Refusing to poo
I’ve seen several children recently who have had problems around using the toilet. Often the child is so anxious about doing a poo that they hold it in and don’t go for days, or won’t use the toilet at school and wait until they get home. This can be very distressing for the child and also for parents. I’d like to reassure parents that these problems are common and extremely treatable.
Constipation and laxatives
Constipation can be one of the reasons why children won’t use the toilet, as they associate the stomach pain and pain of passing hard faeces with sitting on the toilet. Many parents understandably resort to laxatives in this situation, but this can make things worse. The effect of the laxatives is often a loss of control over bowel movements, which may increase the child’s negative associations with going to the toilet. Supplements and dietary changes including increases in magnesium, potassium and fish oils help ease constipation naturally without the loss of control caused by some laxatives.
Fear of using the toilet
Other children I have seen do not like the splash back from the toilet, are afraid of the chain flushing, or of the hand dryer in public toilets. Each child will have his or her own set of unique fears. For these examples, I use a graded approach, slowly increasing the child’s ability to tolerate the feeling of splash back and loud noise using relaxation techniques.
If your child is having problems related to going to the loo, rest assured this is very common and there are lots of ways we can help if things don’t improve on their own. Do get in touch if your child is experiencing problems and you would like to discuss your concerns.