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My Son and the Potty

24 November, 2017
Q As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum. My problem is that my son, who is three and half years old, releases some urine drops in his underwear pant. He can control it while sleeping (70-80% of nights he doesn't urinate on bed), it is worse when he is up. Although, he uses toilet more than 4 or 5 times a day, we always find his underwear pant wet from urine. We always ask him and encourage him to go to the toilet every couple of hours to avoid this problem. We tried positive and negative rewarding approaches. When we ask him why he does this, he always refuses to answer. I stopped asking him, because I felt this was very embarrassing for him. I am wondering if this problem is due to psychological or physiological reasons.

Answer

As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh brother,

At three years of age, your son is actually doing very well. To control his bladder at night and not to wet his bed 70-80% of the time is a very good sign and points the arrow away from the physiological reasons towards the psychological ones.

I don’t know whether you are an Arab or not, but in our Arab culture, we tend to toilet train infants as young as 12 months old which is actually scientifically useless due to the fact that the urinary sphincter is not fully mature for this process until 18 –24 months.

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Psychologically, toilet training and parenting procedures to reach a diaper free child were put under research for a long time and are thought to be the reason for a lot of psychological disorders.

An American study even showed that it would be much safer not to attempt toilet training at all and the child will learn it spontaneously, which is one of the reasons that you can now find huge diapers in the market. Their theory is that it’s a minor problem compared to the psychological problems it can cause.

I am not telling you to do that because it is evident that your boy is partially toilet trained, but here is my advice:

Relax: your boy is doing very well and until he is 5 years old, you have no reason to be worried.

Do not comment at all when your child wets his pants, just change him very quietly.

When he does make it to the toilet in time with his pants dry,  reward him very enthusiastically with powerful words of encouragement.

Never scold the boy in front of anyone, not even his brother or sister. Just don’t scold him on this issue.

Observe other issues in your child life, for example:
*Have you moved to a new house?
*Is there a new baby in the family?
*Is there any pressure at his preschool?

Try to find any external or internal issues that might be bothering your child and try to deal with them consequently. If this problem persists for a year or two, then I would advise you to get your child checked both physiologically and psychologically. Insha’allah he will grow up into a lovely strong boy, having caring parents like you.

Please do inform me of his progress, and if you discover a psychological reason, don’t hesitate to follow up.

About Mona Youssri
Mona Youssri is having 17 years experience as a teacher, including two years as a head teacher (special needs). She has a special sense for children. Following up on her wealth of experience with children, and her MB Bch. at Qasr el Aini Medical School in Egypt, Mona Youssri is currently researching into psychiatry and neurology. She is CLC Founder.