Why is my 4yo still pooping in his pants? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really don't get this. He goes in the toilet when he's naked. He has even gone in the toilet a few times when he's had underwear on. However, most of the time, if he has anything on, he will just go in his clothes. When I ask him he usually says he doesn't know when he has to go. I don't buy that since he has 0 accidents when he's naked. I ask him several times a day if he has to go poo. Many times he will say he doesn't and then just a few minutes later he'll go in his pants. I've tried setting him on the toilet but he won't go. Then within a few minutes of getting up he'll go in his pants again. Pee I could handle. That's relatively easy to clean up. Poo is such a pita. This is really beginning to bother me.

Both is brothers were fully potty trained at 2yo and 3yo, respectively, without me having to do much of anything. DS1 stayed with his grandad for a weekend and came back fully potty trained. When I asked my dad how he did that he said he just showed ds how it was done. DS2 pretty much spontaneously started using the toilet on his own when he was 3 years and 3 months old.

What is going on?

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#2 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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My nephew, who will be five next month, still does this occasionally.  My brother and SIL are at their wits end, because he starts kindergarten in the fall and cannot start unless this stops.  Which isn't much help to you, but just know you aren't alone. 

 

I know you said he goes in the toilet when he's naked...have you tried a full commitment to nakedness for like two weeks to a month?  I realize that's VERY hard, but maybe that might be a last resort option?  If for no other reason than to just develop the habit? 

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#3 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have done 2 days of no clothes unless I have to take him somewhere. I thought that would really motivate him because, if he can't get dressed, he can't go outside and play with his big brother. The first time he went 2 full days without pooping. The morning of the 3rd day I didn't get his Pull-Up off fast enough and he promptly pooped in it. I tried again with the extra caveat that he had to poop in the toilet before he'd be allowed to get dressed and play. After 2 days he went in the toilet. I dressed him. He went to play and came back later with poop in his pants again. As it is now, I try to keep him naked all the time when we are home. Sometimes he will get a Pull-Up and put it on himself and then poop.

I've tried switching him to regular underwear thinking maybe the protection of the Pull-Ups were contributing. Nope. He poops in the underwear, too, and that's even nastier for me to have to clean up. I bought some cloth trainers that work just like Pull-Ups. They're called Antsy Pants. They're really cool. He won't wear them. He says they hurt him. So we are back to Pull-Ups.

This is not an occasional thing, either. He poops in his pants most days, sometimes 2-3 times a day, unless I don't let him get dressed. I'm sure part of it is that he doesn't want to stop whatever he's doing long enough to go to the bathroom. That's why I ask him several times a day and even sit him on the toilet if he seems to be too busy. I don't know what's going on when he seems to hold it for days waiting for that time when he's in a Pull-Up so he can go. The other thing is that having poo in his pants doesn't seem to bother him. He won't let me clean him up right away. I have to chase him around the house and sometimes pin him down. Otherwise, he'll sit in it until he gets a sore bum and then he fights even more about being cleaned up because it hurts.

I'm definitely at my wit's end, too. I've got a new baby coming at the end of July, beginning of August and I do NOT want to be doing double diaper duty. He's not developmentally delayed in any way that I'm aware of. His speech is still a bit hard to understand. He can't pronounce any back of the throat consonants like G and K. I've been told that's not anything to worry about at this point. He just turned 4 on the 9th.

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#4 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

have you tried a full commitment to nakedness for like two weeks to a month?



That's been our MO over here.  I think the actual process of getting kids to go on the toilet is easy, its getting them to NOT go in their underwear thats hard.  Each kid has been a little different but, I find it takes about a month of at home nakedness to get them up and running.  In the winter its warm sweaters and shirts, babylegs, sock and slippers.  Needless to say summers are much easier.  We also use group rewarding.  Anytime the kid being potty trained goes in the toilet everyone gets a reward (in our house pee=2 M&Ms, poop=4 M&Ms).  The older kids do lots of encouraging to go potty and give lots of praise when they do.  I have heard of putting kids into sweat pants only.  That way if they do go it runs down their leg which is unpleasant but reminds them why they want to avoid going in their pants. I've never tried it so I can't vouch for its effectiveness.  So sorry its taking so long.  Hopefully it will click for him soon.

