Refusing to poo on the loo!: Hi, My youngest son (4 in... - ERIC


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Refusing to poo on the loo!


Hi, My youngest son (4 in June) is still bowel incontinent. He has been urine continent since Aug 2016. He was diagnosed with a dairy intolerence which now its been resolved his bowel movements are more normal (before they were very soft) Ive tried toilet time taking him after meals and every couple of hours he will sit on the loo do nothing then 10 minutes after getting off the loo will poo his pants with the occasional poo on the toilet. After 7 months of this I'd had enough and went back to pull ups and started the whole routine again but same thing is happening. Hes not scared of the loo hes happy to wee on it and occasionally poos on it if we happen to sit him on it at the right time he just doesn't want to poo on the loo, hes quite happy doing it in a pull up, other problem is hes now getting lazy with wees as he knows hes got pull up on he just goes in that do his wee continence is being effected also. Ive tried saying tell me when you need a poo and we can put the pull up on doesnt work he just poos his pants I've tried rewards, sticker charts, praise doesnt work tried books to read about pooing on the toilet not interested. Spoke to Health Visitor she was no help Nursery are fab but have no more suggestions. He starts school in September and I would like to get him 'clean' by then.

Any help or advice is much appreciated as I have no idea what to do next!!!

13 Replies

My son was exactly the same with not going in the loo and in his pants happily. It turned out he was withholding the poo until he was ready to go and this damaged his nerve endings around his bum and in the end he couldn't tell if he was going to go or not. It took an long time for this to repair and is very common with Incontinence issues.

I will be honest it has taken me years to get to the point we are now and we saw so many specialist to discuss why he was doing it and it came down to he needed to mentally mature before he would accept what he was doing wasn't the best thing.

Being as he pops after you've sat it sounds as if the motion of sitting is working. Try some games before sitting. Head shoulder knees and toes the crouching like a frog motion helped with us. Blowing bubbles while sitting on the loo or loo roll placed in the nose and blow to see how high he can get it to go. A stool for his feet to rest on while he sits on the loo.

Another thing you could try is to sit him on the loo in the pull ups. Get this body/brain to make the connection between the two. We were advised to only change and clean him in the toilet and get him used to cleaning himself and being responsible. Just one wipe to start and then move on. Sorry for the long post.

Best wishes.

Hi Georgina, thanks for replying. I've wondered because hes always had loose/soft stools because of the dairy intolerance whether his muscles haven't developed as he never had formed poo's until he was put on dairy free diet in November. They are now normal so I wonder if his muscles are very slowly building now. We only ever change him in the bathroom so he associate's poo with right place. I'm going to give your suggestions a go, having someone understand what I'm going through really helps. Whenever I see the GP they just tell me he will grow out of it hes still only young so to have someone understand how difficult it can be helps. Thank you for your advice. And I hope things get better for you too.

I'm glad I can help. Most people take going to the toilet for granted, that's the great thing about here because we don't.

talking it through has really helped me deal with the added pressures that Incontinence brings because it effects the whole family not just the child/young person.

I'm dairy and gluten intolerant also so appreciate the difficulties that that brings too.

When he starts school he may need extra support with toilet time and they should be onboard and support you both. fill in a medical needs form and advise them they will need to assist him with it, cleaning or extra sit time during the day. I'm a teaching assistant and it took a while for our school to be on board with helping my son, even though I worked there. Fingers cross you will have some break through before then.

Its great that everyone is happy to openly talk here and no one judges you. I get upset because other parents think its because I'm lazy or can't be bothered to train him, they've not had to wash poo out of pants 4 times a day for 7 months while feeling like your a failure!! I've spoken with school and they are great once hes offically given a place we will get together to make a care plan to help him and them cope with the situation at school. My oldest son goes there and I work there as a dinner lady/general helper so they know us all well which helps as I don't feel so ashamed or embarrassed to talk to them about it. His nursery have been fantastic to they encourage him to go to the loo. I've been ensuring I don't give him any attention good or bad while changing him just keeping conversation specific to changing him so not telling him its ok or telling him off as I don't want him to get upset or think its ok to carry on doing it if he is capable of using the toilet. I dont know if he is just being lazy or whether there is a medical reason to it, I'm going back to GP to talk about it and maybe they might agree to refer him to Paeds but they did say until age 4 its class as toilet training so they can't help.

Hi there and welcome to this forum where we all understand the total frustrations associated with the problems you are encountering.

