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Poo withholding. Absolutely at the end of my rope

(21 Posts)
confusedandemployed Wed 12-Aug-15 17:36:57

DD is 2.6yo and pretty much dry in the day. However she withholds her poo, which leads to little bits coming out, which leads to me washing about 5-6 pairs of knickers a day, which leads to the smell of shit EVERYWHERE sad

She's been prescribed Movicol, it barely touches the sides (one sachet). I'm considering giving her 2 sachets a day but that's only really treating the symptom, not the cause.

I'm so fucking SICK of scrubbing shitty knickers before they go in the wash. I'd love to be able to buy new every time but she would literally go through 7 pairs a day and I can't afford to throw £5-6 away every day.

She hates the nappy / pull up now but frankly I don't care. She's got no knickers left til they dry overnight anyway.

Please, please, please, does someone have any useful advice?

BollockyBollocks Wed 12-Aug-15 17:42:25

I know you said she hates them but I'd put her back in nappies/pull ups for a bit.
thanks And wine for you. It's shit isn't it? Literally.

Notgrumpyjustquiet Wed 12-Aug-15 17:45:27

Probably daft question and so long ago since DS was at that stage so I can't really remember what worked and what didn't but would rewarding a successful deposit in the potty be a good idea?

Otherwise, brewcake

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 12-Aug-15 17:46:21

I don't know if this is true but when the DCs were younger I read that if you needed a poo it wasn't possible to hold on to it while blowing bubbles. Something about the muscles required. Is it worth trying that (assuming it works!) to get her used to the feel of doing a poo? Sometimes children who've been constipated then hold on to poo because they are scared it will hurt.

Guyropes Wed 12-Aug-15 17:48:37

If movicol is only treating the symptom, have you identified what is causing the behaviour? She could have caused fecal impaction, which needs to be treated before she can change her behaviour.

Definitely up the dose of movicol, you can go up to 12 sachets per day, and it's not really a laxative, in that all it does is keep the poo wet and easy to pass.

I totAlly get your frustration, but this will pass.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 12-Aug-15 17:48:59

Is it withholding or encopresis?
It sounds like encopresis, which means she has absolutely no control over it, so it's a bit harsh to be cross with her.

The movicol will eventually help to break down the blockage (the reason for the seepage into pants as the looser stool squeezes past) and so her bowels will not return to normal until this is finished (and as it can also take some time afterwards for the sensation of 'needing to go' to return, it may take even longer before she is completely clean).

At 2.6, I would be handing you a grip, I'm afraid. We were still dealing with encopresis nine years later, using suppositories as well as lubricants like movicol.

confusedandemployed Wed 12-Aug-15 17:49:42

Thank you. Welling up at your kind words. I think she will have to go back into nappies.

Notgrumpy she did do one poo in the potty last week, we made an enormous fuss of her and gave her a sweetie and a sticker but nothing since.

I hate this so fucking much. Excuse the language, it feels good to write so many sweary words.

confusedandemployed Wed 12-Aug-15 17:56:15

I'm fairly certain it's not encopresis because the leakages are exactly the same consistency as the poo when it does finally appear. I can also actually see her physically tensing up and avoiding going.
I used to do it myself and I know the signs. I have so much sympathy for my mother now.

notascooby007 Wed 12-Aug-15 17:58:42

My ds was like this for ages it turned out he didn't want an audience so to speak the minutes hours I spent in the bathroom with him was wasted. Soon as I left the room he quite happily poo on the toilet. I'd say 30 min after every meal sit her on the toilet maybe with a book/toy and leave the room for 5 mins. If she does something great if not try again after the next meal. Try not to make a big deal out of it harder than it seems i know but the bigger issue you make of it the more anxious she'll become, simply clean her up change her without speaking and let her get on with her day of course if she does do it on the toilet lots of clapping praise a little treat etc

BerniceBroadside Wed 12-Aug-15 18:04:31 is very helpful with this type of issue.

JaniceJoplin Wed 12-Aug-15 18:09:18

I'm not sure that I agree that the behaviour is causing the constipation. I think she is probably just constipated (its usually lack of fluids and is very very common with toddlers) and that she doesn't want to go because it hurts. I think you need to increase the dosage of movicol until she is having 1 soft poo per day. I'm surprised the Doctor hasn't advised this.

We have been on movicol for 2 years in various degrees. My DD was hospitalised with constipation for 4 days. it was actually very serious as the tube out of her bladder was crushed by the mound of poo closeby and she couldn't empty her bladder for over 24 hours and it nearly burst. She had to be catheterised. She was pooing regularly although it was small poos and occasionally diarrhoea. I had no idea there was this huge mass in there until she literally wouldn't move one morning and told me she needed to go to hospital. It's worth seeking more medical advice I think. A good Dr can feel where they are lumps or you can have an ultrasound. She needed 8 movicol a day to clear her insides for at least a week.

