Movicol and potty training: Has anyone had any success... - ERIC


5,780 members2,207 posts

Movicol and potty training


Has anyone had any success with potty training while their child is taking Movical?

I won’t be potty training anytime soon as I’d like to wean my son off this stuff first but unless he takes a sachet a day, he withholds and becomes constipated. We’ve tried increasing fluid, prune juice, pear juice, probiotics, extra fibre etc but not much has helped. I guess I’m looking for some success stories as I feel we’ve got a long journey ahead of us. Thanks. Xx

11 Replies

Yes, we have had success. My daughter started withholding at about 18 months and she will be 3 in 2 months time. We started potty-training a couple of months after my daughter turned 2. She was dry within 3 days but she would not poo on the potty. For about 3 or 4 months she was on 4 satchets of Movicol each day but she was still able to withhold all day and only had her bowel movements in her sleep! We continued to encourage her to sit on the potty but she would not sit for long enough - her issues started after suffering from constipation so she was afraid.

We then started having one success per week on the potty which really helped her to know that it was possible and it didn’t hurt.

She is now fully potty trained for about a month - touch wood - and still on 2 Movicol every evening. I am not weaning her off anytime soon because when I did after the first constipation she became constipated again.

Her diet is very good - fruit, veg, grains, porridge, LOTS of water, but she still has 2 Movicol.

I guess it depends on what caused the problem in the first place. Because we have been dealing with withholding after constipation I now know that it takes a long time for them to forget the pain but also most importantly for their gut to get back to normal. On 2 separate occasions my daughter had withheld for 7 and 6 days respectively. That must have stretched her gut.

You don’t say how old your son is, but I hope this helps.

Oh by the way, the only thing that helped our daughter to sit for long enough on the toilet was playing nursery rhymes on YouTube. Initially just to get her to sit for long enough and once she started pooing consistently I would set an alarm and tell her if it went off before she pooed then I’d switch off the music and we’d go to bed.

Long reply - although we dealt with this for about about 15 months until success, it felt like forever!

Best wishes with your son and hope our experience helps you to hang in there

Lou663 in reply to Bmcz


We're about to start our son on potty training. He'll soon be 3 and has been on movicol since he was 8 months old. I'm feeling pretty apprehensive about it as pooing is such an issue. How did you approach it? Did you go straight for pants or use pull ups?


Bmcz in reply to Lou663

Hi. I approached it very casually at the beginning - thinking that it was going to be straightforward. So I chose a time when we didn’t have much going on and it was warm - and I let her walk around the house with a top only. After day 3 she was dry during the day and asking to sit on a potty. Once she started wearing big girl pants during the day she was never in pull ups during the day - only at night. She was withholding poos though and only pooing in her sleep and this is where we struggled. It was only after many adjustments of Movicol, changing the times we administered it etc that we had a few successes during the day - so she knew it was possible and we celebrated every poo in the potty with a sticker or a visit to the train station. But the success didn’t last until we systematically sat her on the toilet about 20 minutes after dinner (as detailed above). We would sit with her in the toilet and sometimes we took her in the toilet when we were using the toilet - trying every trick in the book. The thing is when we are anxious they pick up on it - so we tried to be relaxed about it as much as possible. We read lots of books on the subject and the best one for us was “Where is the poop” - very American but I didn’t mind. Its message is that pooing is normal for all animals. The final thing that seemed to work was to increase stick and withdraw carrot and be matter of fact. In January she started pooing on the toilet and potty. No soiling overnight since. That was after many months of carrot that didn’t seem to work. Lots of deep breaths. Let me know how you get on xx PS - she is still on Movicol 2 sachets per day. Over the last 3 weeks we have taken off pull ups at night and that has resulted in dry nights too. She turns 3 at the end of this month.

Bmcz in reply to Lou663

Ps - by the way - the stick approach was prescribed by a consultant paedetrician. He basically said we had to be tough since there was nothing wrong with her physically. I found it hard to do that but was desperate - perhaps not justifiable given that she was not yet 3.

