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Toddler having potty accidents all of a sudden

He's been toilet trained since he was 2 and wearing underwear and making it through naps and night times without pee accidents.

My question is,  just in the last 3 or 4 days, he's been wetting the bed at night. when he pees in his bed, i just bring him in my bed so his bed can dry (once i take all the sheets off)

Also three times this weekend, he's peed on the bathroom floor!
He was doing amazing at going into the washroom, taking his pants off and going pee on the toilet (moving his step stool over so he could reach)and going pee, flushing, getting dressed - all himself.

oh ya , once this weekend he went into the washroom and sat on his potty and went pee (sometimes he pees on his potty, sometimes he chooses to go on the big toilet). he took his pants off and peed on his potty -BUT DIDN'T PUT THE LID UP AND PEED ON THE POTTY LID!

i don't know why this is all happening and i cried today from being so overwhelmed!  i'm so frustrated that he could go from doing it all himself and so well to doing this.

any suggestions? -- Becca

(fyi - it is just him and me at home - always has been)

Becca,
I doubt your son is wetting his bed so that he can sleep in yours, just because he then also pees in yours. But I also don't think you should be moving him into your room once he wets his bed or you could easily train him to wet his bed. Maybe you could instead let him sleep on a sleeping bag on a rug (maybe with a plastic sheet between the sleeping bag and the rug) in his own room?

The more important question, of course, is what is going on with him to cause this regression. After being completely trained, in the past four days he is wetting both your beds, peeing on the bathroom floor, and even peeing on the potty lid! I can see why you feel like crying, since you know he is capable of not having accidents. Has he had any upsetting incidents in his life recently? Is he in a daycare situation where something could have happened that you're not aware of? Is he angry about something? Did you start seeing someone? Adopt a new discipline strategy? Switch babysitters? It is also possible that he is getting sick, which often causes kids to regress.

Please don't respond harshly to your son in response to this. He is not peeing all over just to be ornery.Something clearly is not right inside him, and he is reacting to that.Just stay calm and say "Oops, you had an accident. Let's clean this up together. Here's a towel for you to clean the floor." Some patience, having him help clean up, and some detective work on what could be upsetting him should get him back to normal. I promise that a child who mastered potty training so early is not likely to have accidents for long.

Dr. Laura

Dear Dr. Laura,

I have decided not to move him into my room when he does pee his bed- He has a body pillow in his room as well, maybe I'll just move him on there while I clean his bed.

Has he had any upsetting incidents in his life recently? No - things are the same at home

Is he in a daycare situation where something could have happened that you're not aware of?  
He is in daycare (has been since sept, he is going to be moving up to the preschool room after the christmas holidays - and he knows that. His little "girlfriend" he was attached to has moved into the preschool room a month or so ago. Kalan was pretty sad at first about that. (the preschool 'room' is the room beside his - it's an open concept daycare) He knows and understands that he'll be moving in the same room with Ava after Christmas.
During the same time he was peeing at home he was also pooping during nap at daycare - for the first time ever,

Because he seemed 'back to his usual self after about a week, I didn't think anything of these big changes - but now that I think of it, I suppose these are pretty huge changes in his world.

Is he angry about something? not that he's ever told me - and I don't think so

Did you start seeing someone? No i'm not seeing anyone

Adopt a new discipline strategy?   Sadly - yes, I've been finding it really hard in the patience category these past few weeks - not sure what came first - the behaviour of the lack of patience (he's also gone from no behaviour problems AT ALL, to testing me a lot, pushing the envelope, ignoring me at time, and not listening) - mind you this isn't all the time - but it's been a huge switch in his behaviour. I know this is all probably supposed to happen at his age, but I'm finding it hard to keep calm all the time (like i used to) - and so because I'm not always as calm and "even" as I was, I'm actually yelling at him at times (and beat myself up for it for along time to come after that)
I was so upset and overwhelmed yesterday that I called a good friend of mine who came over right away to sit with kalan (and play with him) so I could have some "me" time and regroup.

Switch babysitters? No - it's always been my mom

It is also possible that he is getting sick, which often causes kids to regress.  Yes actually he does have a cold - and although it's just "coming out now with the stuffy nose etc", I assume it's been "brewing" for a few weeks (which would fall into the same time frame as the peeing incidents)

Please don't respond harshly to your son in response to this. He is not peeing all over just to be ornery. Something clearly is not right inside him, and he is reacting to that. Just stay calm and say "Oops, you had an accident. Let's clean this up together. Here's a towel for you to clean the floor." Some patience, having him help clean up, and some detective work on what could be upsetting him should get him back to normal. I promise that a child who mastered potty training so early is not likely to have accidents for long.

