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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ugh. I need some been there/done that advice

Caleb is 2 1/2. We started potty training at Thanksgiving. He took to it immediately and has been pee trained ever since. Poop has been another matter completely. As part of PTing we gave him juice, which irritated his intestinal tract, caused gas & bloating, and painful poops. It took us a week to figure out that he was holding it in b/c it hurt to go (we kept thinking it was constipation). Took him to the ped who said it's not constipation and cut out the juice. We did that but the fear/damage was already done. Since then he's been terrified to go. We used various stool softeners, laxatives, bribes, fiber gummies, etc since then with NO real improvement. Yes he goes (every 2-3 days) but it's after hours/days or whining. He grabs the front of his pull-up and pulls upward HARD so that there is enough pressure on his bottom to prevent the poop from coming out. Eventually he goes but it's forceful, and the consistency ranges from normal to pudding like. The main thing is his fear. He reduces his food intake when he hasn't gone in awhile, he doesn't sleep as well (because sometimes he relaxes enough in his sleep for it to come out but that freaks him out, he wakes up mid-poop and stops it).

Last Saturday he was up from 1-4 am completely miserable and freaking out. At that point we decided to quit all the stool softners/laxatives/etc and just see what happens. We gave him flaxseed oil starting Sunday and on Monday gave him Kefir. He had a nice, normal, painfree poop Monday night. (we thought we'd found the solution). Turns out that was a fluke. Since then we'v continued the kefir and flaxseed oil (as well as other poop friendly foods). A few "nuggets" have slipped out in his sleep but nothing productive. The ped says he's NOT constipated because what does come out isn't dry or hard. This last week it's been soft, formed, and normal (except that the amount seems too little).

This morning he woke up vomiting at 3am and vomited 3 times between 3 & 7:30. Not the typical stomach bug amount and no fever or other symptoms so I'm not sure what the cause was. We started giving him a homeopathic virus remedy (Virustat) that we've had success with before when stomach bugs hit and that seemed to help ALOT. The naturopath says the vomiting is due to flaxseed oil. She says it's not tolerated well in young children. This was all over the phone (she doesn't have appt available til next week). Her advice was to put him on an aloe vera stool softener. Her words were that it'd make it so he can't hold it in even if he tries. THIS makes me nervous. I feel like part of the problem is the lack of control he feels regarding his pooping. The stool softeners & laxatives did just that (made it so he couldn't hold it in) and I think that made things worse. When I said this she responded that the next step was to take him to a psychologist and since he's only 2 that wouldn't really help. The ped has started the process to refer us to Texas Children's GI specialist but it'll be another 6+ months before we see anyone (and she feels it's a control/mental issue, not a physical one, which we agree with).

We do NOT push him going on the potty, we never did...this is an issue about getting/helping him to poop pain-free. Please do not tell me to just put him back in diapers because he HATES diapers now. We are all perfectly happy with him wearing a pull-up so he can pee on the potty and poop in the pull-up.

We used to do whatever he wanted/asked in terms of helping him go. I'd hold and cuddle and rock him. I kind of feel like that is part of the problem now too. That he holds it because he gets extra attention for being in pain. We've spent this past week trying to be unemotional about it all. When he says his bottom hurts we say "that's because your poop is ready to come out" or something similar. When he goes we don't make a big deal out of it, we just change him and go about our business. The whining has cut down a bit but he's still not pooping.

I just don't know what else to do and feel like a huge failure in this department. My baby is in pain, I can't fix it, I can't convince him to poop, and I keep being told these horrible stories about how other kids have done this and now they're still in diapers at 7 because they no longer have the ability to control their bowels.

I don't need horror stories, I need some solutions.

I've seriously thought about using a glycerin suppository to "clean him out" and making it clear to him (because he'll hate it) that we have to do this because he won't let the poop come out. (or some other scare tactic)

We read "everybody poops" frequently, we tell him when we have to go and take him the bathroom with us so he can see how normal and not a big deal it is. he's still not convinced.

can you tell i'm pretty much at my wit's end here?
 

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Our story isn't as intense as yours but we had plenty of problems with poop. I finally had to take the unemotional road like you are doing now. I'm thinking it was 6 or 8 months. And we had regression over the holidays but got back to normal at home. Since this has been a problem for so long a week of not reacting may not be enough, I would stick with it for now.

