4 year olds

United States
April 24, 2008 2:25pm CST
Question of all you parents...should a 4 year old be able to go to the bathroom without being prompted? I'm babysitting a 4yr old girl, she just turned 4 in January this year. I potty trained her in Jan and Feb. Then she was doing really well going on her own without even telling me. Now she wets her pants once to three times per week for the past three weeks. Apparently I need to schedule potty breaks while she's here. I'm so frustrated with her, and I really don't know what to do. I have my own 2 1/2 yr old boy at home also. Thank you for your suggestions.
3 people like this
16 responses
@Myrrdin (3601)
• Canada
24 Apr 08
As another poster stated kids often revert to pre potty training behaviours due to changes in routine or stress. My own daughter has had a few slip ups, even now when she is almost 6, but with the break up of my marriage and the changes that occurred in the past year it is obvious as to the root cause of these reversions. Don't make a big deal of it, and try to deal with the root problem. You stated you are giving her stickers for dry days, that's probably all you can do.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks so much, and I'll keep the stickers out! She is a mama's girl and I know she looks forward to the weekends. Figuring out those root problems are tough sometimes.
@34momma (13918)
• United States
24 Apr 08
just keep asking her if she has to go. don't get frustrated with her she is only a baby. you have to understand if you get frustrated then she get's frustrated and it's going to continue you wetting herself. just treat her love and understanding even more so when she wets her self. that will help her feel more comfortable with letting you know she has to go. my little girl is 3, she has be train since she was two, and she has goes throuhg those moments sometimes. you just can't ever allow your ego self, tell her what she is doing is bad or wrong. let her know lovingly that she needs to go pee pee in the potty
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks 34momma! Oh...it's tough but you're right I have to keep my ego/anger out of it. She is still learning. And I have to not let it ruin my day. Gotta keep reading and rereading Battlefield of the Mind, somehow by the grace of God, I'll learn to have more fun with the kids and let this stuff go so it doesn't get to me constantly. Thanks again.
1 person likes this
@34momma (13918)
• United States
26 Apr 08
You are welcome. i know how it can really seem like a lot to deal with. what i have learned to ask myself is " how do i want to experience this moment?" once i say peacefully, then nothing can get to me. You should read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, mind blowing and life changing
@kezabelle (2985)
24 Apr 08
Has there been any changes that might be upsetting her? thats what caused our 4 year old to wet herself for a while. Yes she should be able to take herself but she only potty trained as she turned 4 well it can take children many months to completley have full control so id just take things easy we still had to remind our daughter to go to the toilet reguarly until she learnt to "remind" herself so to speak no matter what age they learn to use the toilet it can take months for them to remember that the nappy isnt there anymore especially if they are having fun playing. When our daughter started wetting we made sure we took her often yes she was able to remind herself but with us making sure she went reguarly she soon forgot all about the wetting and things have been fine now
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Apr 08
Thank you so much for your response. I guess I think she should "get it" since she's four!!! My only guess is, I'm trying to potty train my son and when he goes potty he gets a reward and she did not. When I started with her she got a sticker every time. Then she got nothing. Now I started implimenting one sticker per day if she stays dry. I just have to add, she's the baby of the family and her mother treats her that way. Her mother does everything for her, it drives me crazy, because the kid is smart and I know she can do more than she wants to. I'll just have to go back to everyone taking a potty break at different times. Thanks again.
@kezabelle (2985)
24 Apr 08
Youre welcome potty training is hard we still have to do it with our youngest yet she just turned 2. We found a sticker chart worked wonders when my eldest was wetting, that and we do it for a business but you can get the stuff cheap enough online, buy some plain knikers and some tshirt transfer paper, print up some of her fav characters really small and iron them onto the knickers this was the best thing we did as she didnt want to wet on her roary or peppa pig knickers lol so might be worth a try give them as a reward if she stays dry for two days and allow her to wear them the next day getting them involved in the problem is often the best way to sort it xxxx
• Canada
25 Apr 08
although it is not fun i think a child being potty trained and then relapsing is normal i think, i think just being patient with her and working with her, if you see she is drinking a lot that day or something then maybe some prompting to the bathroom would be good, or maybe looking into pull-ups for the child to encourage them to get through this and let them know once they can control themselves again then they don't have to wear the pull-ups anymore, kind of an incentive not to have to use them
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Apr 08
Thanks a lot, I won't be so hard on myself anymore about this issue.
@schilds (410)
• United States
25 Apr 08
I would agree that if she was just potty trained in the last few months it is normal for her to revert a bit. My daughter who is almost 4 hasn't had any issues in a very long while, but she has been potty trained for nearly 2 years. So just remember that regardless of her age it is still fairly new to her. Remind her from time to time, and good luck.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Apr 08
Thank you very much! I appreciate all the responses.
• United States
25 Apr 08
if she was just trained 2-3 months ago, then no - as kids take much more time than that to be "complete" even if she had been "complete", and this began, there is likely some reason for it - so there would again be the need for "scheduled breaks, as well as remembering on her own. some other questions: 1. are you training your son? 2. is this new at home too? 3. is it happening AT ALL at home? possibly it is an attention-getter, i would schedule the breaks and watch for the signs, just like when she was training.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Yes I am slowly training my son, who'll be 3 at the end of June. So I know that doesn't help. I am obviously expecting too much. Thank you so much.
@Sheena_C (87)
• Canada
25 Apr 08
My son is 3 1/2, he has been potty trained for about a year now, but he still has accidents. He goes through fazes where he won't have any accidents at all for a good month or so, then all of a sudden he will have one every other day. Sometimes I have to remind him to go pee because he still thinks he is going to miss something while he is sitting on the potty. He'll dance around doing his pee dance and I will ask him if he has to pee and he will say no, I'll ask him again and he will finally say yes and run to the bathroom. All kids go through fazes, sometimes they last longer than others. It could also depend on a lot of things. For example if the child is stressed, they may have more accidents, if they are sad, etc. If there is tension in the home, they will be more inclined to have accidents. Not on purpose, but because they are distracted.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thank you for adding to the discussion! We'll all take more potty breaks and I'll quit stressing about it! Well, easier said than done, but I'll work on that.
• United States
25 Apr 08
This does happen and sometimes kids need to be reminded to go to the bathroom. They get caught up in what they are doing and don't think about going to the bathroom. It happens so don't be fustrated. Just keep reminding her to go to the bathroom. Even if she says she doesn't have to and you know she hasn't gone in a while. Tell her to just try. Be patient and remember she is a child and kids sometimes forget.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks so much for responding and for your great reply. This had been a great discussion.
@mychattime (1013)
24 Apr 08
Ok I've got a 4 year old who is nearly 5, he goes to the toilet without being told as he knows when he needs to. Anyway getting to your problem dont be frustrated as a friend of mine has a 4 year old couple months younger than mine and last year was going through a really bad patch with her other half, well that in turn effected her daughter who started to wet herself, wet the bed etc so what I'm getting at is you don't know what is going on at home when you are not around. Yes in theory she should be potty trained by now but maybe she has some sort of problem in her life which is upsetting her. I was always keen to get my little one out of nappies as they cost a fortune and its better for them if they learn early due to pre-school and school! Be patient and bear with her, although I am with you that she should be potty trained by now as I'm sure your little one is starting to learn. Take Care
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks. This whole discussion has turned out great. I can't believe the response. I know I don't really know what goes on at home, and I know it's very different than how I do things. Example: when she talks baby talk, I stop that right away, we don't do that at my house, but she does it at home often I think. And she misses her mama big time. I'm only watching her until the middle of May and then her moms job ends. Then I'll be back to my two boys when school gets out. Thanks again.
• United States
24 Apr 08
If the child is actively playing around. I can see where going to the toilet may be the last thing on her mind. I know from doing day care most kids need to be reminded. After lunch or before snacks etc. There is nothing wrong with her wetting herself. If your having a change of clothing for her. I just be sure to remind her as often as she needs me too. I would even ask the little one why she has not gone to the potty.. If there was any trauma in her life your sure to get the wetting. Some kids are over the age of 7 and still wetting the bed. So she is doing fine..
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks so much for your response. Great words of encouragement, I need it!!!
@mark17779 (667)
24 Apr 08
My daughter who is 4 goes to the toilet on her own no problem without being told/asked to. Kid's develop at different age's so I would not be to bothered about the occasional weeing of the pant's.
1 person likes this
@vijigopi (991)
• United States
24 Apr 08
Children are different, some get it soon, and some don't. Although my daughter was potty trained early, I used to keep reminding her if she wanted to go. If I forgot, she missed it. It was almost as if we had telepathy between us. I would remember in the middle of a chore that I had to take her to the restroom. I would think of finishing the work(only 2 mins it might take)but she would pee in just that little time.. Mostly she will run to the toilet because she would have held it until that time doing something she enjoyed. Even now when she is 6, she has slips, at least once or twice a month. I guess its only when they start feeling bad about it, do they completely stop wetting their pants. I used to wet my bed at night until I was 10!! The habit stopped when I visited my aunts house and I didn't want to wet the bed in front of everybody... that would have been a shame!! So, just hang on there and appreciate her when she does it and she will have lesser slips. Good luck.
• United States
26 Apr 08
Thanks for the much needed encouragement! I've got to just go back to my old schedule and that's that. No need to let it worry or anger me like I let it. Thanks.
@xOdLiNx (15)
• Poland
25 Apr 08
I think Yes, but only then if you teach first Your child responsibility
@tdh0218 (164)
• China
25 Apr 08
i think different child has different presents. my father has told me that after i was about five-years old ,i can walk by myself.if you heard this,you may think i is not normal.however,i am normal if i have a child ,i will tell you about mines. thank you.
@magrylouyu (1632)
• United States
25 Apr 08
I actually had this issue with my stepson. What worked for me was tell her to go potty every 2 hours weather she has to go or not. I found this worked with my stepson very well. Now he goes on his own. He will be 5 in June. Now he just goes or he tell's me then goes potty. The only time I tell him to go potty now is when we're about to leave to go out or it's time for bed. I hope this helps and that your fustration level goes down. I bet overall she's a very happy and good little girl. I would try that though. Every 2-3 hours just tell her to go potty and if she says she doesnt have to go then tell her to do it anyways! lol. Good luck to you.
• United States
24 Apr 08
No, I would say a 4 yo should be able to go by them self, but sometimes it doesn't take much to "ruin" their daily rutines, like if there's issues going on in her home with her parents, it can be small things, when new babies comes into the picture, does she have any small siblings ? sometimes its a way to get attention..it can be any and all kinds of things. Good luck,