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Poo accidents at 5 years old...advice please!!

(13 Posts)
bessieb Wed 04-Mar-09 16:21:41

I could do with any advice anyone can give me on this one.

My DD was 5 last month. She was potty trained at 2.5yrs and took at while to get it but by 3.5yrs had stopped having wee accidents. She's always had a bit of an issue with poo though.
Alot of the time she's fine and goes to the toilet when she needs to but then she goes through a phase of having 'accidents'..she never does a whole poo in her pants but stains or more often does a little bit of poo in her pants and holds the rest until later.
I took her to a Paediatrician about a year ago and he said there was nothing physically wrong (she's not constipated) but she was a bit lazy and it should sort itself out in a few months. Well it hasn't and I'm debating taking her back again but am in two minds as I'm a bit loathed to get involved in any laxative or drug treatment and I don't know how else he can help if it is literally laziness.

Has anybody else got any experience of this with a 5 year old?? In terms of frequency she probably 'soils' about once a week (always at home, never at school)...and very often leaves going to the toilet for a poo to the last minute. She doesn't seem to like it at all. I don't know whether this is common at this age...or whether it's a more serious problem that I should be getting help for. It doesn't help that I've got a 3 year sold ds who has never had a poo accident since he was potty trained and so the contrast is great.

DD is well behaved generally, eager to please in every other respect and doing really well at school. I am just a bit sick of getting the sticker charts out to try and sort it out.

Any thoughts anyone? I feel like I'm the only mother in the world who has a 5 year old still pooing her pants!

girlywhirly Thu 05-Mar-09 17:39:47

Ooooh, I was like your DD at the same age, but in my case I had a mum who would nag at me to go to the loo and then scold me for soiled pants. The more she went on, the more I defied her; and she often went on about it in front of other mums and children, which was rather unkind. On the whole, going to the loo was boring, needed to stop what I was doing and often missing parts of TV progs (pre video era) so just held on as long as poss.

I have read that some children find the sensation of a full rectum quite pleasurable, which I can well understand, as that area has lots of nerve receptors. It could be that recently starting school hasn't helped, they often regress a bit as they learn to cope with everything. So it could be any of these things aside from just laziness.

I think that ignoring it as much as you can so that she can't use soiling as a defiance, and letting her know that if she soils she must clean herself up, change pants, put in laundry etc. She may find it easier to go to the loo as it's less bother! Please don't compare her to younger children, or DS who never have accidents because you may make it worse.

bessieb Fri 06-Mar-09 14:45:50

You are probably right, it's a bit of defiance...and I've just been reading through some of the posts on the behaviour thread along a similar line and realised that dd is probably pretty mild in terms of problems with pooing.
I shall try and ignore / not make too big a deal of it. It's SOoooo frustrating though.

prettybird Fri 06-Mar-09 15:27:48

You can seach on my name and see that ds Now 8) had a simialr probelm going on until he was 7, nealry 8.

We never did work out a strategy for stopping it - he jsut eventually (we hope) outgrew it - just about it.

He still has a tendency to be bit lazy and often has (very bad) skid marks and occasionally wee pellets in his pants.

We've tried not to make a big issue about it - he gets distressed, angry and defensive when we suspect (ie smell) something and ask him if he needs to go to the loo. A bit of a problem as it's obvious when he does as he has the world's stinkiest poos! grin

Whiel it has (mostly) been resolved now, we are a wee bit concerned at the moment that the old problme will resurrect as he has a broken leg with a full leg cast so finds it difficult to go to the loo and wipe his bum on his own.

Not really much help - but at least you know that you are not on your own.

pianoguy Tue 07-Apr-09 01:48:16

I have EXACTLY the same problem with my 5 year old son. It's sooo frustrating, but I think I'm coming around to the fact that the more frustrated I get, the worse he gets, so I figure I'm going to have to take out my frustration at the gym instead; then just encourage him and work through it.

Good idea to start making him wash his own underwear and get changed etc - I think part of him likes the attention he gets when I have to come with him to the bathroom, clean him and get him new underwear. I think I'll make his underwear really accessible in the washroom downstairs so he has no excuse but to change himself.

Last week he did great - no poo pants at school at all - AMAZING. But then he came home and the weekend was a disaster.

Does anyone have any advice on foods that are good to encourage good 'rhythm'? I gave him a little bit of prune juice at the beginning of last week and that seemed to clear him out pretty good; but that effect won't last forever.

jabberwocky Tue 07-Apr-09 02:17:10

We went through a very similar situation with ds1. In his case, the problem wasn't actually behavioral. He had a fecal impaction. It took quite a while to really know something was wrong physically because he never actually went a day without a poo so I didn't think it was constipation. But then his poo just didn't look right. Sort of too fluffy iykwim. Then one day it looked more like diarrhea but he still just went the one time. So I took him off to the pediatrician who immediately diagnosed the impaction. It turns out that they can get fecal seepage around the impaction which is where the staining was coming from.

