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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Leukemia and blood cancer discussion.

A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby japhet25 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:01 pm

Okay, this is a little complicated to explain, but here goes: My son is just turning 6 years old. He still has to wear pull-ups/diapers, both during the day and night. He has NEVER managed to be completely potty-trained. At one point, about 2 and 1/2 years ago, we thought we had it. He went 2 weeks with NO "accidents". But then he started peeing and pooping his pants again.

We sit him on the potty every 30 minutes or so, but nothing comes out. He literally doesn't care at all about going to the bathroom. He started having constipation problems when he was 4, which made it even worse. Then, when he was 4 and 1/2, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, compounding his constipation problems. He's now on a prescription laxative, as well as Miralax, and between the 2 he has a bowel movement every couple days. These are bigger than his arm, and ALWAYS in his pants, and he is still peeing in his pants too.

When I ask him why he goes in his pants, his answer changes every day. Sometimes he says it's because he doesn't know he's going. Sometimes he says it's because he doesn't want to stop playing and go. Sometimes he just says "I don't know...". We kept him home from Pre-K when he was 4 because of this, as well as homeschooling him for Kindergarten.

My brother had this problem growing up, it lasted until he was in high school. He was cruelly taunted by the other kids growing up, and even now is extremely uncomfortable talking to people because of how he was treated. He has no answer for me when I ask him for an explanation or advice. When I ask the pediatrician for help, his answer is that I can't force my son to go to the bathroom. He said for me just to let it go for now, and that when my son is ready, he'll stop peeing and pooping in his pants.

But, I really want my son to go to school in August for the 1st grade. I'm worried about how isolated he is now, but I also worry about the effects could be if the other kids tease and taunt him for his "accidents" (I say accidents, but they're not accidental at all in my opinion.). I've tried everything: positive reinforcement, parties if he goes in the toilet, money if he stays clean/dry, toys, time-outs for going in his pants, making him clean his pants on his own, taking away privileges/toys, etc. Nothing works!

We tried not to worry about it over the last year and half because he was already dealing with so much through his chemotherapy, but I'm extremely worried now. I'm at my wit's end, and this is a constant, 24/7 source of stress for me and for my husband. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby chadburne » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:17 pm

Okay, this is a little complicated to explain, but here goes: My son is just turning 6 years old. He still has to wear pull-ups/diapers, both during the day and night. He has NEVER managed to be completely potty-trained. At one point, about 2 and 1/2 years ago, we thought we had it. He went 2 weeks with NO "accidents". But then he started peeing and pooping his pants again.

We sit him on the potty every 30 minutes or so, but nothing comes out. He literally doesn't care at all about going to the bathroom. He started having constipation problems when he was 4, which made it even worse. Then, when he was 4 and 1/2, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, compounding his constipation problems. He's now on a prescription laxative, as well as Miralax, and between the 2 he has a bowel movement every couple days. These are bigger than his arm, and ALWAYS in his pants, and he is still peeing in his pants too.

When I ask him why he goes in his pants, his answer changes every day. Sometimes he says it's because he doesn't know he's going. Sometimes he says it's because he doesn't want to stop playing and go. Sometimes he just says "I don't know...". We kept him home from Pre-K when he was 4 because of this, as well as homeschooling him for Kindergarten.

My brother had this problem growing up, it lasted until he was in high school. He was cruelly taunted by the other kids growing up, and even now is extremely uncomfortable talking to people because of how he was treated. He has no answer for me when I ask him for an explanation or advice. When I ask the pediatrician for help, his answer is that I can't force my son to go to the bathroom. He said for me just to let it go for now, and that when my son is ready, he'll stop peeing and pooping in his pants.

But, I really want my son to go to school in August for the 1st grade. I'm worried about how isolated he is now, but I also worry about the effects could be if the other kids tease and taunt him for his "accidents" (I say accidents, but they're not accidental at all in my opinion.). I've tried everything: positive reinforcement, parties if he goes in the toilet, money if he stays clean/dry, toys, time-outs for going in his pants, making him clean his pants on his own, taking away privileges/toys, etc. Nothing works!

