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my daughter


My daughter is 5 years old. She was toilet trained (day only) when she turned 3. For the 1st year all was well. This last year she has been soiling herself during the day quite often. Its usually when a lot is going on i.e friends are visiting, she is having a play date. We are out for the day. It seems she does not want to 'miss out' on whatever is going on and tries to hold on, which fails. We have tried to approach this problem in every way - anger / upset / nice / don't worry about it, but the problem continues. To the point now that when we ask her to go to the toilet she refuses and then 5 minutes later has had an accident.. We are baffled and don't know how to deal with this. Hope you can offer some advice.? 


This can be a common problem with children. It must be frustrating for you all after she did so well initially.

Keep an eye on what your daughters bowel motions are like.  If they are hard, lumpy, and/or mixed with loose bowel motions it may be that she is constipated.  Children who are constipated can subconsciously ‘hold on’ as they know that passing a bowel motion is not comfortable for them.  If this is the case, get her to increase her fluid intake and eat more fruit – preferably acidy fruit as this irritates the gut and make the bowel motion travel through quicker and it will be softer and easier to pass.  If this is not successful a trip to the GP for medication may be necessary.

A lot of children soil later in the day as they try to delay the urge to toilet all day and soil as they cannot hold on any longer.

I suggest you get her to try sitting on the toilet ten minutes after breakfast.  Eating stimulates the movement of faeces through the bowel so while it is on the move, use the opportunity. Reward (ie sticker chart) for sitting on the toilet, not whether she has a result at this stage.  She probably needs to get some of her toileting confidence back. 

Get her a foot stool so she can feel more comfortable and secure while sitting on the toilet.  She should be sitting leaning forward with her elbows on her knees – this opens the passage for the bowel motion to pass through.  Don’t let her hold tight on to anything such as the sides of the toilet.  This causes the pelvic floor muscles to contract rather than relax and the bowel motion cannot be passed.

Get her to blow up a balloon while on the toilet.  This encourages use of the pelvic floor muscles in the correct way without over trying.

If you can get her to be more confident with toileting first thing in the morning, and gradually learning to pass bowel motions there before the activities of the day start, the issue of not want ing to leave activities to toilet should not exist anymore.