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how to get 4 yr old DS to poo on the toilet. HELP!

(7 Posts)
Hopintobed Thu 29-Sep-11 13:55:02

DS has just turned 4 and has been potty trained and dry since just after he turned 2. It was relatively easy though he never used the potty just wanted to stand and wee at the toilet which is fine and he never has accidents. Even at school he remembers to go and can do it independantly.

However, poos are a different matter altogether. I can count the number of times on one hand that ds has done a poo on the toilet. Normally he waits until he's in a pull up at bedtime and then poos. Says he can only poo in the dark so we got him a potty in bedroom so he can poo in there instead but still he poos in a pull up. He seems to need to be half asleep and laid down bfore he relaxes enough to do it hmm .

He went through a phase of holding it in and not going for 12 days at a time when we took him to the doctors who recommended laxatives. However this did not resolve the problem. It just meant he couldn't keep it in so was soiling in his pants which made him even more anxious about it.

It doesn't seem to hurt him when he poos but I don't know if he's had an experience of being constipated when it has hurt and that's given him this issue? We're really not sure really but the doctors and HV said he would grow out of it. Just a bit concerned really as he's is capable of going to bed and not weeing the bed but we have to put a pull up on for poos or else he just will hold it in for days and days until he gets ill. Any suggestions? Sorry it's long!

jigglebum Thu 29-Sep-11 14:20:36

No advice I m afraid but watching with interest as have 3 and a bit ds who is virtually identical . Wees no problem from day 2 of potty training but says he can't poo in the toilet and will ask for a pull up - do it in there and then put pants back on (after being changed obviously!) He seems to need to squat in quiet to do a poo.

A while ago we had success for a couple of weeks with cars as rewards for poos but one weekend of being too busy to stop to go I think he stopped and has not done it since. Reluctant to hold off the pull ups as like your DS he then holds it in for days and is in pain.

dm1mum Thu 29-Sep-11 21:25:09

Have you tried letting him wear the nappy or pull-up but asking him to sit on the potty/toilet whilst he uses it? So he gets used to the position/feeling IYSWIM. Encourage him to do this during the day when he needs rather than waiting so that it doesn't always happen at bed-time.

I went through similar with DS1. I started with insisting that if he wanted a nappy that was absolutely fine but he had to sit on the potty to use it (also had to be majorly bribed with reward chart to achieve agreement on this!), then after a few days I started only fastening nappy loosely (pretended I was in too much of a rush to do it properly the first time), then just putting it on the potty but not round him etc etc Quite quickly he realised that he didn't really need the nappy and started using just the potty - it was only a couple of days after that he moved onto the toilet.

It would be a bit harder to do this loosening thing with a pull-up though so I'm not sure if that helps. It could be worth a try as I found that getting my DS1 to agree that he would use the potty in the nappy wasn't too hard and once he was used to that some of the fear /big deal about it disappeared.

Good Luck!

TastyMuffins Thu 29-Sep-11 21:45:35

My DS was like this but without the pull ups. Never did sit down wees from the off. He would poo in his pants, often hiding behind furniture, it was virtually impossible to get a poo in the toilet until the day of his 4th birthday when he miraculously said 'Mummy I need to go poo poo' as we were about to leave nursery. Unfortunately it was still not plain sailing and more often in the pants. By the time he started school he was getting better but would usually only ever poo in the toilet at home and not when out. He had big issues with needing privacy when he went to the toilet - odd that he was happy to walk in on me anytime!

My DS needed to feel no one was going to walk in on him and I think the nursery toilets were too open. He was reluctant to go to the toilet if he had to ask others. It helped to reassure him that I wasn't going to come in, or if in a public toilet would wait outside the cubicle until he called for me.

I soon learned his 'poo face', a very serious look, behaving shyly and talking with a low deeper voice when he needed to poo. He didn't always recognise this (has some sensory issues) so we talked about how it feels and I encouraged him to understand when he needed to poo.

We read lots of poo books like 'Everyone Poos', talked about poo a lot and about sounds it makes going into the toilet. Pointing out animal poo too.

When he started to go in the toilet he had a great desire to show me his poo, and blush tell me what letter off the alphabet it looked like. Of course he got loads of praise for this. He is now 6 and a half and I have had to work a bit on getting him to stop sharing so much! He is much more regular now, still usually goes in the evenings when he gets home but has been when out and told me about it. If we go away I sometimes notice he hasn't been for over 24 hours so have to talk to him about it again and encourage him to sit and try for one or ask if he wants me to go away/wait outside the door etc and remind him that it has been ages since he's had a poo accident and a shame to spoil that.