 

Just read your second posts.  Can he play outside in a long t-shirt and shoes?  I'm not sure what your yard set up is but I'd keep him in a long t-shirt until he's consistently going on the toilet.  I think pull-ups are a scam.  Way more expensive than disposable diapers but essentially the same thing.  Can you go back to diapers to at least save some cash and only put them on him when he's sleeping?  I've know kids that luurve their pull-ups and won't go on the toilet because they like wearing them.  And yeah, cleaning older kid poopy diapers sucks.  hug2.gif


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#5 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just read your second posts.  Can he play outside in a long t-shirt and shoes?  I'm not sure what your yard set up is but I'd keep him in a long t-shirt until he's consistently going on the toilet.  I think pull-ups are a scam.  Way more expensive than disposable diapers but essentially the same thing.  Can you go back to diapers to at least save some cash and only put them on him when he's sleeping?  I've know kids that luurve their pull-ups and won't go on the toilet because they like wearing them.  And yeah, cleaning older kid poopy diapers sucks.  hug2.gif

It's hot here now so being outside without clothes on isn't an issue with that respect. We don't have a privacy fence around the backyard, though, and now that he's 4 I don't feel comfortable letting him play out there without clothes on. There are lots of houses all around us that could see in our backyard even with a privacy fence. The older boys tend to run around more from yard to yard and house to house since the best friends live right next door and having the little one naked and doing that would definitely not work.

The point in the Pull-Ups is that he can and will pull them up and down to pee in the toilet (and poo on that very rare occasion). He can't do that with regular diapers. I've tried putting him back in his cloth diapers but, again, then he can't pull them up and down to use the toilet when he does get the inclination. I don't use the Pull-Ups at home except at night. I do put them on him when we go out because I don't want to have to deal with wet, poopy 4yo pants in public, especially at places like Tae Kwon Do class where there's no easy or clean place to clean him up.

Explain to me exactly what you all mean by "full commitment" to being naked. I'm not sure how that's different from what I'm doing. Like I said, I don't dress him when we are home, only when we go out and he has to be dressed and at night, although most of the time he's completely dry at night. Another example that he is ready and able to be using the toilet fully, I believe.

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#6 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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We had similar issues. I know you mentioned you put ds on the toilet and he doesn't go  and sometimes will go a few minutes later in his underwear. But, I don't know if you have tried putting him on the toilet at the same time every day. I read on a thread here, posted, I believe last month, to get them into a routine of sitting on the toilet. I immediately remembered the potty training days when I used to make her sit on the potty at regular intervals. It worked. I put her on the toilet right after breakfast. She does sometimes poop once in two days. But, having said that, we had a party to attend a couple of weeks ago and because she was excited she didn't poop at her usual time. It wasn't planned but we ended up spending the whole day there. And we had an accident as soon as we came back. Now, the rule is that she has to poop in order for us to take her out.

 


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#7 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post

Explain to me exactly what you all mean by "full commitment" to being naked.


When we are home (which is pretty much most of the time) my youngest, who is potty training, is in a long t-shirt.  Whether inside or out.  The only time I currently diaper him is while sleeping or when we are out of the house.  Because he is potty training right now I try not to go out if I don't have to.  We have a very private yard so I don't worry too much about others seeing him (plus he's only 2 1/2).  I agree that I'd feel uncomfortable letting my 4 year old run around naked in an open back yard and with the neighborhood kids running around.  Could you have him wear no underwear, very loose shorts and a t-shirt.  That's pretty close to being naked and might give him the same "breezy" feeling.  I agree, being dry at night and the fact that he does poop in the toilet when naked shows that he is ready.  Any toy/book/treat he's wanting that you could use as a reward?

 

Yes, I can see using pull-ups so that he can pull them up and down on his own.  Makes perfect sense when you're out and about.

 

Big hugs on this one.  I know your DH is deployed, you've got a baby on the way and not much help from extended family.  I'm hoping that he figures it out soon.  At least he is dry at night and peeing on the toilet.  Two down only one obstacle to go!


