“Help! My 4-year-old little girl has been well potty trained when she turned three. And she has not had an accident until several months ago. But now she starts to wet her pant every day. She may pour out all her fluids, while sometimes she just wet her underwear. I’ve taken her to visit the doctor, I try to ignore that, I try to make her wear a pull up until the bath time if she has an accident… but nothing works! What can I do?”
Such a bothering issue that 4 year old wetting pants can be quite familiar to many moms. Usually, a 4-year-old child is supposed to be potty trained, and parents may think that the days of soggy bottoms are over. Think again! Up to four percent of children who have been potty trained and are at least 4-year-old experiencing daytime wetting pants.
In most cases, such incidents will happen only occasionally. But sometimes they persist – if your child has daytime wetting pants that last for more than two days or happen along with other symptoms, it’s time to visit the doctor to figure out what is going on.
Why Do Potty Trained Children Wet Pants?
A child is considered potty trained when they haven’t had an accident for two months. If you have a 4 year old wetting pants, or your child has an accident after that, there is usually a very clear reason as to why it happened. Here are some of the factors that might lead to a potty trained child wetting pants:
1. Physical Factors
A child who suddenly starts wetting pants after they have been trained might have a physical reason for doing so, such as a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or gastrointestinal issues, like constipation. Urinary tract infections and constipation can put pressure on the bladder, which a child might not be able to handle yet. Diabetes often presents with frequent urination as one of the first signs, as well as extreme thirst. That is to say that your child is drinking much more and needs to go to the bathroom often, and they might not be able to make it in time.
2. Emotional Factors
Children who are stressed, distracted, frustrated or dealing with any other emotional issues could start wetting their pants. Why? Learning to use the potty is actually a pretty complicated process. The brain has to process the signal of needing to urinate, and then the child has to learn how to hold it for a few minutes. If they are focused on something else, they might not be able to complete that complicated cycle in time.
3. Bladder Problems
When a child has an immature bladder, it means that the brain and bladder muscles haven’t yet been capable of working together. When the bladder is overactive, the bladder muscles sometimes contract quickly and strongly, leading to a serious urge to urinate, and the child might not be able to hold it to the bathroom in time. These problems can be diagnosed by your child’s doctor.
What Can You Do to Help Your Child?
It can be frustrating when your child or 4 year old wetting pants after your child have been trained. It seems like the tough part is over, but then the accidents start! You may wonder what you can do to help your child. Below are some tips you can take:
- Keep Calm and Be Considerate
The important thing to remember is to stay calm and be kind with your child. The calmer you are with your child, the more likely they will overcome the pants wetting faster. And remember that it might not be his or her fault, so they might be worried that you will be upset with the problem – but there is nothing they can do about it. Make it clear that you understand what they experience and feel.
- Have a Talk with Your Child
If your 4 year old wettting pants, you can have a talk with your child about why they weren’t able to make it to the bathroom in time. They might have a great answer, or they might have no idea what is going on. Also you can try to make the potty more pleasant, such as keeping it in a convenient location and keeping toys or books nearby for the child to play with while they using. Never react negatively to accidents; instead, simply clean your child up and go about your day as usual.
- Reuse the Training Pants
Sometimes the accidents can be frequent, and you might choose to return to training pants. Make sure this is a temporary solution, but consider it when your child is stressed or dealing with a medical issue. Sometimes a step back from potty training means the child will be much more ready for it when you try again.
More Experience from Other Mothers
Curious about how other parents handled the problem with their potty-training kids? Here are a few examples of how parents handled the issue well.
Case 1: Emotional upheavals
“My son was potty-trained when he was two, which was earlier than I had been told to expect it, so I was understandably quite proud! But suddenly he started wetting his pants again, all the time, over and over. I didn’t understand why this was happening, but when I took him to the doctor, I mentioned that I was expecting another child. ‘Does he know?’ the doctor asked, and that is when it struck me: My son wanted attention. He was worried about the coming of the new baby. Sure enough, when he went away with my parents for a week on vacation, he used the potty every single time with no accidents at all. I guess he was just concerned about the upheaval that he felt was coming.”
Case 2: Not well-prepared
“My daughter was doing a great job with training on the potty, but then she started wetting her pants. It happened at night at first, and then it started during the day. I went to the doctor, thinking she had an infection or something wrong. But the doctor told me it was simply too early for her. She had just turned three, and her mind wasn’t attuned to her body just yet. He told me to be patient and wait another few months before trying again. When we did try again, she took to the potty with no problems at all, and she has only had one accident in the past year. So be patient!”
Case 3: Just happens
“My situation was a little different, because my daughter was almost five and had been trained for over a year when she started having accidents. She would wake up at night and her bed was absolutely soaked. I tried making sure she didn’t drink too much before bedtime, and she went to the bathroom right before bed. The problem lasted for a few months and then went away – we were never sure what caused it to happen.”