Help! Poo withholding!: Hi all! I’m at my wits end and... - ERIC


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Help! Poo withholding!

Iggle03 profile image

Hi all!

I’m at my wits end and would love some advice please!

My strong willed 3 year old toilet trained a year ago both wee and poo! In the summer she had a few episodes of constipation and for 7 months now has been withholding! It’s a vicious cycle! Her bottom gets so red we’re she gets some overflow! We have movicol! She says drinks well etc etc

It’s all down to fear! I’ve done a toilet bag full of little games and treats etc and that worked for a short time but we’re back to square one and she isn’t bothered with that now!

She cries if I insist she sits on the loo with gentle encouragement etc she’s very fiery and doesn’t respond well to encouragement she just knows she doesn’t want to do it and that’s that!

I’ve tried everything or at least it feels that way! But after 7 months I’m losing my patience now and at the end of my tether help!

12 Replies

I am sorry to hear you are going through this. We had the same with our then 4 year old, who was equally as strong willed and lost enthusiasm for toilet toys and reward charts quickly. It was all driven by fear and I remember the vicious circle well. It was Movicol that made the difference for us - have you done a disimpaction? We didn't need to do a full one but did get the poo so soft (cow pat) and kept it like that for a while so that we could reinforce the message that poo didn't always hurt. Once she could see that and had less fear then we very slowly reduced the Movicol over the course of a year until she was able to come off it completely. I hope this helps and I would really suggest you increase the Movicol to break the fear. Good luck. Xx

Nadinka35 profile image
Nadinka35 in reply to SallyCal

Hi, how did you decrease movicol to the point you stopped? We are now on 1/2 sachet a day but having a break last 2 days as my son was going every day with very very soft poo. I wonder should I just stop or use a different method.

SallyCal profile image
SallyCal in reply to Nadinka35

Hello, sorry for delay in replying. Once we got to a low amount each day we then reduced to every other day and then 3 times a week (set days) and then I think we just stopped after that. Every time we made a change I would leave it about a month for it to take effect and her to get used to it. Also kept focusing on her drinking lots of water and eating high fibre foods so that we could manage it without Movicol. I am always conscious it could come back as once you have had constipation issues I think you are more prone so we still have some Movicol in the house and I wouldn't hesitate giving her it again if I felt she needed it. Good luck. Xx

What about upping the dose of Movicol so it's so loose she can't hold it?

Also does she have screen time? Could you limit that to toilet time only for a few days to make it special?

I’ve been through exactly the same with my daughter too. What I found worked for us was to first go through a disimpaction then keep her Movicol at a level which kept her poo very soft so it definitely wouldn’t hurt when she went to the toilet. She is taking sennakot alongside it which means it’s harder for her to withhold it. With the toilet time sessions I let her have some screen time or we played with her barbies together. I didn’t even mention about doing a poo on the toilet to her but just rewarded her with a bit of chocolate every time she sat on the toilet for 5 minutes. Eventually we built the toilet time up to 10 minutes 3 times a day after meals. I found the more fuss I made about her going for a poo the more reluctant she was to go. It’s so hard especially when all you want is for them to just use the toilet but this approach is definitely working for us. Good luck x

Hi, I’m just jumping in on this post! We are 3 weeks into this now and going so well! We have also gone from nappies to potty training which seems to be a bit of a breakthrough in itself! However, we have had a lot of withholding behaviour today and lots of teeny tiny poo’s and wetting accidents. Did you ever have bad day’s in between the good days? Just looking for some hope I guess, I know it’s not going to be perfect straight away and she is withholding a lot less but I do find myself panicking when I see the old behaviour coming back in! X

We definitely had bad days mixed in with the good days for a while. Over time they’ve gradually got less and less. With my daughter I found that when she did the tiny poos it meant she was having trouble going so I upped her dose of sennakot and increased the time she sat on the toilet. Good luck x

Thank you for replying to me, it’s good to know that the bad days got less. Ours have too even in 3 I just need to remember that when these bad days creep in! Hard though!

I have given her an extra 1/2 sachet of movicol so hopefully that will help her to go tomorrow. Fingers crossed! X

I have a fiery one who had the same problem - he is 5 now and i totally agree that it’s the fear that’s the problem. There is only one thing in my opinion that works to overcome this fear/anxiety and that is to do it more until it is not seen as a threat. I made sure i stuck to 2 movicol per day - one first thing, another in the afternoon drink.. then a sit on the toilet every day after tea - stick to a routine. I know it’s stressful to hear their screams etc but you need to push through it. It’s amazing how quickly the new habit forms and very quickly they stop complaining. Give a sticker on a chart every time they sit on the toilet even if they don’t go - keep it positive. Try and aim for a daily poo and keep yr movicol dose consistent for months. Good luck 🤞

Thank you so much everyone- will try all of your suggestions and let you know how we get on x

Yes please do, I’ve just seen this thread and would be interested to see how you are getting on. We are in a similar situation with my daughter x

Hello,Very similar scenario. Nothing seems to work on our 3.5 year old too. No games or treats. He just withhold poos . We just started Laxido and now we have some smudging . It will be messy. Can you tell me your story with laxatives. I would be grateful:

Our toddler is trained to pee in a potty but had never sat on a potty ever !!! Always hides to poo and now for some time he just stops it and does not push. No talking or explaining seems to work. We are seeing a doctor on Wednesday. We had no idea what stool withholding was until our 1 year old started suffering from constitution.

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