Great tips from Georgina and I just wanted to add that as your son sometimes poos in his pants about 10 minutes after sitting (my daughter used to do this frequently) maybe try him sitting before he has a daily bath in the evening. I used to find that often after the sit, getting in warm water made my daughter need to poo and she would jump out the bath to poo on the loo. If she didn't poo then I would leave her without pyjamas for a while after coming out the bath as often she would run back into the bathroom to poo. I think the fact that there was no pants or pyjamas or anything to catch it made her more aware of getting to the toilet. And she definitely didn't want to poo in the bath.

Sending best wishes, it has taken us a few years to crack the problem to but we have now...

ZAMS1983 in reply to Luella19

Hi Luella, thanks for replying to my post. Thats good advice thanks I will give it a go. I tried no clothing on bottom half a while back but he pooed several times on my carpet and then the next time he went and put clothes on himself. I'm going to give all advice a try I'm at my witts end now, not at him, I've never lost my temper with him as that would only make him feel rubbish and make the problem worse, but I just generally feel I'm losing the daily battle. A friend suggested hes holding on to being a baby so won't do it but I'm not so sure. Thanks for the advice and help 😃

Can I just say I've got this exact problem with mummy daughter right now... But she's now five and a half... Still Only poos in a pull up... But over the years we've managed to get her to at least sit on the toilet wearing it and poo that way... That's where I would start working on him... To try and get him to at least do it in a Normal position and then try and and lose the pull ups after that...

With my daughter this is real anxiety... No idea where or how or what caused it but it's definitely 100%in her head ,but it's VERY real to her... It's toilet aversion... I think it's linked back to a bad bought of constipation when she was two but now she just needs those pull ups for comfort... It's the most frustrating thing ever! She's an extremely bright intelligent little girl so it's very hard to be understanding with this but 3 years on the only progress we've made is to get her to at least do it on the loo wearing a pull up.

School are aware. Nothing they can do. She's actually only pood at school twice and she's now in year one... The school called me to come and clean her... I keep her sitting on the loo... Rip the sides off the pullup and tip out the poo into the loo and just clean her the same way you would any other child...

She's getting light play therapy from the hospital to try and get her to work on IT, but to be honest, this hasn't made the slightest bit of difference... so I've now stopped taking her... In a way I'm just hoping she'll grow out of it... All I know is putting pressure on her is not helping whatsoever.... So I'm at a loss too... But it doesn't interfere with our lives too much at the moment and we are able to keep it from her school friends for now... When her friends start getting older and realising then it might make her realise it's not normal... But at the moment she doesn't care what's normal, her anxiety over it is far more important to her...

Really hope you find some answers...

ZAMS1983 in reply to Wagamama

Hi Wagamama, I'm sorry to hear your struggling to. Its so hard as you can't do anything to help or move forward. I can't work out if he just won't do it because its his way of controlling the issue (he is incredibly stubborn) or whether he doesn't know hes doing it until hes had a poo. (he will tell me hes been) He will sometimes choose to go sit on the toilet at certain times (eg when I'm in the shower or brushing my teeth) and try to poo hoping he will do one as he knows I will praise him and he says about how happy I am because he pooed on the toilet so he kinda gets the positive reinforcement but is using it as a way to seek that attention ad I don't give negative when he poo's I just change him. Ive tried sitting him on the loo with pull ups on but hes now refusing to sit on the loo when I ask or encourage him only time he sits is for a wee.

The school he's going to have been great and will help write a care plan I'm not sure what the kids will be like a lot of them are with him now in nursery and going to same school. I'm hoping when he sees the other children of different ages using the toilet it will click.

It makes things difficult for us as he doesn't say he needs to poo so we can't find a toilet out and about to at least take him to do it in his pull up. I don't know if he knows hes doing it.

Until I can work out his reason for not doing it I can't find a proper way to help him overcome it. The GP just keeps saying he will grow out of it but I am wondering if he should see a specialist just to check incase of any medical issue.

Thanks for replying any help and advice is much appreciated 😃

Wagamama in reply to ZAMS1983

Just thinking, when he poos in a pull up, have you tried making him at least do it in the bathroom? That's where we had to start... My daughter was actually fine with this transition. I explained that big boys and girls do it on the bathroom... So when he goes in there he needs to understand its to poo... With a pull-up... If he doesn't do a poo, take it off and wait until he asks again for a poo and then take him to the bathroom again and put it on him again.

