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missyeovil
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8yo toilet habits

Jul 10th, 2013, 22:44 PM   #1
 
Any advice/ideas on this would be greatly appreciated!

Basically, I have an 8yo stepdaughter who lives with us and visits her mum on the weekends.

For the past year or more we have been trying to get her to A) go pee when she needs to pee, not wait until she's bursting, B) wipe her bum properly, C) flush the loo and D) wash her hands.

With regards to the first one, I am quite aware A LOT of children get carried away playing with the friends or their toys or whatever and go to the toilet only when they absolutely cannot hold it any longer, but she was prone to UTI's (caused by blackcurrant we think!) in the past and so I'm very aware of how bad it is for her to be holding her pee. I've spoken to her about it but that's made no difference. I have found knickers quite wet and she often bursts into the bathroom when I'm bathing A or something announcing she needs to pee right then. The biggest problem is the wet knickers I think, because she doesn't even notice! When she got UTI's she genuinely didn't notice that she had peed herself, so she sits in damp knickers all day!

Second problem is wiping her bum. When she does a no. 2 she doesn't wipe at all/properly and it's getting worse. I don't know if she's doing it deliberately to get attention or what?! I used to find the occasional poo stain on her knickers and just turn a blind eye but recently there have been a lot. One day she came home from her mums and announced she needed to bin her knickers as they were broken so I said why did you put them on this morning and she said I didn't, I just turned them inside out (whole other story!) so sent her away to bin them and put clean ones on. That night I noticed there was poo on the second pair that she'd had on so though och I'll just check the first pair so pulled them out the bin. There was poo both sides! Then I went back upstairs and discovered there was poo on the bed where she'd sat whilst changing knickers! I asked her about it and in the end said if it happened again I would have to put her in nappies like her little sister. She looked really upset by this so I thought I might have got through to her but I have found poo on several pairs of knickers since. Am I actually expecting too much from her to wipe her bum properly? Surely she would be sore? Back along we trying the wet toilet tissue approach which worked for a while but then she went back to old ways.

The third problem I can kinda deal with but at the same time it should be habit by 8yo to be flushing the toilet right? In the past I have gone to the toilet after reading her story and realised she hasn't flushed and got her out of bed to go back and flush. And I often get her to come and flush from whatever she is doing to come and flush but I don't get why it isn't habit?!

The fourth annoys me but I mean I know plenty of adults who don't wash their hands. It annoys me that she might touch her wee sister after not washing her hands, of chew on her fingers or something and get ill but atm I am just very careful about making her go and wash her hands before dinner and before playing with her sister.

I could really do with some ideas here, or someone to tell me I'm expecting too much from her. I came into her life when she had just turned 5 and became her primary care just after she turned 7 so I kinda got thrown in at the deep end! I've read billions of books on babies but nothing on older children yet!

Also, she doesn't get nagged about toilet habits at her mum's so I tend to find every time I make progress she goes there for a couple of days and she falls back into old habits

xx
 
 

 
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Ammdaz
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Jul 17th, 2013, 20:40 PM   #2
 
I think by 8 years old you would be expecting her toilet habits to be better, I don't think you're expecting too much. I can only really compare to my son as I don't have a lot of experience with older kids either but he has just turned 4 and he absolutely knows to wash his hands everytime after going to the toilet. He does tend to hold his pee a bit I think but not so much that we get accidents. I do have to remind him to flush quite often but I think that's more because he finds the buttons quite hard to push. And we are just in the process of teaching him to wipe his own bottom in preparation for school. I would definitely expect him to be doing all the things you are expecting long before he is 8.

I think it is important that somehow you teach her better toilet habits as some of the things she is doing are quite unhygienic. She really does need to be washing her hands, especially since you have a baby and she should be able to wipe her bottom. I'm not quite sure how you are going to do it though! As there are several issues it probably feels to her that she is constantly being nagged about one or the other so perhaps it would be best to tackle one at a time? Or you could try something like a reward chart where she gets a sticker each time she remembers to flush, wash her hands, wipe her bum etc. Is your partner on board with helping you out? I think it's important that you, her dad and her mum are on the same page so you may need to have a word with her mum and express your concerns.

It's a bit of a tricky one because kids do tend to be quite sensitive about toileting and you don't want to upset her but I think she needs to realise that what she is doing is not acceptable now and she's a big girl who needs to take a bit of responsibility.

