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Pediatrics/5 Year Old Potty Accidents


Dr. Olson - our very strong willed daughter will be 5 in September.  We have been struggling with toilet training since she was 3.5 y.o.  She continues to have at least 1-2 pee accidents every day, struggles with constipation, is still in pull ups every night, and is soaked every morning.  What can we do to help her overcome this?  Could this be a constipation issue?  I have read several articles on the effect of stretched rectums and am wondering if this is part of her problem.  We have tried literally every "typical" potty training tip and trick to no avail.  She has zero shame about having wet pants or even skid marks in her undies.  She had 1/2 day pre-school last year and will be in full day pre-school this fall.  Any help or advice would be great.  My husband is frustrated and angry with her.  I keep telling him she'll out-grow it but I don't want to ignore the signs of constipation if that's potentially an issue.  Please help!!!

Hi, Amanda,

The constipation is the biggest issue and when this is solved, the wetting will follow.

With the "skid marks" this means she is leaking liquid stool around the hard mass, that never really is cleared.

I would use a cleanout dose of Miralax, one cap in 4 oz of liquid two times a day for two days, followed by the same dose daily for a couple months at least.  Encourage her to sit after every meal for at least a few minutes.  Use an electronic device to make the sitting enjoyable.

Being angry will feed into her controlling nature.  Smile and act as if this is not a big concern.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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