4 yr old daughter withholding : Hi, i have a 4 yr oild... - ERIC


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4 yr old daughter withholding


Hi, i have a 4 yr oild daughter who has been withholding her stools for around 2 years now. It has gotten to put she has gone around 12days with no stool at all, and i have to give her at least 5days worth of 2 sachets a day of movicol before she cannot hold it any longer! Im at a lost of what to do? She has never told me she needs a poo and will quite happily sit in her on faeces if she does leak! She is due to start school in sept and i have literally tried everything - charts, bribes, praise, ignoring! Help please tell me there is a way out of this 🙈 x

11 Replies

All I can say is my son is nearly 8 now and ever so slowly is growing out of soiling. He is now clean all day and just soils a little when reading at bed time when he relaxes. Don’t lose hope but it may be a long journey! He pooped his pants all the way through reception (not the only one!). Nobody talks about this but others have problems too. It was year 2 before he really improved. Do you do the regular sitting?

Brwoods89 in reply to Mrs_Cala

If i try to get her to sit on the loo to try she will have an absolute melt down and just scream and fight me to get off :( she literally not even talk about it and hates the fact its something she has to do! She is very girly and it literally mortifies her.

I was told by docs to just keep her on 2 sachets a day then reduce to 1 but i dont think this has cleared her enough but they just seem to fob me off all time.. x

Mrs_Cala in reply to Brwoods89

I wish we could get a scan and see what’s going on inside them! My son loves reading and I can’t get him off the toilet once he’s on it. He has a 5 minute sand timer but ignores it. Have you tried vibrating watches?

Brwoods89 in reply to Mrs_Cala

Noi i havent yet ive only just came across this forum so didmt know they existed until just now lol i really feel she has lost the feeling of needing to go, i really want her referred to a paediatrician altho been waiting 18months for a refferal for poo nurse!! Still no sign of it! Its so stressful isnt it! Just really dont want her too get bullied for it at school :( x

Hi just wanted to say we are in a similar postion. My son will be 4 in a few months and he has been withholding for about a year now. He is on 1-2 sachets of Movicol a day. We have tried various things but what seems to be working at the moment is sitting him on the potty with the I pad in the living room after each meal. I sometimes give him a snack as well. This is not ideal but he seems to relax and gets distracted and he will have a poo. I can see there is a long road ahead of us and we haven’t pushed for a referral yet with G.P. I think this is something i need to do . When we have spoken to G.P it hasn’t been helpful at all and they just say give more Movicol .

When he does go which varies between every 2 - 3 days , he sometimes soils In between. I am also really worried about full time school. He is mornings at the moment and so far we have got away with it as mostly seems to be getting the urge to go after lunch and tea.

Just hoping things will change soon and he will unlearn the withholding behaviour x

Hi, I’m totally in the same boat with my 4.5 year old, Drs weren’t that helpful, movicol is good if I can get enough in him, he’s in reception full time and every day I worry he will have an explosion or soil. His school said they would not change him if that happens we would have to go and sort it. I decided to buy some laculose the other day and I gave him 10ml, 1.5 days later he produced the biggest poo I have ever seen, almost half the length of his leg!!! Then a week later with no movicol or anything he did two more poos! He won’t sit on the toilet but happy to stand and weeinto the toilet! I hope like u guys we grow out of it and I too wish I could have a scan for him just to rule out twisted bowl or blockage. Wishing luck to u all xx

Mrs_Cala in reply to bluecow

My sons school were very good and changed him all the way through reception. He doesn’t seem to have been bullied - there are lots of boys in his year and they all find toilet humour incredibly funny. If anything I hate to say but I think it took the awareness for my son of a couple of boys poking a little fun in year 2 for him to realise it wasn’t ok and make more effort not to soil - that assumes of course the child is actually in control and it’s psychological not physical. My sons nursery weren’t great and didn’t change him enough. He just got used to being dirty and doesn’t care.

Hi there

My 5 year old has had the exact same problem and we tried everything we could think of! Bribes, treats, days out, shopping trips, tand it seldom worked, she carried on soiling, had no issue doing a wee in the toilet though. She started school September last year and we were so worried how her school would handle mess but they have been brilliant in helping keep her clean.

She went on to movicol and for the first week was being changed around 5 times a day at school! We think we now have the medication balance correct and it makes a huge difference.

My little girl wouldn’t tell anyone when she pooed, just got very quiet and we could tell she was doing it, red face and legs up then deny she needed to go toilet!

