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Toilet training at 5yrs old.

I've been told by all the professionals that we are not alone...but it seems difficult to find someone in our situation. Our 5yr old girl is still toilet training. She knows how to do it and at times has been dry for a few days in a row, but she mostly holds on to the point of bursting and won't tell us she needs to go until the last second..she has more often than not wet her undies by the time we find a toilet. It's never a great deal...but enough for her to be uncomfortable. Number 2 is much the same. Over the last 3 years we've done everything, rewards, charts, praise, we had to start taking things away as she would catch on whenever she wanted something and just stay dry for the amount of days until she got the reward.

She is starting school at the end of Jan...she is well and truly ready, if not for the toilet training. The school tells me she will be fine, a paediatrician says its normal.. but I'm worried about her having accidents at school. Is anyone in a similar situation?


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Answers (15)

Maybe try toilet breaks. For some kids it isn't a priority until it's too late. It may not help for poo but it should help with urine. We scheduled it every 30 minutes and now my son will wee in the toilet before it gets bad. We are still working on poo. For him he likes the feeling of poo. It's a sensory issue as well as a fear of losing part of himself.

I can't believe some of the answers on here!!!! Disgusting people out there.
We are the same. Except my daughter is going into grade 3, she wets alot. After many years of distress for both of us (she always swore she didn't know when she had to go) we found out she has a kidney issue and she's retaining urine. Have you had your daughter checked out??
With the school keep an open relationship, we had the teacher tell our daughter when to go to the toilet, not ask her if she wants to go. I also packed femfresh wipes, change of knickers/pants and plastic bag in her bag. If she had an accident she went and changed herself. We are trialling medication now so hopefully soon she will be dry!
Good luck mumma I know how difficult it Can be and how isolated you can feel. Also how judged you can be, not many 8 year olds still wet so I hear you loud and clear!! Ignore the other rude people, god forbid their child ever has to deal with something like this if that's how they will treat them. Xx

 Thankyou. Thankyou for just being a respectful, caring human! I cannot believe the comments either. After thinking I might just be able to reach out to people in similar situations for moral support I’ve instead attracted the judgemental “perfect” parents. Thankyou for sharing and I hope your daughter progresses soon xx
helpful (3) 

We had enforced toilet breaks- every time we leave a place or before food. We would also wake them up at midnight for a toilet break. You have got to be tough and the moment you give them an inch then its’ start all over again. She is clearly ready so you’re lucky it’s not a medical issue, but it’s probably a control one and you need to be a little more assertive I feel

I'm not sure if this helps, I worked in child care and a lot of kids do this at that age. Just keep reminding her, and pack spare pants.

 It seems we only hear about our own. Either everyone is reluctant to talk about it because of the stigma associated with kids who don’t tick all the boxes at the right times or we just haven’t come across anyone in our situation.
helpful (0) 
 I have looked after lots of kids who were 4/5 that did exactly the same.
helpful (1) 

Maybe when she starts school and sees other kids don't have accidents she'll go along with what they do?

Or what about a small pad in her knickers the first few days of school in case of those accidents to avoid embarrassment

You have probably already tried this approach but have you asked your daughter? I wouldn't bring it up when she has an accident but when the 2 of you are playing or having a quiet moment together.

I don't know if this will help you but my son was in a similar position. We tried reward charts etc too. My son decided he was too busy to stop and go to the toilet for a poo so he held it in. In doing so we had both wee and poo accidents almost daily and sometimes at kindy (he's 5 btw). Holding in poo he stretched his colon so his body was missing signals to go. It also meant his colon pushed up against his bladder causing wee accidents. When he did do a poo it also hurt. So a doctor put him on stool softeners for a month and amazing we had no accidents at all. Towards the end of the month I lowered the dosage now he uses it as necessary only. After the month the doctor literally prescribed an apple a day for him (yes literally!) As it helps regulate his bowels. It's now neraly 3months since I first saw the doctor he poos daily, no more wet accidents and we are having dry nights honestly I'm so happy I could cry he starts school end of January too so like you I was worried. The stool softener I no longer use but keep on hand just in case. I don't know if what I said helps in your case but just know your not alone.

 Thankyou. It helps a lot!

This is exactly us, except our GP never suggested the softeners she just referred us to the children’s hospital who have a program for toilet training. They have suggested the poo is causing the wee accidents and want us to keep a diary and start the softeners. She had her first dose yesterday so we’ll just persist over the next few weeks.

helpful (0) 
 I'm so glad I helped! My GP said he sees this type of thing weekly so don't stress! Good luck! My doctor said fruit wise apple, pear or any stone fruit once you get off the softeners. My son is just likes apple though from that list.
helpful (2) 
 Wow this is similar to us!! Although we are still using stool softener ongoing (children’s hospital said it was not a problem to use it daily prolonged) movicol junior, we have 1-2 sachets a day to keep it soft and easy. It’s definitelg helped us too
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My daughter is 6 and not trained. It’s a hard thing to talk about because of judgement. But we have tried it all since she was 2. Yes we have been to the doctor, the paediatrician, and last year she was seeing a psychologist. None of them have helped. We are awaiting an autism assessment at the psych’s suggestion. Her older brother was diagnosed age 4 so I guess it’s possible, but I think her issue really is anxiety. I’m not sure she has autism.

