Six year old withholding behaviour: Hi, we've been... - ERIC


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Six year old withholding behaviour

Em2006 profile image

Hi, we've been battling chronic constipation and overflow soiling for a couple of years and seem to be slowly getting on track. However, we have noticed that our son seems to withhold and we think this is probably where it all started. Certainly, this was the issue when he started school and became constipated, because he didn't want to stop what he was doing to go to the toilet. I think he has stopped himself pooing for so long now, he doesn't even realise he's doing it. He gets super fidgety and hyper. I don't always notice it, and he seems unaware- he doesn't have any feeling that he needs a poo.

I'm looking for advice from others who have experienced this with their children. Any strategies we can use to help him realise he needs the toilet, and help him to make that connection? We do toilet time three times a day after meal times and he's amazingly compliant with this. He has a bit of screen time (10 mins) for 2 out of 3 of those toilet times. We don't really like this, as he loses himself in the screen and either forgets to push, or doesn't even realise he's done a poo! But I think it's a bit of a reward for putting up with the whole rigmarole!

Any ideas?

17 Replies

I could have written this myself ! My 6yr daughter is exactly the same . We are now waiting for a referral to children’s in continuance team . She is having recurrent utis on top of withholding but this seems to be linked .

Sorry I can’t offer strategies , I’m still searching for them myself .

Em2006 profile image
Em2006 in reply to Isbiz83

Good luck! I hope some of these tips help you.

Have you done a full clear out and got to the rusty water stage?

Em2006 profile image
Em2006 in reply to Robinia

Hi Robinia. Yes we've done a full disimpaction, with rusty water stage. We stayed at 12 sachets for 15 days, just to be sure. He's just started on senokot this week. Day 2 and no difference yet.

Grayzie2009 profile image
Grayzie2009 in reply to Robinia

How do I know if we have cleared my daughter out, I was sure I've reached this stage, she has no pain and weened to 2 sachets of movicol, last night she passed a mix of watery stools, 🤦🏻‍♀️ I don't know what to do for the best! She is going everyday without struggling😬😬

Robinia profile image
Robinia in reply to Grayzie2009

You may have reduced the maintenance dose too low after disimpaction. 2 is very low. Maybe try the disimpaction again and this time reduce down very gradually after and try a higher maintenance dose

Hi, we’ve had this with my little boy. Apparently if your child has withheld his poos for a long time, then their rectum stretches as the poo inside builds. This means that they don’t realise they need a poo until it’s really full which can now take a while because it’s been so full before from withholding. The only solution to this that we’ve been given from the GP is to use laxatives daily after a full disimpaction regime to keep the poo loose and soft while the rectum returns back to its original size which can take months.

Hope this helps in some way - it seems like the only solutions to these sort of problems take a lot of patience and time 😞 xx

Thank you. Yes we've done the disimpaction for this reason. I just wondered whether, because he jiggled around, there is some feeling somewhere, but he's just not realising enough to do anything about it. It's a weird one.

Not sure if this is of any help , but we recently discovered that when you blow up a balloon you use the same muscles as if you were doing a poo . If my daughter feels like she might want to go , she sits on the loo and enjoys blowing up her balloon and we seem to get a result without her concentrating on it .😀

Em2006 profile image
Em2006 in reply to mabelrose4

Yes, this worked really well for us in the early days. It's a great tip. Blowing and coughing worked wonders for us!

I’ve not heard of this, but totally going to try with my daughter! Thank you 😊

Regarding the toilet routine we were also using rare screen time as an enticement to go to the toilet (getting my stubborn four year old to use the toilet was a constant struggle) and found she wasn’t trying because she was watching something.

I was trying balloons and bubbles but the screen time was preferred.

The HV suggested use the screen time as the reward for using the bubbles for a period of time. So we set the iPad timer for 5+ minutes when she happily blows bubbles (which helps the muscles push) and then when the alarm goes off she can have 10 mins of iPad.

By that point she’s almost always pooed.

Hope that helps.

Em2006 profile image
Em2006 in reply to Bambie83

That's a really good idea. Will give that a go. Thank you!

Hi, I’m new here and feel I too could’ve written this post. I feel terrible as I don’t think we’re helping our daughter much- we sit her in the toilet every day (she’s 5) often for twenty minutes and sometimes nothing happens at all. I hunk she’s holding for sure.. but I think she needs to disimpact.

We do 'bumhole exercises' (sorry) where he lifts and lowers his 'bumhole' so he feels where he's trying to push out. We read 'The Ins and Outsof Poop' Thomas Duhamel and he said push tummy button in and push out through bottom. 3 times for a count of 3. Rest, repeat twice. This helped him develop the feeling of pushing. Our son also got hyper and his behaviour changed when he needed to go. We just talked about this feeling being poorly sign. He still has no idea where he needs apoo but listens to his body. I hope some of this helps. Xx

When he was younger we did animal noises, who can moo the longest. Great for squeezing tummy muscles in.

Some 1 gave the idea of useing bubbles while on the toilet, as they can not concentrate on borh. I will be trying that this week, much easyer with holidays. Only have my sdaughter part time. Also used a toilet app she loved it, to keep her memory going. Its an nhs app called poo story.

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