Dealing With Accidents After Potty Training
My son wet the bed four times in the last two weeks. Actually, four times in the past 27 months, it just all happened to be in the same two weeks. It started on July 21st to be exact. A Saturday. Not the bed-wetting, but a sign that something was wrong. My son went to the bathroom about every 10-15 minutes. Sometimes he went, sometimes he didn’t, but regardless he felt the need to go. That continued throughout the weekend and then on Monday night he had his first bed-wetting accident. He woke up about midnight, crying and moaning so I went to check on him. He does this periodically and usually a whispered “I love you” and a kiss on the forehead settles him down. When I went to give him a kiss, I noticed it smelled of urine just below his pillow. Clearly he had an accident but he never woke to tell me. Since my son doesn’t flip around in bed normally, the location seemed a little strange. While he slept, I felt his underwear and there was no sign of wetness there. Rather than wake him, I put down a towel to cover the smell (since it was no longer wet) and let him continue sleeping.
The next day, my husband made the decision to take him to the doctor. I must admit, I thought he was overreacting a bit. Off they went to the doctor and a few tests later, he was cleared. No UTI, no high sugar levels, no sign of any infection whatsoever. Unfortunately, the constant need to pee continued. By the following Sunday he had four more accidents during the day and wet the bed two more times. Aghast, I headed back to the pediatrician on Monday. While we waited to see the doctor he had to pee so we quickly got the nurse and gave them yet another sample. Same result, no sign that anything could be medically wrong. There was nothing off in the test and no sign of constipation, which I learned can lead to accidents. The doctor encouraged me to be patient and not to be too concerned because while he wet the bed it was not consistently. Nightly bed-wetting may be a sign of more going on, but we weren’t at that point. The doctor explained the change in routine may be causing things and things should return to normal soon. So back home we went.
But then the nighttime accidents started happening. Here I was, over two years past potty training and I was now having to wake my son up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Ugh! I was also drilling him on what was happening at camp. Could he use the bathroom whenever he wanted? Did he ever feel rushed? Were all the kids being nice to him? There must be a reason for all this sudden change.
With vacation a few days away, I hoped maybe a change of scenery and routine would help. I had decided I would reevaluate after a week when I knew he could use the bathroom whenever he wanted and when he was in my direct supervision all week. The first night at our vacation home, while reading stories, he went to the bathroom six times – six times in 20 minutes! I tucked him in that night and within two hours he had an accident. Two days later, while sitting on the beach, my son screamed and writhed in pain saying “my penis hurts” about every hour. The first time I “looked” at it to see if there were any external signs of injury. While there was nothing I noticed, his dry bathing suit was wet in the general vicinity. He’d had an accident in his bathing suit on the beach and never even mentioned needing to use the bathroom.
At this point I called the doctor’s office insisting on a referral to a pediatric urologist. I knew an appointment could take some time to get and I wasn’t going to wait any longer. While initially the nurse dismissed me, she called me back about 30 minutes later to explain that the doctor wanted to put my son on a medication for overactive bladder. We packed in the beach day and headed off to the drug store and immediately started my son on oxybutynin. Initially it didn’t change too much. The accidents at night stopped but the frequent visits to the bathroom didn’t. Did he just create a really bad habit?
Eight days later, I’m happy to report things are back under control. He’s still on the medication, but the accidents and urgency to urinate have ceased. My son will be staying on this medicine for about another week and hopefully this chapter will be closed. The entire time during this process I had to continually remind myself that I am my son’s best advocate. No one else will care about his health more than me and his father. This is just another reminder that as a parent you have to follow your gut and if the first answer doesn’t seem to be the right one, keep pushing until you’re comfortable with the course of action. You know your child best.
- E-family news: Goodbye Diapers, Hello Underwear – Ideas for Successful Potty Training
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Parenting Conversations about Potty Training
- Read more posts about potty training from the Family Room bloggers