5-year-old plans to wear pull-ups until he dies (his ... - ERIC

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5-year-old plans to wear pull-ups until he dies (his words)


I have had a 5-year-old grandson as a foster child since he was 2. He was toilet trained in late summer of 2018, but lost it all when he started school and when visits with his bio mom resumed in fall of 2018. Since then he has been in a pullup 24/7. He attends a continence clinic, but frankly it doesn't seem to be helping. While he IS willing to sit for 15 minutes after breakfast on the toilet (part of the treatment plan) he maintains strongly that he will always wear pull-ups and plans to never really use the toilet. I hope he loses his resolve soon.... Psychologist suggests not pushing as it is likely a control issue (very little control over the bigs things in his life so far). Worried about kindergarten approaching in the fall....and I would love to hear any suggestions from caregivers who have cracked this nut. As I read over entries here, I'm feeling grateful for the sharing I've seen so far. We need it...

He attends a morning preschool currently and they call me if he needs a change because he will not allow any of the teachers to do it.

11 Replies

Hey what nappies is he in my son is the same but only for wee he uses the nappy for

Sorry to hear that you and your grandson are going through this, he must be super stressed to be reacting like this. If it is a control thing for him can you just stop all conversations around it? Do the 15 minutes and then totally don’t mention coming out of nappies or anything unrelated to the plan. It’s so hard (I know) as our anxieties about what they are facing in life mean we mention it more than we need to but perhaps if he thinks you aren’t bothered anymore it will be something he can let go of. Can you teach him to change himself? That way you are kind of saying ‘it’s ok if you have made this decision, I’m just helping you manage it’. Also I would speak to the school as soon as you can and ensure they know the situation and the reasons behind it, they have a duty of care to him to help him with this. Good luck, it sounds like you are doing a great job in a tough situation

in reply to CN4321

Thank you...all good advice and we have been following all of these protocols. We do get worried that we are being too passive as more than a year has passed with no improvement. He is just being kind of funny with his pronouncements about lifelong use of pullups, yet the complete unwillingness to try. I'm sure you are spot on with parental relaxation being important. The school is well aware but will not force him to let him be helped by them with toileting. Adamantly refuses to begin learning to change himself...

Thank you for sharing your story. Mine is similar. Part of our plan is for our son to change and clean up himself as well. We have been working very hard on doing bay steps.

For instance , hand over hand, if he needs the pants down, we put his hands on the waist and hold our hands over his and both pull the pants down. Small steps, after a while, he should start to take the pants down further and further on his own. Wiping is the same, We try to do hand over hand. DO NOT grab or force, it seems to makes them NOT willing. Make it seems like a terrific opportunity to be taking care of himself. Small steps, slowly it has been working.

Good luck to you momma😘happy NYE !!🥳

Thanks so much for your reply. I may try it. His heels are in very far, and he wants someone to do all kinds of things he can already do for himself, so that takes lots of creativity on our part. The toileting refusal as well as the other age-inappropriate stuff may have to do with earlier traumas. I like your suggestions and will ponder it. Appreciation!

Hi. My son is now 7 and we have only just got him out of pull ups in the last 6months. So there is hope and we didn't think it was ever going to happen.

What I have found the more you force the issue or mention it. The situation escalates and to be honest they do not have much control over any of it. So I found ignoring it works best which is very difficult and feels wrong.

With my son we sat him on the toilet 3 times a day after meals minimum.

I found looking at the problem from a wider perspective has helped us. So we were not having much luck with the constipation clinics as a stand alone. We resorted in using a chiropractor and a medicine function practitioner, looked at his diet and fluid intake alongside the NHS. Fingers crossed we are now making progress and we have had difficulties since he was 2.5 years old.

Another thing to consider is has he got an allergy or any intolerances or is there a food that is aggravating him. We moved our son to gluten free for awhile to help his gut heal.

Thanks so much. The play therapist says do not push. Continence clinic seems worthless. He usually seems to know before he pees or poops and delays sitting on the pot until after, so it would appear there is quite a bit of physical control...but then there are the times he seems surprised that he has had a bowel movement.

We are so limited in our own social lives because he wont let a sitter change him, refuses to do it himself, wont let school personnel help...I am running around taking care of it and cannot get a break. So that is kind of driving my eagerness. Good to be aware of it. I do appreciate your encouragement. So good to hear of some success, thank you!

We ended up going nto school on a daily basis to change my son. People don't realise how it can affect you socially. The whole process seems to take forever. I wish I could say there was a quick fix. Can you find any children in your area with the same issue and sort out play dates. As my son felt he was the only one.

Have you tried to used a children's ladder on the toilet?? Has something scared him whilst he has been on the toilet??

We went through a stage where our son wouldn't go near the toilet. What we did was we rewarded him for sitting on the toilet instead of doing pops and wees. We used smarties initially. It seemed wrong when we first started and it took quite a bit of time to make progress. Perhaps you need to go backwards to go forward.

On a serious note, this condition wears you down emotionally and physically. So please find some time for yourself even if it is half an hour a week so you can escape. Otherwise it may affect you in a different way. Talking from experience. Good luck. Keep going as there is hope.

Thank you so much. I think you are right. I do have coffee with a couple of close friends once a week and take my own physical therapy twice a week. When I have to miss one of those I really feel it! I appreciate your reminder that I must carve out those times for myself, as they are the first to go when difficulties arise...

We are going through the same process with my 4 year old son who has said he wants to wear nappies when he's grown up.

I was totally at my wit's end until I finally got through to the ERIC helpline (after literally months of trying every day). They told me to break the whole toilet process down into the smallest steps possible and provide rewards for achieving each step. He gets a star sticker when he does what we've agreed and 10 stickers gets a reward. First it was a star just for sitting on the toilet with a nappy on and his trousers pulled up. Slowly slowly we've got to the point where he'll sit on the toilet in a nappy to do a wee and we unstrap both sides and pull down the back. It's slowly getting him comfortable with the doing a wee without the feeling of a nappy on. It's so painstakingly slow sometimes it drives me crazy but when I think back to where we were just a few months back we have come such a long way.

The best thing is the small achievable steps provide opportunities for praise and rewards and this is what has turned things around for us. Instead of constant negativity because he couldn't do what we were asking him to do he now has the opportunity to feel proud about what he's achieved and how far he's come. We still have a long way to go, but before I was utterly hopeless and now I'm confident it will happen for him.

ERIC were brilliant. I so wish they had more resources as we'd still be lost and struggling without them.

Good luck, it's so hard and you feel so helpless, but you'll get there.

in reply to Tenafric

This is really helpful and hopeful, thank you!

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