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Maintenance Dose - Grrrrr!

My 40 month old daughter has been withholding poo since she turned 2.

GP was useless - put her on movicol with zero explanation as to what to do. Got to the diarrhoea stage, panicked, went back to the GP who took us off it and said it was a control issue that she would grow out of.

Scoured the internet for advice and tried almost everything; sweets, stickers, star charts, diet changes, the list goes on.

Came across the ERIC website where I learnt about laxatives and disimpaction. Armed with this new info I went back to the GP who prescribed sennakot syrup for her.

I was able to disimpact her easily enough, but I just can't get the maintenance dose right. She needed 5tsp to disimpact and the first round we got her down to 1.5tsp and she was passing the ideal poo daily.

Then she just stopped going and started withholding again. 9 days later she passed a very large and probably painful poo.

So I did the disimpaction regime again and made sure she was empty. I very slowly started to reduce the dose until we were down at 2tsp when she caught a cold. Now she's withholding and soiling again and not eating and miserable again, so I'm taking the dose back up a tsp at a time (we're currently at 4tsp) and still no luck.

She's still in nappies and has no interest in potty training.

She can't communicate exactly why she won't poo - just says "I don't like poo"

Bribery does not work.

She won't let me near her when she's in the process of withholding so blowing bubbles is a no no.

Help me out - PLEASE?

6 Replies

Bless you both its so frustrating and annoying. So many of us on this website know exactly hoe you feel. You did well to get it going well with the maintainence dose. It's then so annoying when for no apparent reason it all goes pear shaped again, I have been through this so many times and there seems to be no exact science. Just get to a clear out dose again and slowly come down to a maintainence dose again! Good luck. X

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Thank you so much for your kind reply.

I know that I shouldn't let it get to me but sometimes I think "why me and my little girl?"

Then I come on here and realise that its not just me, in fact it's more common than a lot of people realise, and I don't feel so alone anymore



Hello there, I have just joined this forum today, like you, desperately seeking a solution to my son's withholding. No-One I have told including his nursery staff had ever heard of stool withholding. It started when we began potty training on 23rd Feb this year. My son is 3yr 10 months. He is supposed to be starting school in September and I am in turmoil over what to do about the withholding. He is on movicol but like you the doctor gave no instructions on what to do once impaction was cleared. I give him 3 sachets a day now as a self Imposed maintenance dose but even though his poo is liquid it doesn't stop him trying to hold it in. I really feel your frustration and helplessness. Please feel free to respond even if it just to know you aren't alone. Best regards, Julie


Hi to you both. There's nothing I can add other than to let you know as you now know you're not alone, don't put yourself under the added pressures of getting this sorted by a date such as starting school, in an ideal world that would be lovely but with this type of problem it's very rarely easily sorted and takes time and a bucket load of patience. Once they've been constipated it becomes a battle of wills, psychology and medicine to get the maintenance dose so you can start repairing the body. Take it slow get the dosage right so that they are comfortable and not bunged up or runny and out of control and things will improve but that's tricky I know.

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Thank you so much for your words of encouragement 😊


I feel your pain, my daughter has been suffering from chronic constipation since she was 18 months, she is now 3 and a half and withholds poo. We have found sodium picosulphate, brand name ducolax, to help with the withholding, it is a stronger stimulant then movicol and so helps prevent the withholding, although we have recently found we need a stool softener like movicol as well and I am currently trying to get the maintenance does right, after a recent disimpaction, I am trying 2.5ml of ducolax twice a day and 1 satchet of movicol.

I am also trying to sit her on the toilet for 20mins with legs on a high stool, first thing in the morning, after every meal and before bed, but she is not always willing to do this, I have found letting her watch peppa pig on my phone whilst she is sat on the toilet a good way to encourage her to stay on there for a bit longer. We also talk about sending the poo to poo poo land down the toilet which has helped! But she is very reluctant to talk about it too and will often just say chocolate cake if we try to talk to her about it!

We are trying a drinking sticker chart too, I struggle to get her to drink enough water, I downloaded both charts from the eric website.

Good luck and I hope it improves soon.

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