Accidents (Wet Pants)

Do you have a bedwetter?  I have a little four year old who has had trouble mastering the fineries of toilet training.  Not a lot of trouble, but just enough that when I drop him off in a kids class, I am wondering whether he’ll be embarrassed that no other kids in there need spare shorts and underwear in their cubby.

He’s got a couple problems.  One, he still thinks he’s a victim of his pee pee =)  I’m not sure if he realizes that he controls his own muscles, but at least he talks like he’s not sure about that.  “It just came out” he’ll say.  So while he has good bladder control (he only needs to go to the bathroom about six times a day), he sometimes doesn’t make it to the bowl.  He has a lot of those accidents where he’s standing in front of the toilet but the pee pee came before he could aim.

He still also wets the bed.  Not a lot, but about once a week or a couple times a month.  Sometimes he has just some “off” days where he has a couple accidents in a row and then he’ll go two weeks without one.  Having helped a different child of mine through sensory processing disorder, I chalk this up to the brain’s differences each day.  I never realized how much just one day can make things “on” or “off” for a preschooler.  So I understand that to be normal for a still-developing child.

That said, it still is frustrating!  Who likes cleaning carpets and sheets all the time?  Who likes walking into their child’s room with that familiar but pungent smell of urine in the morning?  Worse still, my four year old is embarrassed!  He’s not so self-consciuos as a first grader would be, but he still HATES wetting himself.  Or getting a little bit of stool in his pants.

So here’s some things we’ve adopted that have helped a little bit.

1) Make sure your carseat is water resistant and easy to take off.  (We’ve been using the Graco booster)

2)  Make sure the child’s mattress is waterproofed.  The easiest thing to get is one of those $5 plastic mattress protectors at Walmart.  The plastic is soft enough that the kids don’t mind sleeping over it, and then you can just use a Clorox wipe post-accident.

3)  Keep the child out of socks.  Nothing makes cleaning up accidents worse than urinated socks.  Plus, it ends up making more places on your carpet you have to clean.  (Some people make the same argument for shorts and swear by sweatpants for accident-prone kids.)

4) Keep a sticker chart for awhile.  My little guy was having trouble recognizing if he was going through a problem season or having a good season.  So we kept a chart so he could see if he was doing well or not.

5)  Reward and punish as appropriate.  I don’t believe in punishing accidents as a rule since a lot of training is biological and takes practice.  But since the accidents mainly started a couple months after toilet training was successful, my husband and I now use some kind of positive and negative reinforcement at times.  I give my guy a jelly bean if he wakes up dry or has some kind of small victory like clean underwear for the day, and I take away his special Lightning McQueen blanket if he has an accident overnight (mainly because it’s so puffy that I hate washing it!).   You can use the excuse like “Lightning McQueen HATES getting wet.  He wants to stay away until he knows his paint will stay dry.”  He then has to wake up dry for 14 days in a row to get it back.   If he goes 14 days without a daytime accident, I let him go to a special kids club on Wednesday nights that my older boys go to.  (Mainly because the teachers there aren’t equipped to deal with toileting problems).

6)  Probably doesn’t need to be said but, baths every day.  A new toilet trainer or accident-prone child really ought to have a bath every day until they have a strong record of handling their own bums in private.  Also teach washing hands after EVERY trip to the toilet.  I used to make my boys only wash after a bowel movement (mainly because it seemed like they were always peeing), but I have learned with my third boy that their hands rest everywhere when they go to the toilet… like they hold onto the bowl to balance while they get their pants back on, or the sink.  They might inspect their underwear to see if it’s dry but their might be a small stool mark in there from not wiping all the way, etc etc.  Plus, it’s good practice for being in public when they should wash every time anyway.

Spend a good amount of time teaching good washing habits and you’ll have a lot less worry in your life. (NOTE: it’s perfectly normal for little kids to wash too long, use too much water, too much soap, etc.  Don’t stress it until about a year later.)   Make sure they can wash without your help or it will be too annoying.

