Toilet Trouble

Can you help this mum with worries over her sons toilet habits….


Ever since my son came to live with us we’ve had a few bowl issues. He’s never been one to go regularly. We’ve always had to monitor the situation and when it gets to a point, where we feel it’s needed, we intervene with medicine and designated toilet time. I’m sure his inside have been affected in some ways by his start in life but to be honest this physiological side is not the bit that really worries me. We know what to do to get things going and most of the time it works.

When ever we get to point, where he needs a little help, we end up with a lot of soiling. My son now 8 refuses to talk about this or do anything about helping himself. He can often come home from school in a right mess even though I’ve sent him with clean clothes and pants, he wont get changed. I know that his early experiences have probably desensitised him, and in fact I really think the sensation and smell doesn’t bother him too much. He also sometimes smears in his bed and often his fingers are unclean as he’s had them in his pants. I really hoped that as he got older he would become more concerned about this and grow out of these habits. However, as he gets older and things aren’t changing, I am getting worried that this might not happen.

Has anyone else had experience of this? How has it been resolved or what steps have you taken to bring about change?

2 thoughts on “Toilet Trouble

  1. Rachel

    Hi, this must be really frustrating and upsetting for you all.

    We’ve had some similar issues with our daughter (see “Code Brown”), and the infuriating part is that just when we think we’ve cracked it the behaviour returns. We’ve tried all the usual techniques, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all part of her pattern of wanting to be babied and “mothered” – wanting an adult to take care of her physical needs as well as emotional ones. Taking the line “come on, you’re a big girl now” just doesn’t work with her, as I don’t think she really wants to BE a big girl yet. Like your son, she’ll happily sit in dirty pants all day even though she has a change bag and plenty of spares, which I find really hard to understand. I’ve gently made it clear that if she chooses to poo in her pants (and it IS a choice, our GP has ruled out constipation or any underlying medical issue) then it’s her responsibility to put them in the bucket by the washing machine and change into clean ones, and that she shouldn’t expect me, or Miss if at school, to do it for her.

    Have you had any support from his school? Believe me, it won’t be anything they haven’t dealt with before and there’s no need to be embarrassed about talking to his teachers. Our school nurse has also been a great source of practical advice and has helped me to get a bit less stressed about the whole thing.

    Like you I’ve been worried that this will go on forever. But, as someone pointed out to me when I was stressing about toilet training, it WILL happen – otherwise you’d see teenagers wearing nappies.

    One of our children’s foster carers told me that he’d once looked after a boy of around 8 who constantly soiled and smeared the walls. He took him on a boy’s day out which included a shopping trip, and he was allowed to chose some really trendy, fashionable (and quite expensive!) underwear. The deal was that if he promised there and then to keep himself clean, he could have them. The deal was done, and the problem stopped overnight.

    Obviously that’s very different from your situation, but I’ve noticed that my daughter is motivated by having nice things (like pretty, girly knickers). It’s a lot easier for her to focus on objects rather than emotions and behaviours, so I make a bit of a thing about having nice new undies or bedding, and casually throw in “of course, you’ll have to keep them nice and clean – can you do that for me?” almost as an aside. My first instinct was to give her scuzzy old knickers “just in case”, but packs of new ones are actually cheaper than washing powder…

    Try not to worry too much – easy to say, I know, but I’m learning that so many of the behaviours our children cling onto are an anchor to their past, and they WILL move on when they’re ready.

    Wishing you all the best, and good luck,

    R x

  2. Sally

    Our experience is very similar to Rachel’s. Code Brown has gradually faded as feelings of security and safety have grown and with maturity. We still get the occasional episode and have learnt to tackle it without shame and emotion. It’s a difficult one for us emotionally I think, well for me. There’s nothing like a pooy hand in the face to make your day.
    Our poo (and wee) problems were an issue into early adolescence.
    Good luck with it x


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *