Children with abnormal potty habits can experience episodes of being unable to start a urinary stream or have a bowel movement. Feeling the urge, but being unable to void can be extremely frustrating for children. Children who are unable to urinate easily will commonly give up quickly and return at a later time. They should be discouraged from giving up and should be instructed to sit down, whether boy or girl, with their bottom deep into the toilet seat and their legs spread apart and relax. If this does not work, closing their eyes and taking deep breaths may help. Children with this problem should remain on the commode for several minutes in a relaxing position (younger kids
should use a step stool to relax their feet and legs).
Kids should be discouraged from taking games, books and toys into the restroom since this will only further distract them from understanding their normal bodily functions. Placing the child in the restroom by themselves, instructing them to relax (do not strain, do not grunt, do not push), and telling them you will return in a few minutes is the best way to teach them how to relax and empty.
Difficulty in having a bowel movement is no different. Children will state that they
need to have a bowel movement, but then come out of the restroom and say they
could not go. If the pressure or sensation to go passes, a child will get up and avoid
going until a later time. This may lead to constipation and more difficulty going the next
time. Avoidance of constipation with mild laxatives, a bowel program, and a good diet will also help alleviate this problem.
Dr. Smith is board certified and he has authored or co-authored many articles, papers, chapters, and books in Urology and Pediatric Urology. His research has been presented throughout the world. Dr. Smith’s dedication to helping children with urologic problems inspired him to establish PottyMD.
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