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Anyone have a toddler trying to hold back their BMs? Help!

I have twin 2 year old girls. One of them has been holding back her BMs and it is getting out of control. Around 3 months now. It is a cycle - she goes 2 or 3 times and completely cleans herself out and then for the next several days will "pinch off" her BMs. She will literally squeeze her little cheeks and get all red in the face and strain so hard so that she doesn't go. The pedi and I have spoke many times on this and she says she will pass this stage and it isn't harming her physically. if it continues for a long time it could harm her psychologically. I am getting scared and at this point need a second opinion. She has not had a poop that was scary/painful and nobody ever makes her feel bad about going. In fact we praise her and reward her when she goes. We have given Milk of Mag on a regual basis to keep it loose and easy to go but this has done nothing....Would love advice!

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Asked by twingirls7 at 9:35 AM on Oct. 24, 2008 in Kids' Health

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Answers (10)
  • you can get laxitives my son does that and hes 5 he dont want to go cause he says it hurts he dont eat good so he always gets constipated but i have bought the liquid laxitive it works or you can get the ones that noone likes its for her age i have them for my daughter the ones that go somewhere else besides the mouth its just a little tube and it has liquid stuff in it and you squeeze it and they go quick its called fleet its for ages 2 to 5 i had to use it on my daughter cause she was so constipated she was throwing up the hospital gave it to me for her if you lived in ohio i could give you the ones i have i dont use them anymore i feel bad when i have to use them hope this helps and there is some powder stuff you just mix in whatever they drink it helps loosen it to

    Answer by wendy232425 at 10:17 AM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • i forgot the liquid is pedia-lax made by fleet

    Answer by wendy232425 at 10:35 AM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • My little boy does the same thing...he is 3. He will cross his legs and just squeeze like he's trying to prevent it. I have taken him to his doctor plenty of times and all they keep telling me is to not give so much milk and to make sure that he gets plenty of fruits and veg. I'm just hoping that this is a phase!

    Answer by leahc at 11:37 AM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • pear juice is a great natural laxative. Chiropractic care has also been known to help things like that. When I worked at a daycare center I once brought a box of Nature's Path Optimum cereal for the children to have at snack time. All the children had 2 BM's that day. You can buy it in the health food section of the grocery store. And then sometimes things like dairy can cause problems for people(either consipation or diarrea) you could cut that down and see if it helps.

    Answer by Lynette at 8:09 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • a tablespoon of mineral oil mixed in a drink daily. My daughter did it from 6 months to 5 years. When she would finally go it hurt so she would be afraid to go and get pretty constipated to the point that we had to give her saline enemas at times. She started out on a fiber supplement, then moved to miralax but I didn't like her on that and I had a doc tell me to try the mineral oil. It's not absorbed into the body. It just helps things slide out. You will have to make it so she can't hold it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:11 PM on Oct. 24, 2008

  • Been there! The arched back, red-in-the-face, screams until the urge to poop go away are so heartbreaking to watch. The long hours of holding a heavy, crying toddler who is fighting to pass a large poop are heartbreaking too.

    Don't use regular laxatives. Use miralax. That's what my pediatrician told us to do. Unlike regular laxatives, long-term use does not do any harm.
    My daughter gets a 1/2 dose once a day, every day. Miralax traps water in the poop so it can't get hard - no matter how long she holds it or what she eats. This helps make it impossible for her to fight off the urge to go and prevents her from getting constipated.
    I also got the books "Everyone Poops" and "It hurts when I poop" for her and we talk about mommy and daddy pooping too.


    Answer by kaycee14 at 9:20 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • When she does go, she gets an M&M. When I see her fighting the urge to go, I ask her what color M&M she would like. This helps distract her from the internal feelings and reminds her of the reward for going.
    It's working. She still doesn't want to go but she doesn't fight it anymore. She has progressed to the point where I'm willing to try to potty train and she doesn't get an M&M unless she goes in the potty. The days of screaming to not go or screaming because she is going are gone. She'll be on MIralax for probably another year - I don't want the problem coming back - but I don't care!

    Answer by kaycee14 at 9:20 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • Oh - and Miralax isn't absorbed by the body. It simply binds to water and travels through the digestive system... in one end and out the other.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 9:21 PM on Oct. 25, 2008

  • My son did that exact thing at age 3. Obviously it will come out. I do not recommend laxatives or anything like that....that is not the problem. I am not sure why your child is doing it, however my son almost seemed scared to poop. Once he did go I stayed with him and tried to calm him down and say things like it's ok everyone poops. I know there are books about it, however honestly how much of it would a child of this age understand. A few ideas would be to get those kids kando wipes, make it a fun thing (if possible). Say if you go potty we have these new special wipes you get to use. And possibly find a small reward, like a special treat or a trip for ice cream. It will pass, but remember DONT give laxatives or do suppositories the risk is too high and will not fix the problem......A. Shaheen R.N.

    Answer by ShaheenDA at 4:10 AM on Oct. 26, 2008

  • i agree with shaheen laxatives are not appropiate for a 2 year old that might actually contribute to the problem or her little body can get use to it or worst she can become dyhadrated b/c laxative pull water from the body and on a small 2 yo body this can be taxing.

    i now it sound weird but some children get satisfaction from the sensation they get from holding in their bm. freud called it anal fixation and even though the urge to go is strong they hold it in. her crying and straining are just her fighting to keep it in.

    another thing it maybe is that she seen the boo boo in the potty or diaper and it scared her. try to help her understand that everyone goes. let her go into the bathroom when you go or when her sister go. make sure she eat foods high in fiber to keep her regular.

    good luck to you.

    Answer by mom2gavahnyaand at 1:04 PM on Oct. 28, 2008

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