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6 y/o keeps thinking he needs to go to the bathroom at night

(12 Posts)
PapaCoconut Tue 17-Jan-17 21:19:50

Every night, about 5 or 10 minutes after I've tucked the little guy in and said goodnight, I hear him running to the bathroom. Initially, it was "I need to pee" and if he was still awake 20 mins or so later, he'd often return to the bathroom again for another pee. He admitted most of the time it was only a dribble that came out. This has been going on for a little over a month now, except for the past week it's changed to "I need to poop", which mostly results in him sitting on the toilet trying to force out a poop by over-straining. Most of the time, he doesn't succeed and I manage to convince him it's not ready yet, other times, he manages to squeeze out a tiny poop, but I'm concerned he's going to hurt himself by straining so much.

I've tried explaining to him that he shouldn't have to strain like that, and reminding him when he goes to poop how it normally feels, as he poops just fine before at other times of day which rules out any constipation issues.

Tonight would be a good example, he pooped normally around 7pm just before his bath, he got ready for bed, went for a pee and I tucked him in. It wasn't long before he was back in the toilet again, needing a poop apparently, despite already going for a poop less than an hour earlier. He was unsuccessful, which had him visit the toilet again around half an hour later, again unsuccessful, except for a pee.

Myself and my wife are of the opinion this is all in his head, but that's not easy to know for sure as we have no way of knowing when he needs to poop. We can only guess.

He's never wet the bed, or had any other toilet accidents since he was a toddler where he didn't make it to the toilet in time, but that was years ago. So we can't think why he suddenly has this idea in his head that he needs to go so often at night. During the day, he doesn't go often at all, in-fact he often comes home from school and tells us he hadn't peed all day, which to me seems an awfully long time to hold your pee. We've told him to pee at break and at lunch, or at least one or the other, but not to go a full school day without peeing.

Anyone else experienced this or have any tips on how to handle it? I don't want to force him off the toilet in-case he really needs to go, at the same time I don't want to leave him straining to the point he might hurt himself.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Reality16 Tue 17-Jan-17 21:22:27

There is nothing to handle? Your child is going to the toilet, whether he needs or not is irrelevant, he goes back to bed and all is well. Don't make an issue of something that he will likely get bored of after a time.

PapaCoconut Tue 17-Jan-17 22:00:54

Thanks for the reply @Reality16, it's not so much the fact that he's going to the bathroom multiple times, that's not a problem, I'm concerned that he's straining too much over nothing and might end up hurting himself.

Reality16 Tue 17-Jan-17 22:39:46

Well as you are certain he doesn't need, he probably isn't straining. It is more likely to be a stalling technique that lots of little ones try at bed time. If he is straining and trying to poo when he has just been an hour previously then perhaps he needs to visit the GP to find out why

picklemepopcorn Tue 17-Jan-17 23:05:48

That's classic bedtime avoidance. Just ignore, it will pass. Don't comment, don't worry, just ignore.

PapaCoconut Wed 18-Jan-17 00:20:38

Okay, thanks @Reality16 and @picklemepopcorn, I'll back-off and see how that goes. He's not the biggest fan of sleep, so I can certainly accept that he's using it as an excuse, it'd just be the first time he's used his acting skills to pull one over on me. I certainly appreciate the advice. Thank you.

picklemepopcorn Wed 18-Jan-17 08:06:40

Mine listened to story CDs in bed at night. It's a great way to get to sleep.

PapaCoconut Wed 18-Jan-17 11:56:08

@picklemepopcorn yeah, we used to do that too, and while it gave us an hour or so of peace we found it simply delayed the inevitable bedtime nonsense, "I can't sleep", "I feel itchy", "I'm too hot", and of course the latest "need to pee". And this meant he was more tired the following day, which was no good. Bedtime really can be a chore with him, he desperately needs more sleep, but almost refuses to fall asleep most nights and seems to have some kind of separation anxiety at night, even though he's fine during the day. He feels like he's alone in the room, even though his little brother is under him on the bottom bunk.

We try to ignore him if he shouts for us, as he is old enough to deal with being too hot and can take himself to the toilet and so forth. What makes this difficult though, is that he shares a room with his little brother who is only 3 and the shouting/moaning wakes him up and means we have to go to his room to attend to his little brother, which pretty much gets him what he wants. That said, if he continues shouting, we do remove our youngest from the room and let him shout it out. Saying that, this has mostly settled lately, which may be the result of using a sticker chart reward system, but the needing the toilet excuse seems to be a more subtle way of getting our attention.

It seems he's simply got to that age where he's starting to play us. Thanks for the reassurance and advice folks.

ArmfulOfRoses Wed 18-Jan-17 12:00:03

Please get him checked for a uti before you come up with a plan to ignore him.

PapaCoconut Wed 18-Jan-17 12:50:32

@ArmfulOfRoses thanks for the concern, but surely if he had a UTI he would have more of an urgency to pee during the day? As I mentioned in my original post, he'll go a full day at school without peeing, and lately it's not been a pee he needs, it's a poop, so I really don't think this is the case. That said, if an urgency to pee re-appears and it's not only at bedtime I'll certainly get him checked out.

picklemepopcorn Wed 18-Jan-17 17:33:16

Sounds good!
I was lucky, mine fell asleep listening. One made it quite late, not needing to sleep until after maybe two CDs, the other rarely made it through a single story!

PapaCoconut Wed 18-Jan-17 19:35:47

@picklemepopcorn, sounds like you had a little night hawk too! You know what, I really did enjoy that hour of peace, so perhaps we should bring back the audiobooks and just pop them on repeat until he bores of them. He's a big fan of Doreen Cronin's Chicken Squad series, others were hit and miss, each story lasts about 20 mins - half an hour, but we have three of them so that's a good hour at least, and on repeat that's a whole nights worth, yay!

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