Daytime Accidents

You thought that you and your child already passed the stage of toilet training. You child has been dry 24/7 for months now and has learned to consistently let you know when he needs to go to the bathroom. You have already happily excluded diapers from your weekly grocery list. It’s frustrating then to find out that your child has had an “accident.”

Dealing with daytime accidents, purchase when a child already finished the toilet training process, can make a parent feel like a failure. However, parents need to realize that accidents are a normal part of the extended toilet training process and occur long after earlier stages of toilet training have been completed. In other words, toilet training is a longer term process than most parents realize. A period of consistent dryness is routinely followed by periods of frequent “accidents.” Accidents often happen simply because the child is distracted with other things. Patience and consistency are what’s required from parents at this point, so that the lessons learned during earlier toilet training can be reinforced.

The following are some tips for parents dealing with daytime accidents:

Gently Remind Your Child About the Need to Go to the Bathroom
When you notice that your child is “dancing” or squirming, ask him or her to take a timeout to the bathroom. If your child’s underwear is already wet, or you’ve seen the puddle on the floor, gently accompany your child to the toilet. Your child may already be done urinating, but the visit can be a helpful reminder that no time will be saved by not going to the bathroom; the child must go anyway. This helps the child to realize that time is actually SAVED by going to the bathroom before urinating since there will not need to be washing up and changing clothes.

Don’t Get Mad
As with all the stages of toilet training, don’t get upset at your child for the accident. Don’t punish him or her for it either. Urination is a natural body process and sometimes difficult for a child to control. You don’t want to embarrass or shame a child for something he or she can’t help.

Establish Regular Bathroom Habits
Daytime accidents can be prevented by having regular bathroom habits. Invite your child to go to the toilet immediately after waking, around two hours after breakfast and two hours after lunch. They don’t have to go if they don’t need to, of course, but making it a part of the day can help them keep their toilet training in mind until they do it automatically.

Watch Out for Signs That They are Trying to Hold it in
Kids often hold in their urine when they are distracted, e.g. they are watching a good show on TV and they don’t want to miss anything. Watch your child for signs that they might be holding it in. These signs can include fidgeting or crossing legs. When you see the signs, remind them that they need to go to the toilet. Holding urine in is not healthy.

Consider Underlying Medical Conditions
If your child’s daytime accidents persist for weeks despite your interventions, consider consulting your pediatrician. There are many conditions that can cause frequent daytime accidents, including diabetes and urinary tract infections. Pharmaceutical interventions are also available to relax the bladder.

Be Patient During Transitions
Your child may already have mastered toilet training, but current stress in their life can cause the lesson to be temporarily forgotten. If they are undergoing stressful transitions, e.g. a move to a new house, then just be patient. The day time accidents can be merely an emotional reaction, and will go away once the child feels more secure.

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