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12 thoughts on “Accidents (Wet Pants)

  1. Your little boy sounds like my little boy…except my little boy is my husband, age 24! Okay, he doesn’t wet our bed once a week, but maybe once a month, I’ll awaken to him sprinting to the bathroom, and I reach over and feel a sizeable wet spot where he was sleeping. And there has been the odd daytime accident over the years, like this past Sunday. I thought I noticed him doing a ‘little dance’ in the grocery checkout line, but when I asked him he said he didn’t need to go. But during the 7 or 8 minute drive home, it was clear he had to go – BAD. And as we turned on to our street, I heard a strong hiss coming from his side of the car. What is his response when I ask what happened? “It just came out!” LOL! And he doesn’t sit in a waterproof car seat. Argh! I don’t think boys are ever potty trained!

  2. Lisa – my 27 year old husband too! He has wet our bed a few times, but usually what happens is he’ll wake up and start doing the potty dance laying down and he’ll have to get up and sprint to the bathroom. This happens about once a week. Sometimes, I hear him get down the stairs, then turn around and start walking up the staris, as he was already done. Sometimes I’ll hear the toilet lid clank open as he desperately tries to get SOME of it in the potty. But no matter whether he gets a little in the potty or none of it, as he enters our room, his jammies are soaked and he tells me that he had an accident. On these days, I know he is more apt to wet himself again in the day. 2 out of 3 times probably, he doesn’t wet himself again. But 1 of 3 (so about once a month) it is like a vicious cycle. He ends up peeing his pants again that morning. Then his bladder is even more tired out. It happens again, and again, and again all day. Then he is sure to wet the bed without waking up that night, so he knows he has to wear a diaper to bed on those nights. The good thing is, in using the diaper at night, his mind I think just lets him just go a few times in the diaper, and he wakes up with complete (well, as complete as he gets) control. Yesterday was one of these days where he came back to the bedroom with wet jammies, and then proceeded to pee his pants as we were checking out at Home Depot a couple hours later; he was SO embarrassed, and our 6 year old daughter asked him if he waited too long! We quickly walked out, I don’t think anyone saw. We had a few other things to do, so I went into Walmart and got him some pajama pants he could wear for the rest of the shopping; smartly, I got a 3-pack. As we ate lunch at McDonald’s, he was coloring with our daughter and got too excited and wet his pants again. We changed his pants again (our daughter didn’t know this time, and she wet her pants at the table too – had to change her too! Only had one pair of spare pants for her; I still carry an emergency stash of Pampers Cruiser diapers for her, so I changed her into one of these. Hadn’t diapered her since she was not even 3, so she was crying a bit). Then as we drove home with the Christmas tree, we were in bumper to bumper traffic and he started to squirm and lost the battle very quickly. Again, our daughter didn’t know, but she had her own accident in her diaper. Then about 30 min later, I smelled a telltale smell and asked her daughter if she had pooped her pants. She nodded her head yes. I had changed her into one of the emergency diapers in our car after she had wet herself at McDonalds, so I went back in the minivan and changed her real quick. She’s been potty trained since 18 months and she’s really only a week away from turning 7, so having to change her poopy diaper wasn’t something I was expecting to have to do today! Haven’t had to change a poopy diaper since she was 2. Anyway, I get back up front, and the smell gets worse! My hubby was very nervous, so I put two and two together. I asked if he had a poopy accident too, loud enough for my daughter to hear. He said no, but I unbucked his seat belt and checked his pants, and sure enough, he was poopy. I kissed his forehead and told him it’s okay. He said he’d had to go since morning, but was trying to make it home. I told him that’s not okay, but I understood. Kids (and husbands!) :)

  3. Okay, so a follow up not so much about my hubby but about my now 7 year old daughter. In the last 3 weeks, I have had to basically keep her in Pampers Cruisers most of the time. She wet herself at school 3 days in a row before I started to diaper her at home before she went to school. She’s only in first grade, so diapers aren’t completely out of the picture (especially with the boys) but she is having ALOT of accidents. Watching Dora the other day, I walked in and she was poopy, it had clearly happened at least half an hour before I discovered it. I think I have a baby again??

  4. I am almost 55 and I stilll wet my panties at least two to three times a day. It feels warm on my ass. Once i a while I will poopy if I have tried to hold it too long. I am wetting my panties as I am writing this comment. Sometimes I feel like I have never grown out of my childhoold. I wetted my panties when I was in elementary school, high school, and in college. I am grateful for disposable diapers.

