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5 year old having accidents

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Asking for my friend: her almost 5 years old son is having pee accidents. It is not a health issue or constipation. He has no accidents during nights and no poop accidents. He has been ok to go to the toilet on his own with no help since he was 2.5. But when he is playing and he likes it, he gets completely absorbed in his play and he chooses not to go to the toilet and he pees in his underwear. 

He knows that it is not ok and also he does not want anyone to see it, so he hides it and doesn't tell anyone. Therefore, he stays in wet clothes until it gets dry again at school. He said that he was sometimes very cold because of the accidents but he just could not go to the toilet because he was busy/doing something what was important to him/playing etc. The last couple months he has more than 1 accident every day. He sees diapers as a punishment. 



It sounds like he gets very absorbed in what he is doing, and doesn't have the self-discipline to make himself stop and go to the bathroom. So he needs support to go to the bathroom on a regular basis. If these accidents happen at home, his parents can give him that support, by setting up a schedule with him. 

He can even be in charge of the schedule himself, and use a little wristwatch with a timer or alarm, so he can get himself to the bathroom without feeling like his parents are ordering him around. But of course they will need to make the agreement with him that when the alarm goes off, he needs to go, and they will help him to do so. Then, once he masters this issue at home, he can transfer that learning to school. I also think that at school he will be more motivated, because he doesn't want his peers to see his wet clothes. 

Dr. Laura

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