Too scared to do a Number 2! Advice needed!

I apologise in advance for this post as it is mostly entirely about number 2’s or the fear of doing one!  Do not read this if you are eating! I am however after some advice, which is why, I am choosing to discuss it.

So I got a phone call today from pre-school asking if I could pick one of my children up as they were very distressed. (I am not naming which child as this is personal – so we shall call them X) My child clearly needed to go for a number 2 and yet was saying that they wanted their own toilet and that it was ‘stuck’. X was very anxious and distracted and kept pacing back and forth to the toilet.

The staff thought X was constipated. I suppose it was the natural reaction. However X is not constipated at all, X is scared and we have had this problem for months now.

To be fair, we are not getting the same amount of number 2 accidents as we use to. X is actually sensing when s/he/ needs to go, more often, but s/he gets shy, can often refuse to go, is scared to strain or ‘push’ at all and often just holds it in. This results in the backlog, and then makes it very uncomfortable to go. This reinforces the fear it will hurt and the vicious cycle starts again.

Having multiple toddlers is tough! I know I have to keep up with them everyday so I’ve always tried to make my health a top priority. It’s hard to find time to workout as a mom, but if you start the habits while you’re still pregnant, they will carry over into your schedule after your little one is born. You might be too tired in the 1st trimester, but you’ll want to start a pregnancy at home workout program and make plans to transition into postpartum workout program after you’ve recovered from delivering. A lot of people don’t realize that it doesn’t take much time to workout and stay healthy while pregnant with workouts for 2nd trimester. Besides, it gives you an excuse to go shopping for postpartum exercise pants!

Once in the privacy of their own home today we finally managed to get X to sit still long enough to go. By the time s/he had finished, you would have thought an elephant had produced it! No wonder it hurt…but without being too graphic it was not constipated consistency!

I am at a loss of what to do. How do I make this situation better and convince them it is not scary to go? I can’t lie about the pain, because with them holding it in, often it is painful.

I want X to be independent in regards to going to toilet. I am so sad about it; I can’t even see the funny side of this issue at all.

Any suggestions gratefully received!

Angela says:
February 2, 2012 at 7:01 am
Poor little thing!
All three of mine have suffered from this! It hurts them once and then they get too scared to go. I took my son when he was 2 to see a doctor about it, he ending up having to go in hospital for a minor op to have his bowel stretched, years later he still will only go at home.
I hope you get it sorted soon

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm
Thank you. we are heading to the GP! 🙂

Rian Dixon says:
February 2, 2012 at 7:10 am
My eldest has been like this for about a year now 🙁 he lies and lies about not needing to go and he will only go if I catch him “pushing it back in” he is so afraid that he will physically hold his bum so it doesn’t come out 🙁

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm
Oh ditto! Exactly the same. I am heading to the GP. Apparently it is called withholding and due to the fear the hole becomes smaller and makes even small soft poo’s hurt to come out. 🙁

Kara Guppy says:
February 2, 2012 at 7:58 am
Isaac is going through something similar. He hates going number 2′s on the potty and toilet and will hold it and hold it until he has to go and yes, we have had ones an elephant would be impressed with too.
The other day it was obvious he wanted to go so Daddy sat with him like a midwife and all I could hear was “push”, “squeeze”, “push” and then whoops of joy and a proud Isaac showing me his poo!! I wish I had recorded it.
It seems making it a fun experience has worked and lots of praise and a high five. We even have a poo dance.

Kara Guppy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm
After this Mornings comment I was pulled aside by Isaac’s teacher because Isaac had poo’d himself today!! Back to square one!! Lol

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm
Oh no! I feel your pain, I really do. x

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Oh bless him! Someone has suggested a poo song…maybe we should come up with one together! 🙂

Elaine Livingstone says:
February 2, 2012 at 8:12 am
ok this is going to sound counter productive but I have known it to work. I would suggest ( and hear me out before you dismiss my idea) but put X back in nappies to do what needs to be done.