Thank you for saying this - I have to admit, I haven't been responding at all like I would want to - cuz I just didn't know what else to do - this has all been so many changes...it's the some patience part i need help with at times (and this is very out of character for me - I try to be so very very patient with him)
He does like to clean up so that's a good idea.

thank you so much for your advice -Becca

Dear Becca,

Sounds to me like your little guy has a whole lot to deal with. He lost his best friend into the other class. He knows he will move there too, which makes him anxious because it is a big change, and doesn't really help the fact that he is missing her terribly now. The fact that he is pooping during nap at daycare confirms that there is something upsetting him at daycare.

These things may not be a big deal to us but they are to a two year old. He is really still a baby in many ways, although we do push our kids and expect a lot of them in this culture. Kids need our support at home to feel secure as they deal with these developmental challenges.

Which brings us to your challenge in handling his new behavior. It is completely age appropriate for him to be a handful right now. That is hard for a single mom. So far you have done great by yourself, and you can continue to do great. But you do need to make sure you have support and time to yourself. Telling yourself to be more patient is good but not enough in itself. You have to actually feel good inside in order to actually be lovingly patient with your child. I sense from your letter that your own internal cup is not full. Without that internal fullness, our love doesn't overflow into our kids' cups. And the only way to fill our internal cups is to love ourselves. In fact, until we learn to do that it is difficult to really take in love from others, or even to attract it into our lives.

So of course I am reminding you here that your son is being an appropriate two year old and your job is to remain lovingly patient, turn things into games, and not yell at him. But I am also asking you to shower yourself with love and forgiveness. In whatever ways you are down on yourself, let yourself off the hook. You aren't perfect, you're human like the rest of us. You'll be a better mother if you embrace yourself with total love, as well as embracing your son.

You may want to sign up for my Daily Parenting Inspiration Newsletter to support you in this. We all need reminders to stay on track so we can give our kids the best of ourselves!

And, yes, bottom line is that yelling at a two year old can make them regress and pee all over. When we yell, they get mad back but they feel so guilty about it. They can't even admit it but it comes out anyway and they pee all over and then they feel worse. The more gentle you can be with your little guy right now, the more quickly he will be back to his cooperative, toilet trained self. (And it occurs to me that you might want to read the section on this website on Toddlers as well, for some positive ideas on managing his budding assertiveness so you can enjoy him!)

Single parenting is the work of the angels. And any time you need their help, just ask. You'll find you have inner and outer resources you didn't even realize you had.

Blessings to you and your son.
Dr. Laura

Dr. Laura,

Thank you again for your advice

The part of me that isn't full - is for the most part - that I've been really down on myself for not being the 100% patient mom I expect myself to be. I was always so very patient with him - regardless of what he was doing. I realize I'm going through some things as well - I don't like my job this year (I work in education and am in a new job for this year, and look forward to changing it next year) but I've been struggling with that. I've been starting to get a handle on some other big things in my life (a past relationship that I was allowing to keep my emotionally all tied up in some pretty significant feelings regarding that relationship), and I've started to take better care of myself and am starting to lose weight and feeling more healthy

So I do feel like "I" am on the right track now - feeling more fulfilled in those ways - but knowing that I've been going through some emotional times it's been hard to find that balance for me when it comes to muddling through those emotions and dealing with kalan's new behaviours. (the feelings i was going through really kinda of all came to head in the last few weeks - right around the time of my parenting changes - up till then I'd been handling things, or so i thought, emotionally - but maybe they needed to come to a head so i could move past them)

However, I'm happy to say that since I wrote to you (which I found therapeutic in it's own right - and i know i didn't spell that right lol), I've made some huge changes -

I feel much more centered already in having made the decision to bemore calm and get back to the way I was before - it hasn't been a steady stream of this behaviour for me or for kalan - we go from laughing till we cry and then I over react to something he does -knowing full well, this is where he should be in his development. I know that I sometimes expect too much from him - he's such a smart boy and cognitively understands and process so much more than i would have thought he should be able to do at this age - that I sometimes forget that he's only 2 (not even 2 1/2 yet) - and so i'm always trying to remind myself of his age and remind myself that he's doing what he should be doing.

