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Age 4 dd keeps soiling her knickers at school but won't tell anyone.

(37 Posts)
katalex Wed 30-Sep-09 16:36:14

Dd is 4 and started reception just over 2 weeks ago. Last week I got a call from the school asking me to take up some knickers because she'd had an accident. Since then she's done a poo in her knickers twice but not told the teacher. Today she told me she'd done it before lunch so her bum was quite sore. When I asked her why she won't tell the teacher she said she didn't know. I asked her if she was told off last time and she said no but when I asked her if she was worried about being told off she said yes.

As a background she used to do this all the time and was diagnosed with constipation with overflow soiling so it was just happening and she didn't realise. She's been taking Movicol since March and was doing really well with no soiling incidents for about 2 months before she started school. So I can only think it's something to do with being anxious as she gets a bit overwhelmed with the new surroundings and all the bigger kids etc.

I'm going to talk to the teacher or ta to find out if there's anything they can do. I know they're busy with 19 other children and don't have time to keep checking if she needs to go to the toilet (especially as she doesn't like going on her own) or if she needs changing. So I don't really know how they'll be able to deal with it. Does anyone have any experience of this or any suggestions for how we can overcome this?

GhostWriter Wed 30-Sep-09 16:38:53

This book is very good if you haven't read it.

badgerhead Wed 30-Sep-09 16:43:46

My dd has the occasional problem like your dd but she is now 12! but still takes movicol (not since she was 4 though). We go through good periods & bad periods of soiling & I need to take her back to the Dr now as prescription due for renewal & we are going through a bad period. The only suggestion I have is to talk to her class teacher in private & explain exactly what her problem is as I can see that your dd is probably anxious about being told off &/ being picked on by the other children because she smells.
I find that mt dd needs to wear pant liners as they can be taken off & thrown away/changed to help with the soiling & associated staining. Good luck & you will be surprised at how many people there are with similar problems!

Elk Wed 30-Sep-09 16:49:32

I had to approach both nursery and reception teachers about my dd1 as she was very constipated and hated doing poos at school. They were very understanding and said it was more common than I thought. For the first term they phoned home and I went and collected her so she could go at home as she was getting very upset. After that she got much better although she still needed someone with her. Both her nursery and reception teachers were happy to be with her (and even give her a cuddle) while she did it.

OtterInaSkoda Wed 30-Sep-09 17:06:36

The best bit of advice I got for this was from one of ds's friend's grandmas. It seems obvious but basically each morning, 30 minutes after breakfast, he has to sit on the loo. 9 times out of 10 he'll go. And we are not averse to being a little late for school if we think he needs to sit for longer (teacher knows). It's difficult to get the balance between being chilled about it and being quite firm when he insists he doesn't need it (when we know he hasn't poohed for three days!) though.
Thing is he will not use the toilets at school and outside of school, and if we let our Victorian parent style bowel obsession slip then invariably he'll get constipated, there'll be overflow, you know the story. We also try to make sure he drinks plenty of water.
Loads of dcs have this problem though, like badger says. it is still really upsetting for all parties though.

OtterInaSkoda Wed 30-Sep-09 17:08:51

Doh - what I meant to say was outside of school he gets too distracted to use the toilet when he needs to. Poohing takes too long and gets in the way of more interesting stuff.

norksinmywaistband Wed 30-Sep-09 17:12:03

dd also 4 with constipation issues(meds here as well)
has an emergency kit in her pe bag. knickers, wet flushable toilet wipes and nappy sacks.
teachers know why she occasionallly takes much longer in the toilet and can sort herself out pretty well if she does have some soiling.
agree that the new environment has had a negative bowel impact though

Acinonyx Wed 30-Sep-09 17:19:34

Similar issues here and dd has a kit just like norks - teachers wouldn't help clean her anyway.

southernbelle77 Wed 30-Sep-09 18:06:17

DD, 5, and now in year 1 also has this issue. In reception she had quite a few accidents although she would tell the ta who would usually sort her out. I had explained to school about it when we started as she was being tested for coeliacs and other things although it turned out she has none of them. I had to go into school once to sort her out as her accident had been so bad that the teachers couldn't deal with it. Apart from that, either she would tell the ta who would help change her, or she would go to the toilet and sort herself out. She had a whole spare uniform at school and about 4 spare pairs of pants in case of accidents.

