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Is it ok to get angry about pooing in pants?

(17 Posts)
KleineMaus Sat 17-Oct-09 19:30:45

DS is 3 and we're past the basic potty-training stage. He cracked the whole pee thing no bother but has always had issues with poo. He just won't poo in the potty. I gather this is common enough, but it's starting to drive DH and I crazy. Generally, he just saves it up until bedtime and does it in his pull-ups after we've gone downstairs. Sometimes he needs to go during the day and makes everyone, especially himself, miserable, wailing about how he can't do it. He does seem to genuinely have issues with doing a poo. Sometimes he says its sore. He does tend to do massive poos (sorry for tmi) and it does seem to panic him and he is distressed. What I'm trying to say is that it's not about playing games or trying to annoy us. We're starting to lose patience though. Today I had to stop DH from roaring at him after an afternoon of being miserable he did a poo in his trousers. I just don't think it helps, but DH says my methods aren't exactly working either! Is it ok to show anger about this do you think? Does anyone have any advice? I have a two week old baby and although I don't think it's related to this as it's been going on for ages, it does make it harder to take effective action on it as I just don't have much time (or patience - very sleep deprived at the moment). Sorry for long post.

whomovedmychocolate Sat 17-Oct-09 19:36:30

Have you considered that he might have a medical problem like an anal fissure which is making it painful to poo? If he's doing big hard poos he's probably got a sore bum. Some lactulose can soften them and make them easier to come out. Upping his fruit intake can also help. But put the poor lad on the loo. DD refused to use the potty for poos but will happily poo on the loo with a seat insert in for stability.

Now personally I would suggest you sit him on the loo before bed and do his bedtime story there - and if you can get him to sing, you may find he actually does one (it relaxed the sphincter and can make things move.

ShinyAndNew Sat 17-Oct-09 19:39:49

I don't think it is okay to yell no. I can perfectly understand why you would want to, but at the end of the day it is only going to make him dread pooing even more, incase he does it wrong.

Dd1 often has bowel troubles and more often than not a course of lactulose and Senna does the trick. I'd have a word with your gp.

jabberwocky Sat 17-Oct-09 19:40:01

I would wonder if he has some constipation type problems. Maybe an impaction from holding it in so much? I would get him checked out just to be sure before chocking it up to behavior problems.

KleineMaus Sat 17-Oct-09 19:41:30

Yes, it is possible that he might have an anal fissure, but the poos aren't ever hard and when we up his fruit/fibre intake he gets really soft poos that seem to hurt irritate him more. Also, he's quite happy to do a poo in his nappy.

whomovedmychocolate Sat 17-Oct-09 19:47:17

That's interesting. So it sounds like it's a psychological thing then. He's either terrified of getting it wrong, or you have taught him that pooing in pants gets attention. (Not a criticism btw).

When he does a poo in his pull up, what do you do? Does he change himself or do you do it? I would make no comment whatsoever, make him get the pull up and clean himself up, change pull up and then go back to bed wordlessly.

Then the next day at bedtime, sit him on the loo and be really positive about 'knowing you can do it because it's the right time to do it now' to reinforce what you want.

But shouting really, really doesn't help.

Peabody Sat 17-Oct-09 20:09:45

Don't show anger. Don't shout. You will only make the situation much much worse and he will start trying to hide his poos from you because he is scared of your reactions. He needs lots of love and support from you over this.

Pheebe Sun 18-Oct-09 08:47:48

he's quite happy to do a poo in his nappy

Personally I think this is the key. DS1 was the same he was scared to do his poos in the toilet because it just felt so weird to him. Just like your ds he would wait til he got his pull-ups on at bedtime and do it then. Also even when he was in nappies if we were out he almost always waited til we were home to poo, literally as soon as we walked in the door.

Toilet training is a complex issue and I think we tend to rush children into it at our pace rather than at theirs. If he's comfortable doing his poos in his pull-ups, let him. Make allowance for this in your bedtime routine and praise him for doing it - well done for having a poo - so pooing is associated with a positive reaction. At the same time build a toilet sitting session in during the day and before bed - lets go try and put mr ploppy in the toilet - use reward charts, treats (trip to park not sweets) whatever it takes for him to see pooing in the loo as a positive experience too. Don't sit there with him for ages, a few minutes then - ahh well mr ploppys not ready yet lets try later. Most importantly of all don't rush him. This could take weeks/months but it's his body and so you have to go at his pace.


