What's the best way to get my father to recognize that he's missing the toilet?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 15, 2016
Dnico33 asked...

This really isn't incontinence I guess, but my father goes into the bathroom to urinate and then faces the corner away from the commode and urinates on the floor. I have yet to catch him during the day and I can only guess it's overnight when he gets up 2-3 times. I'm thinking of putting signs on the wall that say "Pee in the bowl, not on the floor" where he would be facing when he's wrong. Any suggestions or similar experiences out there?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Thanks for sharing this interesting question. 

It may sound strange, but I have seen frail older people urinate or spit in odd places when it seems an attempt to communicate something that may be hard to know or say.

It may be only that your father loses his orientation at night.  In his mind he may be in a dream like state, perhaps in a different house during a remembered time of life. This may not be particularly dangerous, but it could be a type of sleep walking which could progress. Ask the doctor if he is taking any medication that could cause sleepwalking.

Also, it is important to take him to his family doctor or possibly to the urologist. Urinating in the wrong place could be his way of calling your attention to the fact that he is not well. It may be a false alarm, but no harm in checking it out.

In the meantime, if it is always in the same location, you could put a chamber pot there to catch the overflow.  

Also, it sometimes helps to make sure that your father is getting all the attention he requires. Try sitting with him frequently, holding his hand. If he is not used to sharing his feelings, you could probe a little. Observe how he is spending his time. When you are with him do you feel a little sad? If so it could be his sadness that he cannot express. Do you feel empty or regretful.  Pay attention to what your father may be trying to tell you that he cannot quite articulate.



Community Answers

Txmom333 answered...

I had this problem with my special needs son who was making a complete mess everytime he went #1. We tried everything, cheerios, prizes, I mean everything but nothing worked. Then a friend of mine said there was this new product she saw in a magazine that transformed your toilet into a urinal called the Urifunnel. Found it on amazon and it was a God-Send! Completely changed our lives and I wasn't cleaning 5-6 times a day. Owner was incredibly helpful and very nice. This product works for all men I' guessing and really think it would help you like it did for me. Hope this helps!