This in theory should allow X to do what needs to be done on a regular basis and realise it does not have to hurt. If X can be allowed to do it in the nappy they will learn it does not have to hurt,and when they manage this praise them up to the highest, how wonderful/clever/big boy/girl that they are.

I will say if what is coming out is runny not formed then they sound constipated and that the soft stuff is being squeezed past the hard. My advise comes in 2 parts. Part 2 ask the doctor to put X onto lactulose for a couple of weeks, this will soften the faeces making the whole process easier.

Then when you have a happy child willing to do what needs to be done where they can take themselves off and sit under the table or lie under their quilt in privacy and do it, and realise it can be quick and easy.

They will then come to the stage of realising sitting in it is not nice and they should then progress onto wanting to use the toilet ( on their own if they are shy about it).

May take a month or 2 but worth trying. good luck with whatever you decide to do

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm
Thank you lovely,

I am going to leave going back into nappies as the last resort. We are going to go to the doctors and see if he is constipated and see if they may prescribe something to make it easier. Shall keep you informed. x

Ella says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:41 am
Lactulose is good for keeping everything moving. Getting in to a routine of not holding it in and X realising that it does not have to be painful is probably the next most important thing – going back in nappies and/or reward charts can help. We have had to resort to suppositories in the past so I sympathise – I know how distressing it is to watch them struggle!

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Yes we need to take the pain element away – i am going to see if we can get something prescribed.

itsamumsworld says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:44 am
Wow this is so relevant to me right now (well my son)! We began potty training back in November, and he’s fab with number 1s, but won’t do number 2s! He’s still in nappies for his sleeps and he saves them up til he’s in a nappy! He’s just started pre school though and won’t ask to go there. I can’t offer any help or advice but will be keeping a close eye on your post in the hope that someone else can! x

Joanne Dodd says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:54 am
my 3 year old does the same, it is quite common as soon has he gets a nappy on he runs off to do poo face (what he calls it lol)

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm
Reassuring to know. x

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm
I have found out some brilliant things today and am going to try them, so I shall let you know what works. It is reassuring to know we are not the only ones x

Joanne Dodd says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:51 am
I had to reply, one of mine suffers quite badly and has done so since being born, we were prescribed movicol paediatric sachets, the poo’s were huge and could easily hurt a grown man. If you need ways to keep x on the toilet give x a balloon to blow up it helps.

Joanne Dodd says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:59 am
Take x to the Dr’s so the Dr can have a feel of the tummy, they will be able to tell is x is backed up, sometimes you will get soft poo pushing itself past the solid poo making you think the child is not constipated

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm
Yes I am definitely going to. Ruling out constipation is key i think. If he is, it is because he is pushing it back in and withholding it. 🙁 Thank you. x

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm
That is a genius idea! I am going to try that! x

Rachael Buzzel says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:51 am
Poor X 🙁
I don’t really know what to suggest as Little miss never went through this. When she needs a poo she likes us to talk it out. We sit there going ‘come on poo, one on poo’ and cheer when she’s been. As a result she always tries for a poo on the toilet now as she knows it gets a cheer.
Sorry useless comment from me huh? Maybe just sit and talk it through with X? Also, when we were potty training Little miss we let her watch us on the loo (for number 1s and 2s so she could see it was normal and that we all do it).
I hope you sort it and X is more comfortable soon. x

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm
We did a cheer and a song tonight. He didn’t go but he was more relaxed so that is helpful advice. Thank you. x

Andrea Morton says:
February 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm
It does sound like constipation. My daughter has had problems with this for a long time, they get scared to do a poo and just keep holding it in as long as they can. My dd will stand there crossing her legs and deny that she needs to go. It is quite common in young children but if you take him to the doctor they can feel his tummy to see if he is constipated and give him medication to help soften the poo. You can also get advice and medicine from the chemist. They will usually start off with Lactulose and if that doesn’t work try Movicol or Dulcolax. I would say to anyone whose child has a bit of constipation that it’s better to give them something for it as soon as you can, sothey don’t get into the habit of trying to hold in their poo because they are afraid it will hurt.