I explained to my daughter that big people ONLY poo in a bathroom, in PRIVATE, so others don't smell it, as it's not nice to poo in front of our friends or in any other room in the house. We don't want other rooms smelling bad... She understood this so when she needed to go, id go straight to the bathroom and put on the pullup... When this became routine we then worked on doing it sitting on the loo with a pullup... But this is the stage that we are now stuck at... Can't get beyond it.... Argh!

Might help... 🙏


ZAMS1983 in reply to Wagamama

Hi unfortunately he gives no indication hes going to poo to anyone he just does it and its only when you smell it or he tells you that you find out. Ive tried explaining about big people going to the bathroom to poo, about what happens to the poo, that he can still poo in the pull up but just go to the toilet to do it as its where we should poo but none off it makes a difference he still just poo's when ever it suits.

He did one on the toilet today which he went to the toilet himself and shouted me to say he had done it, so I praised him and said how good it was 2 hours later he pooed in his pull up. Its so random I can't really work out if its due to a reason other than he doesnt want to stop what hes doing as he thinks he will be missing put on something.

Louise_mum in reply to Wagamama

Hi Wagamama I’ve just joined this forum and found your post. Your description of your daughter’s behaviour is exactly like mine - she is 4 and a half and will only poo standing up in a pull-up. She is happy to do it in the bathroom and happy to do her wee on toilet but we can’t get to the stage of getting her to sit on the toilet with the pull-up on. She just wants to be standing and I can tell she is controlling it but crossing her legs and standing on tiptoe. We have tried so many strategies over the last two years and nothing has worked. She does go most days as she has been taking cosmocol daily for over 2 years and this stops her being able to hold it.

Have you had any progress since your last post? I too hope she will one day grow out of it but it’s hard not to lose hope and she starts school this September. Thanks x

Hi Louise_mum, I just got your post. It’s so reassuring to see other parents in the same bizarre situation. Unfortunately we are still suck in the same position. My daughter is nearly 7! She will poo, sitting down on the loo, but ONLY wearing a pull up. I’ve tried absolutely everything! I’ve tried getting tough, didn’t work, tried leaving her be (for over two years!) but neither works. I’ve tried talking to her about it, reasoning, bribery,removing privileges ,cutting holes in the pull up, play therapy, peer pressure. NOTHING WORKS. So I thought maybe she’d just grow out of it so we left the whole subject alone hoping her mature attitude and thinking would kick in and she’d one day realise she was ‘just being silly’ for TWO YEARS. Nothing.

She knows she’s odd doing it this way. But she now doesn’t like talking about it. I have now come to the conclusion that it’s a real, REAL phobia. recently, I revisited the ‘hole-in-the-back-of-the-nappy’ thing that is often suggested and she absolutely FREAKED out!. Screamed cried. It was awful. We are at a loss.

Having said all this, I’m beginning to wonder if her recent diagnosis of mild lichen sclerosis (skin condition)in her private areas is what has caused sensitivity over the years and resulting phobia.... little to my knowledge she had it at the time! her behaviour when young was so bizarre when she pood, it makes me now think that actually she was in pain but wasn’t able to tell me then! Now she has a phobia.... it’s just thoughts though and the only conclusion I can come up with.🤷‍♀️

School isn’t really a problem as she will not go to the toilet at school for a poo. It’s only happened twice at school and both times I came to the school to help her out as he school called me. There was a third time when she was on a school trip and the school was horrendous in the way they handled it but let’s not go there! Haha!

It’s so frustrating as she’s an incredibly bright, intelligent and mature little thing. We are a really close family and love her dearly but I’m not sure what else I can do... I keep telling myself, she won’t be doing this at 16! Haha.

Louise_mum in reply to Wagamama

Thanks for getting back to me Wagamama, I only just found your reply by scrolling through lots of posts. I'm sorry to hear you are in the same situation and also sorry to hear about the school trip :( It's so hard isn't it when no one seems to have an answer that works. .... I've now got an appointment booked with pediatrician for August - but not convinced this will help as we have tried everything too. But I think we need to have it to get any support from school in September. I am quite anxious about it as my daughter does need a poo most days often after breakfast or lunch and the last thing I want her to do is hold it in all day at school when we are trying to teach her it's not OK to hold it!

Thanks again for replying it really does help to know we are not alone. x

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