hettie Sun 18-Oct-09 08:49:01

ok my ds is exactly the same (although younger and it's only been going on for 4 weeks). Knows he wants to go, hops around getting increasingly agitated/distressed, but will NOT sit on potty and goes in his pants. There is obviously something about going on potty that he is really not happy about. I should add that I am very sure that he is not nor never has been constipated.
You have my full sympathies about how dotty it can drive you as it's exasperating and can rule your life (as you say he gets increasingly grumpy and bad tempered until its done). I have read around and it's not uncommon. Got this book from amazon and it is helpful, but not necessarily the solution. Personally I am going to go to GP and ask for a referral to a specialist (I think CAHMS- child and adolescent mental health as I am sure it is psychological) if it goes on for more than 1 more month as I don't want the problem to become protracted. BTW the book suggests a combination of reward for going (toy sticker), okus ignoring as an issue as much as possible ("mummy need to pooh" gets nonchalant ok etc reaction) combined with something aversive ie has to clear it up and take off pants (or wash pants out from accidents in day at a time when he would be doing something 'fun' eg watching his fav programme)

girlsyearapart Sun 18-Oct-09 08:55:21

Our dd did the same. Fine for wee but not for poo. She was doing it on the floor frequently. Nightmare.

Actually did get a bit cross with her and said we would have to give all her nice new knickers away to another little friend.

Next day she stopped doing it in her pants/on floor.

Might work if you take him to choose nice pants (asda, primark) and make big deal of keeping them clean.

purepurple Sun 18-Oct-09 08:57:26

No, never.
Getting angry is counter-productive.
Doing poos always comes later than doing a wee.
If he is not keen on using the potty, can you not let him use the toilet?
Use a reward system, like a sticker chart or smiley faces.
Give him a reward for just sitting on the potty, or toilet.
When he is relaxed about sitting on it, then it will only be a matter of time before he does a poo.
Then make lots of fuss of him.
If he has accidents in his pants, then the best thing to do is to just clean him up, without making any comment at all.
Don't tell him off, don't say you are sad or cross.
Get him to be involved in cleaning himself up.
You would be surprised at the number f children whom O come across who have real issues given to them by their parents about pooing.
I am a nursery nurse and some children are absolutely terrifed of pooing in their pants because their parents will tell them off. One little girl at the moment asks to go for a poo every 5 minutes. Because her mother has made her so terrified of soiling her knickers. She did have an accident last week, and she was so traumatised, she was unconsolable.
You could try to increase the fibre in his diet, if his poos are a bit large and hard.

linglette Sun 18-Oct-09 10:01:25

don't shout. There's a bit in the supernanny book saying the only way forward is patience and shouting makes the problem last longer.

Have a neighbour who is a consultant paed. Her four year old was still in pull-ups for poos. She let him grow out of it himself (no medical issues - just anxiety)

NoHotAshes Sun 18-Oct-09 11:01:51

This is something I read somewhere - I have no idea of how well it works and you might hate the idea, but just thought I'd mention it in case it is helpful. Some children apparently are scared about pooing into a potty or toilet because they're used to the feeling of the nappy against their bottom and pushing against that. So the suggestion is to put a muslin on the toilet seat and let them sit on that to poo, so they can feel the cloth against their bum, but can get used to sitting on the toilet at the same time. Once they're used to that you can progress to doing it without the cloth. It would mean you'd need to tip/scrape the poo off the cloth into the loo and then wash the cloth, but then presumably you are already having to do that with pooey pants so it might not be much worse.

Pannacotta Sun 18-Oct-09 11:15:56

Sounds like he probably is worried/scared of doing a poo on the loo/potty, I know my DS was frightened he would fall into the loo (and he refused to use the potty ever).

I agree with the others not to shout, I'd try some of the other advice and see how you go.

stinkypinky Sun 18-Oct-09 11:31:44

Don't shout, but do reinforce each time that poos go in the potty/toilet, not pants.

Take them with you when you do a poo.

Give little rewards (sweet, activity, star, whatever works for you) when a poo goes in the right place.

What worked for us was a charming little 'lift the flap' book with lots of different animals and their nappy contents.

It is a very complicated thing for children to learn, understanding urges, when to react to urges, learning to be patient, telling the difference between pee and poo sensations.

It is very very common indeed, does not mean he is psychologically scarred, or has a physical problem (parents have enough to worry about), but hard poos do need positive action to soften them.

pranma Sun 18-Oct-09 16:03:50

A while ago I smugly said my dgs was finally poo trained because lots of potties all over and he took himself off when he needed to.He was 2.10 then.3 weeks later-he would only poo in his pants.He is now 3.1 and almost trained again.This time I bought a bag of plastic cowboys with horses etc[was going to be dinosaurs but he is scared of them].If he went in potty or toilet he got a horse,next time a cowboy etc.He was so excited about the whole thing.After a week accident free there were a few left and dd said,"Now you are such a big boy you can have all these cowboys because you can poo in the toilet by yourself."That was a couple of weeks ago and he has had one accident but seems to have 'got it'at last.

MrsMagnolia Mon 19-Oct-09 19:18:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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