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5yr Old With Toileting Problems


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I wondered if anyone could help me advise a parent. A parent has asked for advice about their child, their child has developed a fear/phobia for going to the toilet and is now constipated and can go for 8 days without going. she refuses to eat and drink, she is only eating very small meals like one slice cheese on toast, and thats it for the day....she complains that her tummy hurts, she is tired and drained, her skin is pale and spotty and her eyes look sunken, because she is constipated she is beginning to have small accidents which she is embarassed about and gets upset... mother has been to the doctors twice who have given her mild laxatives, mothers has tried stickers, awards and chats and is at a loss of what to do...... i wasn't sure what advcie to give.. has anyone else had experience of this, she never used to have any problems, its just been the last couple of months, mother thought it might be connected to school but she has been the same all over the christmas break.

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A child I looked after was the same and I've heard of others too. I think it can be quite a common problem, so first off, I would reassure the mother that although it's distressing it's not an uncommon problem for children. It's worrying that it's developed now but maybe she had a poo that was a bit painful or had a sore bottom and now she's afraid to go which in turn exacerbates the problem. The child that I looked after was also a very poor eater and has food anxieties.

I'm sure the GP has advised her about diet but maybe adding some prune juice to water if she refuses food may help.

Personally, I'm really anti rewards and stickers for toileting and eating. Eating and going to the toilet is not 'good behaviour' it's just something we all need to do to survive and be healthy. If we reward children at these times then when they have an accident or don't feel like eating their food the message they are getting is that they are being bad. I think a more matter of fact approach is better.

The child obviously sounds unwell though from your description, are you recording your concerns somewhere as it could be an indicator of being unhappy or just unwell but unfortunatley we never really know do we?

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Hi simcity


Don't know if I can be of much help to you, but as a mum of a 6 year old boy who also has toiletting issues I can tell you what is happening with him.


From the day and hour my son has been toilet trained he will only wee in our house, my parents house, public toilets and my sisters house in England and he only used hers because she has 3 toilets and lied and told him she had it made especially for him and nobody else is allowed to use it. He refuses to do it in school and any of his friends house and has held on for periods of up to 16 hours!! He will only do a number 2 in our house and this has caused quite a few problems when we have been away on holiday or visiting relations for a number of days at a time.


He, like the little girl you mentioned held on for a full week on a number of occassions. He was off his food, sore tummy, feeling sick, tired and drained and also had little accidents. I spoke to my sister who is a phyciatric sister in a CAMHS unit and she has said that it was the sort of thing that they deal with, but that I had to be referred through my doctor.


I went to see my own doctor and he did not hesitate in referring him to the CAMHS unit. He said that although he could give my son laxitives to make him go and ensure that physically they can "shift" him, the reason as to WHY my son won't go has to be addressed. He also said that as all the waste was being held in his body, that his appetite would be very poor.


Due to other circumstances (we had a firework through the letterbox which caught fire and my son saw all of it happen) I had to ring the unit as I was concerned about my sons behaviour and discovered that he had been referred to a family caring centre as they felt it was more a behavioural problem.


The Family Caring Centre that we are attending is part of the health service and is made up of a team of health visitors and councillors who assist, not only the child but the family as a whole, advising us as parents how to deal with various issues.


Thankfully we are now seeing them for the trauma and once they are happy that my son has come through his trauma and settled down again, they will then address the toileting issue.


Am just wondering if this little girl still sees her health visitor and if so, surely it couldnt help if the mother mentioned it to her.


Hope this is of some help to you, keep us posted as to how you get on.

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Just thought of something else. When we asked my son recently why he doesnt like doing any of these toileting things, his answer was that they were too close to people.


Its an answer!! Doesnt explain why he can still use public toilets, but its an answer.


There could be many a reason for this littles girls change in toilet habits. Be patient the answer is out there.

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We had a situation a few years ago where the child had poohed himself while toilet training and been told by the (teenage) babysitter that he was dirty mum thinks this had possibly happened a couple of times, the child simply stopped going. it took a lot of work and if i remember correctly an operation to sort everything out in the end. It could be something as simple as a comment, to cause years of torment

on a personal level i can't bear to 'go' in 'public' last time we went on holiday i tramped across the campsite in wellies at 3am every night/ morning to go to the loo to avoid others hubby thought i was mad for setting the alarm :o

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