When will they feel the urge to wee by themselves?

Understanding the urge to wee


Have you seen the 'wee wee' dance? You know when a kid holds on and dances up and down because they are about to do a wee.

Or have you watched your child playing then suddenly a wee patch appears on their pants even though 5 minutes before you asked them if they needed to go to the toilet?

What happens if my child doesn't initiate going to the toilet?

When are they going to start identifying and responding the urge to do wees?

Today we are exploring how to best support children who IGNORE or are blissfully unaware that their bladder is bursting and needs to be emptied.

Children showing these characteristics may:

+ ignore their body signals

+ keep on playing then start to jump up and down because they are busting or proceed to do the 'wee wee' dance

+ have regular accidents unless they are constantly reminded by an adult

+ tell their parent AFTER they have done a wee and not before

+ need to do wees but they do not tell their parent

A lot of parents I talk to think that a sign of readiness is for their child to start prempting and letting them know that they are going to do a wee. That is not always the case. 

Now you have started toilet training your child is slowly learning to read their body signals and know when they need to go.

For some children, reading and responding to their body signals takes time.  This can be a prolonged stage where they are very dependent on their parent or early childhood educator to take a toilet break. This can be very tiring and a source of conflict if it drags on for weeks or months. You can easily slip into the danger of becoming the nagging parent who constantly reminds and asks -

"do you need to go wees?"

It can build resistance and resentment with the little person shouting back


My best advice is that it is actually something your child needs to work out for themselves. You don't have control over them reading their body signals. You can explain it in child like language "when you feel full down below it's time to go" but this can be quite an abstract concept for some children.

Those that hold on for extended periods of time can also have their bladder function affected and the muscles holding the wees can become tense and less likely to release the wees fully.

So focus on what you can control:

1. Provide regular opportunities for water and fibre to ensure healthy bladder function

2. Encourage toilet breaks every 1 1/2 -2 hours where you slot toileting into key points during the day (see the 2nd Gear Method in the Potty Talk book for more great ideas)

3. Stop nagging, or else they will become angry or anxious. View it as their problem, not yours. Adopt the role of the cheerleader who is working alongside and encouraging them.

4. Check that they don't have a medical issue such as constipation or a urinary tract infection

Happy toilet training,