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#8 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had similar issues. I know you mentioned you put ds on the toilet and he doesn't go  and sometimes will go a few minutes later in his underwear. But, I don't know if you have tried putting him on the toilet at the same time every day. I read on a thread here, posted, I believe last month, to get them into a routine of sitting on the toilet. I immediately remembered the potty training days when I used to make her sit on the potty at regular intervals. It worked.

I haven't tried that because there isn't any consistency to when he poos. I didn't think it would work if I just picked random times. I have tried sitting him on the toilet before we have to go somewhere. Those are the times when he usually sits there for a long time and doesn't go but once I get him dressed and we get out and about, he poops in his pants. I have told him in the past that he cannot get dressed to go out and play until he poops in the toilet for that day. Sometimes he would go in the toilet. I'd let him get dressed to go out and play. Sure enough, he'd come in later with poo in his pants anyway. That's why I've finally gotten to the point where I won't let him get dressed to go out to play even if he has pooped in the toilet that day.
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Originally Posted by Lucy Alden View Post

When we are home (which is pretty much most of the time) my youngest, who is potty training, is in a long t-shirt.  Whether inside or out.  The only time I currently diaper him is while sleeping or when we are out of the house.

So that's pretty much what I do. We don't go out much. I'm a homebody, so he's naked most of the time.
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Could you have him wear no underwear, very loose shorts and a t-shirt.  That's pretty close to being naked and might give him the same "breezy" feeling.  I agree, being dry at night and the fact that he does poop in the toilet when naked shows that he is ready.  Any toy/book/treat he's wanting that you could use as a reward?

 

Yes, I can see using pull-ups so that he can pull them up and down on his own.  Makes perfect sense when you're out and about.

 

Big hugs on this one.  I know your DH is deployed, you've got a baby on the way and not much help from extended family.  I'm hoping that he figures it out soon.  At least he is dry at night and peeing on the toilet.  Two down only one obstacle to go!


He goes in shorts when that's all he has on, too. Then he just strips it off if he doesn't like the way it feels. That is even nastier if he poos.

Yes, it is good that he is dry at night and pees in the toilet most of the time. Maybe I just need to relax and give him more time.

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#9 of 18 Old 06-21-2011, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we're making progress. The other day ds was playing in the neighbor's pool in a regular bathing suit. He came home to poo in the toilet! joy.gif Today we were out shopping and he told me he had to go to the bathroom and pooed instead of just going in his pants. Then we got home and he pooed in his pants again. Oh well. I'll take the little steps at this point as long as it's some progress.

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#10 of 18 Old 06-22-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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I haven't tried that because there isn't any consistency to when he poos. I didn't think it would work if I just picked random times. I have tried sitting him on the toilet before we have to go somewhere. Those are the times when he usually sits there for a long time and doesn't go but once I get him dressed and we get out and about, he poops in his pants. I have told him in the past that he cannot get dressed to go out and play until he poops in the toilet for that day. Sometimes he would go in the toilet. I'd let him get dressed to go out and play. Sure enough, he'd come in later with poo in his pants anyway. That's why I've finally gotten to the point where I won't let him get dressed to go out to play even if he has pooped in the toilet that day.


 

There are regular times the body tends to poo.  It is usually within 20 minutes of eating food.  It is good to get in a habit of sitting on the potty to work in pooping shortly after eating meals.  I also find kids make many visual ques (change/straining face, sitting on heel, hiding) that they need to poo, although it is hard to watch for them all the time, it may help in the short term to get him to the potty.  Talk to him about how his body is feeling and what urges feel like.  

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#11 of 18 Old 06-22-2011, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have noticed the visual cues and I do ask when I see them. He usually says he doesn't need to go. I guess I should just take him to the bathroom when I notice any of that. How long do you wait with the child on the toilet before you decide he doesn't really need to go?

Yesterday at the store the first time he said he had to poo he sat on a the toilet for a minute or so and then said he didn't really have to go. I asked him to try a little longer, which he did, but still didn't go. I didn't want to stand in the bathroom for a long time waiting to see if anything would happen. Plus, I didn't want to leave my older child standing outside waiting for us for too long. We went back to shopping and just as we were finishing he said he had to go again and that time he did.

