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Old 01-18-2014, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
688 posts, read 765,348 times
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I have a seven year old stepdaughter who has issues with having "accidents" in her underwear. Obviously, it's because she doesn't want to take any of that precious playing time and put it towards going to the restroom as she should.

It's a little frustrating at times and we've tried all sorts of things from negative to positive and none have really worked. Reward charts, forcing her to sit on the toilet every so often, constant asking if she needs to use the restroom, threatening the return of diapers, psychiatrists, making her clean it up herself etc. You'd really think a reward chart or making her clean up her own poop would work, but nope.

A lot of times, it starts a battle, too. She'll come out and jump on one of us and there follows a cloud of foulness. We tell her to go clean herself up and more often than not, she will attempt refusal (which never ends up well for her). I don't know how many times we're reiterated to her that just going to the bathroom when she needs to saves a lot more time than fighting about her cleaning herself up, so she can have more time to play, but she either doesn't understand (which I don't know why), doesn't care or dare I say... likes to do it. (which would be even more perplexing because she gets plenty of attention)

I'm sure others have had this problem. Do you think this is just something that's going to go away with time or do you have any suggestions that may work?
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:42 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
23,490 posts, read 28,460,911 times
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First she needs to see a doctor to make sure she does not have a medical problem.

What does her pediatrician say?
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:48 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,621,959 times
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You list all sorts of things you've tried, including psychiatrists (really?!?!!?), but you didn't mention talking to her pediatrician or any medical treatments.

Sometimes children hold it in so long they become constipated and then have accidents from the liquid that seeps around the blockage due to the blockage stretching the bowel too wide. Usually fiber supplements are prescribed and given under the supervision and direction of a pediatrician along with other instructions.

If you tried all these things you mentioned instead of talking to the pediatrician first, it's no surprise your daughter is developing behavior issues after being punished for something she may not be able to control. If you have talked to the pediatrician and this was not considered, I recommend finding another pediatrician.

Read up on this and talk to her pediatrician before you make matters worse than you already have:

Encopresis in Children | Boston Children's Hospital*|*Boston Children's Hospital

If your daughter has encopresis, I feel badly for her enduring this for so long. It's impossible for a child to control it without treatment so punishments and rewards won't work. It's so simple to treat medically.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,193 posts, read 17,520,665 times
Reputation: 41995
There could be a variety of causes. As others have mentioned I would first rule out any medical problems. I have several students over the years with bowel issues and the causes were quite varied.

One had a medical condition which resulted in limited anal sphincter control (they were evaluating some type of surgery that may partially fix the problem when he was older) and another had encopresis and a third simply didn't want to waste valuable play time to sit on the toilet long enough for all of the BM to come out. I also had students with severe constipation problems due to not eating enough fiber and not drinking enough water.

Sadly, I also had a student, with mild/moderate cognitive delays, where it took years to diagnose why she was having bowel accidents/severe diarrhea . She started having problems when she 11 or 12 and it continued through HS before the cause was finally discovered.

It turned out that her older brother was sexual abusing her and it was her "call for help" as well as a way for her to avoid her brother's advances at home. Once the real reason was discovered and her brother was out of the home (in prison) she stopped having bowel accidents.

So the causes can range from very simple to complex. To the OP and other parents with this problem first start out with a full medical check up. Also see if you can figure out when the bowel problems started, maybe it was after an illness and the medicine caused constipation which now causes painful bowel evacuation.

See where and when this is happening. Does it happen at school or only at home? Any big changes happen recently?

Sometimes, children are bothered by the loud echoes in school bathrooms and rush in and out too fast or don't want to miss anything in the classroom or are rushed by other students wanting to use the stall. Perhaps a simple change such arranging for the child to use the "little bathroom" in the kindergarten room or special education room or even the nurse's or principal's bathroom will work. This is actually a fairly common solution. Every year in my school there are children with minor bathroom modifications such as these.

Although, I personally do not read in the bathroom, think of all of the adults who read the newspaper or magazines while sitting on the toilet. It helps pass the time as well as takes the focus off of their bowels allowing them to relax. Maybe allowing your child certain special books or a musical toy just in the bathroom may help.

