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Impulse Control Disorders and ADHD

Urinating in inappropriate places?

First off, ew, I know! But my almost 8 year old, who I thought just had classic ADHD but now thinking it’s even worse, has been peeing in random places in our house for the past 6 months or so - that I know of. At first we thought he was doing it in his room while sleepwalking, because we believed him that he wasn’t purposefully doing it when we’d find wet spots (all on carpet, mind you). But then he finally fessed up one day when it was obvious and then I knew he’d been lying about all the other times. I ask him why he would do this and he just says he doesn’t know, he won’t do it again, or that he was just being “lazy” (his word). I mean, he’s going through the effort to pull his pants down, and peeing in corners of his room, or behind a dresser, his closet, the middle of the living room. It’s disgusting. And VERY hard to get rid of the smell. I’m so completely distressed by this, and feel like it’s just one more reason why I can never trust him.

He takes Ritalin twice a day becuase without it he can’t function in school, but this was happening before we started medicating him.

Has anyone else had an experience with this? What does it mean?? He’ll start seeing a psychologist next week. So I’m hoping that helps. I don’t know if he’s doing it because of the impulsivity, or to be defiant (it’s not at a specific time of day or anything that I can determine - very random), or because he’s upset about something? I don’t know. But this on top of everything else we deal with re his behavior is just too much. It breaks my heart because I’m constantly upset with him and I have a hard time enjoying his company. Plus I can’t trust him.

Any advice or insight is very welcome!!


Be sure to let his primary doc know to rule out medical reasons too.

Posted by E's Mom  on Oct 12, 2011 at 11:55am

I wish i had something to say to help you.  I know I’m a stranger but I’m thinking about you now and sending prayers and good thoughts your way:)  Hopefully this will just be a passing struggle for you both.

Posted by ADDMAMA on Oct 15, 2011 at 1:08pm

All I can say is “WOW, I’m not the only one dealing with this issue!” My ADHD 7 year old was doing the same actions at least 6 months ago. The behavior started when he was 4 years old, fully potty-trained, but at night he would urinate next to his bed, behing the tv stand, in a corner, or in his closet instead of going to the bathroom! Every morning I would wake up and his room smelled horrid. Then I would have to search for the wet spot and scrub or shampoo the whole carpet. My husband and I were frustrated, confused and concerned. I told his doctor about this and other behavioral problems he was showing at 4 yrs old. Finally he was evaluated and diagnosised with ADHD. Over the next 2 years until present, he still has relapses. Sometimes he tells me he is afraid to walk into the dark bathroom at night so he relieves himself in our hallway (carpet). I agree with you, the smell is almost impossible to get rid of! I have shampooed my carpet at least 15 times in the last year! It can be very frustrating, but we just have long talks with him (even if he seems to not be listening) and we have even taken away video games for that type of behavior. That worked, problem solved for a good while. We put a night light in his room, the hallway and the bathroom. So far, its been approx. 6 months since his last incident. I hope your situation clears up soon. Don’t feel too bad, you are not alone in your struggles.

Posted by Kiki808 on Dec 18, 2011 at 8:43am

@Kiki808 - have your son relapsed recently? Our psychologist never did get to the bottom of why our son was doing this, but suspected it was a way of acting out, but my son was constantly begging for a nintendo ds or similar, so I made a deal with him that after 6 months, if he didn’t do it anymore, I would buy him one. Apparently he stopped - or at least I couldn’t find any evidence, so I want to believe him but it’s hard because he does lie a lot and sneak things - so last week was the 6 month mark & I held up to my end of the bargain. We will be moving this fall and I worry stress of whatever he’s feeling will cause him to start it up again, especially since I don’t know why he was doing it in the first place, but I’m just hoping we’re past that point.

