4 year old refusing to use toilet for poos. - ERIC


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4 year old refusing to use toilet for poos.

Sunnimummy profile image

Hello fellow readers,

My son who is 4 and just finishing his last year of reception. He is good at going for a pee and rarely wets himself.

However, he poos himself nearly everyday.

I have talked to the doctors who put him on laxido, however this just turned everything into more like a liquid

He is a good eater and likes his veg.

His older brother and sister had no problems.

The school are really on my case. They are ringing me daily asking me to come and collect him early, and his brother. They are now talking about expelling him, because they can't cope with this.

(They have a nursery attached. I can't imagine them ringing parents everytime when a 2 year has an accident.)

I have tried everything. Overtop praise. Treats for success, punishments, sitting him on the toilet for a hour every night hoping. Buying him toys as reward. Changing his diet. Drinking lots. Potty type stories. Natural stool softeners, and laxatives. Talking to him and talking and talking and more talking. Been to doctors. Special toilet seats and potties. getting him to try to poo everytime he has a pee. Getting him to try everytime I need the loo.

Not sure what to do anymore, he has missed loads of school already. Any potty training tips please.

Thanks in advance.

6 Replies

They can not exclude him, on what grounds?sounds like you need to disimpact him

Hi. You have my absolute sympathy. My son who is also in reception won’t use the toilet at school at all. He hasn’t pooped but wets himself regularly. It’s so frustrating and upsetting for all involved. The school shouldn’t be threatening with expulsion! Your child is entitled to an education. They know it’s an issue for him so they have a responsibility to be prepared and to support him! Maybe it’s worth asking for a referral to a local continence team or to the Ed psych attached to the school? Our school have been very supportive (although I can tell they get p’d off). At the end of the day your child is 4/5 obviously struggling with this and needs support from the professionals round him. Shaming him and you won’t work so shame on them for taking this approach.

We have gone through the school nurse and put a plan in place for our 4 year old. The plan is to drink cup of water before each meal and to sit on toilet at set times of day (when first back from school, before bed and before school). He can watch a short tv show on my phone when on toilet. The situation is improving so far but will take a while I think. Tell the school this is a health issue and agree a plan with them on how to handle with the school nurse. There is an example plan on Eric website.

They absolutely cannot expel him legally, soiling counts as a disability and therefore there is legislation in place to ensure he has equal access to education as anyone else. Likewise they should NOT be asking you to come early to pick him up. Having said that, if you’re concerned that this is impacting on their behaviour towards him, I wouldn’t blame you if you chose to transfer him to a more understanding school. Are they leaving him in a mess until you get there??!

We are in a similar position with my reception year child, it could have very easily been accidents everyday but thankfully we identified her food intolerance (lactose) the August beforehand and a combination of a good diet, lots of water and regular toilet sits 20 minutes after meals (initially with an incentive scheme, now with tablet time as she sits) has worked wonders and she’s only had a handful of accidents at school and has usually kept regular. We’ve also, apart from that, tried to really take the pressure off her. I’m sure the accidents at home get worse again when I start feeling more stressed or make it more of a thing.

Also, be aware that chronic constipation will often be a cause of soiling aged 4 up but not always. I absolutely swear it’s not the case with my daughter. This place did make me question that once but the GP confirmed my gut reaction that whilst we have sporadic incidents of constipation, they clear themselves within a week via our normal routine and therefore it’s not encopresis but more a developmental lag. I don’t want to say to you it’s NOT constipation but maybe something to consider again with your medical professionals.

Some kids just take longer to get there, is all. My daughter definitely has some of those autistic/ADHD cross over traits which we are watching. I know it’s hard to remember but this will pass at some stage, but try not to set deadlines as they’ll just add stress.

I am worried that the schools behaviours might make him more conscious of it and exasperated the problem. I have spoke to 2 doctor and a few pharmacists and they have said this is common problem. I feel like the school don't really believe a word I say. I said the other day I rang back after recieving a answer phone message, and she said that someone had been in reception all day. Which just inst true as since covid noone is allowed to ask direct questions to the reception anymore meaning there is never anyone there anymore. The school head has changed recently. The old head teacher was great. But I think this head is still finding her feet. Not very fond of his teacher either, and didnt like her when my older son had her. She's pushy.

I don't think he's that bad a home. During the half term he only had 1 or 2 accidents. Has anyone tried syrup of figs as that is more for flushing things through, than laxido which is more of a stool softener I feel. He has been put back on laxido for half the dose now. But I feel this will make things worse before they get better. But the school won't like that. They moan about the teaching resources that it's taking up. All children have accidents, my other 2 had wet accidents at that age. This is becoming a headache.

Lluciente profile image
Lluciente in reply to Sunnimummy

Yeah, I totally feel you regards your worries about the school’s reaction. I’m angry on behalf of your son and you just reading it. And torn between thinking you’d be within your rights to fight it, or that you’d be totally justified in changing schools (and then complaining to Ofsted!)

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