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Aibu to want to cry over ds constantly pooing his pants?

(76 Posts)
kaymondo Sat 15-Mar-14 07:49:44

Ds is 3.8 and is consistently pooing in his pants/pull ups. This has been an ongoing issue since he was potty trained a year ago. I've tried everything and just don't know where to go next. It is the most frustrating thing I've had to deal with as a parent and my patience seems to be waning. He is choosing to do this, as opposed to it being a physical issue or him not knowing he needs to go. I know this because we've had a couple of spells of a few weeks where he's had no accidents and used the toilet. Then he reverts and goes back to the pants. I am at the end of my tether. In all other respects he is a bright articulate little bit, no sn's, I just can't see where we've gone wrong. He goes to nursery/preschool at the moment and they are at a loss too. My main concern is that he starts proper school in sept and whilst pre school are set up to deal with accidents, I'm not sure they'll be so understanding once he goes into school proper.

After getting up this morning to find he'd wet his bed and pooed in his pull up I just want to cry.

I've tried ignoring it, bribery, poo goes to Pooland. Just don't know where to go now.

Sorry not really an aibu but posted in toilet training before and got no response so here for the traffic.

LibraryMum8 Fri 28-Mar-14 04:56:41

TO stay clean and dry!

LibraryMum8 Fri 28-Mar-14 04:39:20

I earned my sainthood toilet trainings ds. He was extremely difficult to train, extremely resistant. It literally took years to train him though he is very bright.

Rewards never worked, he would earn the reward and then go back. I showed him how to clean himself up and when he had an accident I'd just say 'You know what to do ' in my most calm manner possible. No getting angry, never shaming, etc. Just lots of patience and No reactions.

Though I will say if he's in a pull-up don't expect him not to stay clean and dry at night. For ds and many other children this is literally impossible. It feels just like a diaper.

Ds finally was 100 percent trained maybe by age 7 (no accidents for a year) after three years of me earning my halo. It will come. I never thought it would!!

mathanxiety Fri 28-Mar-14 02:40:01

Hope it went well Kaymondo.

kaymondo Wed 26-Mar-14 09:21:52

Hi all

Thank you all so much for your input - sorry I've not been back for a while as life got in the way and ds went through one of his 'good' spells with no accidents so it wasn't at the forefront of my mind. However after a very bad few days we're going to the docs this afternoon and will take it from there - I'm really grateful for the info people have provided here as I feel a bit more confident about what may need to be considered and hopefully not being fobbed off.

Someone up thread commented that they were surprised I'd not been the docs before and maybe I should have but every time it got to the stage that I was going to, ds had a good spell and it would seem unnecessary - and because of that pattern of behaviour I thought it was not likely to be a medical issue. I now know that is not necessarily the case.

I'll update after we've been this afternoon.

FreeWee Sun 23-Mar-14 00:05:23

I did caveat with 'if you're convinced it's by choice' If it's not by choice & you're in the slightest doubt then of course a carrot/stick approach isn't going to help if it's medical. But my DN voluntarily went in his pants aged 9 because he couldn't be bothered to stop what he was doing & go to the loo (his words) so the carrot/stick approach worked with him because he wasn't allowed to do the thing that was 'distracting' him from going to the toilet. As I said if you're convinced it's by choice it's a potential course of action which has, with my particular DN, worked.

Pancakeflipper Tue 18-Mar-14 16:22:43

My DS had a problem pooing (similar age to yours OP in fact a dew months older when we resolved it).
What worked for us was an idea the H gave that I thought was bonkers.
When DS wanted to poo we would put a nappy over the loo trapped hammock like by the loo seat. So he sat on the loo and pooed into the nappy. I read many books sat on the bathroom floor.

Apparently a fear of pooing into the abyss of a loo is quite common . Then one day we happened to run out of nappies.... And he was fine. And already for the school loo.

Good luck. ERIC are good listeners!

minouminou Tue 18-Mar-14 16:14:45

Mathanxiety - some of your calls may have been transatlantic, but we had an entire planet involved!

Thinking back, DS said a few times he was going to poo in his knickers forever, as he liked it. We tried offering cheap nappies specifically for him to poo in...he wasn't having it, we tried a potty, just in case he was scared of the water splashing...wasn't having it.

We knew he had control because he'd come home from nursery and poo within a few minutes - always announced, always same corner. The people (and planets confused ) that cared really made a difference to him, so I think if this method has made it into a book, then others should try it.

We did actually take pics of poo in the toilet and claimed to send them, when in reality we just sent a text prompt for fulsome praise.

It really was very wearing, but with a bit of imagination we cracked it.
Obvs if there's a medical issue it's a bit more complicated.

