Barbara, I have a son who is 6 years old and in first grade. For the last few weeks, he claims to forget that he needs to use the bathroom. At first I thought it was something in school that was making him not want to use the bathroom, like being afraid of the teacher or being afraid of asking permission. He usually comes home with new clothing that the school provides, or when he gets home he pees in his pants. But more recently his accidents happen at home, too.
He said he just felt like going to the bathroom but just forgot he needed to go use it. I took him to the doctor and nothing seems to be wrong with his health. I have taken his toys for a while and it seems like it works, and for a while he uses the bathroom normally, but than a few days pass and he starts forgetting again. I would love how to help him. Thanks!
From: Yesica Jurado, Cody, Wyoming
Ruling out a medical problem was smart, and presumably the doctor did a urine check to make sure there's no infection.
It's not unusual for boys this age to forget to use the potty, especially at the beginning of a school year when they are engrossed in an activity and don't want to be bothered. Try helping him figure out a way to remember to listen to his body and put the pee where it belongs: in the toilet. At home, you can be the reminder, but it's better if this is something he can internalize. A beeping watch set for every two hours would be one way to put this under his control.
One more thought: Are there other signs of distractability or inattention? In hindsight, this sometimes turns out to have been an early clue of attention challenges. Keep an eye out on his behaviors in school and home.
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