I will say that I would not do a scare tactic. Your child has already shown you who is in control of poop and I think it will only make the problem worse or at least not help.

Good luck.
 

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We actually have seen a GI specialist about stool refusal as well. DD1 easily pee trained and at first poop as well, but that quickly went downhill for no discernable reason. I will add the disclaimer that her refusal did lead to extreme constipation. It ended up taking us a year and lots of Mirilax, a few pretty serious complications, and tons of frustration--but she now goes on the potty with no trouble.

One thing to understand is that once they withhold, the natural poop urge sort of short-circuits. Add to that the fact that withholding for days at a time stretches out the colon so that they hold many times more poop than a normal toddler. Again, they always feel "full", so that feeling you get when you need to go doesn't indicate to them that the need to go.

Another element is the fear--at some point, it hurt or was scary. The GI doctor said that even with 'normal' poops, it can take 6 months or more to quell the fear, and every hard or uncomfortable poop restarts the clock.

So really, in order to get past this, two things have to happen: 1) your son's colon needs to fully empty so that it can get back to a 'normal' size--and that takes TIME for the muscles to repair from being stretched out and 2) he needs to poop over and over and over and over again successfully with no discomfort.

The advice you will likely get from the GI specialist will be to give him laxatives to the point where he cannot control and keep doing so until he is "cleaned" out. Then, reduce the dose to where he is going daily the consistency of applesauce for at least 3 months to help him get past the fear.

I understand how frustrating this is and shed many tears over it myself.
 

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It Hurts when I Poop might help.

I would focus on doing whatever he needs to do to feel okay about pooping. If that means going back to diapers, so be it.

We also did a lot of positive poop talk. Yay! You pooped! Wow. Pooping is good for our bodies.

And had DD come with us when we pooped too and we talked a lot about how we listened to our bodies.

V
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
we ordered "it hurts when I poop" today. Should arrive in a few days.

Does anyone have advice on what we should say/do when he says his typical "My bottom hurts"- this is said 100 times a day. He gets more insistent (whiny) as the sensations become stronger.

Also, DH has decided that he's going to model (?) for DS. When he (DH) has to go, he grabs his rear and says "my bottom hurts" (he says this several times) then says "My bottom hurts, that means I need to let the poop come out" (or something similar), then goes into the bathroom (invites DS to come with him) and goes. Then he talks about how he feels better and his bottom feels better (maybe he should say it "doesn't hurt anymore?")

I can't decide if that's a good thing (ie: identifying the sensation and then engaging in the appropriate behavior) or if it just serves to validate DS's fear that it hurts....
 

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I did acknowledge that sometimes pooping wasn't pleasant but emphasized that it was temporary and doesn't last long. When DD said 'it hurts' I talked about how her body was telling her she needed to poop and she would feel better once she went.

Your DH's approach may work quite well.

When your DS does poop, there should be a party like none other to help him change his associations. And I would review about how he made a poo even though maybe it didn't feel so good and look, he's still here, alive and feeling good. DD sometimes got a popcicle or other special treat after a poo.

You are also going to want some Miralax or some other stool softener--they can develop obstructions due to poop withholding. We would give something to DD every 3 days or so without a poop.

Even though she ate prunes and beans daily, I found that didn't do much. Pumpkin or banana muffins with ground flax seemed to keep things moving to where she would poop on her own.

Also, Where's the Poop might be helpful too. Not as didactic as It Hurts When I Poop, but still useful.

V
 

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We're there too. My son is 2.75 years old.

Stop doing anything to force his poop. Giving him anything to make him poop is counter productive and as I assume it was unnecessary up until you decided to poop potty train him, it's cruel. He knows how to poop and can quite happily if you just back off and leave him be.

Stop all poop talk, all poop training. Let him poop his pants as and when he needs to. Clean him up without comment or judgement and readdress the issue in a few months time. Gently.

I hate to judge. I really do, but it seems to me you've set your little guy up for a bowel complex with all your interventions to produce stools.

Back off, shut up about it and let the little man poop to his own timetable. Then go from there talking about poops going in the potty, flush poops from diapers and wave bye bye to them and just let him work out his own timescale.

This is a battle you can NEVER win so don't try.
 

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We've been there with middle dd. It was a miserable time for all of us. We did all we could diet wise (high fiber, plenty of water.) But we also had to use glycerin suppositories a few times. Ultimately, what worked with her was a talk about her bowels and her fear. She sort of got it.
Best wishes to you...this is a tough position to be in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bea View Post
We're there too. My son is 2.75 years old.

