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5 year old still poos on the floor.(14 Posts)
Hello - just started using mumsnet after a long break (so hang in there while I relearn all the abbreviations !), desperately searching for some help. We started toilet training DS at 2.5 but still cant convince him to poo in the loo. We managed about a month earlier this year when he started using the loo at home and even a couple of times when we were out but it took a lot of encouragement and he soon went back into doing it in his pants again. When he started school I put him back in pull ups just because he really doesn't care if he does it in his pants (never asked to wear a nappy for a poo etc) and I really worry about the other children noticing as he won't tell you if he's had an accident. School have been kind and clean him up but I don't know how to help him get over this when he's not at home as much. He's never been constipated (took him to GP again this week who said, no he's not - for a long while he was too much the other way) and seems to have a pattern of going after lunch when he is at school . He loves school, it's tiny - 7 kids in yr though and he doesn't yet have many friends but when he moves up next year he'll be in with the older children and I don't see him getting better before then. What do we do? He's had rewards etc - charts didn't work so he had small rewards for progress (he has so many bloody poo toys now) and when he'd done really well got him a big reward but although he was made up with himself he slowly went back to messing again. He goes on the loo for 10 mins after meals (but won't do this away from home and needs heavy bribery to do it at home) and I leave him in his jamas for as long as possible because that's how we got him to use the loo before - going naked first, then moving onto loose clothing so he didn't have anything to catch it in - though now he's gone even further backwards and just lets it fall on the floor. I've spoken to so many people but because he's not constipated they can't help . we've seen GP, I've spoken to ERIC lots, now waiting to see hospital continence people via school nurse. He's fed up too of us trying to talk to him about it. We've also checked for food causing it. Everyone smiles kindly and says he'll get there himself and that his problem is common but it's so stressful, I'm so worried that other kids will notice and hell get teased but also that we've missed something that means he cant do it. I'm hoping someone here has had a similar problem and can say how they got past it. Sorry this is so long and thanks for reading x x
It's taken me a while to write this and there may be cross-posts or further info - there are no responses on the thread at the time of writing this.
You don't mention any SN diagnosis - is he being assessed for anything or are there no concerns there?
I'm no expert so this is just my gut feeling and ignore this if there are SN issues as then you need the advice of an SN expert.
Kids don't have a lot of control over their lives, most decisions are made for them. There are two things they have full control over - what they eat/refuse to eat and when/how they toilet. If an otherwise NT child is exhibiting seriously non-conforming behaviour in either of these areas I would look at the bigger picture. How much choice and independence does he get, how trusted does he feel?
If he wasn't ready for potty training (and 2.5 is on the early side) and this has been a constant emotive issue for the family for the last 2.5 years it may be beneficial to "back right off" for a bit - at least a few days, up to 3 weeks if you can bear it. ie for that set period there us to be no emotional response to anything that happens with toileting, wherever and whenever it happens. No rewards or bribery for any desired behaviour, no disapproval or negative comments about undesired behaviour. Whatever mess is made, clear it up without comment. Don't describe the incidents as "accidents" if he is making a choice where to go. Separately from this and with no link or reference to such incidents, ensure he is getting lots of demonstrative love and affection and plenty of hugs, and also plenty of opportunities to make decisions.
When that set period is over, without restarting any persuasion or bribery start involving him in the cleanup. An otherwise NT 5yo is plenty old enough to fetch the kitchen roll and antiseptic spray and a disposal bag and contribute to getting the floor hygenic again, or if in his clothes using loo paper to scrape the poo off into the loo.
After a period of zero pressure to conform but a requirement to be involved in the consequences he may find it more convenient to use a potty (I assume that you have one in every room of the house? If not then get more potties).
Thanks - what is NT? He's otherwise normal and hasn't had problems elsewhere in development. We have had to back off before because it's been so stressful for him and us, which is why it's been so long getting this far - we have in the past asked him to help, put dirty things in the wash etc but he doesn't seem to mind. I don't think we're particularly strict on choice at home either, he gets choices about stuff but what you say does make sense because he doesn't like being told point blank to do stuff, so we've always been more easy going and keeping the real you must do this for when we really need him to do as we say (like crossing the road for example). My worry is that we've stepped back before and he's been happy but not changed at all. there comes a point when you have to say no, you're too big to do this anymore! It is really hard to ignore it altogether. I think we'll try at least stopping asking him about it and not talking about accidents like you suggest and just stick to the daily routine of toilet after meals and see where we go. But I was provably saying that this time last year and thinking I still had 10 months before he went to school and that time just went and we're still where we were then. We got the potty out again at the beginning of This year which helped but it got to be a squeeze to fit him in it so he switched himself to using the loo.
Thought id post an update as it's been a few weeks since posting. We backed off entirely with him since last posting. So basically cleaning him up but not making any comments about it and not reminding him to go to the loo. He has at least started to tell us when he's pooed himself but that's all. No change in him actually choosing to go to the loo himself at all. Although he went once about three weeks ago on his own, for no real reason, but not since. So we're back to where we've been for the last two years and the short phase of him using the loo at home at least seems ages away now. I don't know where to go from here as I know if I introduced a new reward system he'll just zone out and fail at it - hoping someone has some suggestions....
Have you tried a negative consequence? I might get flamed, and please feel free to ignore, but when I was toilet training DD she crapped in her pants constantly. She was 3.4, dry at night, wee-ed reliably on the loo, but pooed her pants all the time. She preferred it to going on the toilet. One day I got very upset and shouted at her and cried. I know it's against all parenting advice, but I was at the end of my tether. It seemed to make her realise that pooing her pants was actually frowned upon - all advice is about being really positive and not reacting, so I think she genuinely thought it was fine to poo there! I'm not advocating losing your rag, but what about thinking of a mild sanction that you would be happy with and trying that?
