Frequent day wetting and soiling - feeling lost :( - ERIC

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Frequent day wetting and soiling - feeling lost :(


Hi everyone, I'm amazed to find this forum, had no idea it existed. So I have a 4.5 year old girl who only really trained at about 3.5 (with great difficulty) and it's been hit and mostly miss since. She can do a dry day - rarely - but she can do it. But mostly we are talking several wets a day (from little bits to full blown accidents) and in a bad day, some soiling too. We have tried everything we can think of and can't seem to sort it and I'm getting desperate. She often comes home from nursery looking upset and with bags full of wet clothes and burst in to tears the other day because they had run out of knickers and put her in boys pants which I think she found humiliating. She tells me the toilet makes her sad and she doesn't like it but I think that's in response to the pressure the situation is starting to cause. Trips out, going to parties, shopping can all turn in to a battle to even get her on the toilet, never mind go. And often ends in her wetting herself in front of people. We saw a health visitor last year and went back to pull ups for a while but don't want to do it again, in honesty it didn't seem to help. At that time a GP checked for UTI but all clear. It was all put down to her being capable but probably lazy. She's also still extremely wet at night. I am running out of ideas and feel so sad to see her hurting and feeling embarrassed by it. Her sadness tells me that this possibly isn't just laziness or unwillingness to go and that there may be a deeper cause. Does anyone have any experience? Or any advice as to what steps I can take? I am really starting to stress out and I know she senses it. I'm just desperate to help her, especially with her starting school on September. Thank you x

9 Replies


I really empathise with you. My son, who is 5 and a half now was toilet trained back in June 2014. Took to it like a duck to water but regressed after a few weeks and we've hardly had a dry day whether soiling or urinating since.

He has been constipated for a long time. ('Mega rectum' was a phrase used in the Paediatrician's letter).

Why don't you ask for a referral to a Paediatrician? Make sure you let the school know of her problems too. My son's school have been very supportive and also talk to the school nurses.

Has a GP felt your daughter's tummy?

I have to say that after nearly 3 years of battling and being on this awful rollercoaster of emotions we are seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. My son was admitted to hospital in February and we've been following a daily plan with him for 11 weeks which the Play Therapist drew up for us.

He still has the odd accident but we are definitely seeing an improvement.

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Boobopsmummy in reply to Alicass

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me. Others have posted too and there seems to be a consistent theme with the possibility that she is constipated, which fits my daughter perfectly. She doesn't like to poo and battles to hold it in. She'll go eventually but def not every day, perhaps every third or even fourth day at times. I'm going to look in to it further, appreciate your advice and help, thank you xx

So sorry to hear what you are experiencing. I am a mum who has come out the other end of a long tunnel of frustration with my daughters pooing issues (she is nearly 7 and finally free of pooey knickers. She never had wee issues but from a lot of books I've read often wetting problems are as a result of constipation. As are soiling issues. Constipation is not always obvious as I found out and constipation is often linked to withilding. Ask Gp to check for constipation as well. This forum is great with so many parents stories to learn and gain strength from.

With regards to school, it is an awful feeling in the lead up to school, but many children have toileting issues especially in the early years, try to be really open with school, they should be able to help you. Best wishes x

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to me. A few have commented about the possibility that she is constipated, and that does seem to fit in with her. She doesn't like to poo and is always trying to hold it in. She goes probably every third day. I've had some excellent advice on here, it's a relief, it was starting to feel like we were the only ones going through this. Thanks so much for your input xx

Hi, sorry to here you're going through this! Fortunately (or not so fortunately) there are lots of mums and children going through the same thing. I have a daughter who's nearly 5 and we have been struggling for over 2 years. It sounds as though she might be peeing and soiling because the bowel is so impacted and full. Obviously not an expert but thats from my experience! I'll give you the advice that has helped us! My daughter still soils if she doesn't get to the toilet on time and has wee accidents so we're waiting on a continence nurse app for the withholding. But it's a major improvement to how it used to be (8+ dirty and wet pants and leggings a day). It really impacts on everyday life. It's good to have a plan though!

1) paediatric movicol. If she's not on it already or you haven't heard of it get a gp appointment for your doctor and ask for it on prescription. It's not a laxative, it's a stool softener that holds water in the bowel. First thing to do would be a disimpaction. Choose to do it over a half term/long weekend (a bit of research into disimpaction may be due here) but briefly you'd be upping the levels of movicol quickly and aiming for a complete clean out of the bowel. Once her poo is all out and watery you can go back to a maintenance dose of 1-2 sachets per day. My daughter is weaned down to .5 sachet! Too high a maintenance dose is meant to cause continued soiling, but too little and the bowel will get impacted again.

