I received this question from a reader, and with her permission, I’m answering it here on the blog.
My 7 year old daughter has started having pee accidents again, and yesterday she peed on the side of the soccer field during her game! I saw her squatting and I assumed she was trying to hold it in until she could make it to the bathroom, but nope, she was peeing. Right there, on the side of the field, right through her clothes. I’ve tried everything - timers, reminders, sticker charts, even telling her that her friends will see if she pees her pants, and they might make fun of her--and she just doesn’t seem to care. I know she’s capable of making it to the toilet in time, because she often goes weeks or months without accidents, and then it starts again! I’m at my wit’s end. Any advice??
Mother of a Free-Range Pee-er
Dear Mother of a Free-Range Pee-er,
Oh dear. Right there on the soccer field. That must have been quite a sight. I’m sorry you’re both dealing with this. Without violating my kids’ privacy, let’s just say, I can totally relate.
I have some suggestions for you, and I share them with this caveat: there is rarely a magic bullet when it comes to potty training. Some kids figure it out right away, some kids take a little longer, and some kids pee on the side of the field in the middle of soccer games. If you happen to be in that last unfortunate category, please keep these points in mind:
Dealing with this is just a huge pain in the butt. It just is, and the sooner you can accept that, the easier it will be.
You’re not alone, and neither is your daughter. You may think every other second grader on the planet is consistently dry, but I promise you, they’re not.
It’s unlikely you will fix this overnight. I hope I’m wrong, and if I am, then you rock. But if I’m right, and this does take awhile to resolve, please remember it’s not because you’re doing anything wrong. It’s because children are an inconvenient truth and you just can’t force them to use the toilet.
This too shall pass. It might pass like a damn kidney stone, but it will pass, so hang in there.
Having said that, here are my recommendations for you: