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Staying in wet things

My 7 year old is usually wet. Sometimes she has big bladder emptying accidents, but more often it is smallish leaks. It sounds odd but I no longer have any idea how often or how much she is wetting herself which is making our engagement with the continence clinic really hard. The problem is she will not admit to anyone when she has had an accident. I can spot the big ones- she soaks through everything or stands up leaving a wet patch on her seat, but other days she will comes home from school with dry pants on and claim to have had no accidents all day, but her clothes are stained and smell of wee. She has been teased at school when other kids have noticed her wet pants when she is doing cartwheels or on the climbing frame or getting changed for PE. Other days she will be wet when we get home and say when I ask her that it has just happened, but I suspect that is not the case, or that it is just the last of a series of accidents throughout the day. We have tried allsorts of things. She has to drink measured amounts of water during the day. Constipation has been excluded. She is taken to the loo every break time. Reward charts don't work- she just lies to get the rewards. I have tried checking her once an hour to get an idea of what is happening but then she remains dry... I put her in incontinence pads a month ago which has solved one issue in that her outer clothes stay dry unless she has a big accident, but she still doesn't change them and they can be quite smelly by the end of a day. We have asked her to tell a trusted grown up with a code word. We have secreted a change of clothes and clean pads in the disabled loo at school and she can just slip out if she needs to and change without telling anyone. Zilch. She has NEVER changed herself without someone spotting an accident and telling her to change. I keep explain I g to her that the accidents are not the problem but the hiding them is. She just carried on lying. I am at the end of my tether because the continence team cannot get an idea of what is going on because she completely denies there is a problem. yesterday I really lost my temper and took all of her toys and books away because when I asked her if she had put a pad in she told me that daddy had said she didn't have to wear them any more because she hadn't had an accident for the whole of the Easter holidays. A big lie. Daddy hadn't said that at all, especially as she had wet herself in his car on her way back from gymnastics the day before (wet patch on the car seat- more than the pad could cope with- and she had apparently been for a wee 20 minutes earlier).

Any advice? I get nothing from the GP.

4 Replies

It doesn't sound odd at all! So much of what you describe feels like you're telling our story. I've see-sawed from thinking she doesn't care and getting so frustrated with her when yet again it's me that has to send her to change because she's sitting in wet things - to other times when after yet another heart to heart about "the accidents aren't the problem but lying about them is" she cries her heart out because she just wants "Mummy to fix it". I feel so useless that I don't have any magic answers for her.

All I can say to you is that the calmer I am the more honest conversations we seem able to have. I do think underneath she really does care and that the indifference is really a bit of an act. We've done a couple of things that haven't helped the accidents but have helped our relationship about it and helped get "little leaks" or even full accidents tidied up quicker. I'm guessing you may have tried these but just in case not...

First one was that I got her to just put wet things in the bath so that she didn't have to tell me (or anyone else) about it. I'd found that she was blatantly denying that she was wet if I challenged her but when she had a way to sort it without it being obvious then she was more up for getting on and dealing with it. It took a while (and once when someone else was in the bathroom she hid the wet things behind a cupboard without telling me!!) but after a bit it meant she started to sort it herself. Only problem then was that she didn't always notice the small leaks and I'm convinced that damp knickers just started to feel normal to her so we needed to try and break that cycle....

Which led to the second thing, trying a Wobl watch. We talked about it as a way for her to take control and I got her to agree that it was something worth trying. She loves shopping so she looked online with me a chose it herself - I think it made her feel like it was more her idea and then she was happier to go along with it. When she first got it, we did use rewards, but only for going to the toilet when it went off. Then I added rewards for not kicking off when I (or dad or big sister) mentioned that there was a smell, but instead for going calmly and really checking carefully to see if knickers were damp. Was almost impossible for her to cheat on that one and so it has been the only rewards that actually seemed to work for us!

Other thing, I've also tried, thanks to someone else on here, is stopping using fabric conditioner in her knickers. Again, hasn't stopped accidents but did change the sensation and seemed to help her feel difference between dry and damp knickers.

Sorry, long reply and maybe no help at all but, although I am still hugely frustrated that I can't find any magic answers, I do think some of these things have helped us get to point where my daughter and I can at least have an honest conversation about what's happening which simply wasn't the case 6 months ago. We've got specialist clinic appointment coming up in a few weeks and like you I was worrying that I didn't know what to tell them. Am still not sure I have full picture but it's getting clearer. We still have rough days where I'm convinced she's had an accident and she will scream at me that she hasn't but they are getting rarer and helping us get to point where we are managing it all better as a family. I'm just hoping the specialist appointment will then help us find some answers to the underlying issues but who knows....

Anyway, hope something in here helps and good luck x


Although our experiences are different in the way my son soils due to constipation.

I wanted to say Hi and also say that he didn't care one little bit about being in dirty pants until recently.

We were told by the psychologist that he wasn't mature enough to be body aware or aware of the effect it was having on his relationships with the family or friends. Then suddenly something clicked and he started to use the loo at school and then at home. He still fibs sometimes but things have got much better.

The point I'm trying to make is that things will click eventually and get better for both but it sounds like she's just not ready yet to make the step of admitting about the problem.

Does the Incontinence clinic where you are have a psychologist you can ask to see?


This is a really familiar story. We have tried everything we lift at night too to avoid wet nights. We have now stated accupumcture as a last resort. Our daughter is also 7.


This is all so reassuring to read - I'm brand new to this forum and I live in the U.S. (I can't find anything like this or like ERIC in the U.S.!) My son is 9.5 and we've been dealing with this exact same issue for years now, and have had the exact same conversations around "the wetting isn't the problem, the lying about it is..." It seems that denial is very strong for these young ones with this embarrassing problem! Just wanted to say hello and thanks for sharing these stories that I don't hear anywhere else.


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