Totally Broken. 2 years of 7 year old with stool & urine accidents


I'm new here & have never been on a forum before but am completely at my wits end, was hoping to find someone who's been through similar.

I've a 7.5 year old who is having 1+ daily stool & multiple urine accidents per day.

She was potty trained at 2.5, mildly difficult, but continent afterwards, no accidents at all at nursery or school for first 18 months. She doesn't have any health or developmental problems, a happy 'good' child, potters along in the middle of her class, has friends.

Then about 2 years ago started having daily small wetting accidents, smelled strongly of stale urine when she came home, started to get teased by classmates. No urinary tract infection or obvious cause, seemed happy otherwise, tried not to make a fuss about it ie ignore so might go away strategy, Shortly afterwards started daytime soiling, small amounts at first then quickly to larger amounts each day (ie more than a smear of poo, though not formed stool). Ongoing problems with noticeable smell, she always completely denies she's had an accident or needs the toilet.

Was mildly constipated as a baby, but not noticeable since, though I hadn't previously monitored her toileting much, since she vales independence/privacy. When I did she had borderline hard poo, but bowels open most days, so thought maybe constipation the problem. Tried movicol, made things much worse, Spoke to ERIC, who suggested 'swetcorn test' which was on the long side, suggested disimpaction then maintence which we did last October. since then tried varying doses of maintence Movicol, seems stool either too hard or too loose & either way continues to have daily accidents. Spoke to ERIC again, suggested we try & back off a bit in monitoring toileting & just reward her for cleaning herself up even if she has an accident to try & make the whole thing less negative. Gave her a 'wetbag' well hidden in the bathroom (she's terrified a friend might come round & discover..) full of clean pants, wipes etc, ask her to sort herself out when she comes home from school, & give her a small pressie if she does (though I don't check that she does to maintain privacy so there's every chance she's just pretending she has in order to get pressie..). Then I clear out wetbag of poo covered pants every few days. All this has continued alongside toileting after each meal, daily movicol etc

None of these interventions (& there are more that I haven't listed) have made one jot of difference, if anything I feel problem is getting worse rather than better. We went to a public loo today and I went in after her, there was poo smeared all over seat & as I followed after her. When we got home I suggested she get changed in the bathroom & again went in after to find bathroom floor/bathmat etc with small lumps of poo scattered all around, small smears in bathmat etc

I completely lost my temper. I just cannot compute that a child who otherwise can understand all sorts of things, can;t understand that it's not OK to leave a trail of poo behind her. I do understand that getting annoyed is the very worse thing I can do, but I have also completely run out of patience and at a complete loss for any good ideas for how to make things better. I am clearly being an absolutely sh*t mother to focus at all on how unpleasant it is for me to still be dealing with pants full of poo every day & I completely get that many many parents have to do the same & cope far better than me. I also completely understand that it is truly a larger problem for her than it is for me, even though she on the surface appears to be completely unfazed with sitting in wet poo filled pants all day.

We go to school parents evenings & talk about how to help her with maths etc, but seems reasonably pointless when she can't even master getting to the toilet on time, and I worry that this is having a hugely detrimental effect on our relationship, it interferes with everything we try & do, but I'm unable to tell anyone about it. School are nice enough but there are 30 kids in her class & they don't have the resources to sort the toileting of one otherwise low maintenance child. My daughter doesn't want to be singled out by being allowed to use a special toilet. We've finally been referred to the local enuresis clinic, appointment in April, but we're seeing a paediatric urologist which doesn't fill me with optimism, since lack of urine control is the least of her problems!

Does anybody have anything to say that might make me pull myself together & see some light at the end of this very long poo filled tunnel?!?

Sorry for length of post..

27 Replies

  • I don't have any words of wisdom aside to say that I understand how agonising it is for you and understand all you are going through x

  • Thank you X

  • Hi

    I totally empathise with your​ problems. I have a 5 year old son who toilet trained easily and regressed after a few weeks and has never been dry with wees or poos. We're​ now 2 years and 9 months down the line.

    Like you we've tried everything and he was even hospitalised back in February of this year.

    The Paediatrician took my son of Movicol as it softens the poo and he's been on Senakot for a year almost. Senakot helps to push the poo out of their system. We seem to be experimenting with his dose of Senakot at the moment to find what suits him and makes his poo more formed.

    Perhaps your daughter doesn't need Movicol but Senakot. It sounds to me as though she could be constipated like my son. Is it worth getting a GP to feel her tummy? I've asked my GP to monitor my son closely so we can guarantee that he's not getting blocked up again. He's being monitored every 2 weeks. The Paediatrician was useless for us - very unempathetic and didn't really seem interested in our situation.

