This post is part of our A Problem Shared Section, where a reader submits an issue which they require some advice on. Please comment below if you have had a similar experience and or you know of any thing which may help this contributor.
Our daughter (5), the middle child of three siblings and the only girl, is all about attention. Over the last couple of years we’ve dealt with all sorts of attention seeking behaviour and generally things are much better, though it’s always a challenge as she makes no distinction between positive and negative attention. Either will do.
Recently she’s been soiling her pants, both at home and at school. This happens for a week or two, stops for a while, then starts again.
So I became an armchair expert in encoperesis, the chronic constipation and leakage cycle sometimes seen in young children – I’m sure some of you know the drill!
We’ve tried all the various techniques for dealing with “sneaky poo” – rewards, ignoring, giving her responsibility and ownership… We’ve enlisted the help of teachers, her diet and fluid intake are fine. We’ve tried to stay patient and calm, as for the vast majority of kids it’s completely involuntary and can’t be helped. And we’ve been to see the GP to confirm that it is in fact encoperesis we’re dealing with.
Turns out that it isn’t.
There’s no underlying medical problem, no constipation, and no physical reason why this should be happening. It’s a behavioural thing again.
I could write a book about the probable causes and why we think our little girl is who she is, but what I’m hoping for here is some practical advice.
My latest technique seems to be working – for 48 hours, at least. I’ve told her that the doctor said great news, there’s nothing wrong with her tummy or her bottom, they work fine, so it’s completely up to her to decide if she wants a clean bum or a dirty, sore one each day. I’ve pegged up all her new, pretty, girly knickers on a line in the bathroom and she gets to choose a new pair each day she decides to stay clean (scuzzy old ones from the drawer if she doesn’t). And no reaction at all, negative or positive, to “accidents”.
But I’m bracing myself for the next relapse. Has anyone else been through this – what worked for you?
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