Xxx
 
 

 
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missyeovil
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Jul 17th, 2013, 22:16 PM   #3
 
Thank you for your reply! I'm glad I'm not being unreasonable in expecting these things! Since I posted there have been no more incidents of pooey knickers so I think she's finally started wiping her bum properly which is a step in the right direction. However, she hasn't been to her mum's house in a week and a half and I feel this might have a lot to do with it. My OH has spoken to her mum about it and told her she needs to be watching for it because she obviously hasn't been but I'm not very hopeful of this happening.

I did consider the reward chart but I thought she was too old for it really - I mean like you say, you are teaching these things to a 4 year old - I don't understand why these things aren't engrained in her by now. I agree it maybe seems like she is being constantly nagged though so maybe a one thing at a time approach is what I need.

It's difficult because this isn't the only thing that we have problems with. All through the week her manners are fine, she goes to her mums and she comes back and they're gone. And went through a phase of saying "if you don't do *whatever* I'll scream" and was genuinely shocked when I said go on scream then. She's just allowed to do what she wants up there whereas down here there are specific bedtimes and routines which we follow. It must be a bit confusing at times for her but when it comes to toilet habits, there is no excuse for them being different wherever you are!

xxx
 
 

 
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coz78
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 09:16 AM   #4
 
Hope you don't mind me jumping in here? When my dd was 9 just about to turn 10 we had problems with her keep messing herself. After visits to doctors and hospital specialists it was decided the problem was an emotional one and we were sent to CAMHS. They encouraged the sticker chart and reward system for her and didn't think she was too old. I thought it was silly for an older child but making a big deal out her getting it right really worked and gave her a sense of pride about it. We took her to the pound shop and let her choose her own soap for washing her hands which made her feel a bit grown up. Flushing the toilet is still a bit of a problem but in the grand scheme of things I can live with that for now because we've over come the other worse problems. She spends every other weekend with her dad and step-mum and I had to get him to do the same at their house to help back it up. It's so frustrating trying to figure out what to do for the best when they 2 different parenting styles but you can only do your best. The fact that you have just had an incident free period means you have been doing something right so keep trusting your instincts. Hope it gets better for you soon x
 
 

 
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missyeovil
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 15:59 PM   #5
 
Thank you for your advice! If the sticker/reward chart worked for you I shall definitely think about giving it a go with her too. Will need to get OH to speak to her mum about it and decide on the best plan of action. Choosing her own soap is a good idea too. She has her own "special" soap but I think actually taking her to choose one herself might make her more keen to use it. Thanks again xx
 
 

 
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mylullaby
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Sep 27th, 2013, 09:49 AM   #6
 
You're definitely not expecting too much from an 8 year old. I remember my own childhood vividly and I absolutely knew long before I started school what I should/shouldn't be doing. I also remember my cousin more recently (at about age 3.5/4) shouting his mum when they stayed at our house "MUUUUUUMMMM!!! I can't wash my hands because there is no sink! " (It's quite an old house and our toilet was separate to the bathroom, so she had to show him where it was).

I agree that it sounds like a psychological issue and it can't be easy for you. But as well as addressing it for your benefit - hopefully the chart idea works for you too - I'd be concerned about other children's behaviour towards her at school, because although I'd never have teased a kid who I knew had toilet issues, my instinct as an 8-year-old would've told me to avoid anyone who smelt like poo. I still remember the boy who smelt like stale wee at primary school right up until we were 11 years old. I wasn't mean to him, but I dreaded having to sit next to him. So I'd just want to make sure she wasn't left out - or bullied - because of it.
 
 

 
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missyeovil
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Sep 27th, 2013, 12:07 PM   #7
 
Thank you for your reply. I actually have no idea what is going on because without doing the chart or anything, we pretty much cracked it during the holidays. She was wiping her bum, usually flushing the toilet and washing her hands. There is still work to do on washing hands but we're definitely getting there with perseverance.

However she still has pooey knickers after being at her mums or this weekend, her grans house! She also wet herself at her grans this weekend and was having accidents regularly at her mums in the holiday apparently although we weren't told about this till they'd "stopped". It's strange because she doesn't have accidents at our house. It's rare to even get the damp knickers we were getting now. She has no problems at school with accidents etc. and she must be wiping her bum properly there now because when I check her knickers later they are clean. She doesn't have accidents at my mum and dads either so I don't understand why it happens at her mums and her grans?

