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New here - 4 year old - poo accidents every day

Hi all, I've only just found this website, but have been having problems with my 4 year daughter for the past 7 months.

She was toilet trained at age 3 and we never had any particular problems since then. In September she started school, and then in October she started to have poo accidents. I'm not sure if the timing is relevant or just a coincidence?

After several visits to the GP she was diagnosed with constipation and put onto movicol (started with 1 sachet, and then increased to 3 a day) and when that didn't have much affect she was also put onto lactulose (twice a day).

She has not improved, and I don't think we've gone a single day since October when she has not had an accident. She typically has between 2 and 6 poo accidents a day. Never in the night though, just in the day.

We have been referred to see a paediatrician but as the waiting list was so long we paid for a private appointment. The doctor didn't think there was anything majorly wrong with her medically (because otherwise she is a healthy, happy, active little girl). He told us to stop the lactulose, and wean her back down to 1 sachet moviol a day to see what affect that has. He will then do some blood test / stool samples to 'rule out' any general health problems. He thinks maybe she has some IBS type problems and then wants us to do some exclusion diets (8 weeks dairy free, 8 weeks gluten free etc).

Not sure what my question to you is - I'd just like an answer to what is wrong with her and how we can help!! It's really starting to get us all down so would be great to hear from others who know how this feels. The school have been really good, but I'm starting to worry about when she moves up next year and maybe the new teachers wont be as helpful, or the other children might start to notice her problems more once they are in a more structured classroom setting.

Currently we are using potty training pads in her pants to try and contain the problem. We considered putting her back in pull ups but we worried about her friends noticing and teasing her. Are there any other products out there you can recommend? The pads are good, but usually not big enough to save her pants getting dirty.

Thanks for listening x

6 Replies

Sounds exactly like my grandsons problem so I empathise with you. Currently we have stopped all laxatives to see how he goes but scared in case he gets constipated as he has been in hospital with it before. My daughter and I are so upset for him. He passes poo up to 6 times a day in his pants and has no feeling of doing it. Specialist and doctors just say it will take time. No help!! Just joined here for help too


Hi, your situation sounds very similar to how my daughters issues started at the same age.

You dont mention whether she was ever given a clear out with laxatives. Our Gp initially prescribed quite a strong laxative sodium picosulphate to be used for few days to clear the back log of poo, before starting on the movicol. The movicol was then used as a maintenance, about 1 sachet a day. We stayed using this for about 3 years and it did help but did not stop occasional pooey knickers. what really helped in the end was a combination of senokot( a stimulant laxative) and movicol (to soften the poo) which was prescribed by a consultant. I believe my daughter used to withhold her poo as she was too busy and stubborn to go.

I read a good book, 'The ins and outs of poop'

The other key thing that helped was following quite strict toilet regime of sitting after school and after dinner for about 10mins regardless of whether she needed to go. It helped to get her into routine of sitting. Sticker charts can work quite well at 4 years old.

We did try a 3 month dairy elimination but it didn't change anything. Good to try though.

My daughter is fine now and has been for nearly 3 months. She turns 7 next month. Takes no laxatives now. Age has helped her as she is more aware of her self now. I totally understand your frustration it's hard to deal with. Good luck x


You have my every sympathy. Luella has given lots of good advice just would add try watching a YouTube video by the pooh nurses called tackling childhood constipation with macrogol ( movicol) laxative. Our daughter has had this for four and a half years and is now eight. Things have improved as she matures but still a way to go.xx


This is really similar to my daughter. We had to do disimpaction regime for a week using movicol up to 8 sachets a day to clear out, then down to 2 a day to keep things moving. We're under a consultant who says she's now clear, that's the key then the bowel can shrink back which takes time. Things seem to have improved and feeling returning. Def recommend the poo nurses video found it really helpful.


Thanks so much for all the comments - have just watched the video and found it very helpful, I wish I'd seen it last year!!


Omfg why has our son never been offered peadiatrics or nothing.

I am sitting waiting just now on gp phoning me as last fri she said to up movicol for a week ..... 1st time someone has said that to us in 2 years !!!

And its awful 😭😭. I am def asking for senokat.

But 2 and a half yrs our son nearly 7 has had no help.

Its so so hard and draining. And so embarassing for him.


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