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Children's Health

Wetting Himself



i have a 4 year old son who has just sarted wetting himself in public he knows he needs the toliet but just stands and wets his self he even wets the bed at least 3 times a night im just changing him puting him back to bed then he will do it again i take him in town and he will say mum i need a pee and we will go but he just stands there a does it im so stressed out with it all i dont know what to do have you got any tips or help for me thanks


It sounds like a very stressful situation for you and for your son! Let me say first of all, that you and he are not at all alone in having this problem. It is quite common among 4-year-old boys and 95% of the time it is not caused by a true medical problem such as a bladder infection. What is a bit different with your son is that he also wets himself at night, which most will not do with daytime wetness problems after having been toilet trained.

The best thing to do is to seek a medical evaluation if you have not done so already. If you have had his urine tested and he has had a normal physical exam, then it is likely an issue of maturity and will to control urine flow. In this event, it is mostly a case of developing a systematic toileting times regardless of felt need to go. So if you are leaving the house, he goes to the bathroom first regardless of the urge to go. Or he has played for an hour or two, he goes to the bathroom regardless of urge. Many young children become so engrossed in play that they ignore urges to go until it is too late to get there in time.

So if the exam is normal but the problem is persisting, have a calm, relaxed routine for toileting at set intervals regardless of where you are or what he is doing. Stop all beverages containing caffeine such as tea, colas, Sprite, and Mountain Dew that cause frequency and urgency to urinate. Also carry a change of clothes and a plastic bag for wet clothes everywhere you go.

Stop talking about it. Stop being irritated by it or punishing him. Reassure him that he is normal and be patient. The problem does resolve in time, sometimes in a matter of weeks once all of the focus on the problem and upset over it are gone.

I hope this is helpful information and I wish you a quick end to what is an embarrassing problem for parents and children.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University