Wurstwitch Tue 18-Mar-14 04:51:50

Ds is in the same position as willitbe's ds. He's 12 now. Mostly clean, but occasional soiling.

He was given the full works, X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests etc. Dx around 9, too, but has always has problems with continence. I have lost count of the number of shitty pants that I have washed, he has washed, I have thrown away, he has hidden.

He has never had a problem at school, but did once stink out an entire bus for three hours because he had been on an overnight trip and attempted to withhold. Weirdly, no one realized it was him. His sister was on the same trip and knew. He came back from a weekend cub camp with an entire hold-all full of soiled clothes.

Yanbu to want to cry. Been there, got the t shirt. School used to piss me off as they were aware of his issues, but seemed not to notice when he was wet/ soiled. It would take me a fraction do a second at pick-up time to clock he'd had an accident. Sometimes it was very obviously hours old.

Anyhow, yes, enuresis clinic.

mathanxiety Tue 18-Mar-14 03:43:10

Minouminou, I used a book called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day (or a week, something like that) for training the DCs. An important part of the training was to have a list of People Who Care lined up to take the excited call of the trainee who had managed to keep her pants dry and clean all day. The People Who Cared were primed to offer enthusiastic encouragement and congratulations. Some of our calls were transatlantic and quite expensive, and the DCs are a bit embarrassed at the thought of them all now, but they loved sharing the good news back then.

mathanxiety Tue 18-Mar-14 03:38:05

A reward in the evening for a day without poo in the pants and again in the morning?

This may sound weird but how much play in sand and mud does he get to do?

A high fibre diet without lots and lots of water will result in constipation.

Finally (assuming there is no constipation problem that needs medical intervention) -- who does the clean up every time?

Get him to do the clean up himself, every single small detail of it. It will be time consuming and he will prefer to do something else, and you of course would be able to get it accomplished in a fraction of the time, but he needs to take ownership of the entire process of pooping here, and if he poops in his pants or in his bed then that will include cleaning up afterwards, just as at this point pooping in the loo will involve wiping himself and washing his hands.

I would advise buying some disposable latex gloves and starting to teach him to clean up. It won't be fun. But he will own the whole process. YANBU to be angry and frustrated but do not do this with anger or as a punishment. You are empowering your DS and putting the process entirely in his hands.

Defnotsupergirl Tue 18-Mar-14 03:09:56

From a different point of view, I work in a healthcare setting and we have a lad that attends at 17 years old with a psychological constipation problem. He was brought up with Mum and Gran who used to give him lots of attention when he was on the potty/toilet. He started deliberately holding on which caused accidents. This progressed to him then having more attention as then he was "ill" which he enjoyed. This then caused him to live up to that status. After years of Mum and Gran keeping him off school due to stomach pain and accidents followed by extreme laxative treatment which meant more time off school and him living up to Mum and Gran's idea of what is wrong with him, he is now getting proper treatment and is being sorted out and is now clean. The psychologist treating him said there is a time and a place for celebrating correct toilet training but what this poor lad needed was someone to be displeased and show disgust at the accidents. He has no SN and is otherwise a typical, if cosseted, teenager. Mum & Gran still are adamant he is "ill" physically and do not accept it is a mental affliction at all. It is only his determination to be typical and clean that is overcoming this, they are still trying to persuade him not to listen to the doctor and that he is ill............

willitbe Sun 16-Mar-14 13:10:43

FreeWee - sorry but I too think that that idea is not good as if it is a medical reason it will be cruel to wave the "carrot" in front of them that they cannot achieve, and threaten the "stick" for something that is not their fault. And if it is by choice, then getting to know what the cause of the choice is more important, as if it is fear then forcing them to do something that frightens them, might just cause more harm than good. Getting to understand the reason is hard but much more likely to lead to possible resolutions.

henryhorrid - it is not soiling as in huge accidents, but he does get overflow. So it is only a little more than "skidmarks", and to be honest it is not noticeable to others. The occasions where he withholds for a while and then has a small accident before getting to the toilet, he deals with himself at school. We are hoping that the movicol will do the trick eventually.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Sat 15-Mar-14 22:52:25

Free wee that would be a very cruel way to treat a three yr old, especially if he has a medical problem and can't help it!

FreeWee Sat 15-Mar-14 21:17:31

I have never potty trained so my advice is probably totally useless but if you're convinced it's through choice rather than accident I would cancel all planned things for the week and say "we can't leave the house till I can trust you not to poo your pants". Then for every day without an incident I'd organise a fun activity out for the next day (immediate reward). Hopefully the gaps will be longer & longer until you don't have to do something 'specially' fun just normal fun IYSWIM.

henryhorrid Sat 15-Mar-14 20:51:25

willitbe - does he still soil? How does he manage at school? Do they think his bowels will recover by movicol alone. I understood that if diagnosis was this late it is difficult to regain bowel control and an operation may be necessary. I agree it is not about the diet if a child is witholding. In fact too much fibre especially with not enough water can make the problem worse.

willitbe Sat 15-Mar-14 19:51:24

Henryhorrid - you asked about how my son is doing now. As he was not diagnosed by X-ray until he was 9 years old, the recovery is a long slow process. There has been some improvement in that the pain of impaction has gone, but we are still using the movicol every day, plan was for two years of it.