I wonder whether as they treat her like quite a young child and baby her quite a lot if she's almost regressing one the weekends! I don't know but I have broached it with a doctor about it not happening with us so we will see what happens. She gave us a few suggestions to try so fingers crossed we can get this sorted properly for everyone's sake! I feel like I'm losing the plot and I'm sure she doesn't like wetting herself!xx
 
 

 
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mylullaby
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Sep 27th, 2013, 12:26 PM   #8
 
It could be that they're treating her like a baby so she's behaving like one... or maybe it's an attention thing at her mum's? Is there anything there making her feel left out? You'll have a better idea of what's more likely, but unless her mum's on-board with helping to get it sorted, it seems like you're going to have a massive struggle on your hands.

This sounds like an awful question to ask, but is her mum's house clean? Because I have MAJOR issues with using a dirty toilet and have done for years - refuse to let my bum touch a the seat if I really must use a public loo, can only poo in my own/mum's house, etc (got to be comfortable in my surroundings) - takes a few days if I'm on holiday. And I'd rather avoid washing my hands and use my own hand gel if the tap/sink is grim-looking. I reckon this started when I had to use the disgusting toilets at high school - I'd avoid going anywhere near them unless it was absolutely necessary and would dash home desperate for the loo every single day.

At 30 - and probably because I'd have been at least 11 before I developed these issues - things are easy to control, but if I'd been like this when I was 8, there might have been a few accidents here and there. Just throwing it out there so you can rule out any link to germs/hygiene at her mum's house (although if that's the issue, I have no idea how you approach the convo: "ffs clean your bathroom!")
 
 

 
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missyeovil
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Sep 27th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #9
 
I could well imagine it would be attention thing...she craves attention non-stop and I wonder how different the reactions would be to her having an accident there and here. Although I wouldn't make her think she had done something terrible, she would be told that she is old enough to use the toilet etc. and it would be an honest conversation during which I would ask if she had any problems or if she was sore or anything in case it was an infection. I would imagine with her mum, it would be how you would treat a 3 year old who has had an accident... "oh dear it can't be helped, lets get you changed and then we'll have a nice cuddle and we'll make sure you get to the toilet in time the next time" kinda thing...

There was a time in the holidays she was at her mums for 6 days. On the day she came home we were told that S had accidents the first 2 nights she was there. But we weren't told anything about this until days later?! Then when S came back we took her to the doctors and on the way down she was telling us how she had a shower everyday, yet OH and I could both smell pee on her but her knickers weren't wet...in fact it was her hair I could smell it in the most so it was maybe that the bed hadn't been cleaned up properly?! Anyway, turned out she had a really horrible UTI and the poor thing must have been in pain with it for days but no one bothered to ring us or take her to the doctors themselves. It's like her mum doesn't realise it is a problem for an 8yo to be having accidents. I mean one or two you could understand but I think you have 2 in 2 days that should definitely be ringing alarm bells.

I don't think the cleanliness of the toilet thing would be a problem for Shannon. We were in a barber shop with OH the other day and she needed the loo and so the guy let her use the staff one. It wasn't clean cos it was literally the 2 guys who work there who use it but she was fine with it. There was a case a couple of years ago when she had an accident at her mums, her mum didn't notice and so when we got her stripped off she had burns etc. I asked her why she hadn't gone to the toilet when she'd needed it and she said that she hadn't been allowed to because her wee sister at her mums was napping. That was very strange to me, but surely once that had happened once and she'd had an accident you would say just go to the toilet whenever you need to - it's less hassle to get a baby back to sleep than to have to clean S up, get her clothes in the wash, clean up any mess on the floor etc.!

I don't know - I think the biggest problem is that whatever we do, we are fighting a losing battle because her mum will not do what we ask so until we can get S into such a drilled in habit of going to the toilet when she needs it, wiping her bum properly, etc, it's just not going to happen. I was thinking today - even if I wanted to have an accident for some strange reason, I don't think I actually could (and that is post baby!). Surely at some age you would get to a point when you don't "question" going to the toilet, you just go. I hope that age is soon for S!xx
 
 

 
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mylullaby
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Sep 27th, 2013, 13:10 PM   #10
 
Really tricky situation for you as the problem is so clearly linked to her being at her mum's. Hmm... not sure what else to suggest other than talking about it to the doctor again and seeing if they have any suggestions. It's unfortunate that her mum isn't taking the issue more seriously as it's certainly unusual for her age. Hopefully you'll get it sorted sooner or later. Good luck x
 
 

 
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missyeovil
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Sep 27th, 2013, 15:49 PM   #11
 
Thank you - I'm sure we will get there in the end!xx
 
 

 
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8yo, habits, toilet

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