    I can totally understand your annoyance with this. We've been through it too and it's so hard not to lose your temper and try to be positive. I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel for us but hearing other people's stories which are similar have really helped me. I'm still emotional about it all though. The big thing for us which is really worrying me is holiday clubs - we're considering putting my son in pull ups for that otherwise we have no child care during the summer holidays.

    I hope your appointment with the pediatric urologist goes well and you get some answers. If be interested to see what they say.

    All the best.

  • Thank you. I usually try to avoid being quite so negative as my original post sounded, just a day of despair! Yes, has been lots of feeling tummy & no poo there, but am assured can still be constipated without feeling in abdomen as could be compressable/in pelvis.. I agree, that maybe trying a different laxative is worth a go. I think the secret is going to be in trying to be seen by a specialist nurse, fingers crossed that there's such a service at Kingston & that the wait isn't too long.

  • I just want to say I really understand how hard it is - i've posted previously about my daughter's problems which are similar. I just wanted to say to you I understand your emotions around it - we have been in the same place - so frustrated and angry at times - and so desperate for help and advice. We have been seeing a child psychologist for the past 6 weeks as the medics have been convinced on a number of occasions that it isn't medical. We have seen some small changes but certainly not a complete reversal (yet!). I hope your appointment goes well. I noticed Eric have a day to help parents in Cardiff in May which I may go to - might be worth booking? It is FOC.

  • Yes, might go to Cardiff.. good idea

  • I really empathise with how you are feeling. All our stories on here are different but the underlying confusion and desperation and frustration is apparent and similar.

    Firstly you are not a s*** mother. The fact that you are going to great lengths to help your child suggests the exact opposite 😊

    It's horrid, I have memories of the constant scrubbing of pants, walking home from school in tears with the plastic bag of poo filled pants and one joyous day of scrubbing poo out of the tile grout on our bathroom floor with a toothbrush.

    As person above suggested I think maybe senokot would be a good try, ask GP. I found movicol good at keeping things soft but would also cause leakage. Once senokot was added by a consultant at hospital alongside a low dose of movicol (half to three quarters of a sachet) the leakage pretty much stopped.

    Don't give up hope of things getting better. My daughter is nearly 7 and we have pretty much cracked it now and are off all laxatives but it's been a long hard journey since 3 years old.

    I swore I wouldn't stop coming on this forum if things got better for us as I remember how awful I felt at times and how much I gained from reading other people's stories.

    Hope your appointment goes well x

  • Know that you aren't alone even though it feels that way sometimes! The fact that you are so upset by this shows you are a great mum and even the best of us lose it at times. Trust me we've all been there! Sadly, I don't have any great advice as still looking for the magic answer too, although am "lucky" that it's only wee accidents with mine, but I still recognise so much of the frustration. Hang in there, and best of luck with the next appointment.

  • Just discovered this forum today. I have no answers - my 5.5 year old is still in pull ups - but I totally understand your frustration and getting cross about it. I did the same on the weekend - feels terrible but it is so frustrating to be in this position. We are all doing the best we can, and thats all we can do. Hope it all works out.

  • I feel your pain. My son is 8 1/2 and was like this. Have you done disimpaction? If not I would do that and get senna from the doctor. When they are full of poo it squashes the bladder. Have you tried a dairy or gluten free diet as they can cause constipation. You also need to get school on side. They need to be sending her to the toilet especially after lunch

  • Thank you. have done disimpaction but didn't seem to help, which is annoying as I really thought it might. Maybe we'll try for longer when it gets to summer hols as 1-2 weeks doesn't seem long enough (last time we got to 12 satchets over half term, but then had to reduce to low maintence otherwise couldn't go to school) Agree that dairy/gluten free might be worth a shot, but she would run out of things to eat if they weren't dairy or gluten containing annoyingly as she's also pretty fussy.. Have tried to get school on board, but they say they don't have time to remind children individually to go to loo. Also (horiffically) my daughter tells me that she saw one of the dinner ladies shouting at & ridiculing a girls who wet her pants one lunch time.. so she's keen I don't tell the lunch helpers anything. Horrendously I also had a school mum ceremoniously & obviously handing over my daughter's wet pants in front of a group of her friends just after she'd had an accident at her house. She held them high up just out of her reach like a proper school bully.. Hope Karma is a real thing.

  • i havent any words of wisdom for you, i just wanted to let you know i feel very frustrated, angry, upset,pissed off & fed up at times with the whole accident situation & find it hard at times to see the light at the tunnel.i think it is perfectly normal to feel this way its hard to always remain upbeat so dont be so hard on yourself.we are all just trying our best to get our kids the help they desperately need, hopefully we will all get there soon

  • Please don't beat yourself up about loosing it. Many of us here have done/do just that. You are not alone although we aren't there with you we are here and rant as much as you like. I really feel for you as have been there myself as many other posters have said. Have you a close friend you can talk too. I found that once I opened up to a school mum the whole process of secrecy was over and now I will openly tell anyone that wants to know that my son has issue with his digestion and finds the toilet difficult.

