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DS Refusing to go to the toilet at school

(20 Posts)
katalex Fri 16-Sep-11 14:26:39

I had to go and pick ds up from school at 1 o'clock because he was desperate for a wee but refused to go in the boys toilets. The only time he will go is when I go with him (in the visitor toilet). He turned 4 in August and is finding school a bit scary, especially the toilets. One of the teachers let me take him into the boys toilets to show him around but he is still saying he doesn't want to go in there on his own and won't go with any of the other boys in his class.

I don't know what to do. I can't keep going to school every time he needs a wee, especially as I work full time and 2 days a week I have an hour and a half commute. Any suggestions?

KaFayOLay Fri 16-Sep-11 14:42:36

Do you know why he won't go? ... Apart from you being there?

Until you find out why, I don't think you can try and think of a solution.

katalex Fri 16-Sep-11 14:47:01

He just says he wants me to go with him. He won't give me any other reasons. He was the same in pre-school but he was only ever there for 2 1/2 hours so it was never a problem.

sittinginthesun Fri 16-Sep-11 16:07:28

I would use bribery! Have you tried a sticker chart?

arinita Fri 16-Sep-11 16:15:57

Does he know how to go without pulling his trousers all the way down?
My nephew used to have the same problem - wouldn't use the school toilets at all and after a few accidents at school/on the way home my SIL found out that the other boys were making fun of him because they could see his bum when he went to wee. It took a bit of practice at home but he can now wee without his trousers round his ankles!

CrystalChandelier Fri 16-Sep-11 16:23:12

My DH was like this. He claims he didn't use the school loos throughout his primary school career, initially because they were 'too big and echoey', and later because they were 'a bit stinky'. He says he just used to wait until he got home. Perhaps it's not uncommon.

I agree the school can't keep calling you - it really is down to them to boost his confidence here. Have you pointed out that out?

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Sep-11 17:03:56

it's very normal, and school should have a far better idea of how to deal with it than calling you in - that is frankly bizarre.

they need to get a grip.

if it helps, ds1 is 9 and is currently seeing his second school counsellor and third paed for related toileting in public issues.

does he go on his own at home? i think bribery is a good way ahead here. at this point it's so normal, but if it isn't dealt with (and not by calling in the parent ffs) it can become entrenched. it needs sorting now. school have to see to it, with your support from home, not there in person.

poor little man. and grr at the school. although i would say, this really shouldn't have been allowed to go by in pre-school either. perfectly normal in preschools and nurseries to have a toilet break where everyone has to go and try, and wash their hands, and then go back. part of preparing them for big school. <sigh> grr at the nursery as well.

you might need to get some further involvement - try asking gp, but i might be inclined to go for play therapist or child counsellor if it is a true phobia rather than the usual toilet anxieties.

AngryFeet Fri 16-Sep-11 18:09:39

DD was like this and at 7 is still funny about public loos but we had to get her past it so we chatted to her about what was scary. She does not like the flush or the handdryers so we took the lid of the cistern off our toilet to show how it works which helped a lot and told her to shut the lid before flushing which makes it easier for her. She stays away from the dryers too. Can a TA take him when he needs to go for now - it might be intimidating to find his way and possibly encounter lots of other children in there.

AngryFeet Fri 16-Sep-11 18:10:49

Oh and crazy about the school calling you. It is not unusual at all and they should be able to deal with it!

rebl Fri 16-Sep-11 19:13:17

This is really common, especially for boys. Often they don't know how to use an urinal or how to wee standing up. School should be dealing with this and certainly not calling you. All they're doing by calling you is teaching him that he has you at his beck and call.

cat64 Fri 16-Sep-11 19:37:24

Message withdrawn

chillikate Fri 16-Sep-11 22:07:33

DS wouldn't poo at nursery - after lots of tears, soiled pants and laxatives we came to understand that there was a lack of privacy which was affecting them. The toilet cubicles only had curtains which the staff put up high because the kids played with them.

Could privacy be an issue for your DS??

DownyEmerald Fri 16-Sep-11 22:52:31

Your poor little ds. I was so worried about dd going to the loo at school - she never did at playgroup but could hang on the 3 hours. The relief a few weeks in (they were on half days for ages) when she told me she'd been to the school loos - I'll never forget it.

I think the school have handled it very badly, he is just 4 which is so tiny, they must have met this problem before.

