM
My only issue is I have a 4 yr old he just turned 4 in march he continues to pee in his bed when I dont wake him up at night I want him to be dependent and use the bathroom on his own what do I do????
Jennifer V commented on 08-May-2012 01:35 PM
I am experiencing the same thing with my 5 yr old boy. He is happy, well adjusted but we found him peeing in a spot in our living room in Dec, punished him and talked through how to corrrect the behaviour. We thought it had stopped until we found a spot
where he is now peeing in his room. Of the 11 itemized 'Answers' to solve this problem, does anyone have any recommendations on which ones worked best for them? Also, can anyone share what was the emotion or reason that caused their son to do this? Our son
is happy, well loved and I find it hard to imagine that his 16month old brother is a reason for this behavior (the behavior started when the baby was 12 mos old- not earlier). Any advice?
Kay commented on 09-May-2012 05:52 PM
I never thought I would find a post about this topic my son has been doing this since he was 3 in a half off and on. he will be 6 in august. It is very frustrating. Lately he peed on most of his sister cloths and some of his. I was digging for a school
shirt all i swelled was urine on almost everything i picked up. I asked him why would he do this? he hunch his shoulder and said I dont know... im I punish? punishment doesnt work. I spend alot of time with him, his dad is working in wyoming this can be a
reason for this behavior. I dont know but i will use some of the suggestions listed above. thanks K-

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