Witholding Poo

(16 Posts)
BikeRunSki Sun 09-Oct-11 21:22:12

DS is 3.1, and took to potty training like a duck to water 6 months ago. At first no probs.

In the last 3 months or so though, he has started holding in his poo for several days - up to a week or more. As time between poos goes on, he eats less and less, which means he is very grumpy (aftr about 3 days he is unbearable, unhappy, unsettled, angry) and does not sleep well - usually wakes up at 5am asking for milk. He's never been a great eater, so reduced eating can get down to almost nothing. He's also never been an every day poo-er, but used to manage every other day in nappies.

He gets plenty to drink, lots of fruit and veg and porridge etc, not loads of dairy and never white bread. I also give him a teaspoon of Lactulose from time to time (less than once week, I really don;t wan t to make it a habit) to keep things "soft". If I suggest he has a poo, tries a poo etc he point blank refuses to even try, He only goes when the abdominal pressure and cramps are so much there's no stopping it and then he gets very upset that he has poo-ed his pants.

When we talk about "big boys have a poo every day, shall we try" he always thinks it's a good idea, but won't do it. Stickers, sweets and other bribes don't work either. He is a very stubborn non-pooer.

Can I do anything to regularise him?

It's probably worth mentioning that I am 38 weeks pg with no2.

Beaurevage Sun 09-Oct-11 21:37:10

No experience in this but have read on here that sometimes they feel 'separation anxiety'. In other words, they don't want to let their poo go as they're afraid of what's going to happen to it. Apparently there are some good kids books (can't remember them right now) about poo going to join other poos etc. Sounds strange but apparently it works...

BikeRunSki Sun 09-Oct-11 21:48:45

Anyone with experience of this?

dinkystinky Sun 09-Oct-11 21:52:49

DS1 was potty trained just before he turned 3 and would only do poos in his night time nappy for some reason. We found reading poo goes to pooland (google it) helped. As did not heaping on the pressure but after bath time encouraging him to sit on his potty to see if he can do a poo (warm bath helps loosen things up in there sometimes) - the first time he did a poo in his potty I had to leave the bathroom to answer the door for a few minutes and came back and he proudly told me he had done a poo and thereafter each time he wanted to do a poo he told me to go away for a few minutes and would call me when he did a poo. I think sitting on a potty and being able to brace and push the poo out helped him. It will pass I promise.

Beamur Sun 09-Oct-11 21:53:02

Google 'poo goes to pooland' or similar for a well known story to read to kids.
I'd persevere with using lactulose, I daresay if he's holding that much when he does finally go it will be hurting him, thus feeding the cycle of holding on because he will be afraid to go because it hurts.
I don't think it's that unusual for kids who are dry to take a while to catch up with poo training too.
He may be reacting a bit to the imminent arrival of the new baby.
My DD was a reluctant pooper too, she would hold on every day and only go once she was in her night nappy and on her own, she finally got there though, probably took another 6-8 months after she was ok with using the potty for wees though.

Beamur Sun 09-Oct-11 21:53:47

I think privacy is an issue too - my DD would only go when she was on her own.

Mouseketool Mon 10-Oct-11 10:28:05

If it's affecting him as much as you say then I would def use lactulose daily. I have been using it for a couple of years daily on DS - apparently it's important not to let them get into a holding it in routine as it's a vicious circle as the poo gets hard inside them then hurts when they do poo. I only use about 3ml/day.

Lactulose works by drawing water into the bowel so keeping them hydrated is good. I find after the bath is a good time to give them privacy on the potty as the water pressure from the bath helps the lactulose draw the water in to make the poo soft so they get an urge to go

If lactulose isn't working, go to the GP and ask for something else. If you search constipation on here there is lots of experience & advice, the main thing being to sort it as quickly as you can so it doesn't become a big behavioural issue and the bowel doesn't get stretched

My niece was on lactulose daily til she was 6 FYI

Poo goes to pooland link

FeelMyWraith Mon 10-Oct-11 10:32:17

I've been there. This book is fabulous.

The GP should be able to help you if it gets to the point that nothing's worked and there's no improvement. A combination of psychological help (looking at why it's happening and working through it) and physical help (getting him pooing using lactulose, movicol or similar) should work.

FeelMyWraith Mon 10-Oct-11 10:33:00

Sorry to be brief, bfing and one handed typing. I know how worrying and upsetting it is to see your child going through it. It can and will be sorted out though.

