My son is 6yrs 2mo. A couple of months ago my older son (15yrs) told me he caught my 6yr old urinating on a pillow in his bedroom(He has his own room). I confronted my 6yr old and he was embarrassed and said he would not do it again. Then about 2 weeks later I found he had urinated on a pillow in his room again. I reprimanded him and tried to find out why he would do this but got no where. My older son said maybe he saw it in a video game. Then I found he urinated on the rug outside the bathroom door a couple of nights later. Again, I reprimanded him and I thought it was over. Then about a week or two later I saw urine in the bathroom wastebasket right next to the toilet. I thought maybe he was half asleep during the night and made a mistake so I didn't say anything. Then a few days later my husband found urine in the bathroom wastebasket again. Then I spoke to my son sternly about urinating only in the toilet and no where else and about cleanliness. I thought he understood and he would stop this behavior. The latest thing was a couple of nights ago; I found that he had urinated on the hall carpet outside his bedroom and on the dog while they were playing (I was in my room right next to where it happened at the time). He was punished and put to bed. I know my older son urinated inside a toy when he was little once. I am wondering if I should be concerned or if it might be a passing phase? He has always been a little "quirky" like tactile defensive, which has much improved over time, a very picky eater, and not willing to try new things. He was developmentally slow to speak and had early speech intervention,and he has some processing problems, which have been steadily improving. He is in Kindergarten and attended 3 yrs of pre-K at the same school, so they know him. He was just taken off his Individual education plan (IEP) for speech. He is very social and has many friends in school. No one has ever hinted he might be on the autism spectrum. I just don't know who to ask about this so I thought I would start here. Thanks for listening.
You needn't worry about autism-spectrum conditions; the other information you provided indicates that your son does not meet the criteria for such a condition. Now, re: the behavior of urinating in inappropriate places, the most frequent explanation for this involves the child being only partially awake during the night when it happens. Is that the case with your son? From the evidence you have seen, is this occurring mostly during the night? Another phenomenon that sometimes occurs does not involve the state of alertness. rather, some young children wake up at night and are scared, so they are reticient about walking to the bathroom and instead urinate in their room. Does any of this apply to your son? When you spoke with him, did the behavior seem to be familiar to him? Did he respond in a way that indicated he was aware of what he had done?
To answer your question: No I do not feel he was in a half awake state at the time of 5/7 of the incidents. The other 2 incidents where it was found in the wastebasket next to the toilet I did not know about until hours after the fact so it possibly could have been sleep-related. However, the 2 times peeing on the pillows, in the hallway, and on the dog were definitely while he was awake and alert. In fact, the last 2 incidents mentioned I was only in the next room, but did not witness it happen with my own eyes. At first he tries to deny it saying it was water spilled, but later on he admits it was pee. As I said , he does have some processing difficulties taking in information, but I am 90% sure it was indeed urine, and the wastebasket incidents, clearly it was a puddle of urine inside the basket's liner. I was just wondering if this was perhaps a stage of seeing how he can use his penis as a "hose",(he loves squirt guns) or indicitive of something else going on. He does have some mild OCD tendencies, but I do not know if that is relevant.Thank you for your input.
The behavior is not likely related to any OCD, though this could be a possibility if he generally avoids using the toilet because of contamination fears or obsessions, for example. You are doing the correct thing by setting a firm limit and implementing some consequence (e.g., loss of a privilege for a day) for violations. I imagine you are going to see the behavior disappear. It is likely not related to his processing problems. Another option re: behavior management is to focus on the 'other side of the coin' - that is, establishing a reward for using the toilet. Here's an example: Let's say he enjoys a certain TV show. He would 'earn' the opportunity to view the show by cooperating with use of the toilet.
Thank you, Dr Kennedy. The last incident was New Years Eve, so hopefully the behavior is behind us now. I mainly wanted assurance it wasn't part of a deeper psychological problem. I am so grateful for this forum. You really do a service for concerned parents.
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