The Kid Who Smelled Like Pee.

November 14, 2012 at 6:00 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), doctor, Fail (aka: Parenting Gaffes), NaBloPoMo, Parenting | 8 Comments

So as I alluded to a couple of posts ago, Lucky is still having trouble with daytime accidents. Mini-accidents, you understand, in varying degrees of wetness. Sometimes it’s small enough – a spot which soaks through to his pants, but small – which dries and he’s fine most of the day.

Some days he has bigger accidents, where he is very wet and it’s telling.

But I can tell you that since I’ve been keeping track at the end of July (when we started using daily miralax again), he has had a handful of days where he’s remained completely dry for the entire day.

The smell of pee permeates EVERYTHING. His diaper bag, which we still have to use because whenever we go somewhere we need extra clothes. His suitcase, because when we go away for a weekend we end up with a suitcase of pee-stained clothes. BOTH of his booster seats in each one of our cars. (I know, I can wash it, but it doesn’t seem worth it when you know your kid will just wet himself next week.) There were days this summer when I picked him up from daycare and had to keep the windows wide open on the way home, because he smelled EXACTLY like the worst parts of the New York City subway system. I have to run his laundry 2-3 times a week so he has enough pants/shorts for school.

And we have tried, quite literally, everything. Daily miralax. Sticker charts, with both a simple AND complex reward system. We’ve had him set the timer every 2 hours. We’ve forced him to sit on the potty. Bribed him to sit on the potty.

And when he’s wet, he knows exactly where the extra clothes are (either his diaper bag if we’re out of the house, or on top of the dryer if we’re in the house), wipes himself down, changes, and puts his wet clothes into the washer.

Right now, on the weekends, we are bribing him to sit every few hours by allowing him to use the iPhone for 5 minutes while he’s on the potty. It seems to be working, the past couple weeks, anyway.

The first week Charlie Brown traveled, Lucky had one day where he had two accidents at home, at night, after a full day of daycare. Normally I would’t get this angry, but both accidents came RIGHT after I asked Lucky to use the potty and he refused, telling me he didn’t have to go.

And when he was wet, the second time, and he refused to change himself so that I could have a “Mommy time out,” I lost it and yelled. I pointed out, not very nicely, that he was wet. Which meant he needed to use the bathroom and was refusing to listen to his body, and really, it wasn’t THAT HARD – JUST GO PEE ON THE POTTY ALREADY AND PLEASE STOP GOING IN YOUR PANTS!

His answer? I DIDN’T KNOW I HAD TO GO!

And, completely exasperated, I told him I didn’t know what to do anymore to help him stay dry, and that I think we needed to take him to a special doctor because we couldn’t do this anymore.

And, OMG, just saying that made me wince. My own baggage, you see. Because when I was in 4th grade, my mother was convinced I was “sick in the head” and needed to see a special doctor to fix what was wrong in my head.

Saying those words was sobering, and brought me, nearly immediately out of my anger. And somehow, we made it better, and when the night was over, I thought, Ok, Serenity, you REALLY need to chill with this pee stuff. Seriously.

The next morning – literally first thing – he came downstairs, and asked me: Mommy, are we going to go to a special doctor?

Bleary without my coffee, I didn’t understand why he was asking that. Then it struck me: OH! THAT special doctor!

And I asked him if he wanted to go.

He said, sadly, quietly: I want to go see a special doctor right now.

He was wet, you see. Another accident.

And that was when I realized that he was just as frustrated as we were. And I made the decision that we needed to act. Because if my kid is telling me that he wants to go see a doctor because of his accidents, it’s time for me to move and make an appointment. So I called his pediatrician, and asked to be referred to a pediatric urologist.

Our appointment with a pediatric urologist at one of the Boston hospitals is on January 28.

I have done enough googling. What I think is that he is a chronic urine holder. And because he does that, his bladder has lost the sensation of having to pee. But because he waits until his body tells him to use the bathroom, his bladder has spasms, thus the wet underwear.

That’s what I think. But I also think it’s worth seeing a specialist, because at the very LEAST he can give us strategies to help Lucky use the bathroom more. Maybe there’s a bigger problem which I don’t know about (you know, because Dr. Google isn’t a real degree), and we can get a plan to fix it.

And maybe hearing from a DOCTOR that he needs to try and use the bathroom more often, even when he feels like he doesn’t need to go, Lucky will feel less resistant to going to the bathroom.

I just feel like it’s NOT normal for a nearly five year old (who trained late, btw, Lucky was 3.5 when he potty trained) to have small accidents during the course of the day. And I’d really like to get a handle on it now, before he starts kindergarten. Because even though he might not care about it now, we live in a really small town and I’d kind of like to avoid Lucky getting the label of The Kid Who Smelled Like Pee.

Here’s hoping.



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  1. Wishing you both success on this! Sounds like you are doing the right things.

  2. Is there a less famous urologist he can see? If he WANTS to go see a DR, it seems that 3 months is a long time to keep having accidents and being frustrated for a 5 year old?

    • I probably shouldn’t have made it seem like we are seeing THE urologist in the Boston area. Just so happens that the first appointment for the specialist that our pediatrician works with is in January. It might be a long time, but honestly, we have been dealing with accidents for the past year and a half, and another couple of months isn’t going to change anything – other than my own frustration levels.

      We are trying to be low key about accidents happening and instead focusing on the fact that we know that Lucky is TRYING to keep his underwear dry. Having an appointment helps us keep OUR cool, which is
      huge in this situation. Every time Lucky gets upset that his underwear is wet (which yes, it happens), we remind him that he’s doing a good job TRYING to keep his underwear dry. And when he won’t use the bathroom when we request it, we remind him that all we care about is seeing him try and keep his underwear dry. It seems to be working. I think.

      Not much we can do but wait it out until our appointment.

  3. Aw man, I totally teared up reading this. It is so hard to see your child struggling and to feel so helpless. I really hope that this urologist can help you all or at least make the problem about something outside of your or Lucky’s control. Poor guy. Poor mommy. My sister wet herself until she was 12; turns out she had some protein deficiency.

  4. Good call. It’s absolutely different than your mom thinking you should see a psychiatrist because of HER own problems! All young toilet-trained kids have an accident every now and then, but this isn’t just every now and then. And once emotions are involved… yep, time to bring in the urologist. Plus, Lucky WANTS to be helped. That’s the kicker.

    And God love you, Serenity, for maintaining as much patience as you have. Speaking as someone with two kids who toilet trained at the same time, I think mopping up one puddle after another would be an effective circle of hell. And the smell… I read this book, “The S.even O’ C.lock B.edtime,” in which the author said one way in which she gets all of her kids, even older grade schoolers, into bed with lights off by 7 pm is to skip baths, often for several days at a time. She must have some special anti-a$$ smell soap.

  5. Poor Lucky. Poor Momma. I hope the urologist has answers for you. I hate how far out specialist appointments are. For crying out loud, the end of January?!?!

  6. We have an excellent ped urologist if you wanted to call there and see if they had an earlier appointment. We oddly do better at the satellite office with scheduling.

    You also know that vinegar helps take the stench out of things, right? I was so happy when I learned that one, and now a big big bottle of it lives in the laundry room.

    You guys are doing great though – it will get sorted out and he’ll learn to stay dry. Hang in there!

  7. That sounds like such an incredibly challenging situation. I can’t even imagine. I also can’t imagine anyone handling it as well as you are. Lucky is a very lucky boy to have a mom who loves him so much, and is self-aware enough to see what she needs to do and how to do it. I hope the doctor’s appointment is fruitful. Sending love and light (and dry pants) your way.

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