Posted by Mom of 10 yr old Boy on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:47pm

As I Read This, We Are Having Our 9 Year Old Shampoo Our Couch Because He HasPeed In It.  Im Not Talking About An Accident.  I Am Talking About Him Pulling Out His Penis And Peeing On The Couch Like It Was A Urinal.  Asked Him Why And He Has No Idea Why.  Now I Am Dealing With The Kid And The Angry father. (Sorry About Caps.  Phone Has A Mind Of Its Own)

Posted by BCMom on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:22am

As odd as this may sound, I was so happy to read this post….....finally I am not alone!!!!  I have been going absolutely insane.  I have a 13 year old boy who is peeing in inappropriate place throughout my house.  At first it was on the floor behind the bar, then on my dryer, then in the fireplace and most recently on the floor in his room, but really the fireplace is his go to.  It drives me absolutely insane and infuriates me!!  I am continually asking him why?  Are you mad at me?  Are you trying to get back at me for something…...any kind of answer would be better than ‘I don’t know’.  Seriously, what does one think about when they whip their penis out of their pants and start peeing?  Then on top of that, lying about doing it.  I have his annual checkup with the doctor and I was debating talking to the doctor about it because I thought I was crazy, but after reading this…...I know I’m not and I’m definitely going to be talking to the doctor about it.  Punishment and rewards haven’t worked, I’m at the end of my rope and need help with this!

Posted by K&N's Mom on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:38pm

I am so relieved to see that there are others dealing with this problem.  I have an 11 year old son who has been doing this for years on and off.  It stopped for about 2 years, but has recently started back up again over the last 4-5 months or so.  I have the carpet cleaners coming almost regularly.  He only pees on his bedroom carpet, usually behind a dresser.  I don’t know how many times he has done it before the smell builds up to the point I realize it.  My husband and I then fight him relentlessly to fess up which goes on for hours.  Tonight, the only way I could get him to admit it was to hold a bible in front of him and ask him to swear on it.  Thankfully he wouldn’t and we knew he would finally confess, which he did after an hour of adamant denial.  This has been a vicious cycle.  Lord knows this isn’t his only problem, but definitely an unacceptable one.  Don’t even let me get started on his lying about homework.  I don’t know why he does this, the only answer I ever get is “I don’t know”.  Well then who does?  Who can help? He’s on Concerta. It’s hard to even tell what’s a medication issue anymore.  Feeling hopeless.

Posted by lakelandmom on Oct 07, 2014 at 1:58am

I have an 11 year old who does the same. Currently making me crazy!!! I feel hopeless too. What am I doing wrong what is wrong with my child. I need suggestions!

Posted by mommygoncraze on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:12pm


Seek the advice of a therapist on this. That is your best chance of discovering the root of this issue.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on ADHD, and Mom to Pre-Teen Boy w/ ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Nov 20, 2014 at 3:34pm

I feel like I’m reading about my son! I truly thought I was alone in dealing with this. My son has been doing this on and off since 1st grade (he’s in 5th now). The frustrating part besides the pee is that he’s done it in 4 different places that we’ve lived in. I plan on asking his doctor about this the next time he goes in for a med check. If anyone has any tips or advise, I’m all ears! It’s nice to know I’m not alone and the only parent dealing with this.

Posted by tranly99 on Jan 05, 2015 at 1:13am

Thank you so much for posting this question!  I was almost in tears from finding yet another urine soaked spot in my sons bedroom.  He is 9 and has been doing this on and off for years.  We hadn’t had an incident in about a year and now this.  Mostly in his bedroom closet.  Always covered up with a rug or some dirty clothes.  We get the same answer of “I don’t know” when he is confronted.  One time we got a im afraid of the dark.  He is generally a good kid.  Just the usual adhd issues with being impulsive and inattentive.  So sad if this is behavioral.  I wish we knew what is bothering him.  Thankful we are not alone.

Posted by mcastillero on Mar 02, 2015 at 9:53pm

Hi. I was an ADD child, on Ritalin for a time, and switched to dexadrine. I was urinating in my bedroom closet around age 7. I was also stealing my friends’ toys. ADD was not the only possible contributing factor. My parents were going through a crazy divorce (dad was cheating, both parents were constantly arguing…). After my parents got separated, mom started dating again. It was around this time the bedroom urinations started. When I was confronted, I blamed it on the burgler alarm that I had a fear of. It had went off twice at night during the same time period: our house was broken in to, and the other time I had set it off by mistake.

Please look at ALL environmental factors when dealing with ADD/ADHD kids because this condition has been the scapegoat for numerous childhood problems that could be resolved without medication. Love your child(ren). Listen to them. Do not be afraid to look within yourself when attempting to deal with your child’s problems (you are their biggest influencer). Also, if going through something as stressful as a divorce, your children must come first. I am only speaking from my own experience.
I will say I wish I was NEVER prescribed Ritalin OR Dexadrine.
I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Posted by ADHDkid on Mar 14, 2015 at 4:54pm

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