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Potty trained and having accidents

potty trained and having accidents

My daughter was potty trained last July when she turned 2 and within two weeks she was fully potty trained. In December she also came off pull-ups at night because she was waking up dry every morning. She always asked to go to the toilet with plenty of time to go and had recently started going by herself.

I am a teacher and she started attending my nursery three weeks ago and since then she first started wetting herself and now started doing poos in pants as well. She is thriving in the nursery environment, I see her often throughout the day (she doesn't always see me) and she seems very happy. The main changes to her previous childcare arrangement is that she is not able to nap during schools hours (8-4pm) but she naps on the way home and her days are more structured but as I said she seems very happy and has always been a very independent  child. At first I thought she was too busy playing to ask to go to the toilet but she started having accidents at home too.
I'm at a loss on what to do, do you have any advice on how to approach this situation? I don't know if I would be making things worse by telling her off ( as she knows what she needs to do) or if I simply wait for this phase to pass but then I worry she may get the wrong message that it's okay to carry on peeing and pooing in her pants?
Any advice would be much appreciated.

I agree with you that the root cause of her accidents is likely behavioral. If she is only having urine accidents, you need to worry about a urinary tract infection (more on UTI's in children), constipation or rarely diabetes. Some children can be so stressed about starting nursery school that they have accidents. While this is possible, I also doubt she is too traumatized since you work at the school.

The most likely cause of her accidents is a lack of priorities - meaning she is having too much fun to take the time to go potty. We see this behavior frequently. I’d recommend you try frequent potty breaks - whether she “needs” to go or not. You can’t force her to go, but you can strongly encourage her to “sit and try”. Most nursery’s have established times where the children are asked to go potty. If your school has some - she needs more frequent visits. Establish set times where she must go every 2 or 3 hours - like on arrival to school, snack time, before outdoor playtime, etc. If she is not improving, take her to her doctor.

When dealing with accidents, stay composed but it’s OK to let her know you are disappointed. Even though your upset, I wouldn’t “tell her off”. We spend a lot of time talking about “little girls” and “big girls”. Our two-year-olds want to be “big kids”. “Big Girls” wear panties and stay dry all day. “Little Girls” wear diapers and have accidents. When she has an accident try the phrase, “you need to stop acting like a little girl”. When she sees or talks about other children ask if they are “little girls” or “big girls”. Given time she will again stay dry.


Written 2014 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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