This is the nightmare scenario where you have tried everything to encourage your child to go to the toilet but instead they wee in their clothes and don’t mind this in the least!
There may be a couple of reasons for this happening. It could be that they don’t recognise the signs that they have a full bladder and that it’s time to go to the toilet or it may be that they can’t be bothered to stop play and genuinely don’t mind feeling wet.
There are a few things you can try to help break the habit. Before you do, it’s worth checking that they are not constipated. Check they are passing frequent and soft poos. Weeing accidents can be associated with constipation as sometimes the poo presses down on the bladder.
Keep well hydrated
Sometimes it feels counterintuitive to increase fluid intake when you are constantly clearing up accidents, but having a full bladder can help strengthen it, and can also help the child recognise the sensation of needing a wee.
Don’t keep asking them if they need a wee
It can be so easy to get into the habit of constantly checking to see if your child needs a wee. 9 times out of 10 the automatic answer is ‘no’ and when you then witness an accident 2 minutes after asking it can feel like you are in a battle of wills – with you firmly on the losing side! Children need to learn to listen to their body in order to be potty trained, therefore in the long run it’s better to try to let them learn this on their own.
Introduce toilet time
An alternative to the questioning is to introduce a set toilet time. This becomes part of the daily routine and is best about 20 minutes after a drink and 30 minutes after a meal. If you start to notice a pattern of accidents at a certain time you can introduce toilet time then too.
Make the clean up more of an inconvenience than going to the toilet
For those children that find stopping playing an inconvenience it can be a good idea to make the clean up of accidents even more of a disruption. Always take them to the bathroom to change them and get them involved in changing clothes and cleaning themselves. It’s also worth getting them to sit on the potty or toilet as part of this as they may not have fully emptied their bladder.
Dry Like Me pads can speed up learning
Dry Like Me pads can help to speed up the connection between bladder and bowel and reduce accidents. They fit inside children’s own pants and when an accident happens they initially feel wet and bulk up to send a clear signal that the child has done a wee. They don’t hold a full wee, as that would make them a nappy, but they do capture small accidents and reduce the mess of the larger ones.