NinthWave Mon 10-Oct-11 10:37:19

I could have written this post a year ago BikeRunSki - my DS ended up on Movicol as he was a champion poo-withholder! Like you, it was around the time I had DS2. It started after a bout of constipation left him with a fissure - it was horrible for all of us and affected him for months and months, he was so afraid of it hurting like that again sad

Agree with keeping the Lactulose up - it isn't absorbed by the body so won't do any harm at all longterm. We found we had to give a few teaspoons a day at first, and a 'maintenace' dose every day for a few months.

He's 4 now and still needs reminding to go; it's as if the withholding has become a habit he can't quite shake off.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Oct-11 11:24:36

My DS has been on lactulose since he was 6 months old. He also withholds. You can see him bent over, red-faced trying to stop it!

We only give him lactulose now if he hasn't been for a couple of days and go straight in with 10ml (less doesn't seem to have any effect). Then if he hasn't been by the 3rd day, he gets a glycerin suppository to force him to go.

The more they hold it, the worse it will be to come out and the more likely it will be that they withhold next time. The trick is to make them go before it becomes a real problem. My DS is now 2 and he hardly ever needs intervention now. However, he is not potty trained yet so I am not sure how that will affect him.

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Oct-11 12:04:29

Thanks for all your advice folks. I have just spoken to HV too, who has said much the same thing, and I have found "Mr Poo" on Google. I think I will give him a bit of Lactulose every day to try and get him used to the idea of daily poos.

I just couldn't possibly aks him to drink Movicol, I have had it myself and it is revolting!

I used to mix my daughters Movicol with milk in her cereal she didnt even know it was there

4madboys Mon 10-Oct-11 12:24:54

my ds4 is like dinkystinkys child! out of daytime nappies, still wears one for bed and does his poo in that, during the day you can TELL he needs a poo and he gets grumpy, wont eat, keeps going off to the toilet but generally wont poo, then you put him to bed and he does it in his nappy! arghh.

he CAN poo in the potty and the toilet and has done so, infact we had three times in the last 5 days where he DID this and we make a big fuss and he was really pleased with himself and desperate to tell dp when he got in from work that he had pooed in the potty and then last night it was in the nappy again.

he also doesnt generally go every day and will often leave it 3 days or so, when he does go his poo is HUGE, not hard at all, but looks too big for him! i was debating taking him to the hv/gp to see if they had any ideas or if i could do anything to encourage him to go more regularly. the days where he pooed in the potty he did so everday/every other day and seemed much happier and more comfortable for it.

he has a healthy diet, eats well, lots of fruit etc.

i shall look up the recomended book!

and privacy is an issue here as well, so ds4 goes to the toilet on his own and jsut shouts when he wants his bum wiped!

ginaribena Mon 10-Oct-11 20:41:02

I had big pooing problems with my DS, he was always very uptight when having a BM, as soon as he could crawl he had to be on his own behind a closed door, and as a toddler was always far too busy to stop what he was doing and go. Then aged 3 1/2 as result of witholding he started 'leaking' diarrhoea due to compacted bowel - a common development apparently, leading to poos in pants etc. It was very stressful, the more emphasis I put on it the worse it seemed to get. I can't say exactly how we got through it as just before he was due to start school he was soiling regularly and I used to worry about going out if he needed a poo.

BUT he did get through it and is now 5 and hasn't had an accident for a year woohoo! I think in the end what we (my son and I) did was discuss it quite rationally in a problem-solving way, and agreed that every evening after dinner he would try and have a poo, and I would give a reward if he did one (e.g. star on chart working towards a present). I picked a time that I would always be at home, quiet time, when body naturally has BM. He agreed to go for it and hasn't really looked back. Gradually he has become less 'uptight' about it, takes a lot more initiative about going alone and its not really an issue. He even told me he did one at school the other day!!!

I don't know your DS obv, but I think factors that contributed to this in my son were largely developmental so be patient - my DS emotionally quite immature, very intense personality and gets very engrossed in what he's doing. In the end he just became a little more relaxed and managed to 'let go' a bit, how Freudian!

Iatemyskinnyperson Mon 10-Oct-11 20:58:41

DS1( age 6) the same, can go days without, then does enormous toilet-blocking ones - conger eels I call them! (sorry TMI)

His pattern is just as most of the PPs describe, except now age 6, this seems to have become normal for him. I think his bowel has become stretched, so now he doesn't feel the urge to go daily. I really would urge you to act on this, we went through some very distressing experiences.

Now he continues to feel and act fine, even when he's staining his pants and it's obvious to me by his posture and behaviour that he needs to go. I am struggling to resolve this, we've had all the conversations, tried bribery, reasoning etc etc, but he doesn't seem to be able to go more regularly sad

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