5 year old petrified to poo! Advice needed: For over a... - ERIC


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5 year old petrified to poo! Advice needed

SallyCal profile image

For over a year now my 5 year old has been scared to poo. It started after a bug with diarrhoea, which was followed by constipation and a painful episode. We had Lactulose and improved her diet and we thought after 9 months we were making improvements. But since starting Primary School it has got worse and is now ruling our lives. She is very strong willed and proving very difficult to negotiate with. We have done sticker charts, talking about it, not talking about it and nothing seems to be working. She now often refuses to have a bath as she knows that will make her need to go so even normal things are being effected. We have a Drs appointment this week which I hope will help but I really wanted some advice on how to deal with it psychologically as well. Will the Drs help with this or can anyone offer up any pearls of wisdom. From a concerned parent that just wants her little girl to be happy again. X

13 Replies


I feel for you and your daughter and sorry to hear your story.

We've had toileting issues but due to constipation. Luckily no psychological issues.

Just a suggestion but how about a special toy she can play with on the toilet and only when she's on the toilet. We've had to get our son to blow bubbles whilst on the toilet which entertains and helps push the poo out. Perhaps your daughter would be so engrossed in the bubbles she wouldn't realise what was happening. Just a suggestion.

SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to Alicass

Thank you. We have had toilet toys including bubbles, a windmill and a party blower but the novelty soon wore off these especially as she has got older. It is like nothing is better than not pooing! I have offered games on my phone and chocolates and sweets! She just says she just never wants to poo ever! I know I need to solve the physical side, get the poos soft, heal the fissure and stop it hurting before she can trust that poos don't hurt and it is normal to go everyday. I hate talking about it all the time but we have tried not talking about it hoping that might take the pressure off but as the days go on of no poos you just get really anxious about it. When will it happen? Will I be there to help? Will it get stuck? Sorry to ramble on. It is comforting to have people to talk to about it. X

Alicass profile image
Alicass in reply to SallyCal

Ramble on as much as you like as that it's what has helped me too. I love this forum as I felt so alone. Nobody I know has been through what we have and it was a relief to find that other people have.

Toileting issues are the most frustrating and stressful thing I've had to deal with. My youngest has been constipated for 3.5 years and on Friday we were told he's finally clear. That's not the end for us though as we've got to carry on with the exercises and meds for 3 months clear of accidents. He's become very lazy through all of this and toileting isn't his priority.

Is it worth talking to a professional about your daughter's psychological issues? It sounds as though this needs to be worked on in order to get her feeling comfortable with the toilet. You could ask your GP. Have you called the ERIC helpline?

SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to Alicass

Thank you that means so much. Glad to hear that you are hopefully coming out the otherside (excuse the pun) and I really hope things improve. I will ask for advice from the Drs but I am hoping that once pooing stops hurting ahe will stop the irrational fear. It dod get better in the summer last year so I know we can get there again. It is just a shame that starting school which has otherwise been so positive has impacted this side of things so badly. The teachers seem to be understanding but I really do need their help to ensure she drinks her water at school at as I know only a lifestyle change is going to make a difference in the long term after medicines, whenever that might be! Not looking forward to a possible disimpaction but will do anything to make it better for her. X

Jocksbar profile image
Jocksbar in reply to SallyCal

Hi there sounds like you are doing all the right things!! I’ve had the same with my daughter with starting school and a fissure. We are using 15ml lactulose morning and night and 3 teaspoons senekot at night. I’d explain to her that if she hasn’t been after 2 days to sit on toilet until something happens half an hour to an hour we have to sit. The relief after she has been is immense and she is back to being the happy, crazy 5 year old!! Good luck with it..keep going with it and try not to speak about it until it’s time to go!!

Hi there I feel your frustration as we’ve been there with my 6 year old daughter - have a look at my page as I recently posted some things we have been doing with my daughter that has helped to improve the soiling situation - we are still on the journey to solve it but things are better than what they were a few months ago

When we went to see our gp I found it helpful to take notes of what we had been doing and how long for including a diary of how often my daughter had done a poo and where about e.g toilet/soiled her pants

Good luck and hope you get the advice/support you need from your go


SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to Trascal

Thank you for your kind words and advice. I have checked out your page and although I know and have probably done all the things you suggest it has reminded me that we have got slack at doing some of them so I need to get a strict routine in place with them again. I am just conscious of not making every moment of every day being about poos! We have never had any soiling so I don't think it is constipation in the sense of it can't come out, it is definately withholding as once she gives in and goes it all seems to come out! She is just so stubborn that I don't want to force her to do things in casr she gets negative reactions to me doing that but persuading her to do it is very difficult! X

P.s the soiling also got worse for us when my daughter started school

I arranged a meeting with the teacher who then allowed her extra toilet breaks and would quietly prompt her to go as she was too shy/scared to ask the teacher to go in case she got a row

Our gp suggested asking the school if there was a staff or visitor toilet that our daughter could use as she really didn’t like using the pupil toilets - she didn’t want to use that but might be something to explore with your school

My son has had long term constipation and general toileting problems and I personally believe a lot of them are based around anxiety. I have made an appointment with our gp for next week to find out how we would go about getting some counselling for him - I will update here how we get on

SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to CN4321

I hope you get on ok at the Drs with your son. I am fairly certain once it doesn't hurt she will be fine with going so hoping that any medicine we are prescribed works. Have hit 5 days without going today which is nearly the longest since our problems began! Getting worried now for her and just hope it doesn't happen at school! X

Can you not simply 'Let' her Poo, in the tub, I know that this sounds, a bit, 'Gross' but it worked with one of my Nephews. We were 'Minding' him, one weekend when he started Straining, into his pants. (If your child doesn't do this, maybe try a gentle laxative) We put him into the bath, along with all the normal 'Paraphernalia'- bubbles, Action Man, various 'dolls' and so on. After he was Settled and he had 'Done a Wee', something he enjoys doing in the bath, we gently suggested, to him, trying to 'Poo' as well. He was, very reluctant, at first, thinking he might get into Trouble, but finally started to try. A, VERY great deal, of Grunting, Screaming, and Crying later (sh)it finally came out! Naturally we had a considerable mess, to clear up, because 'It' had been Put Everywhere- you have never seen, so much, mess from two small Turds.

Since then, his Mum tells us, there have been Many 'Poo Baths' and, despite the mess, she has a VERY relieved little boy.

Good Luck, let me know hoe you 'Get on', will you Sally?


SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to AndrewT

Thanks for the advice. We are luckily out the otherside now as she got prescribed Movicol and it was just what she needed so after a week of soft poos she started to get over the fear. I eould have let her do it in the bath but she soon realised baths made her need to go so she used to scream about having one when she really needed to go! Glad we are all in a happily place now.

Dear SallyCal,

I'm, very glad indeed, that your Daughter is 'Better' now. It sounds like you have an Understanding Doctor/Health Worker, or Hospital, this is ALWAYS a 'Boon'.

On a related subject, I changed my G.P. about seven months ago. One of the Best 'Changes', that I have made. Previously I had remained at my Mother's Practice, I lived with her, for a time (about twenty years actually!) but had Moved, almost two years before. The Surgery, that I am with now, has a 'Wonderful' reputation and my new Doctor Dr Tabbone is lovely. (I know that she sounds Italian, her family must be from there, but she clearly isn't.) The only 'Draw Back' is that they won't except Prescription Requests, over the phone, and their 'On Line' system IS a bit 'Dodgy'. A 'small price', to pay, for all the Benefits.

Once again I wish both you, and your Daughter, well.

Warmest wishes


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