I have a 10-year-old daughter who wets both day and night. She has never been toilet trained, and has had accidents for as long as she should have been using the toilet. I have spent years taking her to doctors, medical specialists, therapists, hypnotherapists, child psychologists, councilors, etc. and have also tried behavioral therapy, discipline, removal of favorite things, night wetting pads with alarms, etc. She has been checked out numerous times for physical problems and has none, so I suppose it is mental.
I was a stay at home mother to her for ten years and only went back to work full time this spring, so she has never been left with a sitter, and had no opportunity to be exposed to situations that would make her wet as a result.
I am still pursuing avenues of medical assistance with pediatric psychologists and weekly therapy, but no amount of help has made a bit of difference. She will have accidents at school and stay in her soiled clothes until reminded to change by a teacher (I send 2-3 changes every day).
When I ask her to use the toilet, she will ignore me, and when she finally does after repeated asking, she will not wipe, flush, or wash hands. I am sad and tired and not sure what to do next. She displays signs of ADHD, but is a bright and energetic child. I would be happy to listen to any and all advice. I want her to be able to have sleep-overs and friends who are not put off by her indifference to the situation and the hygiene issues. My biggest concern at this point is that she will get her period in the next few years and then what? If you have any helpful advice... or know of anyone in a similar situation...
From: Shelly, Landsdowne, Ontario
It's hard to know what to make of all this, Shelly, but since you've been through so much, I ran your question past one of Boston's leading developmental behavioral pediatricians, Alison Schonwald. She's an expert in toileting issues at Boston's Children's Hospital and has written this article on difficult toilet training. She's also author of "Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Potty Training Problems.”
She notes that the range of your daughter's needs are broad, which means her evaluations need to be as well. Specifically, she asks, "Has she had an MRI of her spine? Has she had a developmental evaluation?" When the professionals have made recommendations, have you followed them?
The bigger question is, though, what does your daughter think of all this? Is she interested in correcting the problem? Does she even recognize it as a problem? It seems like there are three possible answers here: She either does not want to be trained, does not understand, or is in a power struggle with you.
Each answer leads to a different next step. Hopefully following one of those trails will move you forward.
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