Some children and adults need more time "for the action to happen". I have had students where sitting for 20 minutes before their bowels were totally empty was a daily situation. That was their routine and their bodies need and rushing them would only make it worse. Obviously, the teachers needed to allow the child to miss class for that long a period. It would be much easier to adapt at home for someone whose bowels work slowly.

If your stepdaughter has a certain time of day when she routinely has a BM perhaps make that a "boring time" at home. If Mom is washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, Dad is doing paperwork at the table and the TV and computer are turned off she may not try to rush out of the bathroom so fast to join the "action" as there isn't any "action".

Of course, check with her pediatrician first.

Good luck to the OP and be sure to post back on what happens.

Last edited by germaine2626; 01-18-2014 at 07:11 AM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Greater NYC
2,916 posts, read 4,945,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovesthebass View Post
Do you think this is just something that's going to go away with time or do you have any suggestions that may work?
And your pedi's response to the question you posed to a message board is...?
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
43,648 posts, read 42,257,113 times
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You took her to multiple psychiatrists? Did they prescribe something for her? Why a psychiatrist??

Based on your other posts about her, she has multiple behavior issues.

You are a blended family. There are many reasons she could be acting this way, but it sounds like you three need to get on the same page as a family, especially if you really plan to have a baby with your wife this year.

I would stop the humiliating threats, have her doctor evaluate her, and ask her doctor to refer you and your wife to a good family counselor who can teach you both some things about parenting - before a new baby gets here, ramps up your step-daughter's acting out, and you resort to your so-called "butt whoopins."
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:58 AM
 
32,532 posts, read 30,790,836 times
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Does she do it at school or just at home?
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:16 AM
 
4,160 posts, read 3,823,585 times
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pedi visit first to make sure she doesn't have a neurological problem, like tethered spinal cord. Then Miralax, full adult dose of 17g daily in 8 oz of any liquid. Ten minutes on the toilet after breakfast, dinner, and lunch if she eats it at home, with a book or a gameboy or whatever, to keep her there. Small reward if she poops, and doesn't have to toilet sit again until after breakfast. Adjust Miralax up or down to yield a soft stool daily. You have to give it every single day. Plan on doing this for years.

This is a big deal, because as soon as her peers figure this out, she will be socially ostracized for many years to come.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,193 posts, read 17,520,665 times
Reputation: 41995
Quote:
Originally Posted by parentologist View Post
pedi visit first to make sure she doesn't have a neurological problem, like tethered spinal cord. Then Miralax, full adult dose of 17g daily in 8 oz of any liquid. Ten minutes on the toilet after breakfast, dinner, and lunch if she eats it at home, with a book or a gameboy or whatever, to keep her there. Small reward if she poops, and doesn't have to toilet sit again until after breakfast. Adjust Miralax up or down to yield a soft stool daily. You have to give it every single day. Plan on doing this for years.

This is a big deal, because as soon as her peers figure this out, she will be socially ostracized for many years to come.
Great post. Very practical advice.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:08 AM
 
32,532 posts, read 30,790,836 times
Reputation: 32352
Quote:
Originally Posted by parentologist View Post
pedi visit first to make sure she doesn't have a neurological problem, like tethered spinal cord. Then Miralax, full adult dose of 17g daily in 8 oz of any liquid. Ten minutes on the toilet after breakfast, dinner, and lunch if she eats it at home, with a book or a gameboy or whatever, to keep her there. Small reward if she poops, and doesn't have to toilet sit again until after breakfast. Adjust Miralax up or down to yield a soft stool daily. You have to give it every single day. Plan on doing this for years.

This is a big deal, because as soon as her peers figure this out, she will be socially ostracized for many years to come.
Medical advice on the internet never ceases to amaze me. You don't know the child. You don't know the reason she's doing this. Yet you feel comfy telling someone you don't even know to give his daughter the ADULT dose of a medicine the child may not even need. And which could make the problem worse.

Last edited by DewDropInn; 01-18-2014 at 09:37 AM..
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