Poo withholding and effects on behaviour(21 Posts)
Hi, I'm not sure this is posted in the right section but I'm at my wits end with everything at the moment. I've never used a forum before so please be kind! I feel like there is no one I can really talk to as nobody really understands and to some level this includes my husband. My four year old daughter has been toilet trained for two years but only really for wee as she holds her poo in and has done now pretty much for two years. Her behaviour is awful a lot of the time and she is very controlling, particularly around me. She refuses to talk about why she holds her poo in and we are currently waiting for a paediatrics appointment. She constantly has poo coming out and she seems unaware. It has such a huge impact on our family as she refuses to do so much i.e sitting at dinner table, sitting on toilet, having a bath, family days out or meals out will be ruined as she is uncomfortable and then wants to go home. She wants to lay down all the time so she can make the poo go away. I do get frustrated with her and my husband gets cross with me but he isn't dealing with it day in day out as she will only allow me to deal with it. I work full time and have a one year old too, I'm so tired and feeling very low in myself because of everything. Just don't know where to turn. Thank you for listening.
Is she frightened of using the toilet?'some children are afraid of letting go of poo. Some, if constipated are frightened because it hurts. My eldest will only go for a poo at home unless desperate. When training they would only go in a nappy when asleep it took ages to train. It doesn't sound like ours is as difficult as you have it though I'm afraid. Eric.org.uk is a good website. The leaking could be caused by constipation which could be caused by withholding, sometimes the softer poo leaks out around the 'blockage'.
It's a vicious circle, they hold it in, it becomes impacted and then theyre scared. Ask your gp for movicol and suppositories, worked within days for my dd and are now working for my ds. It's hard going and I definately think it's more about fear than control, i think pooing and being aware of it can be dating for a little one especially if they've been constipated in the past.
She's not afraid of the toilet as she will wee on the toilet but only if she's not desperate for a poo. I think it's about being scared it will hurt. We have movicol but I struggle to get it in her as she won't drink it if she knows it's in her drink and she doesn't drink that much, I know I need to get more into her! I have logged into Eric too, thank you for your advice.
If possible it might be more helpful not to see it as though she is controlling, as she is so very young she cannot possibly be intending any of this.
She may be frightened of you controlling her so it could all get to be a vicious circle. It might help to just not mention it at all and seem to pay no attention, but give her a much privacy as possible and try to remain calm yourself.
I think it would be a good idea to see the GP and ask for a referral to someone who could help and go from there. The website another poster mentioned sounds good too.
Ds has had problems on and off with withholding and constipation and it changes his personality and makes him very very clingy and angry and emotional. As a PP said, go to the Drs and get movicol-she could well be impacted terribly if she's leaking poo all the time and it must be awful for you all. I always know when Ds is really suffering as he asks to go to bed, and doesn't run around at all.
OP it won't last forever I promise but I do understand how stressful it is. I put my DS movicol in a sports drink bottle that he can't see into a with a little more cordial than normal. I tell him it's his special magic drink to help him grow big and strong and that seems to work, I dilute it quite a bit but leave the bottle sitting about the house so he eventually finishes it.
Also if you can give her lactulose too.
It's tough bit the suppositories are good when they are in alot of pain and it clears them out, I also use a poo reward chart for DS and he gets a toy at the end if he does a poo everyday.
There are days I still end up in tears over this and it can be so frustrating and even infuriating when I see him purposely holding it in, but gently encouragement helps and I give ds a book or the ipad when he's sitting on the toilet so that he is willing to stay on it for more than 5 seconds.
Thank you everyone. I really do need to make less of a deal of it with her, it is hard though when I can see she's in so much pain. She too will say she is tired and want to go to bed rather than stay up even when something enjoyable is offered. I'm in tears so much over this. I will persevere with movicol.
I'd certainly avoid the lying down and drag her out for a nice long walk to get it going then home and on loo. Will she sit on loo at regular time every day with a story?
Lots of nice oranges, sweet corn and reduce white bread, sugary stuff etc - sure you've done all that.
At four she shouldn't be ruling the home. Sitting at table should be a non negotiable. Baths are also non negotiable- they should be a pleasure with nice warm bubbles and toys.
She'll be avoiding baths because she knows that it will make her need to go. Has she started school yet? It is the most stressful thing about parenting that I've had to deal with, we had a relapse last month after a year of no problems and I was distraught. Straight back on the movicol (low dose) until the holidays and we can get back to normal.
I would try and up her fluid intake massively even without the movicol in it - fresh orange juice, grape juice if she likes that is good too.