Stop doing anything to force his poop. Giving him anything to make him poop is counter productive and as I assume it was unnecessary up until you decided to poop potty train him, it's cruel. He knows how to poop and can quite happily if you just back off and leave him be.

Stop all poop talk, all poop training. Let him poop his pants as and when he needs to. Clean him up without comment or judgement and readdress the issue in a few months time. Gently.

I hate to judge. I really do, but it seems to me you've set your little guy up for a bowel complex with all your interventions to produce stools.

Back off, shut up about it and let the little man poop to his own timetable. Then go from there talking about poops going in the potty, flush poops from diapers and wave bye bye to them and just let him work out his own timescale.

This is a battle you can NEVER win so don't try.
seriously, that's just rude.

I've deleted the rest of what i'd like to say in favor of saying nothing. I'm not here to engage in online arguments with a person who chooses to judge without having read the entire post. I'm here to try and find help for our situation, not judgement.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bea View Post
Stop doing anything to force his poop. Giving him anything to make him poop is counter productive and as I assume it was unnecessary up until you decided to poop potty train him, it's cruel. He knows how to poop and can quite happily if you just back off and leave him be.
I'm sorry, but I CANNOT just let this go. Until you have had a child suffer with rectal prolapse, anal fissures, and a massive topical infection of her bottom--so bad that she could not sit--who NEEDS laxatives to help release the remainder of an impaction that had to be manually extracted, you cannot call laxatives cruel. What IS cruel is allowing your child to remain in pain and to do nothing. My daughter started withholding BEFORE any PLing was attempted, and it escalated and escalated to this point while I tried being supportive, ignoring, you name it. Sometimes backing off is no longer an option, for the health of your child.

QuestionGal--Our DD would complain about her bottom hurting. There were 2 times this issue would arise: 1) when she felt the urge to go but was refusing as you metioned. In this instance, we did what you did and told her that was her body trying to tell her she needed to let the poopy come out. We kept reinforcing that she would feel so much better when she did that. But they are so fearful that it will hurt MORE getting it out--because that is where the fear is rooted, a painful past poo. that's hard to get past.

2) when her bottom was very irritated. She would let herself get so full of poop that she constantly leaked feces. That sat on her bottom--even though she was wiped at every change, the leaking was constant--and broke down the skin there. It ranged from a mild diaper rash to a severe topical infection. Keeping her clean and with some sort of protective ointment helped in that area, so I'd be sure to be vigilant about checking his bottom.

I think you guys are on the right track, but it is a long, long one. Patience is so hard to find on this journey, so I feel for you.

I agree with Violet's approach to Mirilax--use it periodically when he hasn't gone for a few days to head off bigger problems. And amp up the special treats. Heck, I'd give him a treat just for going, even if it's in a diaper! You can focus on pooping the potty later.

Have you tried probiotics? We added yogurt with probiotics as well as the fruit leathers + fiber from Trader Joe's to help DD. Also, high fiber cereals (like Quaker's Oatmeal Squares) really help get her going.
 

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My DD was constipated all the time, because she was not drinking enough fluids and she had a couple painful poops and she was holding it in. We tried stool softener but because she was drinking enough liquids they werent really helping. Then someone recommended benefiber and tricking her into drinking more fluids.

She now gets 1 tsp of benefiber 1-2 times a day. She will still withhold her stool but when she does go its not painful. Eventually she will figure out she doesnt need to hold it in anymore. Until then I will continue the benefiber. Start out at a lower dose and work your way up to 1 tsp as it can create gas. Its a water soluble fiber and it holds water in the stool. Its not a bulking fiber like bran.

Also let your child poop where they want. I am not really potty training DD but she prefers to poop on the potty. I know that at this point you just want your child to poop and it doesnt matter where. DD has pooped on the floor and I was happy because she actually pooped. Toddler constipation is a tough problem esp if they are holding it in. Its the worst cycle to try and break. I have seriously cried over it a few times.

I noticed that she always tries to drink my tea or coffee so I make her some kids coffee. We drink it together once or twice a day and she guzzles it. I make it with 1 tsp grain coffee, 1/4 tsp raw sugar, 1 rounded tsp of benefiber. I fill the mug with 1 part hot water and 3 parts milk (goats, soy, or almond it doesnt matter) Then I put it in her straw cup. She has to watch me make it so she knows its her own cup of "cuppee". She will down the entire thing in like 5 min. We drink our cuppee together. lol.

