Preschooler Girl Pees Standing Up

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2006

We have a very big problem: our girl is 3yrs.10 months old and started preschool in Fall 2005. She became very interested in boys penices, although she is also very interested in pregnant women and nursing babies. Since several weeks she started to pee in standing as a boy. We tried everything, took her dools, offered her chocolate if she pees as a ''lady'' (as our pediatrician suggested). Nothing is helping. I want to stop this now, before it becomes a habit. We do not think that this is connected to homosexuality, it is more of a chalenge to her. She is also resisting to start having bowel movements on the toilet and wants to have diapers. During the nights she has also diapers. Please help! rina

I wouldn't worry about it. Just let her do it and she will naturally stop. I remember doing this as a child for a short time; my sister and I thought it was funny. We probably did it for a week or two and then stopped. Your daughter knows it bugs you, however, so she'll probably keep up with it until she senses it's not a big deal. not alarmed

What's the problem with letting her pee like ''a boy''? Don't you wish it were more convenient for women to pee? It's perfectly normal for kids in preschool to mimick the peeing behavior of others at school, including the opposite sex. Seems like battling with her and bribing are just making her more entrenched and uping the ante! Kids often go to war with their parents over elimination, it's one of the only things they can control that their parents can't! I would bet if you dropped the whole thing it would sort itself out in time. wish I hadn't battled with my 3 1/2 year old over potty training years ago

who wants to pee like a lady? Most women don't sit on the seat when not at home, but instead hover uncomfortably and sprinkle on the seat. Lid up and standing sounds like a better plan. I tried as a small girl, but made a mess the first time and then gave-up. they do make women's urinals, and women are apparently biologically capable of aiming their pee. Boys must learn to poop sitting yet pee standing, so I don't see how your daughter's b.m. withholding would be any different than for a boy. Wish I could pee standing

Don't worry. That may sound patronizing but really don't worry. I am a pediatrician and I would never suggest to someone that their 4 year old should ''act like a lady''; what does that mean to a 4 year old? In addition the more attention you give this the more your child will realize that this act elicits a strong response in mommy. That is a great reason for her to continue to do it. Try lightening up the tone and see what happens you may find she is acting like a four year old. doctor mom

I think that you should just ignore this. At that age, kids are often trying out what it's like to be the other gender, dressing up, etc. At that age, my son would insist that he was a girl and would introduce himself using a girl's name instead of his own. He would go out with me wearing my clip-on earrings and try on my shoes at home. After 4 or 5 months, it was over. I'm afraid that the more of an issue you make of this, the worse it may become. I would tell her that if she makes a mess on herself or in the bathroom (as I bet it does- I can't imagine how she can do it without getting something wet) she has to help clean it up. It's only fair and that may speed up her willingness to give it up. Ruth

I don't really understand the problem... is it that it causes a mess? If so, maybe have her clean up after herself each time, and explain that if she pees sitting down, there's no mess to clean up, and she'll eventually get sick of having to clean up. If it is just that it doesn't seem right to you, I would just say that she's experimenting and would benefit from not being kept from the experimentation. She'll eventually go back to sitting to pee. anon

This may not be what you want to hear, but I don't see the problem with her peeing like a boy for the time being, unless it's REALLY messy because she's not very good at it and/or her preschool won't let her do it. If neither of these are a problem, then, why not let her pee like a boy until she's tired of it? What a great skill to have when packbacking later in life, too! If you want her to stop, though, I think you just need to ignore it; it sounds like she's getting an awful lot of attention for doing it (offers of chocolate, attention from you, the pediatrician, etc.), and you'll have to let that attention go before she tires of it. Four-year-olds like attention, even negative attention (although it doesn't sound like it's very negative in her eyes) and they like to control things as much as possible, both of which she is experiencing in doing this. So just let her do it and I imagine she will go back to the easier way once she's not getting any attention for it. If it's messy, have her clean up after herself -- at 4 years old she's old enough to do that, followed by a good handwashing. That might make her tire of it faster, too. kb