  • Oh I do know how you feel. No-one seems to get how stressful it is, even I really don't understand why it upsets me so much, but I get what you are saying about it interfering with your relationship. My daughter is 7 too. She has periods when she isn't so bad. But we are in a bad stretch. We only have soiling occassionally but it is the wee. Wee on the sofa, dining room chairs, carpet, car, clothes. She denies ever being wet and seems suprised when I send her back to the loo or to get changed because she is wet. She comes home from school smelling of wee as she has little wees in her pants constantly- not enough for the teachers to notice and tell her to change but enough that by the end of school you can smell it. We have tried rewards, punishments, fluid balance charts to ensure she is drinking enough, movicol (but turn a out she isn't constipated), ignoring it, screaming blue murder... last week I cracked and have started using incontinence pads in her clothes which I had resisted until now because I thought it would take awway any incentive for her to try not to do it, but on 3 occasions now I have caught her squatting down and clearly deliberately weeing on purpose. I just don't know where to go. We have done everything that the cintinence clinic have advised and it is getting worse. It used to be occasional accidents when she got distracted. Now I think it is planned, so it must be my fault that I have done something wrong. I find it all consuming and feel like my life revolves around nagging her to go to the loo, to change her clothes etc.

  • Absolutely exhausting. I 100% feel your pain. Yes we fluctuate in exactly the same way you describe. Current suggested coping strategy by helpline (which I obviously deviated from when I was screaming at her at the weekend) is to completely ignore any incontinence, & go a step further by rewarding her for changing out of her wet pants & putting them in the wetbag whilst changing for new clean ones all entirely independently, I have a bag of little presents (eg harclips, rubbers etc..), which she gets to dip into if she goes & does this eg after school. I felt (& maybe still do feel.. haven't decided..) pessimistic about rewarding her for anything other than dry pants, though the helpline people suggested that it might help the 'being in the toilet' change from a negative experience into a positive one... Time will tell, & will also tell if I have the patience to see it through. It's obviously not actually worked really, given my inital post of doom, but there is something to be said for the days when I don't actually have to deal with the wet/poo covered clothes, & she does instead & I wonder whther this helps with the manipulative side of things (which I def. think my daughter has..) I think she might seem subtely a bit less stressed about it. Also all the nagging is stressful for both of us, so at least it means we sometimes get a break from it, even if the number of accidents is no less..

    My mother in law found these incontinence pants online which seemed like a good middle ground between incontinence pads & normal pants. I have ordered some because I'm worried about her being in school summer dress & socks next term, significantly less forgiving on the accident hiding than tights & pinafore.. I'm sure that my daughter would deliberately wee in incontinence pads if she had them too & as you describe that for me would be the last straw (though I was also just about to get some because of the summer dress thing, until I came across the pants above.. will see how they go.). That said, maybe pads better as less washing, which is another aspect that troubles me..

    The wee all over the house thing is insanely stressful too, I sometimes feel that my whole house smells of urine, I have a spray bottle filled with vinegar & massive amounts of sodium bicarb that helps a bit, expet you've tried all that.. My younger daughter who's just 5 doesn't have any such problems, but does wear a nappy at night still, the other day she did a wee in her already full nappy on the sofa & covered the sofa in urine..Another low point & rant at them from me, poor girls. I really didn't expect to be still dealing with all these bodily secretions at this stage! But then I suppose, there are quite a lot of things about parenthood that you don't really expect... It really doesn't sound like it's your fault, you've obviously tried all the recommended stuff, from the research I've dones into it (& I'm sure you have too) it sounds like a lot of the reasons why this happens to some kids is wholly unknown.. Tricky beings these 7 year olds..

  • Someone who gets it! I cried when I read your post because it sounds the same!

    We tried the rewards for either telling me she had an accident or changing herself. It didn't really work.

    I know what you mean about uniform. I have just ordered 2 pairs of girls grey shorts from asda as daughter got upset last week at school. She yold the dinner lady that some girls laughed at her for doing a cartwheel wrong. She won't admit it but I think the other kids spotted the (nearly permanent) wet patch on her pants. Up until last week she was wearing thick black tights so any marks wouldn't have shown. So instead of a gingham dress with pants I am going to dress her in shorts so allow some extra protection.

    I just feel I could cope if she would just accept that it is ok to have an accident as long asit is a real accident and as long as she changes herself. I just really struggle with her attitude towards it, I really feel that wet pants are just a habit for her now and she doesnt want to change. My son has just turned 4. He pretty much toilet trained himself aged 2 1/2 and has been dry at night since his red burhday. He very rarely had an accident and if he does he is so upset and ctues and can't wait to clean up and put clean clothes on.

