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2.5 year old, withholding poo and constant urges

Hello, I was hoping to hear from people who may have gone through the same thing. My son has been suffering from idiopathic constipation for the past four months, and counting. It started with infrequent (every 4 day) movements, then got worse as he started withholding. This led to bouts of sore bottoms (so bad they are alarming), anal fissures, impaction, and on and on. When he has an urge (which happens every 10 mins or so), he clenches up--looks a bit like a tin man--and nothing in the world can make him bend his knees. Potty training has been well nigh impossible.

The GP has always prescribed Lactulose, and I am wondering if this has been causing stomach cramps. He was on Laxido for a week, and the end of that week he threw up--maybe because of a virus, but it scared me it could be the medicine, so I stopped giving it to him. I'm now spending time with family in the US and have started giving him Miralax, which has the same component as the Laxido.

Has anyone here experienced similar issues with Lactulose and/or their child cramping in the same way that I'm describing?

I'm trying desperately to have him seen by a paediatric gastroenterologist, and waiting to have them call me.

Thank you for reading. After having a pretty stress-free experience raising my child, this has just sprung up on us as if out of the blue, and I'm desperate.

5 Replies

Hi there hun. I've not a child with it it's me, but thought I'd write back to you. I suffer badly with constipation caused by pain meds. I've been sick in the past but it's that bad that even a cup of tea can cause the most excruciating pain in my stomach.

I use lactose, movicol and senna but even after using all for a month when I go it still doesn't clear. Food is terrible I only have to eat properly for two days on a maintenance dose and that pain is back. And I'm on high dose morphine!!! The cramps are undescribable. I also take meds for the cramps and they don't work. So if your little fella is with holding I would imagine he's experience the same pain.

Without going to toilet it will just get worse.

Will he let you massage his tummy? It might help him. He may have an accident but at least he will of been xx


We found lactulose started the process but it was still hurting our little one. About 2 1/2 we switched to movicol, disimpacted and started a maintaining dose. We coaxed her with rewards and very soft poo (ie a highish dose) for months, until she stopped being afraid - we would sit her twice a day and praise her loads.

A year on and she is no longer frightened. We use a lower dose of movicol to keep her going, and she will find a toilet or potty when she needs to a go. She is so much better and hardly ever messes herself now.

The book "The Ins and Outs of Poo" is good!


Thank you for this! And so glad to hear your little girl is on the other side of this (what a nightmare!).

I am about to buy Ins and Outs of Poo, and have also bought Stool Withholding, which is very straightforward and good.


So good to hear someone e who is going through same thing. My son is 2yrs 9months and has been on lactulose since a yr although not very much. Has helped him poo but always had a feeling he'd be tricky to toilet training. Started toilet training in Nov. He's been OK with peeing in loo but doesn't often say he needs I just know it's been a while and he looks like he needs. Poos are a different story. Like he always has done he takes up his position (leaning over something bum stuck out or lying flat on floor on tummy and legs crossed) and the first time he did it when nappies went we said "let's try it in the toilet", but he was a little afraid and worried to do it so said he didn't need. 2 months later same issues he will take up stance we encourage him to come to toilet gets on toilet and he bit of poo that was almost out goes into loo but he won't do anymore. 10mins later it happens again.... Went to docs today and starting movicol tomorrow cos he cramps with too much lactulose. Hoping for miracles as I don't want this to become an issue at nursery.


I'm so sorry for the late reply! It's good to hear from someone who has been going through this.

We have put our son on Miralax (Macrogol), which we got over the counter in the US, where we were, and after about a week he had a very successful weekend going to the loo. We've been trying to get him to sit in the potty every time he seems to have an urge. This is more or less successful; his first instinct is to tense up and cross his legs.

He's off Lactulose completely, and I'm very glad of it. I have been hearing from paediatrician friends that the glucose can cause cramps.

What really gets me is the horrible mood he displays when he hasn't done a substantial poo. With the Miralax he seems a different boy. He gets distressed when he feels something is coming out, but the rest of the day he's a happy boy.

We have an appointment with a paediatric gastroenterologist in early February, and he's been referred to a clinic, so I hope we can get to the bottom of what's best to do with this situation, long term.

Best of luck to you!


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