Patience is the key and understanding that they can’t read the go toilet signals correctly, the movicol makes things shift quickly and they need to re-learn the signals.

Doing a poo for our children is a painful and uncomfortable experience and naturally they will hold back.

We recently purchased a family toilet seat and our girl really loves it x. Also a pot of bubbles to blow on the toilet works brilliantly, it adds some fun but also helps them to get the poo moving out.

I wish you all the best of luck and remember you aren’t alone in this battle xx

You said that you thought the 2 sachets were not clearing it sufficiently? It sounds like she needs a disampaction. If you don’t disampact then there is no chance for the bowel to heal and regain tone and sensation. Your wee girl may not be able to feel it properly and sounds like she is completely overwhelmed by it all.

I’ve been there a year ago with my son. Screaming, refusing to sit on toilet, not telling me he was covered in poo. My gp was useless too so I followed a disampaction regime guided by this website, got him cleared out and carried on with a maintenance dose. I took control and made him have toilet breaks after every meal. It was hard at first but he eventually got into the routine of it. I tried to act as though it wasn’t a big deal but was an important thing to do to make him better. I changed my mindset to see it as an illness rather than a behaviour problem. I didnt talk about poo and once he had done one I would acknowledge it but not make a big deal and distracted him afterwards with something fun. I think this really helped his behaviour regarding the poos and he stopped withholding.

It’s very stressful, but it will get better - keep positive and good luck x

Hi. I have a 4 year old daughter who is also completely embarrassed and will not talk about it either. This is with pees and poos with me although she will do pees for grans. I found this website recently too and found the toilet toys a good idea and singing whilst on the toilet have moved us forward but just tiny steps for us just now. She is on laxido a sachet a day which helps her poo each day but sometimes alot and sometimes not..... all the best with it all and keep in touch. M x

Hello, I agree with the poster above about the disampaction action.

Quick background, we’ve had a rough two years with our 5 year old with holding and soiling a lot due to chronic constipation and encropresis and he started school with it and we were beside ourselves we didn’t know what to do, we tried reward charts, bribes, iPads,blowing balloons on the toilet bubble blowing everything g we could, bought books then we contacted ERIC and watched a video about the movicol. Which changed everything.


The hardest thing for us to understand was that our little one DID NOT know he was doing it, because he lost all sensation, once we got that it helped understand the condition

We found that we needed to up the dose to like around 8/9/10 sachets a day to get the backup cleared to get the consistency of the poo to like a gravy, for 48 hours then reduced the dose until the stools were loose, it’s a messy process. Then it was a case of reducing dose of movicol to find a dose suitable, we have also been prescribed sodium picosulphate which has helped, to find a suitable dose takes some finding a lot of trial and error. Also may I say how you make the movicol is important, after watching the video from ERIC we discovered the advice given to us about movico is rage was wrong from the local nurses, dissolve a sachet in at least 65 millilitres of water, double it for two sachets, we were told put it on yoghurt end in milk etc but it never helped, until we dissolved it in water then added that to whatever we wanted.

So we had our little one in pull ups to start school and a few accidents and trips into school to change him we were at our wits end, and thenhe slowly started to get things we had him on one sachet and he started to get into a regular time going, So we got pads for his undies which are brilliant by the way! Then he started going on his own, then Xmas came and had a massive relapse and with held, so over Xmas we had to up his dose again to get the gravy again! We did and only in the past month have we got a find the perfect dose again which is two sachets in a morning and 5ml of picosodiim sulphate, we saw a specialist who said it could take years for him to get there without movicol and the sensations fully returned, so play around with the dose between 1- 4 sachets a day it is trial and error, you will get to know when is too much and too little and it’s recgonising when they are with holding and upping the dose, for example we knew he was with holding cos the poo was like toothpaste is the best way I can describe so we knew he was withholding and that this was seepage rather than an actual poo, he didn’t know or feel he was doing this but because we knew we upped him and now after a couple of months at two sachets in a drink in a morning and his picasdium before bed, he’s now finally taking himself to the toilet, we monitor him and get a bit on edge if he doesn’t go every day we are waiting with extra mov but he’s gone a couple of days without going then has gone for a massive poo on his own, but this has been two years of stress, crying, questioning, and you do get angry before we got to this point,

I know so much how you feel and anyone else who reads this, I stress to you all And this forum shows this is a common thing and it does get better

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