I am not sure who said it, but fruit will not prevent constipation in a child who holds back from going to the toilet. My son has always had an excellent diet with plenty of fruit veg and fibre, part of the reason I assumed constipation could not be the situation.

I wish I could turn the clock back and realise that poo pants are not a problem. My son still soiling at age ten is not an issue regarding school. Maybe if I had been less stressed about it I might have stopped blaming behavioural issues sooner?

Pipbin Sat 15-Mar-14 18:00:45

I am a reception teacher and although it is 'proper school' we can and do handle soiled pants all the time. We never tell a child off for soiling. Just make sure you send him in with a change of clothes. Some parents send their child in with one at the beginning of term and keep it there until it's needed.

One thing I would warn against though is telling him that he can't go to big school if he still soils himself. I know of one child who turned this on it's head and continued to soil so he wouldn't have to go to big school!

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Sat 15-Mar-14 17:54:17

And I recommend movicol- 2 sachets a day for a good few weeks. Tis good stuff and harmless. Needs to be used for at least a year, every day, to retrain the bowel properly

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Sat 15-Mar-14 17:47:55

Don't be too sure he isn't constipated. Lots of fruit does not mean he isn't constipated. Sounds very like my son and daughter- they had been constipated then had an uncomfortable poo so were then terrified of going on the loo. Going in your pants is easier, in their mind. It can be very complex and getting angry doesn't usually help that much. I understand how hard it is to be patient though!

minouminou Sat 15-Mar-14 15:21:30

....although there may have been one or two quips about Uranus....

minouminou Sat 15-Mar-14 15:20:08

We had this with DS. He did it quite deliberately, announcing he was going to poo, going into a corner and doing it in his knickers.

We had lengthy talks about it, tried all result.

What cracked it in the end was taking a photo of any poos he did in the toilet and "sending" them to significant people (we didn't send them in reality). These people were primed to send a text back saying "Well done!"

One day he announced: "I'm going to poo in the toilet all the time because it makes Saturn happy."

We didn't bother asking.
Whatever works for you, DS.....

RedFocus Sat 15-Mar-14 14:36:16

I am amazed that you haven't taken him to the GP to rule out a medical problem! Have you spoken to your health visitor at least?
My daughter was exactly the same but I took her to the doctors and it turned out to be because she was constipated. She had some mild laxatives and that sorted her out within 2 weeks.

NoodleOodle Sat 15-Mar-14 14:24:20

My friend's child had a problem with this. She started to give porridge made with water every morning, then sit on toilet a few minutes afterwards with parent paying attention doing something the child enjoyed - reading story or singing nursery song. It did help, the combo of porridge, routine, and attention but, they did need Movicol too so, I would agree with the advice to get it medically checked.

girlwhowearsglasses Sat 15-Mar-14 13:53:57

OP check out ERIC - they are: "ERIC is a national charity that supports children with continence problems and
campaigns for better childhood continence care - See more at:"

They ahve a helpline. My DTs were both wetting all through reception and we were incredibly lucky to have a really proactive teacher.

Number one thing: don't try and go cold turkey at night. Night time is a completely different issue. Check out the factsheets on ERIC

Herecomesthesciencebint Sat 15-Mar-14 13:49:15

My 6.5 year old DS is still soiling. But it's better than it was. He went out of nappies easily at 3 and was fully clean for a year then just started doing full poos in his pants. He would literally look us in the eye and do it almost without thinking.
It's taken huge amounts of biting my lip but anger does not help.
There are some good websites about and suggestions and personal experience would be that criticism does nothing but damage everyone and that gentle and consistent support is all you can do.
We never found rewards useful as after a certain time it clearly wasn't in his control and he still rarely says he needs a poo and def never seems to smell it. So offering a reward just becomes demoralising for him.
It's tricky as they get older and other kids become aware and can be cruel.
We praise DS if he goes to the loo when asked or prompted without any complaining and he now helps us clean his pants etc. we celebrate improvements however minor and things are better but us have to view the bigger picture to see that as week on week can be variable.

It's important to avoid constipation as that aggregates it.

I really empathise, it's been a v long road and I've had alot of private tears and bought ALOT if little boys pants.
But like everything, this too will pass!

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