Even with the benefiber it will take her 2-3 days to poop. Its been fairly easy for the most part as in she didnt have to strain too much or cry in pain. Occasionally it will take longer than 3 days and when it does I will give her a suppository. I hate doing it. It makes me feel so guilty but it must be done.
 

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My dd just turned two yesterday and we're dealing with this as well. She's been withholding poop for awhile, but I'm hopeful its improving. I did give her stool softener and laxatives to clear her out. She withheld for a week two separate times and I knew it was necessary to move forward at that point and help her past this. She's so small I know she doesn't really get the consequences of withholding. Anyway, here's what I've been doing, and like I said I'm very hopeful things may be improving. After she was cleared out I started to give her two teaspoons of mineral oil a day, mixed in oatmeal or rice. My sister had dealt with this problem previously with her dd and she recommended the oil as having worked best. She also eats a good diet, is still breastfed, and I encourage prune juice, prunes, pears, mandarin oranges, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I've been watching pottying videos on youtube with her.
There are lots of videos of babies and toddlers pottying on there. Also one Japanese cartoon one with a cat. She loves cats. While watching I talk to her about what's happening. Look the baby's body is telling him the poop needs too come out. Look the baby is pushing the poop out, etc. I've been spending time with her every day talking about how everyone poops, showing her even our cats poop, taking her potty with me, identifying "Oh, my body is telling me I need to poop, I'm helping push the poop out, etc, reading books about poop and pottying to her. When I see she needs to go I identify for her "Your body is telling you the poop needs to come out, can you help it?" I let her know she can poop wherever, whenever, however. I'm totally not worried about her going in a diaper, potty, undies, whatever. Whenever she does poop we celebrate it and tell her how good it was, how she helped her body, how she feels better now. Probably the most important thing I think I'm doing with dd is being as relaxed as possible about it all, not pushy, backing off when it feels right, encouraging where it feels right, etc. I also have used baths and oiled up her tummy to massage it when she let me. It does seem to stimulate pooping sometimes. Anyway, she pooped once on Wednesday, two times on Friday, and once on Sunday. This is definitely an improvement over a week of withholding. And I really don't think the mineral oil gives her much of a choice honestly. Her stool is as soft as can be, otherwise I'd be considering benefiber or such. For now I'm sticking with the nasty mineral oil and hope to wean off it and possibly switch to benefiber or such soon. The best and most hopeful thing for me with dd is that the poops have gotten progressively less a big deal, none have involved tears or unhappiness. I do wonder what other food I might hide the mineral oil in. She didn't eat the oatmeal today, or much of the rice last night, where before she was eating all of it. I think she's just tired of those foods, yk? I don't want to force it in her, I've read aspiration is a danger. Also I've read it can lessen nutrients, but I hope to only use it for a short time. Just, hugs again. I know this is hard. I have three children and I do feel like this is probably the hardest parenting issue I've dealt with (for which I'm thankful, yk?). Its difficult to see them in discomfort, pain, and possibly putting themselves at risk for worse. We know the poop needs to come out, they are just too small to really get it. So I guess my btdt/doing it too advice would be try to relax as much as possible, offer comfort when its asked for, but lowkey, not exaggerated at all, try to help him feel in control, encourage him and explain simply to him about his bodies needs, and celebrate his successes. Here's hoping all the littles going through this get through this soon!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bea View Post
We're there too. My son is 2.75 years old.

Stop doing anything to force his poop. Giving him anything to make him poop is counter productive and as I assume it was unnecessary up until you decided to poop potty train him, it's cruel. He knows how to poop and can quite happily if you just back off and leave him be.

Stop all poop talk, all poop training. Let him poop his pants as and when he needs to. Clean him up without comment or judgement and readdress the issue in a few months time. Gently.

I hate to judge. I really do, but it seems to me you've set your little guy up for a bowel complex with all your interventions to produce stools.

Back off, shut up about it and let the little man poop to his own timetable. Then go from there talking about poops going in the potty, flush poops from diapers and wave bye bye to them and just let him work out his own timescale.

This is a battle you can NEVER win so don't try.
Honestly your post comes across as very judgmental/unkind to the OP. Please try to remember everyone's experiences differ. While this may be the case in your experience, it isn't likely to be the case in everyone's experience. Hugs to you and I hope your ds moves past this soon as well.
 

