4 year old withholding poo: Hi, am looking for some... - ERIC


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4 year old withholding poo

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Hi, am looking for some advice. My four year old has had issues with withholding his poos for around 18 months now. It started when we potty trained him. We left it for a while hoping that he'd grow out of it in time (on advice from health visitor). That didn't work and go prescribed movicol. Half a sachet each day ensured that he had a bowel movement but he waited until bed time and did it in pull ups overnight. It seemed a psychological issue as he'd get upset if we even talked to him about doing a poo. Recently we've had a breakthrough with him doing poos on the toilet but with it has come more withholding even though he is still on the macrogol. We increased the dose to one sachet each day. But this week he went 5 days between bowel movements although both times he went were on the toilet. Should I increase the dose again to aim for him to be going every day?

5 Replies

Hello, my daughter started withholding at 4 years old as a result of one painful constipation episode. She just got so scared of going that she held it for up to 4 or 5 days sometimes. It creates a vicious circle as it is then going to be bigger and harder when they eventually go reinforcing the fear. We tried everything from having a regular routine of sitting, reward charts etc but the only thing that worked for us was Movicol. Luckily we didn't have to do a full disimpaction but we got up to 4 sachets a day for a week or so until her poo was like cow pat! She still tried to hold it in but eventually she had to let it go. With lots of positive reinforcement and getting her to recognise that it didn't hurt when she went she started to get over the fear. It took a little while as she had the withholding problem for over a year and it is probably all she could remember about pooing was that it hurt. We slowly reduced the dose of Movicol until we found a maintenance dose which kept her going once a day with soft poos. She is 6.5 now and we are off the Movicol now but it was the best thing we did. I hope this helps. Best of luck. Xx

Thank you that's helpful to know. We increased the dose to two sachets and he's already been this morning, so will try to keep the dose up to ensure he's going every day.

Good to hear things are improving. Xx

Hello, we are going through exactly the same with my granddaughter, she been like it since potty training at 2 and a half, she will be 5 in June, she got loads better, but keeps having phases where she is afraid of going and starts to withhold, then of course the stools get bigger and seapages start, we were hoping to phase out the movacol and tbh isnt on it as much as she used to be, what maintenance dose worked best for you without being too loose that she got no control, so stressful and frustrating isnt it x

Hi there, it is so important to keep bowels loose, my daughter with held her poo, we didn't know that it had backed up and caused damage. She got sepsis and nearly died, it took over a year to get the compacted poo out. My daughter wont drink, its a nightmare. Please make sure that you speak to specialist if you have too, constipation is so serious. Take care x

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