The tough thing was that the impaction had stretched that area of his colon. We had him on miralax (I think in the UK it's lactulose?) for a year. Every time I tried to wean him off he would get another impaction. Finally we started with supplements and were able to stop the miralax. That's been about a year ago. We may keep up the supplements indefinitely.

bloss Tue 07-Apr-09 07:57:50

Message withdrawn

Buda Tue 07-Apr-09 08:13:49

Most cases of poo soiling I have heard of tends to be constipation/impaction. It is worth getting him checked out.

2littlehorrors Tue 07-Apr-09 22:13:52

Oh my god, I'm sooo glad I looked on here tonight as I too am at the end of my tether. Bessieb, I could have written this post - only difference is that my DS is now 6. Potty training him was hard and I had to give it a few goes as he clearly wasn't ready when I first started. It's only been in the last year that he's stopped wetting himself every day. Now I have this pooing problem and everything Bessieb is going through is the same as me. I too have tried everything I can think of, reward & punishment, even resorted lately to a blast with a cold shower on his bottom. He protests so much when I try to get him to the loo when he clearly needs a poo or I can smell he's had an accident and then has this half smile on his face when he pulls down his pants!!!!! He tells me he can't help it, but he clearly can as it's rarely an entire poo, generally a big skid, like he's started then stopped. I now want to get some help and intend to call the health visitor tomorrow - is that the right place to start??? I just can't stand it anymore. He's still not dry at night and although have tried him in pants a few times, I get so exhausted with the amount of washing that he goes back into night time pull ups. Feel like I have completly failed him as my DS2, who is almost 4, was dry day and night from 2.5.

goodlifemummy Mon 28-Sep-09 19:45:34

I have four year old twins who have just started school, and one started having poo accidents about 5 weeks ago, before school even started. She says she can't feel it when the poo is coming. I can't seem to stay calm about it any more, its happened three times a day. They have both always been good pooers, is it worth a trip to the doc? I can't believe that she could be constipated or impacted...but she was sooo good when pooty trained, and never had a poo accident then. It is good to know I am not alone!

Jajas Mon 28-Sep-09 19:55:06

Really comforting to read this thread. I have 7yr old twin boys and one has been fantastic at going to the loo since he was about 3yrs old and the other is still a complete nightmare! He always, always wees himself and often has big skids, nearly and sometimes proper poo. It is so depressing when they come home stinking to high heaven and obviously have wee stains on their uniform, I get so embarrassed and frustrated.

Oh they are both still soaking wet at night, ttried with the day trained one to go without a nappy at night but he just soaked the bed every single night so I gave up on that for the moment.

You have my utmost sympathy everyone!

CoonRapids Mon 28-Sep-09 21:49:36

DS1 (5) has had constipation problems and soiling for a couple of years. If it is constipation then the soiling can be involuntary as they get liquid poo seeping past any blockage. It can also cause wetting problems as well. I too didn't realise what a long term problem constipation can turn out to be, once the bowel has been stretched and they don't get the normal feeling that they need to go. Now DS1 has beeb on Movicol paed treatment for over a year and he's no longer constipated

However, he still often won't go to the loo when he needs too, puts it off until we tell him to go and often by then he will have soiled, I suppose not because he's constipated as such but just cos he's left it too late....

It is a frustrating and upsetting problem and would suggest anyone with any soiling gets it checked out just to make sure it's not constipation...because what might have started as a behavioural thing around toileting/potty training can become a physical problem over which the child has little control. So it just needs appropriate treatment and support. The hospital has been brilliant for us and will give extra support over the phone as and when necessary.

Hope you get it sorted bessieb - not suggesting that your DD necessarily has constipation btw.

Herecomesthesciencebint Mon 28-Sep-09 22:02:06

same here with DS aged almost 5

he has either a poo or skids in his pants maybe once a week on average. It is largely that he leaves it too late to go.
In his defense he always has and always has had very loose frequent poos, usually 2x daily at least.
But, he gets engrossed in playing and just tries to ignore the sensation and has an accident. It occurs most if he is playing with a friend or at a party etc which of course is also the worst time it could happen!

i was so anxious about him starting school that it would happen there and send him with wipes and cleans pants and trousers every day but none so far.

I have always hated the whole star chart thing but did start up a sort of one which really seems to have helped. he basically accumulates a 'star' everytime he has a clar day and can trade them in for a treat after a certain amount (but its all a bit fluid!). This weekends treat was a trip to the cinema. However a full on accident results in loss of all stars! Im not a mean mum tho and think i can judge when he has ben genuinely caught out and we keep it all very relaxed. He doesnt get het up about it but it seems to have given him an added incentive. I found the line between wanting to make him understand he needs to take control but not causing him any undue anxiety if he has an accidnt a very fine line to balance.

Provided its not constipation leading to overflow i think lazines is essentially the issue in alot of cases and time/encouragement is all you can do.

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