We tried not to worry about it over the last year and half because he was already dealing with so much through his chemotherapy, but I'm extremely worried now. I'm at my wit's end, and this is a constant, 24/7 source of stress for me and for my husband. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?
I would speak to a pediatrician about it. Something isn't normal. I had a bladder problem when i was a kid so i wasnt potty trained until much older and my 10 year old brother has never used the toilet because hes incontinent and he gets bullied so much and doesnt have any friends because of it even though its something he cant control. Those are definitely real medical problems, your son hasn't been diagnosed with anything. Chemo might have something to do with it since lots of things like that do have side effects or he might just be looking for more attention.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby chayim » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:23 pm

Talk to the pediatrician about this. This is not normal to still be needing diapers in the first grade. He might need some sort of counseling.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby rodge » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:31 pm

Take him to the pediatrician.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby curtiss » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:43 pm

Sounds like an overactive bladder.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby garmund33 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:49 pm

I would speak to a new doctor, or multiple doctors if necessary. A 6 year old in diapers is not normal.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby curtiss » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:52 pm

I'm really surprised that his paediatrician has been so unhelpful, though clearly s/he has excluded any clinical reason why your son is either incontinent or choosing to soil himself. That being the case, I wonder if an appointment with a child psychologist might help? Your son has had a rough time with his A.L.L. and it may well be that a part of him misses the attention that he got whilst ill and on Chemo. The soiling gets him the attention he misses - even if it its 'cross'. I can understand your frustration and your wish for him to enjoy a normal life with others of his age, especially having been through so much. I do hope that you're able to resolve things.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby danakas62 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:59 pm

This sounds like a terribly stressful situation. That doesn't sound like a case of laziness, and even though your son may say it's because he doesn't want to stop playing and go, etc, I'd be the last person to believe it. I think the real answer for him is "I don't know." Most times kids don't know why certain things are happening, and dealing with the hurt, pain, embarrassment is a mind-boggling thing. They'll say all kinds of things, not knowing what TO say.
My guess is that he may have some kind of internal problem. I know a girl who was a bed-wetter until age 12 because of an underdeveloped bladder - the rest of her body was developing faster than it was. Hence many years of emotional and physical stress. So I suggest you really press the doctors to give your son a complete check up and tell you what the problem is or might be. Sometimes doctors fly through checkups and record so quickly they miss important things...like my plunging iron levels at one point in my life!

Also, talk to your son. Be very kind and gentle and encourage him to talk out what he's feeling. I'm sure that's he's frustrated and upset deep down inside, but he might not be showing it.

You say he's undergoing chemotherapy? That may have something to do with it. Chemotherapy can do a lot of good, but it can do a lot of harm as well. Didn't mean to make this so long, but my closing words would be "see a doctor...fast." I wouldn't want the poor little kid to have to deal with that any longer :(
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby watts35 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:01 pm

This is one for the professionals - take him to the doctor - they have loads of things they can do these days in terms of bladder and bowel retraining to get him to recognise when he needs to go.
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A 6 year old who still needs diapers?

Postby macnicol » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:13 pm

Is there any physical reason known as to why he has accidents and why your brother would have had the same issue? It sounds as though it may be a genetic issue - and maybe he really can't control the urges. However, if you're convinced he can, then that would sound more like a control issue. He's going through a lot health wise and probably feels pretty helpless, and his eliminations are one thing he CAN control, at least somewhat.

Try letting him exert some control over things. For example giving him a couple of choices with as much as you can. "Would you like an apple or an orange for snack", "Would you like to wear black socks or white socks". I think it's a great way to teach him he can control things and make choices, and hopefully, with this new found confidence, he will be able to choose to use the restroom rather than his diaper, which seems to be his comfort zone.
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