Lou663 in reply to Bmcz

Thanks for your reply, really helpful :) Good news that your wee girl's off nappies at last! Yeah I expect to be in it for the long haul, we started yesterday and he managed a pee in the potty at night but not keen on pooing at all, we're just going to take it slowly... Its good to know that other people have been in this situation and got through it so thanks again.

Hi, my son started witholding when we potty trained him so he started on movicol to help the issue.

He’s been on one sachet a day for a year and goes by himself with no problem (at the start there was crying, screaming and all sorts going on). We had only revolt started to reduce his one sachet...BUT he got constipated last week as we were away and started witholding again as he had a hard bowel movement. So back to almost square one. We’ve had to go up to 4 sachets for 3 days to get him to go which he did after a couple of days. It’s been so stressful and emotional for all of us.

My sons paed has always said don’t reduce the dose too quickly, especially if you’re potty training. And after what we’ve been through the last week I understand why. We’ve set ourselves back a bit which is a shame.

A lot of my sons problem is in his mind so I’m hoping as he gets older he will learn to let go but until then we’ll be keeping him on his one sachet.

Good luck! X

Thank you both so much for your replies. My son started withholding just after he turned one due to very bad constipation which I think was partly caused by the reflux medication he was on. He’s almost two now and I don’t intend to attempt to train him until he’s much older and showing signs. He’s on one sachet of Movicol a day and it’s great to know that you can potty train whilst using it. He’s been on Movicol nearly a year now but we’ve had no luck in reducing the dose as he withholds as soon as they is any form.

Yes our daughter has been potty trained on Movicol and is on a long term maintaining dose. It takes a long time for them to overcome it. We used the advice in some of the books ERIC recommends - usually to sit them and explain what pushing feels like, and monitor them trying once a day at the same time. Eventually, the more painless poos they have, the more willing they are to try.

We still have a sticker system for the daily poo as she still doesn't like it! But she will!!

On a practical note, 'dry like me' pads at the back are good if they are having tiny accidents before they realise they have to go.

I am so happy I bought this! I have bought potties but my boy was not interested but since the day I got this he’s been out of nappies with no accidents because he loves it so much! 2 1/2 and dry! He is my third and I only wish I’d have bought this for my other 2!

Hi, I am in the same situation at you. Its such an awful situation to be in! I know this was posted 2 years back, but just trying my luck- have you been able to resolve this?? Looking for a light st the end of the tunnel!

Hi ya. I hope I can give you some light at the end of the tunnel.

We are now 2 years on and my son very rarely withholds.

However, it’s such a tough thing to deal with when they do.

This is what worked for us.

I continued the Movicol (and we are still on it today). We potty trained for wees when he was 3 but it caused a pattern of withholding when it came to poos in the pot.

I read lots of potty training books and took what worked from each book. I ignored all the smug authors who stated that a child should be trained by 2, should train a child in a weekend etc. Blah blah blah!!

I also took advice from ERIC a number of times.

We ended up increasing the Movicol dose as he became very constipated. I stuck 2 blue foot prints in front of the pot which he would stand on when he needed a poo. He wouldn’t go anywhere near the potty but he would do a poo in a nappy. So for 6 months he would wee in the pot and put a nappy on for a poo. My objective was to stop the withholding and if this reduced his anxiety and got him to poo, then that’s what we would do. We needed to break the withholding habit. After Christmas he was sat on the pot and accidentally did a poo in the pot. We made such a fuss, gave him a prize etc that that inspired him to start pooing in the pot.

We then got a ‘magic box’ that would magic a prize everytime he did a poo. Sometimes it was a cheap car toy, sometimes stickers, sometimes chocolate but the incentive was there for him to finally use the pot. Anyone who thinks giving prizes is wrong has never dealt with the emotional stress and anxiety caused by these issues!! I would do it again in a heartbeat as it worked. We only used the prizes until we developed the new habit of using the potty for poos.

Now my son is 2 years older, he uses the toilet at nursery but still only feels happy using the potty for poos. I’m going at his pace. The next step will be using the toilet for poos!

Good luck!

You may also like...