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Stool withholding is when a child or a baby hold their stools in for days or weeks at a time. It can stem for example from various things such as being frightened to go to the toilet in case it hurts, or not wanting to use dirty school toilets.
I didn’t realise my daughter had this problem. At first, I thought she just didn’t need to go very often or had constipation.
The worst time we had was when she held off going for 4 weeks. I had a hard time trying to persuade her to go to the doctors as well.
She’s had to have an enema in the past and large doses of Movicol and Laxido prescribed to soften the stools to help her go to the toilet.
What Happens When Your Child Doesn’t Go To The Toilet Regularly?
Not going to the toilet for long periods leads to the stools hardening in the bowl making them very hard to pass which in turn puts the child off more in fear of going to the toilet and it hurting.
When my daughter finally did go after treatment of Movicol or Laxido sachets she’d have no control over her bowel movements. We had to spend the whole day in and out of the bathroom until she was fully cleared out.
Parents whose kids have this problem will be able to relate to how stressful this can be. Luckily we have got into a really good routine and she’s managed to go nearly every day for the past 4 months with me reminding her and putting ticks on a wall calendar. I find wall calendars the best because you can see at a glance the progress made.
A Helpful Read
I wouldn’t have realised what a common problem it was or how to rectify it without the help of an ebook I purchased from Amazon called ‘Stool Withholding What To Do When Your Child Won’t Poo!’ written by a mother called Sophia J Ferguson who went through the same (see book below).
Reading Sophia’s book has helped us get into a routine and to not stress too much. She advises encouraging your child to sit on the toilet either morning or evening and have it as a set routine to encourage bowel movements daily.
Sometimes your child may need to be on Movicol or Laxido for a few months, my daughter had to take one a day for 2 months.
I don’t think my daughter is totally out of the woods just yet. I still have to remind her to go or she will forget and of course not going to the toilet leads to hardening stools. For the odd days she doesn’t go I now keep Movicol as a backup and give her a sachet.
Does your child suffer from this problem, if so have you managed to overcome it?
I’m taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out