DD is still on medicine (although not movicol anymore as it was causing her severe diahorrea) and on the advice of the consultant we now sit on the toilet for 10(ish) minutes after dinner every day. She often does not go at this time, but apparently it is getting her body (it brain and bowel) used to the sensation of sitting on the toilet and getting them working together. Since she has started year 1 she has made real progress and now will take herself off to the toilet at school and pooh on it when she needs to. She often tells her teacher she has a tummy ache and they suggest she goes and tries and often comes back feeling better because she has been. Her new teacher has reassured me it doesn't matter if she has accidents and they will sort her out if necessary. She has been going to the toilet pretty much every other day (or every day) for the last couple of weeks when before she would have gone for sometimes 2 weeks without going at all.

It is so much more common than I realised. It is hard (and I have been known to burst into tears in front of her teacher and the headteacher which is VERY embarrassing) but try to stay positive. Are there any signs she might need to go? My dd used to sit in a quiet area with her knees pulled up so I told the teacher and they watched out for this. Try and reassure your dd that it is better for her to tell the teacher or ta when it happens and they will not be cross with her.

Good luck.

cat64 Wed 30-Sep-09 18:17:57

Message withdrawn

verygreenlawn Wed 30-Sep-09 18:34:05

Oh I feel your pain! Ds2 has a similar problem which only really seems to happen at school - he just has to go really urgently and is sometimes a bit loose. The diagnosis we were given was constipation with overflow.

Better now he's in year 1, but from talking to the school (who've been lovely about it) it's very common and sometimes happens for surprising reasons - I know ds2 hates doing a poo at school because the toilet is just off the classroom and the door doesn't lock properly so he feels embarrassed. We also try and encourage him to sit down 30 minutes aafter a meal, and he gets rewarded with football cards for a poo!

MrsPumphrey Wed 30-Sep-09 18:44:30

Our doctor told us it affects a good ten per cent of kids. we had these problems too when dd was about the same age, and as well as following some of the tips here we had a star chart. she chose something she really really wanted and we stuck the photo on the chart. so every time she did a poo in the toilet (any toilet!) we all cheered loudly grin and added a star to the chart and after about two months earned the reward. sounds like a long time but you have to reinforce the behaviour you want until it sticks. that was the first breakthrough really. good luck- it will get better

GhostWriter Wed 30-Sep-09 19:30:43

The constipation and overflow is called encopresis in case you wanted to research it any further.

katiestar Wed 30-Sep-09 19:46:08

My DD1 has the same condition and has been takingf mOvicol for many years.We came up with a system where she had a little picture of a princess to show the teacher if she needed help.

katiestar Wed 30-Sep-09 19:51:36

Mrs Pumfrey Did your child have encopresis ? .With this condition The bowel has lost its tautness and so they can't feel that they need to go.So a star chart to reward/not reward a child for something they have no control over is cruel.

blametheparents Wed 30-Sep-09 19:55:58

I am so pleased I have found this thread.

DD is 4 and ha also just started reception. She takes movicol and has been ok for a while, but not so good since starting school. i get so worried that other children will notice her smell sad
Also worried that she will not be able to go to children's houses for tea as I cannot guarantee that she will stay clean, and also cannot guarantee that she will even come out of school clean.
I am hoping things start to settle down soon

giantkatestacks Wed 30-Sep-09 20:30:53

Another one here - though we have a few things that chime and some that dont - all very confusing.

So pleased that other people are going through it as well iyswim - I really thought it was just us sad

Am not sure my year 1 ds is constipated though - he goes everyday, but at school has problems making it to the toilet. But when asked about it he will say that he just didnt know that he needed to go.

Am not not sure if it is overflow poo or not.