JaniceJoplin Wed 12-Aug-15 18:11:27

The thing which is good about movicol is that it makes the poo so soft it is impossible to hold it in. I think that's what makes it work.

passmethewineplease Wed 12-Aug-15 18:18:40

I feel your pain OP but wouldn't worry too much just yet, she's still relatively little. My five year old DD doesn't poo in the toilet, she has pull ups, it is such a stressful thing. My DD isn't constipated but has anxiety about poo and toilets. Could this be what your daughter has?

DIYandEatCake Wed 12-Aug-15 22:06:38

Only a bit of hope - that it might be a horrible but relatively short-lived phase. My daughter was a poo withholder for about a year (from 1.5-2.5), and did the same as yours after potty training (though she did it with nappies as well). it was like the poo poked out a bit and then went back in? She would eventually poo in her pants. After a few long weeks she finally pooed on the potty. She discovered she liked pooing on the potty and the withholding stopped. We used Movicol as well, definitely persist until the poo is soft and can't be held in, and use whatever bribery it takes to poo on the potty (and agree with the pp who suggested giving her some privacy).

Lndnmummy Thu 13-Aug-15 16:13:54

Reading with interest as my ds is exactly like this!

Iggly Thu 13-Aug-15 20:33:46

Maybe it hurts her a bit. She's so young that it will be quite simple - it hurts and she doesn't want to.

Has constipation or impaction been ruled out?

I remember mine complaining of hurting poo at a young age.

Hidingbehindclouds Thu 13-Aug-15 20:44:25

My ds was the same and I too despise movicol because it just gives them runny poo! My new GP prescribed glycerin suppositories. I was instructed to insert one at the same time every day for a week then pop ds on the toilet at that time for the following week and he now goes properly and regularly and isn't scared to go

confusedandemployed Thu 13-Aug-15 21:05:58

That's interesting hiding. I may see the doc about that possibility. A long time ago she had a suppository as was constipated due to another problem...they worked a great. Thanks.
So far no withholding poo either though hmm

TonarinoNeko1 Fri 14-Aug-15 21:36:31

I feel your frustration but stay positive - she is still very young and therefore there is still plenty of time to deal with the issue before problems arise at school (a common time for toiletting anxieties to really take hold).
I too was pulling my hair out about 6 months ago when DD (now 3.5) began withholding as I was trying to toilet train her for poos - 9 days over Christmas time was her personal best! And forums did little to allay my fears with lots of posts describing school-age kids still suffering and on medication.
My GP prescribed Movicol which was hit and miss at first, but the goal is to get one regular bowel movement a day, every two days at least. After 1 sachet a day didn't seem to work I tried 2, this is fine. You must measure the right amount of sachet to water or juice - 62.5ml I think (it says on packet) to work effectively. And lots of water/liquids during the day. This will break the vicious cycle of holding on because the poo hurts, and then it is even more painful next time.
You describe small poos and it is vital that she is checked out for faecal impaction (i.e small poos escaping past the large ones blocking the bowel). Your GP should palpate her abdomen (a bit like midwives do!) feeling for blockages. Also you should find out if your NHS trust has a constipation clinic and ask for a referral - my local one does so I got my DD referred and seeing a consultant made a real difference.
Once she started comfortably pooing regularly in her nappy again (and she was 3 mind!) I eased her onto a potty with a plastic mat in the bedroom where she could play with her toys and relax while pooing and now she does regular poos without Movicol (prune juice mixed with water sometimes) every second day at least. My next challenge is to get her doing poos on the toilet (wees are fine) and I have a toy in mind that I will keep just for this occasion to attract her. Finally, there is an excellent book by Anthony Cohn called Constipation and Withholding which reiterates a lot of advice a constipation clinic would give. Good luck!

Jenjen85 Mon 17-Aug-15 18:48:06

My DD now 2.1yr has withheld her poo since the age of about 10 months and I was at my whits end as she was so uncomfortable and constipated the Dr prescribed movicol and lactulose and wasn't really bothered to be honest. I did a LOT of searching on good old (Dr) Google and came across this book Stool Withholding: What To Do When Your Child Won't Poo! By Sarah Ferguson I took a punt and ordered it. I read it cover to cover in one night, it takes you through what/why children withold and I started on the recommended maintenance dose of movicol and within 2-3 days DD wasn't constipated and was (kind of) going. DD is still on movicol but still holds it (no constipation anymore) but I'm struggling to get her to stop clenching when pooing as I want to start potty training. Worth a read of the book for anyone who is struggling with their DD/DS

Jux Mon 17-Aug-15 19:01:52

We gave dd a whole watermelon to eat. There was no way she could have avoided a poo after that. I'm not sure I'd recommend it. We were on holiday with no access to a doctor etc.

Is she drinking lots of water? That's quite often enough to keep it regular - after you've got this blockage outof the way, of course.

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