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#12 of 18 Old 06-22-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I still wouldn't rule out the possibility of it not being a physiological issue.  Knew a lady who's son had this problem and turned out he was chronically constipated and had some other intestinal issues. Just may not completely be his fault, ya know? Might be worth evaluating.

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#13 of 18 Old 06-22-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Explain to me exactly what you all mean by "full commitment" to being naked. I'm not sure how that's different from what I'm doing. Like I said, I don't dress him when we are home, only when we go out and he has to be dressed and at night, although most of the time he's completely dry at night. Another example that he is ready and able to be using the toilet fully, I believe.

What I mean is that he goes as few places as possible for like 2 whole weeks, or more.  Like, you leave him at home with DH or a friend or something when you have to go to the store, you cancel all the appointments you can, basically that he is at home and naked ALL the time.  Like he sleeps naked, he eats naked, he's naked 24-7.  That's why I said it's hard. 

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I still wouldn't rule out the possibility of it not being a physiological issue.  Knew a lady who's son had this problem and turned out he was chronically constipated and had some other intestinal issues. Just may not completely be his fault, ya know? Might be worth evaluating.


He has never been constipated and doesn't have any trouble having a BM. Sometimes he goes 3 times a day. He can and does go in the toilet and he does know when he has to go. I'm almost certain it's just a matter of him not wanting to stop what he's doing and go to the bathroom. It's easier to just go in his pants.

Believe me, if I thought it were physiological or developmental, I wouldn't be pushy about it at all. Not that I'm really pushy about it now. I don't potty train my kids. I let them learn on their own time. But, like I said, I think this little guy knows when he has to go and knows how to do it. He just doesn't want to.
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What I mean is that he goes as few places as possible for like 2 whole weeks, or more. Like, you leave him at home with DH or a friend or something when you have to go to the store, you cancel all the appointments you can, basically that he is at home and naked ALL the time. Like he sleeps naked, he eats naked, he's naked 24-7. That's why I said it's hard.

Yeah, that would be virtually impossible for me to do right now. My dh is deployed for a year so I'm the only parent in the home. I don't have friends close enough to leave him with every time I need to run an errand. I don't go out much, though. I hate running errands and shopping. I don't have any appointments other than my prenatals. I only go out when I absolutely have to.

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#15 of 18 Old 06-23-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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I still wouldn't rule out the possibility of it not being a physiological issue.  Knew a lady who's son had this problem and turned out he was chronically constipated and had some other intestinal issues. Just may not completely be his fault, ya know? Might be worth evaluating.



My dd has encopresis and it is different than what OP is describing.  It is not always a psychological problem, but for dd it is worst when she is experiencing stress.  She has not pooped her pants since she was 3 or 4, but she soils when she constipated (I know it seems the same, but soiling is like skid marks and her poops due to constipation are huge).  One thing the to consider is that kids can start withholding leading to constipation, if they are feeling stress about using the toilet.  

 

Marine Wife, in regards to time, when you are home try to get you ds to sit on the toilet until he has done.  For dd, we keep books in the bathroom because she likes to read while she works on stuff.  For ds, when he was little, we would let him take books or small toys like cars, etc, with him and play with them while sitting on the toilet.  We would also make it a game to go to the toilet- usually intentionally saying silly or outrageous stuff.  I would "race" the kids to see who was first when I would see them struggling to hold stuff in. We generally told the kids that they could not pee/poo while running (not true, but it got them to try).   Both kids like chart keeping with successes noted, although I was bad at it.  We never did the running around without clothes for prolonged periods. At some point your ds has to learn to go to the toilet clothed, so I do not see how spending prolonged periods naked will change this behavior.

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#16 of 18 Old 06-24-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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He may be old enough to help with the cleanup process.  My son had this problem too until about age 5 or so.  (He's 7 now, and he still very occasionally has an accident.)  It really helped me to stop being so frusterated about it when I put the matter into his hands.  If he pooped in his pants, he had to put the poop in the toilet, put the clothes in the laundry and wash himself off in the bathtub.  I put out a new washcloth that he could use each day, and we had a diaper pail in the bathroom so he could put his dirty underwear/pants in it.  I think he felt better about it too when he was in charge of the cleanup. 