2) fluids!!!!! So important, I didn't realise how little my daughter was drinking until I measured. Anything, water juice milkshake squash, the ideal for 4-7 year olds is 1000-1200mls a day I think. My daughter now averages 1000mls.

3) a consistent toileting routine. We have toilet time 20 mins after each mealtime, which involves just 5-10 mins sat and trying for a poo. Obv I can't do this when my dd is at school and I suspect she doesn't do it but at home it seems enough.

4) to go with the above toilet time- a squatty stool or some kind of stool that puts her knees up high while she's on the toilet. Our one works like magic, even for me!

5) more fibre in the diet. I noticed an increase in my dds soiling when we went to my nans over the holidays and she was having coco pops as a treat every morning (not usually allowed before school). She eats so little usually that that tiny change to the amount of fibre she was getting in the morning obv changed her bowel! Back to weetabix and shreddies and whole grains now and it seems to help! Obv fruit and veg is majorly important too.

6) a positive frame of mind. I know it's hard, believe me, when you're cleaning shit off the floor or her legs for the 50th time in a day or your washing comes out smelling like crap because there is just so much soiled clothing going it at the same time, and you have a constant supply of teeny pants in every bag. It is so so hard but trying to stay positive and praising every little try she does will help! I got into a real rut with my daughter and had to push my way out to see things from her perspective.

Let me know if this helps/you need any more info! I have a little boy too who's only 12 months younger than my daughter and he potty trained himself and has been dry and clean for years.. 😩 Xxxxx

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my most. Yes, I think based on what you've said and a couple of others, that constipation is possibly the issue. Your comments ring true in so many ways for my daughter: she holds her poo in (usually only going every third day), she definitely doesn't drink enough either. We have had Movocol prescribed once last year and got a huge box. More recently I've started using the odd sachet here and there as noticing she's getting tummy pains from not going. I feel awful that I hadn't linked the two things together, I had just thought one of those things in a child who doesn't eat much of the right stuff. But now I've got something to work with at least. Have been getting to the end of my rope with frustration, I said to someone else, I had started thinking we were the only ones going through this. And of course, we're not, it's just finding the support. Thanks again for all your help, feel like I've at least got some things to try with her now xx

No problem, it's a hard journey! Good luck! Let us know if you want to know anything else. Xxx

My daughter was referred to an inconvenience nurse because of her constant day and night wetting. We suffered in silence for years... then one day I had enough and took her to the doctor. They told me about constipation and the bladder etc... And eventually we were referred to the nurse... we were told to up her intake of fluids (1000 - 1200mls per day) and anything with milk doesn't count towards the fluid intake- so all water based drinks. We were also told that Blackcurrant flavoured drinks actually aggrevates the bladder. So we avoid them at all costs!! Anyway after 1 1/2 years of going backwards and forwards to hospital appointments she finally gave us some meds. Which helped a lot! Sometimes there can be a problem with the messages the brain sends to the bladder and this medicine helped to get the correct signals to bladder etc... she is now 8 and we started this journey when she was 4 or 5 so it's a very long process. She decided at her last appointment to come off her meds and be discharged from treatment. Now she has hardly any accidents and they are usually because she gets too involved with something and forgets to go to the toilet. So I wish you luck... it may be worthwhile asking the GP to refer you to the Inconvenience team.

Hi. Firstly, you are definitely not alone!! Everything you are going through I am going through too with my 4.5yr old son. I totally and utterly understand where you are coming from and the emotional impact this has on the entire family. There have been tears from all of us this morning already 😥. My advice would be go to your GP, don’t be fobbed off by them saying she is too young (you know this is more than “potty training issues”) and ask for a referral to paediatrics at the hospital. Do not give up. Our first referral was rejected so we just tried another hospital. The referral will take a while so In the meantime be proactive and access any other service you can. (It makes you feel soooo much better doing something!). They seem to vary from region to region but call health visitors (can they refer to local child development centre? ), call school nurses, any local enuresis or continence clinics nearby.... There is help but they need hunting down! It is a slow process unfortunately. And then I would echo what others have said - drink more, be positive and don’t make an issue (v hard), record when she poos and what it is like. Also it is helping my son to refer to his “naughty bladder” - it emphasises it isn’t his fault which is really important. My son is already at full time school. I send him in with plenty of changes and carrier bags and the teachers no he is allowed to access the toilet at any time. I also have regular chats with the teacher to update them on where we are at and ask how they are doing and ensure we are consistent in our approach. Hang on in there. Hope this helps x

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