My 2 year old son is terrified of pooping and holds it in - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-13-2006, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
Dal
 
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Lots of poop-related detail here in case it will be helpful.

The last few times Simon has pooped it has been a big and unpleasant experience for all of us, especially for him. Today was the worst yet. He clearly had to poop early this afternoon. He wiggled around a bit and was able to distract himself from the urge until it left for awhile. Lately, he's been doing this whenever the urge returns until he can't hold it off any longer. By the time he finally pooped tonight, he was hopping around in circles, wandering aimlessly around the house -- dragging me along for comfort -- and trying to avoid the inevitable. He pooped in the toilet a couple of times last week but used a diaper for the last two. I don't care where he poops, I just don't want it to be a scary and horrible experience for him.

I don't think that he is in any physical pain while pooping. He doesn't say ow and he's far more upset in the period before he poops than while he's finally pooping -- when he just looks like he's pooping and unhappy about doing so.

Simon is still nursing a lot. He was late to get into solids and has been eating more than usual lately, but I think he still eats quite a bit less than a typical toddler, though I could be wrong about that. His recent poops might be his first really solid poops (they've been semi-solid, I guess, for awhile now, but recently have started to be more log-ish). He is not at all constipated. Once he finally starts pooping, he doesn't have trouble getting it out. I know that we should take care to ensure that his diet isn't too bulky (vegan parents should make sure their children aren't eating a tonne of food but not getting enough calories), but I can't see how this could be the case now since he eats very little, aside from breastmilk, and he does tend to get a lot of calories. Today he ate a small handful of cashews, a few crackers, a few bites of apple sauce, 1 or 2 pieces of sesame snap, a bit of soy beverage with flax oil in it, a small handful of raisin bran (minus the raisins), a sip of grape juice, and a few bites of jasmine rice. We offered additional healthy foods (including more veggies and fruits) but he turned them down. What he ate today is typical of his preferences. Getting fruits and fatty acids into him is not a problem thanks to the almighty soy shake, we can even get some veggies in there too, but we're working on finding appealing ways for him to eat more veggies. I'm not sure that success in that department will make much of a difference in the pooping department, but thought I'd mention it just in case.

Thoughts? Anyone else have a toddler with this fear? Any reason to think I'm wrong and that something else is going on, i.e., that he is not afraid but in physical pain (or more likely some combination of the two)? One thought I have is to see if I can find some Rescue Remedy (anyone know where I can get some?). If that helps to calm him down with his next urge comes, and we keep somewhat busy, that may help to reduce the stress of pooping for him until he gets used to having regular poops (i.e., of the log variety). Any other ideas?
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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Moved to Toddlers

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Old 06-13-2006, 12:18 PM
 
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My Dd is almost 4 and she just went through something similar. After trying ALOT of different things, what ended up working for her was sitting down and having a talk about poop. I told her that poop was her bodies waste, kind of like garbage. I explained that her body needs to get rid of it, or it could make her sick, maybe even vomit ( I was theorizing on that one ) I was carefull not to present it in a scary threatening way, just kind of presenting the facts kind of way. That worked, like immediately, I was amazed at how well it worked. After literally months of this being a big issue, with her crying and holding it she just stopped ! I don't know if it would work as well with a two year old but it might
Oh, rescue remedy didn't really help, although it does help her in other situations, but it is worth a try. I bought mine at Whole Foods.

Good luck,

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Old 06-13-2006, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks lilylove. I'll try that approach; maybe it will just take a bit longer because of Simon's age. I do think he can understand a very basic version of what is going on. Dh and I are also going to try to have Simon see us pooping to see that it isn't scary for us. Thanks also for letting me know that Rescue Remedy is at Whole Foods.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:05 PM
 
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I am struggling with the holding poop in with my almost 3 year old dd. No solutions yet, but this is what has helped some:
Like lilylove, we talked about how important it is to poop and read the books Everybody Poops and What Happens to Your Food.
When I see her fighting to keep a poop in, I try to get her to squat down and explain the poop will come out easier that way.
Prune juice
Going to a chiropractor
Milk of magnesia
Of course trying to keep her eating a high fiber diet and drinking lots of water.
HTH!
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:56 PM
 
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My DD is 21months old and we have been dealing with this for several weeks.

Her poo doesn't seem to be hard, yet she will do the "poopy dance", stomping her feet and arching her back until she can make the urge go away.
This is usually accompanied by crying and an attempt to make me pick her up.

When she does finally start to poop she bears down and will really cry, enough that I worry it is hurting her...yet it's over quick and then she's fine.

Sometimes I think it's a behavioral thing and sometimes I fear it's something physical that is causing her pain.

My ped suggested getting her poo super soft to see if that will help her realize it's not going to hurt when she goes. He mentioned Miralax if necessary, but I am trying to do it with fruits and veggies.

I'd love to hear if anyone else found a cure for this.....
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:13 PM
 
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We just went through this. My DD fought bm's for a long time before I finally realized what was happening. At first I thought it was diet, and then I realized it was fear - she was afraid of pooping! She had a fissure a while ago and that made it very scary for her to go. She would hold it until it was very uncomfortable to go. We upped the fruits considerably - though she eats lots of fruit anyway, and her ped prescribed a very mild stool softener, to help things along. But I think by far the thing that helped the most was talking about poop - and how Everyone does it. We talk about this constantly: mommy poops, daddy poops, our dog and cat poop, granny poops and grandpa poops. She'll even joke about inanimate objects pooping - she'll say "fan poopy" and just laugh. LOL. This has helped so much. We also discussed how she should not hold the poopy in, because that's what causes her stomach to hurt, that if she poops, then she'll feel so much better. She's now happy to talk about it, and does not fight bm's anymore!! yea!!
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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Both of my boys went through this as well. It passed with time!

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Old 06-14-2006, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! It's reassuring to know that other children have the same fears. It helps to reassure me that Simon is, as I suspect, simply afraid of pooping and that it will pass. Today we tried lilylove's suggestion -- talking about pooping and explaining that it's waste that needs to pass. I think it's working, though of course I won't know until he has to poo again. We played through his fears for quite awhile as well; he got really into this. All of his toys, and everything else he could find, took turns pooping. I'm glad to hear that there are books about pooping as I was going to make one myself but don't really want to take the time to do so. We'll also up his intake of fruits and until he's eating more, not worry about him eating too much fiber (it doesn't seem possible given what he eats and drinks that he isn't getting enough calories).

Thanks again.
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