She must feel terribly physically and I can imagine you feel a wreck trying to cope with it all
We certainly are making the routines non negotiable but not without a fuss and a tantrum. She used to enjoy baths and we have always sat at the table to eat but now these are becoming harder and harder and my relationship with her is becoming fragile as I'm always enforcing the rules and routines. Even to get her to sit on the toilet at routine times is a battle. She will often say she wants a different mummy. I have started up a reward pot which is nothing to do with poo but purely for behaviour/compliance/kindness etc and this has helped but unfortunately not around the times she needs to poo the most when her behaviour is at its worst. I think trying different juices etc could be a good start for us top up her intake of fluids.
I had this with my dd and it is very stressful, like you I tried everything.
Went to a paediatric consultant, they found nothing. I gave movicol in very sweet juice so she'd drink it, twice a day.
The only thing that worked for me was to ignore it, ignore it and ignore it! - the asking if they need a poo every 10 mins, routines, constant fear of going places just in case!
I'd take spare knickers, wipes and nappy bags everywhere. I remember at times her hopping around in pain holding it in, crying and shouting, I just calmly said that she knows where the toilet is and mummy will help you, she pooed in her knickers for months and months. I was out of my mind stressed about it, but in the end I just gave up caring, if you see what I mean. It started off not being about control but ended up being all about control, so I took control back by not making it an issue that dominated my life and hers.
Drop the routines of toilet breaks, don't ask her if she "needs" to go toilet. if she leaks then don't rush to change her, in fact just stop all talk of poo and toilets
I've been there, it was hell, I thought it would never end, I thought there was something wrong, i researched everything. In the end the ignoring it worked.
Children's movicol shouldn't taste of thing so she shouldn't notice it in her drink. Definitely preserve with the movicol - we had a poo witholder for a month or so and I noticed the change in his behaviour when he was constipated. Movicol sorted that out. We started with a full packet to get things moving then every week decreased it till we no longer needed it. He now goes every 1-2 days no problem.
My dd held it in and pooed herself for months. You need to get her motions softer. Dietary measures could be more dried fruit, dried apricots prunes etc, sprinkle a tablespoon of Jordans bran over her cereal (£1 from health food shops), cut out eggs, theyre very binding. Soups are good for the fluid content and veg content as are smoothies. When she starts going she'll probably end up soiling herself but don't be cross with her, note the time of day it happens, as it gets more regular she'll fall into a pattern. Then make that the time to sit on the loo or you could get a chair type potty if it's the loo that's daunting. Get her to watch a tablet or something to occupy her whilst she's sitting then a huge amount of praise for a result. We did the poo dance and phoned granny to share the good news. Does she watch you poo? She might find that reassuring. People also recommend the 'poo goes to pooland' story. You could Google it. I know how frustrating this is. But it won't last forever.
Definitely agree with backtowork we did all those things too.
It's called encopresis and it's a horrible condition, it affects the whole family when you're stuck in a cycle of withholding and soiling. Medical help isn't great out there for it (my son has it) but I have found a fab Facebook group which has really helped us through it - we are just coming out the other side now after a year of it. But our case was quite mild and people do suffer from this for years. The group is called 'HELP!!!! My child has encopresis' - silly name but loads of useful advice and support if you want to join
We've had this issue with 5yo ds for years - from 3.5-4.5 it was constant, and since school it has been on and off as he won't use the toilet there. He too could never tell us why he holds it in (today for example) but he doesn't like to stop playing and just can't be bothered to go to the toilet sometimes I think. When it was really bad movicol flushed him out (2-3 sachets) but luckily he likes his poo medicine and we dilute it with cordial. We did have to stop it completely after a while though as found it made his soiling worse.
The only thing that really works with ds now is noticing the signs of withholding (standing on tiptoe, hiding, pulling faces) and then doing everything in our power to keep him on the toilet (books usually distract) until he goes. Can sometimes be 15mins though. We've had some horrible tantrums on the loo and I leave it to dh when possible as I get too angry... a poo chart worked for a bit too. Good luck
Also, getting him to blow out - make it a game to blow each other's hair - seems to both distract and help with the movement of bearing down. Make sure feet are supported too and don't let them hold on to the toilet seat as this aids withholding.
I know this hell OP. My 9 yo DD still withholds and has both bladder and bowel problems as a result and constant UTIs. She has medication sees various HCPs and been to CAMHS. And we are still dealing with it daily. The best support I've had was reading Anthony Cohn's book about withholding. Worth getting a hold off.
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