Is he actually aware of the urge to go?
I'd take him out of school for a couple of weeks and get him trained. He's much to old to be doing this and it's not fair on school. His centre of attention is focussed on pooing in loo but he's being given inconsistent and confusing messages. Assuming he can understand spoken language and has no language processing difficulties I would tell him very firmly what the expectation was. I would ignore and not do constant reminders or "do you want to try" conversations. I would maybe give lunch and then go for a short walk and then bring him back, sit him on loo and tell him to perform. I'd do this after every meal. I might read a book to him whilst he sat there and I'd get a step so his feet weren't dangling. Has he seen others poo in the loo? Does he know this is the norm?
If he performed anywhere but in loo at any point I would make my displeasure clear but not make a huge fuss. I would tell him he was wrong and the loo was the place to do it. I would not put pants or pull ups on him during first part of training but watch carefully for any signs of action and quickly whip him onto loo. If he goes in loo, I would give a positive message but no toys.
We had/have this, but the situation has much improved. Like you, our son has plenty of control over his life and plenty of choices, but he is VERY stubborn and very bright , which is a big part of the problem.
Anyway, he is 5 and we did negative consequences. No favourite TV show if he refused to go when we told him to (he would refuse to even try). Then we moved onto reasoning with him, which is a benefit of him being 5 and not 2. We taught him that he was hurting his body, we read him books about the digestive system and what poo is and why our bodies try to get rid of it, we taught him that peers would not want to sit with him if he smelt of poo and we talked about how his behaviour was negatively affecting the rest of the family. Sometimes it did feel cruel to say these things, but I believe that it was necessary. I don't think negative consequences or occasionally appearing to lose your rag are bad things if done sparingly. Sometimes children need to learn that their behaviour choices are not OK.
He still regresses from time to time, but he is so much better now, and poos every day (sometimes we remind him, sometimes he goes of his own accord, but he always goes). I can't believe we got here and I wish you every bit of luck in tackling this very difficult issue
Just wanted to add my voice to the negative consequences idea.
I sympathise with you so much. My DD was hell to potty train. Like a PP's child, she was very stubborn and very bright. She knew exactly what was expected but just... wouldn't. She wouldn't wet or soil herself either, she'd just hold it in all day (she must have been in so much pain) but couldn't/wouldn't unclench. It was horrendous.
Eventually, two months before her fourth birthday, I said enough was enough and we were going to crack it this time. We'd tried everything. Day one went predictably. And then, at bedtime, I got angry and said we were going to sit in the bathroom until she did a wee. And she did. And that was basically the turning point.
She still tried to kick against the whole toileting thing in other ways. She wouldn't use public toilets. I remember one very low point when we had to take her and her potty out of Pizza Express on her 4th birthday and into the car park so she'd do a wee Honestly I cringe thinking about how difficult she made things, and the humiliating things we had to do to appease her.
But, she grew out of it. At five she's fine. Normal. No longer kicks off about using any public toilet of any description. Haven't forgotten how bad it was though!
So, if the matter of fact, no emotion, "don't care if you poo on the floor or not" approach isn't working, then maybe getting cross will. You don't have to scare the life out of him, but as user says, sometimes children need to learn that their choices are not OK.
I think the backing off with no emotion stage is necessary to sort of "reset" the situation and then approach it from a different angle once everyone has calmed down. DSS went though this phase also and it was stressful for DP and inas well as DSS. We had a cooling off phase then also approached with the "this is not okay" attituted coupled with now you've done the right thing you get rewarded. Now the only problem we get is the occasional danger fart 😂 nice to know we weren't there only ones going through this! I promise there is hope.
Hello - thanks for all your messages everyone, he is better in that he has started to be fairly reliable about going at home - he'll take himself off to do it, plus noticed he will wait until he gets home if we are out at the weekends to use the loo at home. School no way though. No amount of bribes or encouragement. We have a reward box going which has worked at home and had a long chat about why he won't do it at school. He worries about other people coming in although he's allowed to use the disabled toilet so that shouldn't happen. We tried the get tough and clean yourself up type approach for
a while before and it was horrific, he got very upset and lashed out - punches and kicks, I saw stars once when he got me at close range! He knows it isn't ok to do it full well and I think he's a bit ashamed too now so it is becoming more complex - telling him off makes him feel worse about himself and yes there are times when I've done that because I've had enough. I've also bawled my eyes out in front of him before when he's had accidents in the past and I just couldn't cope with the stress of it, he got upset too but it changed nothing. Its a massive deal for him, going to the loo, it isn't just a day to day task, and it's been like that from day one. Now it's become a behavioural thing entirely made worse by years of trying and I don't know what else we can do :-(
Have you thought of seeing a child psychologist? Also, I know it's not very helpful but do remember this will not, and can't, last forever. You won't have a 16 year old who craps in front of his mates rather than use the school toilet! You will get to the other side eventually
I did think of that but we've already seen so many people (continence service, hv gp etc) because when he was younger he did have problems with him going too much which we've sorted by changing his diet a little bit - but mostly they all said he'll do it when he's ready and fear I'll just get the same answer again. Am thinking perhaps we get to Easter hols and take him somewhere and say we don't leave til you use the loo here but don't know how I deal with the public meltdown! I have tried before but his capacity to be stubborn and wait it out even when there's a cue if people waiting is massive - how did you get round it HeyRoly?
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