Hopintobed Sat 01-Oct-11 10:36:37

Thanks for the suggestions. The thing is that DS is absolutely insistant that he does not need to poo so will go sit on the toilet and 'try' but nothing happens. Put him to bed and he poos. Getting him to sit on the toilet with a pull up or nappy doesn't seem to work for him, he's just too uptight and anxious to relax I think.

I really don't know how to approach this at all. We have taken the just relax and leave him to it approach until now but I am aware that he is getting older now and many of his peers are dry at night and it seems he is the only one who still wears a nappy at bedtime, especially for poos.

DS can easily got 3 days without a poo and it doesn't seem to bother him at all. He eats loads of fruit and drinks fresh juices etc.

He just seems to have a real issue about pooing in general. Even as a baby he would crawl behind a curtain or the sofa to poo and cry if you looked at him doing it.

I really don't know where this anxiety surrounding it has come from or to even start to tackle it. I am going to try and get him to sit on the toliet and try for a poo after lunch today but I am already thinking it won't result in anything.

He seems to need to be sleepy and laid down. Maybe he just holds it in for so long it comes out in his sleep as nature just takes over when he's relaxed. It's so tricky knowing how to handle it without 'punishing' him or making the issue worse!

TastyMuffins Sun 02-Oct-11 08:26:26

Does your DS feel that he could go to the bathroom by himself without having to tell anyone or without anyone knowing? A tough one because of course a small boy can get up to all sorts of mischief in the bathroom. When
My DS used to say in his deep voice 'I'm going to the bathroom and don't come in. If the cat was in there, she has to be removed first. Try letting your DS know that you might knock on the door if you are concerned but won't open the door if he says not to. Emphasise that no one can see him.

My DS never went when trying for a poo until after he'd cracked it. Any attempt before was futile, now he is happier to discuss it.

Kity Sun 02-Oct-11 16:16:00

Havent managed to read all the replies, so apologies if Im repeating what others have said.
We have just come out of a 6month nightmare trying to potty train my son (turned 3 in September) Like yours and others, the weeing was no problem at all, took to it straight away, no interest in potty. Had very few "wet" accidents. But the pooing was another thing all together, we didn't manage one in the toilet at all for the first 5months, and we tried EVERYTHING, poo goes to pooland book, praise, rewards, absolutely everything. I would sit with him for ages in the bathroom coaching him, and he would push and push and go red and say "I don't need a poo" then we'd go put a nappy on him for bed, and he'd do it straight away!!!

Anyway, as I said after trying everything, I gave in and phoned the health visitor, she said to basically stop making a song and dance about it, no fuss no huge praising, no sitting and coaching him through it, no offering gifts/chocolates etc. In fact just don't react in anyway to the poo issue. She said if you know when in the day he is likely to poo (which we did, it was usually just after dinner) to put him on the toilet and tell him it was time to do a poo, then sit and read a magazine, or if you felt comfortable leave him in the bathroom. She did say he's not going to just do one straight away but it was important we stopped making this a big deal (by this point my son had seen me VERY frustrated and upset by the whole thing, cleaning poo every day is not fun!)
So this is what we did, it took about a week before he did a little poo!! The first time he actually pooed in the toilet, Id left him in the bathroom just to get on with it. I did go against her advice and jump and sing for joy when he did it, and he did get a lollipop, and he was so so pleased with himself. This was about 3 weeks ago now and since then all poo's have gone in the toilet! touch wood it continues! He will now just take himself off for a poo, but we all have to go and look coz hes still very very proud of himself!!

For what its worth, Im not sure he recognised the sensation of needing a poo, I think it took him a while to get used to something coming from there (sorry tmi!) and what the sensation was. Now he stands and gets a look on his face and says "I need a poo" and I think that literally is it, he knows he "needs" one!
I also think not making a big fuss really really helped, leaving him or sitting and reading a magazine in the bathroom just took the pressure off him I think to perform??

Hope this helps in some small way, you have my upmost sympathy coz this above everything else, breastfeeding, weaning, sleeping etc has been the one thing that has brought me to my knees!!
I wish you lots of luck, and speaking from experience, you will have a little boy who poos on the toilet soon, I promise!!!
K

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