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I wanted to add that I also role play with dd with her doll babies and play pets. She loves her doll babies and her play pets. We take turns pretending their pooping and rubbing their bellies to help them poop. She thinks its great fun. And of course pooping involves grunting and fart noises, which she finds hilarious to hear and make too. All in good fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thank you!! I've gotten some great tips from your posts. a few comments:

RE: probiotics- he drinks kefir which I believe is loaded with probiotics (it seems to be helping) and we have powdered probiotics occasionally

RE: rewards- he used to get a reward just for going (didn't matter where), we tried to stop that as part of the "poop is no big deal" campaign but every time he goes he asks for one. Since it seems to motivate him even a little bit I'll keep up with it.

RE: going on the potty- we don't push him to use the toilet. We don't ask or offer or anything. He will use the potty to pee and poops in his pull-up (all his choosing)

RE: watching videos- AWESOME idea!!

RE: benefiber. Tried it but it gave him really bad gas (so did those fiber gummies). Instead we focus on getting him fiber from food sources. There's a website that lists out the fiber content in foods. We have STOCKED up on those.

Re: role playing: we've done some of that...like he'll bring me his doll/monkey and say "George went poopers, George gets a treat!" but I could/should ramp that up a bit

Re: Mineral Oil- we have mineral oil and have used that. We also have FlaxSeed Oil (because it has omega's) and have used that. Both work great (we make a peanut butter/oil sandwhich that he scarfs down)

He pooped twice yesterday (first was panicky, 2nd was not (YES!). and once today mildly panicky (HUGE improvement). I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that our new approach is helping to ease his fears and that the trend continues.
 

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QuestionGal- that's awesome that he's went and seemed to take it better. Hopefully this has us both on the right track. I do think it is key to have them going successfully like that until it is just ok, normal, and habit again.
 

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Wow, I could have written this post six months ago. Poop was agony for my DD, and very stressful for the reest of us to be around someone crying and holding their bottom and hopping around in pain and misery for hours at a time.

What finally worked for us was giving her Mirilax with water for about two weeks, to get everything loose and out, then, we orchestrated a diet change: cut out apples and dairy
got a juicer and now we have her drink fresh carrot juice or carrot orange just before or after dinner, which seemed to kick things into gear within 20-30 minutes.

Also,m showing her a book of the human body and what happens, and talking about how the poop wanted to come out, to go play in the sewer with its friends, and she could relax and let it go.

we even use voices for the poopy "oh please Charlotte, let me out to play with my friends".

Six months later, it still isnt her favorite thing to do, but it is MUCH MUCH better.

good luck
 

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We had this problem with DS (2.5). We just had a breakthrough in the past two weeks and now he goes on the potty every day. When he had to poop he would actually tell me he had to pee and then get on the potty and jump off immediately if he didin't start pooping.

I am 9 months pregnant, so pulling down his pants every couple of minutes to let him sit on the potty (not to mention putting him on the potty) was really tough on my physically...so, when he needed to poop I would just take off his pants and underwear and sit him on the potty EVERY time he told me he had to go. Sometimes more than once a minute. In the begining this could go on for hours
. It was very frustrating and I felt my WHOLE day revolved around him pooping!

Now, he is more aware of the feeling of needing to poop soon, and the feeling of needing to poop NOW!, so its about a 10 minute process instead of hours. Thank God. We use lots of praise and highfives, and he gets two m&m's for going.

He was doing all of the withholding behaviors that you mentioned, though maybe not as bad. I was really upset about it when it started and we tried just telling him he could go in his pull-up. I would put one on him and tell him just to go in it- maybe he wasn't ready to poop on the potty and that was ok, and still no dice. For a couple of weeks he would only poop while sleeping, and they were these god-awful smelling rocks. Bleck! I only gave him a laxitive (Fletcher's children's) one time because I was worried. He would tell me his hiney hurt and would refuse to sit down etc. It was awful, I felt awful mostly because I felt that we pushed him into using the potty or something (although in the begining he would poop on the potty with no problem).

Basically, for us it took ALOT of patience. Keeping him hydrated and full of natural fiber helps, but I think it was the patience that was the most important. I mean, it stinks to have to stay in all day with a pants-less toddler...putting him on the potty every time he told me he needed to go, but that's what it took.
 
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