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'dribbling' in his undies


Hi, We started toilet training our 4 year old when he was about 2 and he got the hang of pooing on the toilet very quickly, but weeing is another matter. To start with he loved going to the toilet and trying and by the time he was three we had periods when he could stay dry all day, but for the past 8 or 9 months he seems to have regressed. He went through a period where he was wetting his pants all the time and saying he didn't know that it happened. I wasn't sure if it had to do with his delicate emotional state over many changes of teachers at daycare. We persisted and have finally got him back to a stage where he will go to the toilet one his own, but there is always a 'dribble' in his undies and he wants to change them. I don't have a problem with him changing his undies because we taught him that so he didn't get rubbed raw from wees in his undies. He doesn't seem to be able to hold on that first little bit until he gets to the toilet. We've explained to him about holding it all in until he gets to the toilet, but he is still 'dribbling'. Is this a sign of something being wrong or are we being unreasonable in our expectations?


Your little man sounds very typical of many boys toilet behaviours.  Commonly children get engrossed in activities and therefore don’t recognise the urge to void until it is quite persistent and urgent.  Then when they try to rush to the toilet their bladder jiggles around and makes them more prone to leakage. 
Get him to get in to the habit of going to the toilet regularly as part of his routine – ie around meal times.  If he is needing to toilet more frequently than about two hourly, he may have an overactive bladder, which means the bladder is more sensitive and doesn’t like holding on to urine for long.  This is something you should see a GP about if it doesn’t settle down with regular toileting (retraining the bladder).
Conversely, it may simply be a problem with technique.  Lots of little boys are in a hurry to get back and play, so encourage your son to pass urine, count to five, then see if he can pass some more urine.  Also, teach him to shake his penis after he has voided to get any drops of urine off. 
If you are worried about his urine rubbing him raw, check what colour it is.  If it is dark yellow/brown during the day he is not drinking enough. (It is supposed to be darker with the first void in the mornings, and pale amber the rest of the time).  Regular fluid intake is as important as regular toileting, so encourage him to drink at key times – meals, mat time etc.
Hope all goes well, and no you are not being unreasonable in your expectations.  Don’t worry, he sounds delightfully normal.