After reading wikipedia I am going to up the fluids and fibre and try sitting him on the toilet for 10 mins after breakfast - anyone got any good ideas for keeping him there and not making it even more of an issue?

cat64 Wed 30-Sep-09 22:16:05

Message withdrawn

mimsum Wed 30-Sep-09 23:01:28

is she drinking enough during the day?

ds has had constipation problems for years - he was on Movicol from 4 to 7 which helped enormously but we still occasionally have times when it goes downhill again. Even when they seem to be 'cured' it's a very delicate balance which can easily be upset - ds will be more prone to constipation (and overflow) if he's a bit dehydrated (either because it's hot or because he hasn't been drinking enough), if it's a new situation (e.g. holiday) or if he's recently had a tummy bug

he was soiling again during the first couple of weeks of y5 after at least a year of being completely clean, and I think he was just getting used to the new routine and not realising when he could drink water during the day. I've had a word with his teacher and she now subtly encourages him to keep sipping from his water bottle and we seem to be over the worst

good luck - and you are definitely not alone

ps don't use star charts - completely useless as she has no control over the behaviour, it's a purely physical thing

southernbelle77 Thu 01-Oct-09 07:09:41

blametheparents I had the same worries about playdates etc but decided that it wasn't fair to stop dd having them because of it. She didn't have many, and I made sure it was with children of parents I felt able to approach about the problem. She soiled herself at two different peoples houses, but as I had explained the situation beforehand it was never an issue and they just dealt with it and let dd and their dd carry on playing as if nothing had happened. DD was a little bit embarrassed, but both times the parents just told her it didn't matter and made no more of it. The children have never teased her either.

OtterInaSkoda Thu 01-Oct-09 10:14:45

giantkatestacks my ds sometimes takes a book in (picture puzzle books are good - the Where's Wally type ones). A bit like a bloke taking the paper in to do the crossword grin
He also listens to the radio in there. You can hear him in the bathroom singing away to himself...
You could also keep him company - use the time to clean your teeth and put your face on, or clean the bath or something. Your bathroom will be spotless and your makeup perfect grin

katalex Thu 01-Oct-09 12:08:07

Thanks for all your replies. It's amazing how common this is. When we were referred to the consultant he told us that he deals with 5 children every day with the same problem, and I thought we were the only ones!

I mentioned the issue to the ta when she did a home visit in June and she said just to send a spare pair of knickers and nappy sacks etc.

I don't think dd is constipated because she poos at least once a day and it is always very soft. I'm sure she doesn't drink enough mimsmum and eats very little fruit and veg. She still always leaves it to the last minute and I have to remind her to go. I guess the problem I have is getting dd to tell the teacher or ta so they can help her get cleaned up if she doesn't get to the toilet in time. Although, she mentioned yesterday that the teacher doesn't listen to her, which is more likely to be that she is talking too quietly or is unwilling to interrupt. I'll try to have a word after school today or make an appointment.

Good luck to everyone else with the same problem. Hope it gets sorted soon.

blametheparents Thu 01-Oct-09 14:09:33

southernbelle77 That is good to know. If you are not comfortable enough to speak to a parent about it, then I guess you should not be sending your child to that house! It is good to know that the parents you spoke to were ok about it. I know it would not bother me, they are only children, but I guess everyone is different.
BTW - she has not actually been asked on any playdates yet! Early days!

Carmel206 Thu 01-Oct-09 14:26:59

katalex = I 'm so pleased you started this thread - we have a similar problem my DS had many accidents in reception last year - once we broke up for holidays everything was perfect- literarly not one incident. Now back to school Year 1, on accident number three already. I really don't think he is constipated though. when I ask him about it he tells me he didn't know he needed to go. I think in his case he doesn't want to use the loo in school so I have also statred trying to make him sit on the loo for while before we leave for school in the morning -with a book to help keep him there.

katalex Thu 01-Oct-09 14:48:38

No worries Carmel smile Sounds like anxiety about going to the toilet at school is quite common.

I'm seeing the teacher after school so I'll let you know what she says.

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