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm
Yes your right, i am going to take him to the doctors to check. I need to get this sorted quickly like you say. Thank you. x

Mum in Meltdown says:
February 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Hi My eldest (many years ago) had this problem. He was properly constipated it seems and always had a feeling of being full so would not eat (therefore it was difficult to get the roughage into him to help!). I was asked by GP’s to try 2 different things– Calafig (which you can get in your local chemist) which helps them with the roughage side and then prescription Lactolouse (almost like a very mild laxative) which help immensely by loosening everything up amd making it easier and less painfull to go. After a while he felt less full and started to improve his appetite enough to get what he needed from his diet. He was able to get over being scared once it stopped hurting. Hope that helps 🙂

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm
We have not had any problems with eating but he does have a distended tummy. I think a GP visit would be helpful.

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm
I am not having any trouble with eating but he does have a very distended tummy. I think a GP visit might be helpful. 🙂

Sue Tyler says:
February 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm
Oh poor dab…
I’m amazed to see the replies and to discover that this is a common problem. My eldest son (who’s 29 today!!) also suffered from the same issue when he was between nappies/potty/toilet.
He wouldn’t go on the potty at all or if we held him on the toilet. We even tried taking him into the loo with us to show him there was nothing to be afraid of!
The only way he would ‘go’ would be to have a nappy on and then he used to sit behind an armchair to do his poo. He always came straight back to me or daddy to indicate that he had poo’d. Eventually he sat on the potty with a nappy on and of course eventually did it in the potty but it did take time.
It seems that it’s just one of those things that some children have issues with.
I’m in agreement with other posters here though and think a trip to the doctor just to rule out any underlying issues.
Keep feeding X fruit and veg and good ‘bulky’ foods to make it easier for X to ‘go’. 🙂

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm
Yes I need up the fruit more, but he is not a fruit fan. Will have to do it in smoothie form! x

Emma Gordon says:
February 2, 2012 at 7:23 pm
I saw your tweet this morning and I’ve been trying to leave a comment all day!

I wrote a post about a similar situation in our family last week. We’ve had 18 months of terrible witholding from my Twin 1, which oddly seems to have resolved itself touches wood with the advent of potty training, so it is a bit different as you’re a bit further on than us. But what I would say is the sooner you get on the case with this the better. In my experience the longer it goes on the worse it gets. Witholding, as it’s known, is a vicious cycle that can become all consuming. I hope it doesn’t for you! I’d recommend this book though, which although a bit TMI is really useful

Also, if you’re at all interested in our struggles to do a number 2

Good luck! I’m thinking of you 🙂

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm
It was a brilliant post and really helpful to me so thank you kindly. Withholding is a new word to me and I am so glad it has a name. Thanks for sharing. x

Sam says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm
I’m not potty training my 2yo as yet but he has had constipation – the Lactulose which I see has been mentioned a few times above defo worked and is making him regular. I have a step son who was afraid to have a poo on the potty/toilet until he was 4 1/2!He literally used to wait until he got home from school and dad would give him a nappy to have a poo in. Eventually we just said the nappies had run out. I agree with the comment above that says try him back in nappies for poos, just to try and get over the fear first.

sam x

multiplemummy says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm
The difficultly with going back into nappies is we have come so far on the wee front I don’t want o go totally backwards and also I would never know when to put on eon him either as he has no timings. Thank you though, I am going to take him to the doctor and try out the Lactulose. I will keep the nappy thing in mind. x

Liska says:
February 3, 2012 at 10:32 am
I read this on my phone so did not comment at the time, but I have now written a post today, and linked to the above xx

multiplemummy says:
February 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm
I have read, and a great link in. Sorry you have had a dOdgy tummy! x