Also, she rarely has an accident. She can hold on all day. She wears undies, willingly and at school she will hold on. She will ask for a nappy at home, or wait until she’s in the bath. She definitely has control. But she is terrified of the toilet and I can’t give her any reassurance. The psych thinks she is close to tonusinf thrntoilet because she makes me promise not to tell her friends and hides all evidence of nappies when they visit. So she is aware it’s a problem but she isn’t really to tackle it.

Hugs op, you’re definitely not alone. But I did think I was.


 Thankyou for your honesty. For the last 3 years we’ve felt fairly isolated when it comes to toilet training. When our friends with younger children talk about toilet training and how quick it was we just smile and nod. We are not ashamed, but it’s so much easier to just not talk about it as every other parent who had successfully and easily toilet trained their kids suddenly become experts in the field.

I hope you get your answers soon x

helpful (0) 
 What will happen if you did a bit of tough love and not give them nappies? I would never be mean to my children but at 5 and 6, With no medical problems, I would not be skirting around the issue of being able to use the toilet.
helpful (2) 
 I totally get this we went through a hard time with our child who refused the toilet and would hold a poo in for 7 days. It’s been a long hard road and like you it was hard to discuss with friends cos no one would get it.
Just know you’re not alone. It may be hard a hard time but it will eventually work out. It wont be like this forever.
Big hugs xx

helpful (1) 

Constipation? Does she drink enough water? Sometimes they need to drink more to get the signal their bladder is full

Maybe some gentle conversation about kids her own age might help. My youngest was almost 5 when we finally got her fully trained and that was only due to the fact that everyday i was reminding her that "when we go to big school, we need to use the toilet like all of the other kids as most of them dont have accidents anymore." It was tough but we got there in the end. Good luck xx

 Thankyou! These last few months we have been talking about big school. She is more than ready for every aspect of school except the toilet training. I’m taking a good 3 weeks off work to be with her before she goes to school so we will work really hard on going all the time.

A lot of mothers have said it just takes longer for some and others say get it looked at. We’ve done both, been patient and had it looked at. They can’t find anything physically wrong so just continually ask us to track each toilet sit in a diary!

helpful (0) 

Start getting tough with her. The nice approach isn't working, start the other way around. She will probably be OK once school starts anyway with the other kids.

 I’m hoping so! But seeing kids at daycare didn’t seem to help. Thnx for the support!
helpful (0) 
 Definitely the tough approach, maybe tell her she can not start school unless she is having no accidents. Kids are arseholes and she WILL get teased for this at school (I don’t mean to sound mean but believe me they do!) There will be the rare teacher that get impatient with this as well. Prep classes usually have scheduled toilet times when they are told to go and sit on the loo which will definitely help.
2-3 Second hand school uniforms to pack as spares (not 3 and 4th hand as she will stand out when changed (again kids are arseholes and may notice this) socks and a cheap pair of shoes helps and keep in a named bag at school with large zip lock bags, maybe some wet wipes. It is highly likely she will be told to go and change herself as with all the policies these days teachers are not allowed to assist.

helpful (1) 
 What are 3rd and 4th hand?
helpful (0) 
 Clothing that has been passed down through 3 or 4 different children.
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 Stop mollycoddled her with change of clothes

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I don't understand why you are asking this etc so late. It might be normal, but, I'd have been asking second opinions etc. a little bit before January/school starting.

 We’ve done various different things for 3 years and sought professional intervention for the last 1 and 1/2 years. Our actions to address this are far from last minute...the only thing last minute is me reaching out to a group of people in a similar situation because I’m at my wits end. I physically can’t handle it anymore and I wanted to just know that we aren’t alone in this.
helpful (1) 

I tried everything with my late to train kid. Rewards, potty timers, books for both of us, charts, many hours of fighting over the toilet. Then we took a 1 month break, and came back to it. We went out and bought 25 pairs of undies, his choices and made one last chart. We said, "what will it take to convince you to use the potty like a big boy?" 5 y/o's terms - i want an iPod Touch. Mine - 30 consecutive days. No accidents. The result was 6 weeks of hard work by my son and a trip to the Apple store. I have zero regret because he has had that thing for 7 years! And because he felt like he earned it, it's never out of the case and in excellent condition. He has an iPad now, for school mostly. He still uses his ipod for music since its quite out of date for games. As my mum said, when I was at my witts end over it, "sometimes only the perfect carrot will move a stubborn a*s." Once they feel in control of the situation and have a reward that is impossible to say "meh" to, things start happening.

She needs medical attention now. 5 yeats old and not toilet trained is ridiculous.

 If you read the post properly you will see that we HAVE sought advice from a paediatrician. What we were hoping to find is people in a similar situation to ours. What is ridiculous is the judgement!
helpful (5) 
 Yes but a urologist referral is in order. But no it’s not ridiculous
helpful (2) 
 ^the reason people don't ask for help is because of nastiness like this. Either help with the solution or mind you own business.
helpful (0) 

My 6 kids were toilet trained between 18mths and 2.5 years

 Gold stars for you then! Ps. Did I mention I was looking for support from parents with similar experiences
helpful (4) 
My mum told my grandma helped to potty trained me when I was 12 months...
(Now my grandma got the gold medal from you 😀 )

helpful (0) 
 Well, every kid is different.
helpful (1)