    From, Wet My Panties

  5. i am 55 and still have bedwetting and pants wetting problems, so i have to wear thick cloth diapers and plastic pants. and being overweight and very shy with women has made life lonely, i guess what i am saying is dont let bedwetting stop you from living your life , i just learned that after way to many years.

  6. I am 49 and wet my pants sometimes when I am out at stores . I try to hold it because I am busy then I wait to long and cant stop it. I have had to walk out of walmart or target with a cart full of stuff with wet jeans. Its very embarrising I dont have a medical condition I just wait to long and when I start wetting my pants I cant stop.

  7. I have a 9 year old daughter who has accidents quite frequently.I keep both cloth diapers and disposable diapers and rubberpants in her drawer and i have her wear them when i think she might have an accident.she made her first communion this past may and i put one of the cloth diapers and rubberpants on her when i dressed her in her communion outfit.she wet in the diaper during the ceremony and i had to change her right afterwards.

  8. Since this topic is supposed to be about young children’s “accidents”, I will share my perspective of what I remember from many years ago. Maybe it will help in understanding what children do. There was night time wetting (that I will get to shortly), but I only remember “wetting my pants” twice. Both times were probably when I was around 4 and I don’t remember the order in which they happened.

    One event was probably pretty typical of a lot of kid’s accidents. We went visiting on a Sunday afternoon. I needed to go when we first got there, but was too shy to ask where the bathroom was. I went outside playing with the boys who lived there (all several years older than me). I had forgotten about needing to use the bathroom until I felt something, looked down and realized that I was wetting my pants. I guess the embarrassment of the other boys watching me doing it kept me from fully emptying my bladder, as it really only soaked my crotch area and I had to go again by the time we left. I just kept playing outside until it was time to go. My obvious wetness had pretty well dried and I never told my mother about it. She probably smelled my laundry and knew something had happened, but didn’t say anything about it.

    The other time was one of those things that I’m sure exasperated my parents as I left a big puddle right beside the toilet. I was old enough to brush my teeth by myself for bedtime. One time I had to pee really bad, but wanted to brush my teeth first. About the time I finished brushing, I guess I lost concentration on holding it and my bladder let go full force. It immediately started spreading through my pants so I just let it all go, completely soaking my jeans standing next to the toilet.

    Some of my earliest memories are of wetting at night. I was no older than 3, perhaps even a little younger than that. While I don’t remember getting put in a diaper, I’m sure I had one on at that point, as I seemed to wet regularly at night (sometimes more than once per night). I am sure that I sometimes wet in my sleep, as I often woke up with the same feeling around my crotch that I had after I wet while awake, but never felt with my hand to confirm it. Sometimes I would wake up with an urge to go, but never got up for the bathroom and within a minute or two I would wet. Other times I would wake up and without any urge whatsoever would start peeing. Being wet during that period of time didn’t bother me. Once (after wetting perhaps twice earlier in the night) I woke up in the middle of peeing and just went back to sleep.

    I don’t remember any other bed wetting until a few months before I turned 5. One morning I had to pee very badly, but didn’t want to get out of bed. I kept laying there as my bladder became more and more excruciating. Finally, I must have relaxed a little bit and lost it. It felt so good to get some relief that I laid there and emptied my bladder in bed. After I finished, I took off my soggy pajama bottoms and went to my mother who was at the breakfast table. I guess the sensation of getting relief was so enticing that I let the same thing happen a few weeks later. When I walked up to my mother with no pajama bottoms on, she asked me “did you wet?” I nodded my head, and that was the last accident I had.

