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Toileting problems, no help, told its normal(44 Posts)
I am at the end of my tether with DS who is 4.9.
He has never got the hang of using the toilet and still has frequent accidents, poo and wee.
Sometimes he seems genuinely unaware, sometimes he knows. He will not go when asked, even if it is obvious he needs to go.
He says he doesn't like going to the toilet!
He is at school now and the other children are starting to notice.
We have tried so many things, he is not interested in rewards, he won't stick to it. School nurse has been useless, GP says they can't refer him until he is seven!
I am so fed up with it! We have a two year old can do it!
I don't know what to do, I try not to get cross with him, but when you can see him pooing in his pants, and insisting he doesn't need to go it's hard to stay calm.
No one will help, we are told its 'normal' this is not normal.
I don't know what to do.
Watching with interest as my DS is 4 in a week and still in nappies. We have found that he's more willing to use the toilet since we fitted a proper child sized seat. But he still doesn't have any feeling of needing to go.
Do you think it's behavioural? As in, this is something he's choosing to do, rather than him genuinely having episodes of incontinence?
It's probably more likely to be behavioural. And I say that as someone with a child that was so resistant to toilet training I thought she'd be happy shitting in nappies until her teens.
I went through hell and tried everything. I tried letting her withhold all day, I tried acting like I didn't care whether she used the potty or not, I tried bribes. In the end, the only thing that worked was anger I lost my temper with her one evening and said we were going to sit in the bathroom until she did a wee, however long it took. We basically cracked it from that moment forward. She was 3.10.
I won't mention the massive issues we had with toileting away from home, but suffice to say she carried on resisting even once we were past using nappies.
It IS hard to stay calm and sometimes it's OK to let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable and you're really bloody angry with them. But that's only if you're sure it's behavioural.
That's the thing, I can't be sure.
He sometimes seems so unaware of it, and genuinely surprised.
Sometimes he says he needs to go, then rushes off.
Sometimes he does a little bit in his pants, then some in the toilet.
Sometimes I think he just can't be bothered.
He always says he doesn't need to go when you ask him, but 9/10 he will go if made to go.
But he is so resistant to going, it's a battle every time.
I have got angry with him, it makes no difference.
Today I was in tears over it with him, still no difference.
Hmm I think either way you start a new routine:
He sits on the toilet hourly for 10 mins regardless of whether he needs to go or not. I would suggest you work out the times for school days and weekends and when he's with he goes to the loo as per the timetable and more often if he wishes...
It is probably a huge source of anxiety for him so I would try and present this as a "your body doesn't seem to be working properly and this is what we need to do to try and fix it" approach.
Accidents at school will still happen but resisting going to the toilet may become less of a battleground because you've told him up front that it's now non-negotiable.
I thought 7 was for being dry overnight not for daytime involuntary soiling and wetting?
ERIC are very helpful. They have a good website.
My DD had problems similar to this at least weekly until last year when she was 8. It was incredibly frustrating and we all tried so many different approaches with her.
It's hard to offer advice without you or us knowing the true problem. I think my DDs issue was partly laziness and partly that she was embarrassed about actually going to the toilet for a poo at school.
My son did this - it was behavioural with him. So we made him sit on the toilet every half an hour which he hated! And once we were out and he pooed himself because he couldn't be bothered to go - we made him clean it up himself. He started using the toilet after that.
I have spoken to ERIC, they said to make him go regularly, but I don't see how I can make him go.
He gets so upset and angry, it makes more of an issue of it.
He's not so bad with wee at school, they send him regularly and he will go, but he won't say if he needs to poo, and won't tell them if he has had an accident.
We have been trying to get him to sit on the toilet regularly and we read a book with him, but we have a 3 month old and a toddler as well and it's hard to sit in the bathroom for 15-20mins when I am on my own with all three of them. Today I had to shut the toddler out of the bathroom as he kept coming in and making a fuss, so had to sit (with the baby) on the side of the bath, reading a story with the two year old kicking and screaming outside of the door whilst the older one tried to do a poo!
I think it is a source of anxiety for him, but I don't know how to make it better. It's become such an issue now.
I wouldn't sit with him. I would tell him to go the toilet and tell him he's not allowed to come back down for a certain amount of time. Then keep doing it at set intervals. If it is a case of he can't be bothered, he'll soon get fed up of sitting there by himself whilst he can hear the rest of you having fun without him.
