My daughter Rae has never been a good pooper. From the day she was born, she struggled getting out those bowel movements. At three days old, she was hospitalized for jaundice, a condition that can be alleviated when the baby poops often. When she was only a few months old, she would get severely constipated and let out blood-curtling screams whenever she pooped. When it was time for potty training, the pee came with no problem. The poop, however, is still a major issue.
Rae is now 6 years old, and she poops less than once per week. She holds her poops until they seep out in her underwear for days at a time, then she finally lets out a crap the size of her arm! It always clogs the toilet.
The reason I bring this up to an audience of strangers is to ask if anyone has any advice. We have tried positive reinforcement, the "sticker system," poop charts, money, coersion, bribery, food, punishment, and simply ignoring her. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has worked. The doctors tell us she will just have to outgrow the problem, but we are wondering if it will ever happen. Rae will be in first grade next year - that means riding the bus to school and staying there for a full 6 hours! If she has an accident in her pants at school, it will be devastating for her. I keep telling her this, but she doesn't seem to get it.
It is easy to see the toll the poop problem has had on Rae. She cries and cries that her butt hurts, that she's tired of wiping, tired of having accidents, tired of her belly hurting. I tell her that she is the only one who can help her - she has to decide to stop holding her poops. She promises over and over again that she will poop as soon as she feels it "next time," but the next time always comes, and she always holds her poop.
I know she has a fear of her poops hurting her, but she hasn't had a painful poop since she was 3 years old. We have been giving her fiber every day, and when she does finally let out her poop - even the gigantic ones - it is always soft. For some reason, she is always surprised to discover that her poop doesn't hurt. I think that somewhere in her little girl mind she is convinced that pooping hurts, and it is always going to hurt.
The poop problem breaks my heart! I can't stand to see my little girl suffer. What's worse is that she is the only one who can help herself. By holding her poops, Rae is hurting herself every day, and I have to just sit there and watch my baby hurt herself. Her behavior changes, she gets in more trouble, she doesn't eat or sleep right. It affects every aspect of her life. I know I just have to be patient and let her work through the problem herself, but it is difficult to see my baby girl having such a hard time.