  9. im 27 and have struggled with wetting (very seldom pooping) my pants all my life. i remember getting beat with a belt or switch almost daily because of my accidents. i honestly think my parents hated me becuz of my problem. i remember my mother throwing a hairdryer at me and screaming, “are you ever going to fu–ng potty train?!” when i was in tenth grade and had been sent home yet again after not making it to the toilet in time. i dont really understand it, but i struggle with timing. i often dont realize i have to pee real bad until im starting to go in my pants. i also have a bad habit of holding, not wanting to stop what im doing to go pee. when i finally know i cant wait anymore, i run to the bathroom as fast as i can but im usually soaked before i can get there. i try to finish in the potty, but i seldom have more than a few drips to put in the toilet. i was so embarrassed at holiday gas station yesterday. i almost drove past but i suddenly realized i wouldnt make it home dry. i pulled in and jumped out. i was doing the potty dance something awful and my panties were wet with pee dribbles. i clamped my hand on my crotch, trying to get inside to the toilet. but id waited way too long. i waddled into the gas station, peeing down my legs and about ten feet from the bathroom door, i completely lost it! i half squatted and my pee drenched my pants, socks and shoes and was running all over the floor. it was awful but im very used to it. i seem to not make it to the toilet more often then i make it. even when i do make it, i seldom get there without at least a partial accident. i cant afford diapers for every day but i wear Attends pullups at night. my pullup is soaked and swollen most mornings because i just dont usually wake up when i have to go pee, but whats even more frustrating is on the occasions i wake up with a dry pullup, i have to go pee so badthat i end up soaking my pullup on the way to the bathroom. i know i should wear the pullups every day, i just cant afford to and i am trying to stay dry more.

  10. hi,i am in my early 30s and female.when i was growing up,i was quite prone to having accidents and was put into a diaper and rubberpants frequently when there was a chance i would wet.it was every easter and christmas due to the excitement and i was a flower girl in 2 weddings when i was 11 and 13 and wore the diaper and rubberpants under my flower girl dresses.when i was confirmed at 14 in 8th grade i had to wear a white poofy dress and veil and my mom gave me a break and put cotton training pants on me with the rubberpants over them.after my confirmation,i went back to the cloth diaper.i was past 16 when i finially stopped having accidents.

  11. Lisa – My 29 year husband also has the odd daytime accident… It maybe happens 5 times a year where he doesn’t make it to the bathroom on time. I used to think he did it for attention, but there’s no way anyone would wet themselves in front of friends or family. I know he hates it when I remind him to use the bathroom, but it’s well worth it. I just feel so bad for him when it does happen. I try to be prepared and pack an extra set of pants for him when we travel. Frankly, I just keep a pair of underwear and pants in the car just in case he does have an accident. The last time he had an accident was at a friends barbecue. I’m sure he was holding it for quite some time and when he finally decided he better go it was too late. It was horrible! I know he was really embarrassed, but I can’t even describe how I felt when I looked up to see my husband in wet pants. I don’t even think he tried to make it as it looked like he was still sitting down. I instructed him to go to the bathroom while I retrieved his spare clothes in the car. I wish I would have been sitting near him as I would have noticed him doing a potty dance, but I was on the other side of the yard. While he was changing I tried to convince everyone that he hadn’t been feeling well… They may have believed it if he wouldn’t have came back outside and acted like nothing happened… I swear sometimes I don’t think he was ever potty trained!!!

    I asked him on the way home why he had an accident and he said that he thought he didn’t have to go that bad. He said that he when he tried to get up to find the bathroom it was too late and so he sat there trying to hold it and the peed in his pants. I reminded him that he has to make the point to visit the bathroom the first time he thinks he needs to go!

    I know it doesn’t happen very often, but it’s kind of stresses me out. Especially when we go on trips because I know his normal schedule is interrupted. I don’t mind playing the bathroom game with the little ones, but I shouldn’t have to be playing it with my husband. Let alone dealing with his wet pants. I guess it’s not that big of deal, but it generally happens at the worst times.

    I suspect he has been like this all of his life. I’ve tried to talk to him about it, but he’s not very open on the subject. I want to help him, but they subject just kind of fades away until he has another accident a month or two later.

  12. Val – I wouldn’t be too upset with him. My husband is the same way but definitely has more accidents – at least a couple per month. The accidents almost always happen when we’re out and about and he simply forgets to go potty before it’s too late. I wouldn’t be mad at a 5 year old for having an accident; even though my husband is 29 his bathroom habits aren’t any better than a 5 year old. So I really don’t feel I can get mad at him.

    Simply ask him what happened and try to figure out how he can do better next time. And then help him change his pants and move on. One thing I have done to help is for events/outings that I know will be tough on him is to have him wear an adult pullup diaper. He resisted the first couple times but after they saved some wet pants he has relented to wearing them when I ask. Just a thought.

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