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#17 of 18 Old 06-25-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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We have the same problem with our 5 year old. Just like OP's son, he also has two older siblings who were potty trained without my really doing anything. We were very relaxed about it for a long time, but this has been going on for such a long time now, and we are getting worried that he is still going to have this problem when he starts school. :(

 

Just like the OP's son, our son will consistently go to the toilet when naked. We never used pull-ups, but have let him be naked a lot when he was younger. Cleaning poo from clothes or floors doesn't really bother me, he never really pooed on the floor, though. I thought he would learn to recognise the feeling of having to go if he had enough successes through being naked at home, but it has never changed.

 

We tried charts last year (after pressure from his kindergarten), it made him a little bit more positive to the toilet, at least he stopped actively hiding away when he was having a poo, but it didn't really make him go on his own initiative. He never really saw the point in the chart and wasn't very interested in getting stickers or rewards. He didn't seem to feel that he had any control over the "outcome". ;)

 

We have become very good at recognising the signs that he needs to go, and after using the chart he would usually agree to try to sit on the toilet. But it didn't make him understand that he needed to go. We have not continued using the charts as we are a bit sceptical to that approach.

 

We have also tried not asking and not saying anything, but this has had no effect.

 

What has been working best for us for quite a while, is to put him on the toilet after his afternoon meal, because he usually poos very consistently at the same time every day. We do not ask, because he will say that he doesn't need to go, as he doesn't want to stop whatever he is doing. We have him sit for ten minutes - in our experience it takes that long for him to relax enough to actually poo. We let him play Angry Birds or read a book, and I stay right outside the door, without talking very much and without leaving because he won't sit for that long if nobody is there. We don't force him if he really insists that he doesn't want to go. We have bought him a comfy toilet seat, and that has also helped.

 

We have periods where this works really well, and he even goes without being told sometimes, and we think it is over - and then we have periods where something has upset the routine and it is back to the beginning again, like now. :( Then he doesn't even go every day - it seems like holding it in has become automatic when he is a little bit stressed, and he is very easily stressed...

 

He still says that he doesn't know why he poos his pants so much, and that he doesn't feel that he needs to go, and he is sad about it sometimes. He has been very upset to realise that most of the younger kids in kindergarten don't poo their pants. So even though we try to create as little stress as possible around this, it is still stressful for him.

Once he has even become really constipated to the extent that he was screaming with pain. :( Now we have a laxative that we give him every time he doesn't poo in a couple of days. Letting him sit in a warm bath for a long time also seems to "loosen things up", he often goes straight to the toilet from the bath.

 

We feel like we have tried "everything". My consolation is that my niece had a similar problem and it suddenly went away.

 

Like OP's son our son has some sounds that he still doesn't pronounce correctly, but his language is very good and he is a very smart, intelligent boy.

 

I am wondering if it is a sensitivity issue. He is extremely sensitive to clothes in terms of itchiness, hard seems, not a perfect fit etc. and very sensitive to noise, people etc. He needs things to be quite calm and tidy. I wonder if the feeling of pooing is uncomfortable for him, and he has an automatic response to try to avoid it. He has always had some aversion to being dirty or wet.

 

I used to believe that potty training was very simple unless you did something "wrong", but now I know better.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-25-2011, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to be less reactive about this. It helps me just to write it out here and get responses. My ds has made some progress in the last week or so. Like I posted before, he told me when he had to go when we were out shopping and did eventually go in the toilet there. Also, if he has his bathing suit on, which has a mesh liner, he comes inside to use the toilet every time he has to go. I have no idea why this would be different from wearing a pair of underwear or even just shorts without underwear. Maybe he knows the mesh won't hold things in as well? shrug.gif I'm going to try letting him play outside in just shorts without underwear again and see how that works.

I wouldn't mind cleaning the poo out of clothes so much if it were always solid. A lot of times, though, it's really soft and mushed and runny. Sorry, TMI. I do wonder if that has something to do with my ds not going in the toilet all the time. It seems to be getting more consistently solid so maybe that will help. I've got about 5 weeks before I'm changing someone else's diapers. I sure wish this would resolve before then.

knit.gifSAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 jammin.gif, 9REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, 5 FIREdevil.gifand now 1 year oldtoddler.gif!

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