I'd say it's normal. Not ideal certainly but normal. He's still very little at 4
You're heaping loads of pressure on both him and yourself here. Getting angry and crying in front of him all upset just fuels the fire. I know it's easy for me to say so but complete matter of fact and being kind is the way to go here for the quickest solution
Trust me, he won't be doing this when he's 12. Just make sure you have lots of pants, take him to the toilet regularly without pressure and see how you go . Your way of doing it isn't working so I'd go for a whole new approach
My now 10 year old was a bit like this and still can be on a very rare occasion. He's completely neuro typical, I treated him with kindness and patience and it never became a huge thing
And the 'source of anxiety' has come from you. I don't mean to sound harsh but that's the fact of it. Some small children have issues in this area, they all grow out of them. Just stop making such a massive great big thing of it
I don't want it to be a punishment for him.
I usually get him to help clean up, only so much he can do.
He isn't bothered.
I really wish I knew what the problem was. It makes me sad for him, angry with myself for getting cross, and frustrated by the whole thing.
It's a constant source of stress for all of us, I hate going on at him about the toilet all the time.
The school nurse suggested getting his brother toilet trained, so we did about a month ago (at 2yrs one month) and he cracked it, has the occasional accident, but he is only little. Made no difference to eldest.
This one thing would make such a difference to all our lives, I know that sounds dramatic, but it really would.
Why can't he just pop to the loo like all other children his age?
He's not so bad with wee at school, they send him regularly and he will go
If they have cracked the wees at school, this probably is all behavioural, not anything medical. Which doesn't make it less of a nightmare, of course , but does mean that you should be able to change things.
Have you tried sending him to the loo every hour he's at home (apart from when asleep, obviously)? Once you have got him doing that and hopefully dry, you can extend the intervals so it's every 1.5h, 2h etc.
I'd also try making the rewards very immediate. A lot of children his age have difficulty really imagining a reward that's not the same day. So I'd have a little reward every day that he is dry, not a big reward if he goes a whole week.
I know you said you spoke to them but it might be worth contacting ERIC again (sorry if you have already done this). I only sent them one email for advice and they contacted me back asking how we were getting on and suggesting other things we could try.
It is extremely frustrating and so difficult when there is not an obvious answer for what to do .
I know I need to be kind and patient, but it's very hard when you have a child smearing poo everywhere, and a baby and a toddler to deal with at the same time.
I know we have caused the anxiety, it wasn't intentional! We tried very hard to do the gentle approach, but thanks for making me feel worse than I already do.
I try to be matter of fact, say it doesn't matter etc, but it a big thing. I don't want the children at school to make fun of him, I wouldn't let him go to play at a friends or anything as he will probably have an accident. There is a school trip coming up and I am worried about that.
I can't just send him to the toilet, he will not go. It's a battle every time.
We tried immediate rewards, a little something everytime he went, but it's not sustainable long term (and expensive!).
We currently have a Lego set he is building, and each day he is clean and dry he gets the next bit, but he looses interest and it's taking weeks to build it as it's rare he has a clean and dry day.
Could you break it down into clean and dry hours even? Every few hours he gets a reward? I am no expert though, if only!
Yes I might try them again, the lady I spoke to just said we had to get it sorted as it would only get worse! And we and to make him go.
They were really friendly to me! I emailed.
It's just the rewards aren't sustainable long term, I can't keep buying expensive Lego, he isn't fussed with stickers, or even chocolate.
Maybe I'll send an email then, or get DH to.
Thankyou for trying to help.
I am really struggling to cope with three, and I worry I am falling the eldest. I wish I could just sit and spend time with him, but there is no time for anything.
Is it possible that it's an attention thing for him? Sounds like a busy time for you with a toddler and baby too, maybe in some way he feels this is how he can get attention? (I have 3 dcs too, so I promise I'm not trying to make you feel worse than you obviously already do, and you have my sympathies, toileting has been my least favourite bit of parenting!!!)
Is it worth a chat with him, explaining it is busy now there are three children, and it's important that you and he need good time together, but the toilet issues are taking up a lot of time, so if you work on it together then you'll both have that extra time to do something special?
Do you still read at bedtime to him? Wondering if you could shop together for a new book series and then you get a chapter or two every night he's tried with the toilet.
Re the sitting on the toilet, I'd agree this is the way forward too. Every hour would be what I'd try too.
Please don't worry - you're not failing him. My dcs are 2, 7 and just turned 10. 7&10 year old only remember snippets of stuff from being 4/5. In a year or so when things have settled down and seem a calmer routine, he'll just enjoy having two younger siblings and it will be the norm.
[possibly giving you false hope there, about the settled / calm bit - my house is neither still ]
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