Help..4year old won't use toilet/potty to poo and doe... - ERIC

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Help..4year old won't use toilet/potty to poo and doesn't realise he's done it in his pants!!!!

Hi I'm new here and desperate for help. My boy is 4 and we've been potty training since may 2018. Weeing he is fine with barring the odd accident when he's distracted but we are really struggling with poo. He keeps pooing his small skids but won't actually use the toilet even though I sit with him. Half hour later he's running around in poopy pants not realising he's done it. Sometimes his stools are very hard and only little then come 7.30pm it's a mass explosion. We don't know what to do!!!. We've done reward charts etc but it's like it's not sinking in and I'm at a loss as to what to do next as are his grandparents and preschool. He's come home today aswell saying his lower tummy hurts aswell at the side. Can anyone help at all I'm getting desperate especially as he starts school in September. Thankyou.

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It sounds just like my son at that age. I would say he has impaction (where the poo is built up inside) - google it and there is loads of info about it. I ignored my sons tummy ache and just thought he wasn’t getting the hang of potty training for far too long. I would go to your GP and ask them to examine him and they should give you movicol.

The free NHS app “poo goes to pooland” is also fantastic for explaining to children and helped with my youngest son.


Hi thank you for replying. After reading up last night on things and him being extremely soaked (very runny poo sorry tmi) this morning we've booked him into the doctors. We are sat waiting as I type this so hopefully we will get an answer. I hate going to the doctors.....always feel I'm being an over reactive mum. 😓


Well he's felt a mass in his bowel and given him a course of laxido. Will see how that goes.

Funnily doctor questioned why we took him in first thing!!!! Ermmmm because he's in pain!!!! That's why I hate doctors.

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Hi my LG due to start school Sept 19. I would suggest u see your gp for movelcoil and senna since my LG been on it she been a different child.she has accidents in her knickers but can't help it as she has cd. So unpleasant for him.x


Hi I’ve been there with my daughter who is now 7! She did a sore poo during toilet training when she was 3 and I had 4 years of soiling and holding in her poos, she was on lactulose twice a day. Fingers crossed we are nearing the end of this now she still occasionally needs lactulose when she gets constipated but here are some of the things we have done to improve the soiling, appreciate every child is different so what might work for one won’t work for another but if it helps another family improve the toilet/soiling situation it can only be a good thing!

1) see your GP to let them know of the soiling situation and get some medication to soften the poo - we were on lactulose twice a day 10ml - ask to be referred to a child constipation clinic at your local hospital - we had a 4 month wait but was really good to get some advice from a consultant who knew what they were talking about rather than my gp

2) establish a toilet routine! We were guilty in my house of rushing for work/school/social events so now we get up earlier so my daughter has plenty time to use the toilet after breakfast and does not feel rushed - an article from the ERIC website helped me get a routine going with my daughter. We also make sure that she goes to the toilet after dinner too! we call it “toilet time” I’m strict with the routine to the point now my daughter tells me it’s toilet time after breakfast or dinner! If she hasn’t been for a poo in a couple of days I sometimes do a lunchtime toilet routine at the weekends when she is not at school!

3) find out what gets your child to sit on the toilet for 5-10mins for toilet time - ours started with colouring in, reading, I stayed with my daughter initially to build up her confidence and showed her that it was ok to sit on the toilet! We used to have fun together and play games so she would get distracted and do a poo without noticing. She now wants to be in the toilet on her own so we now let her use a kindle but we limit the usage on it and try and keep it to toilet time - she will quite happily sit there for a longer period with the kindle

4) reward for completing toilet time - normally a sticker on a reward chart does it in our house regardless whether she has done anything and if my daughter does do a poo I give her a penny which she saves up to buy something with

5) we provide my daughter with a footstool and padded toilet seat (Disney frozen theme) this has helped her sit properly and find it easier to do a poo

6) diet - we start the day off with a fruit smoothie consultant said this was good for keeping the poo soft! Rest of the day I try and give my daughter food with a good fibre content and cut right back on dairy! She only has milk with cereal (weetabix), I buy 50/50 pasta so she can’t see the wholewheat, popcorn for snacks (quite high in fibre) and loads of water to drink

7) fluids - my daughter has never been the best at drinking fluids but we have competitions at the dinner table to see who can finish their glass of water first - works every time as she doesn’t want to lose so will drink all the water

8) we leave the car at home whenever we can and walk, go to the park, swimming etc to make sure she has plenty exercise to get the bowels going :-)

I’ve read the book recommended on here called the in’s and out’s of poop! Would definitely recommend it my daughter had been soiling for so long I think she had forgotten how to push a poo out and wasn’t getting the signals from her bowel to do a poo. the book helped with some wee techniques to get her going - I also discovered that a party blower or blowing up a balloon on the toilet has helped too to get the pushing situation going again!

I hope the points I’ve listed above help it’s only when you start talking about it you realise what a common problem it is!

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