    I find myselfyelling ' i don't understand you!' so often at my daughter.

  • Hi,

    I totally understand where you're at and how you're feeling! My eldest two sons, a 6 year old and a 4.5 year old, are both struggling with urinary incontinence and my 6 year old also goes through seasons of soiling. Both seem oblivious to whatever's in their pants and they've managed to go through 12 pairs of pants and trousers between them in one day before! I have tried EVERYTHING under the sun, and nothing seems to help. I too have lost my temper with them on more than one/two/ten times, but I've got the place now (4 years after having first started potty training with my eldest) that I've just (mostly) accepted that this is how life it at the moment. I'm praying it won't go on forever!

    All I can encourage you with is this - you are not a rubbish mum: you are only human and you are trying your best! And you aren't the only one in this isolating situation either!

    Keep going!


  • Thank you. Think this is the state of being i'm aiming for! X

  • Dear Mum222

    Dr Anthony Cohn is a consultant specialising in this problem. He was very good with someone I know. He works in Hertfordshire hospitals. I don't know whether you could get your little girl referred to him. Below is the title of one of his books. You might find more with a Google search.

    'Constipation, Withholding and Your Child: A Family Guide to Soiling and Wetting15' Oct 2006

    by Anthony Cohn

  • Thanks for the post, good thought, will see how we go with the 1st appointment..

  • Hi, sorry to read about the problems you are having with your daughter's toilet accidents. When I was her age I often pooed my pants, although I didn't have wetting accidents. I have written about my experiences and why I behaved as I did in my Childhood Soiling blog. You may find some of the posts useful:


    BTW, I was top of my primary school class for Maths in spite of my toilet problems!

  • Thank you so much for your blog, that's an incredibe thing you've done by writing it & there were many elements of it that struck a chord with my daughter and i, very useful indeed. Of course the maths thing is separate, it's only when i'm feeling really hacked off do i go into global despair mode!!

  • Hi, my 8 year old daughter has never been trained when it comes to poo and has multiple accidents daily. I completely understand how you feel. It's absolutely soul destroying but IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. you haven't done anything wrong/not done something. Please don't think that you're not a good mum because of this. I'm sure you're doing your best and that is all that can be expected. It's taken me 5 years to realise this.

    The school have a duty to assist (there is legislation but can't find it. Ask for a child planning meeting and get the school nurse to come. If there's an educational psychologist ask for them too.

    At the hospital ask to see a continence nurse specialist. Ours is amazing and so supportive. Fight to get an appointment. Refuse to leave unless they refer you. Tears help. Cynical I know but you can't do this alone and help is out there.

    Wishing you all the best for the days and months to come. It's so hard but you're strong and can get through- you've been doing that for 2 years.

    And don't be hard on yourself - some days it's just too shit (pardon the pun) for words.


  • Thank you. Fab to have support of others going thro the same. Urologist had nothing extra to say but did arrange ultrasound & now specialist nurse on the cards for june, so really hope that makes a difference..

  • I'm going through a similar thing right now. My son keeps soiling and weeing himself. He's 7 and even though he has been potty trained since 3 1/2 he has always had a negative attitude towards the toilet and even though we've had good phases we still have bad ones. He doesn't care about sitting in his own filth it will have to be me that notices the smell and send him to get changed. He's a lovely boy and tries hard at school and every other area he's a good not but why can't he master this. I have lost my temper just through pure frustration of it. Please tell me your situation is sorted and you have the answer???? 😩

  • *Good boy

  • No magic answer from me i'm afraid, 10 months on & i would say we are very slightly better than before but certainly not 'cured'. The whole urologist thing didnt really help, then we got referred to the wrong specialist nurse which was suboptinal too. eventually we saw a paeds gastroenterologist & since it was in a rare relativly 'good' phase he kind of just reassured & told us that 'it will improve but it will be v slow ie it will take as long to get better as it did to get worse' i think he's right & the timescale too.. in fact last november we had almost 2 weeks in a row w no accidents which is completly unprecedented, nowadays 1-2 dry days a week which sounds rubbish for a 8.5 year old but for her is v impressive.. i think although others have described their breakthrough as treating constipation, our personal breakthrough has been being absolutely militant about getting to sit on the toilet with a stool & a book/comic (but truthfully more often digital device) for at least 10 mins, (sometimes for 15-20) always about 20-30 mins after a meal. Whole family have had to accomodate it, we've got up earlier in the morning etc.. whenever she's at home we do this for every meal time (of course we do forget from time to time, but usually she does).. no idea what happens at school. This whole business has been excruciating, i still lose my temper, but it's much less often & i feel we've reached more of an understanding.

    The ERIC helpline is absolutely fantastic & i hugely recommemd you somehow find time to ring them, all the best advice i've had has come from them.. Good Luck.

You may also like...