They are going to have to use the TA or someone to take him in. Gradually he will get used it and will get more confident about it. I suppose the TA is all new to him now as well which doesn't help.

But yes, bribery. Especially if it isn't something you use often, it can work a dream.

brawhen Fri 16-Sep-11 22:59:57

This is definitely not uncommon - school should be more helpful.

My DS1 (4.5) is in his 5th week at school and only started going to the toilet in about week 4. (Wet himself once in class and several times just after leaving school at end of day before that). He wasn't the only one who wet himself in first few weeks.

School were quite relaxed and helpful about it. They gave him a tour of toilets several times, said he could choose a buddy to take with him, could ask to go in class time or choose to go at playtime etc. We had home chats about courage & braveness and have praised him for success. Fingers crossed that he's got it cracked now.

Good luck!

katalex Mon 19-Sep-11 13:28:05

Thanks for all the replies. Dd has been ill all weekend so I haven't been able to respond.

We asked ds on Friday if he will go to the toilet at school if he gets sweets after school and a new toy car at the end of the week. He said he didn't know. We asked him if he wanted to take a boy from his class or a teacher. He said he didn't want anyone to go with him (other than me).

arintia - he won't go standing up so he would use a cubicle.

madwomanintheattic - he was going to the toilet on his own at home, albeit reluctantly, but now it is starting to become a problem here too. He screamed yesterday when dh told him that I couldn't go to the bathroom with him. He is now making a real fuss and will make a mad dash to toilet when he realises that we're not going to go with him. He doesn't do it every time but he does always say he needs me to go with him.

I'm quite happy to bribe with sweets at home and he may respond to this but I don't know if the school would be happy to do this or if it would be setting them up for problems in the long term if they had to give him a sweet every time he went to the toilet.

WRT the school calling me in - I've told ds that I won't be going in again just because he won't go to the toilet. Maybe if he wets himself it might make him go?

sittinginthesun Mon 19-Sep-11 14:29:01

Poor you, it is a worry.

Honestly, if I were in your position, I would get a big jam jar, bag of marbles and sit DS down and say, as enthusiastically as you can "wow! Look! A brilliant jar to show how fantastic you are at going to the toilet on your own. Everytime you go, you can have a marble. If you go at school, mrs x will tell me at pickup, and we can count out the marbles at home. On Saturday, we'll count them out and, if you've got xxx you can choose a treat. What shall we get - a book? A car?"...

Make it as positive as possible, no options, no choices, no questions. Tell school your plan, and stick to it.

You have to make him want to do it, and see it as a positive thing.

Well, that's what I'd do. Xxx

suburbandream Mon 19-Sep-11 14:38:58

DS2 was like this when he started primary. He was fine in the nursery as they had small sized loos and only cubicles, but when he went up to primary he refused to use the loos. He didn't like the urinals because they would randomly flush water through which made him jump, he didn't like the noise of the hand dryers, and there were only two cubicles which he said were always busy when he went in there. Plus he said they were really smelly!! TBH, he used to hold on all day basically and the problem eventually resolved itself as he got older. I agree with the idea of star charts/marble jars for encouragement. Sorry not to give any great advice but just wanted to let you know you're not alone!!

HooverTheHamaBeads Mon 19-Sep-11 19:12:38

What sitting said; it is clear and excellent advice.

After you've made a plan don't talk about it further and don't take him to the toilet in your own home if you know he is physically capable of going by himself. Be clear with the school.

As much as possible it needs to become a non-issue at home and keep up the praise/reward for if/when it happens at school.

catchingzeds Mon 19-Sep-11 19:19:40

My DS was exactly the same when he started school last year, the school were fab helping him to get over his worries. They began by taking him to the toilet when there were no other boys in there and the staff member waiting outside with a sticker. They eventually progressed to DS going with another carefully chosen boy from his class. There were lots of tears at the time but within a few weeks he was over it and he now can enjoy good old toilet jokes with the rest of his friends wink I hope your DS gets over his fears soon, he just needs a lot of patience and TLC, starting school is a massive change for him.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Mon 19-Sep-11 19:44:28

Just what the others have said, my DD did this last year. Ask to see the school nurse if the school are being awkward, suggest a TA or teacher takes him when he needs to go. My DD has a secret signal she gives to the TA when she needs to go and it is working well. This is quite common and your school are being silly!

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