Since writing to you I've began to look at things differently - and I don't feel that anxiety rising in my chest when he pees or does things I've asked him not to do. now I feel more centered and calm about things - it really does feel wonderful - cuz i feel like the mother I was before this last month.

I didn't, at first, realize he ended up coming in my bed last night - i realized as he was climbing in my bed, but i was so darn tired I just helped him up so he would settle back down to we could get back to sleep, but he woke up this morning at his usual 5am asking for a nurse, which i give him like a little "snack" nurse at that time in the morning and then he goes back to bed (we both do) for a bit longer. He gets his full nursing when he's up at 6 30.

Anyway when I went in to wake him up at 7, I just layed beside him, and knew right away that he'd peed the bed (he was dry when he woke up at 5though, and he always gets that nurse, but i think it was the small glass of water I gave him at that time)...anyway I didn't feel myself react at all! it was great. we just layed there and cuddled and he said "mom, your bed is wet..." and i just said "I know love" and he said "I help you clean up" (my heart melted!)

a lot of things come into play here too -I feel a lot like I'm rushing around (specially in the mornings) which adds to the "hurry up"syndrome lol - and i know that when i allow more time for him to get ready in the mornings (for both of us) we have such easier and fun mornings -

I just have to also manage our time better I think.

Anyway I wanted to let you know that I feel 100% different since writing to you -
(and I haven't yelled at him once since then! God i hated that!!! So I'm very happy that I'm feeling calmer and am not getting upset with him) Cuz I know that those times of getting upset, really had nothing to do with him - it was me -how i was seeing things, interpreting things, expecting things to be, etc etc....

Things at this point - are back to normal - and we have all good times and fun and laughter and I love it!! I'm not saying it will always be like this - but at least I've made some pretty big changes that makes me feel more in control of my reactions and the way I view things.

Kalan is SUCH an amazing little boy and I am beyond blessed to have him in my life - he's such a happy go lucky, loving, considerate, goofy, fun loving little boy - and I always try to honour his journey. I feel horrible that I haven't been doing this these last few weeks - but I can get back to it now - and it feels great to be there again He's everything to me - and he knows that I love him more than everything.

I am the best mother I can be - and that was a rough few weeks, but nowi feel much more "normal" and in control of my emotions - so far so good

thanks again!
becca

Becca,
What a beautiful letter! Thank you so much for writing it.

We can't be perfect parents, any of us. But when we listen to our hearts, as you did when you felt uncomfortable yelling at Kalan, and we are willing to change ourselves, we are the best parents we can be. And, remarkably, our kids change in response to the more compassionate way we treat them.

I love your story about just saying "Yes, I know, Love" -- it made my heart melt too. And you are so right that rushing around is always a disservice to our kids and ourselves.

I think you hit the nail on the head: When we have a hard time as parents, it is only 10% our kids' actual behavior. 90% is not even about them, it's about how we're seeing things, interpreting things,expecting things to be....Thanks for your words of wisdom!

Dr. Laura

Dr.-

I cant' believe the difference in how i feel And of course (like i knew would happen), kalan's behaviour has changed completely ~because I changed ~

and no need to thank me for writing what i did - i feel amazing and feel connected again to Kalan, like I did before those overwhelming few weeks. It feels great ~ and I know that reaching out to ask you for help has made a big difference. so thank you

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Artan commented on 19-Oct-2011 03:36 PM
My daughter is 3 years old. She has been wonderful regarding the toilet. However, all of a sudden a week ago she started wetting her bed! Today, she also wet herself while playing in kindergarten! We have tried cutting out drinks before going to bed but
this proved unsuccessful. Please help? Dad in need
Andrea commented on 22-Oct-2011 05:17 PM
This article changed me as a mother. I realized what I needed to do to help my son and myself through the stressful period we were having in our lives. Thank you for these letters.
Amy commented on 16-Nov-2011 10:12 PM
If it keeps up I highly recommend seeing a chiropractor. No really. Any fall could have caused a subluxation of the spine that could easily explain this behavior also. I've witnessed many "bedwetters" with various other behavioral issues have a life changing
adjustment. If a subluxation is there it can interfere with the communications between brain & body since the spine houses every nerve & signal.

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