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Dr. G.
Dr. G., Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1492
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist in the state of Minnesota
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My wife and I have been unable to get our 5 year old son to

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My wife and I have been unable to get our 5 year old son to use the washroom consistently to urinate. He never wets his bed. He doesn't deficate himself (though this was a problem until he was around 4). The problem does not seem to be a medical issue. Basically when he is busy, rather going to the washroom, he'll continue with what he is doing and relieve himself. Even when his pants and underwear are soaked he will continue his activity. Only when my wife and I notice does he get changed. He goes to kindergarten and has developed normally in every other aspect of his behaviour. When I bring it up to him, he just laughs or denies that his pants are wet. He does have some self-consciousness as he doesn't want us to tell his teacher or have his classmates find out that he has wet himself. Though we explain to him that people can see his wet pants and that others can smell the urine when he pees himself. How can this behaviour be corrected? Thank you.
Well you can go at this a couple of ways. First way is to have him use the washroom at certain intervals such as every hour. Second, you can check in with him at certain intervals and have him tell you if he feels like he needs to urinate. This will help him become more aware of his body. Third, you can set up a basic reward system with him. Let him know that if he uses the bathroom appropriately for a whole week then he can have a reward both you and him agree on. This may motivate him enough to want to do the right thing. If that works then keep the system going for a few weeks. Try these out and see if you can't have success. Good luck.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks Dr. Guilmino. We have tried these ideas to varying degrees. Though we could have been more consistent with the reward system. He gets irritated when we regularly ask him if he needs to go to the washroom, and almost always says no. Sometimes he'll throw a bit of a tantrum if we insist that he goes, for example if it has been several hours and we know he must need to use the washroom. He always pees anytime we put him on the toilet. I think we'll continue to do as you suggest and also look again at being consistent with a basic reward system. What I find fascinating is that my son would rather sit in an uncomfortrable wet underwear and pants for up to an hour or two rather than changing. He would just keep on playing indefinitely if we didn't notice his wet pants. Niall

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