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One of Those Days

It has been one of those days. You know the ones. A bad one. I am left feeling ineffective, alone (with my husband), and low. I want Google to turn into my fairy godmother and magically show me the answer to getting our 8-year-old to stop peeing and defecating in his pants. As embarrassing as it is to admit, our 2nd grader cannot control his bodily functions and we are at wit’s end; as in the end of intelligence. My brain has nothing left to try; no clever phrase to make him “get it.” Dad stopped on his way home to pick up some pull-ups. I am tired of the smelly kid, the extra laundry, and throwing away underwear that have too much dried poop in them to wash. Which leads to buying more underwear.

We’ve tried everything: rewards for dry pants, reminders to go every hour, making him use his allowance to buy the replacement underwear. Nothing works. He might make it a day or two, but it inevitably returns. We’ve asked the doctor and the nutritionist for help. The doctor said it is not a medical issue, that he is just refusing to stop what he is doing to go; which makes sense since he never has an accident during the night. He gets up a minimum of once per night and stumbles to the bathroom. The nutritionist says it might be a taurine deficiency.. to eat more red meat. Increasing our beef intake hasn’t helped. I can’t tell if he can’t recognize his body’s signals that he needs to use the restroom, or if he consciously realizes he needs to go, but decides what he is doing that moment is more important. He shows remorse at times, but other times there is a nonchalance that is disturbing. He will sit in wet pants (or worse, with a triangle poop in his butt) for hours. He knows enough to try to hide it from friends and teachers, but wouldn’t most kids want to get out of smelly, wet clothing? We’re not trying to cure cancer, or invent the new latest and greatest gadget. We’re just trying to raise a good human. He makes it so hard sometimes.

This isn’t the kind of thing you ask your Facebook friends for help with. It’s not even something you can ask Google!! Not and get a clear response anyway… I’ve tried. The whole situation makes me feel like a failure. It makes me angry with him. It makes me want to curl up in my hammock for the next 3 days and ignore the problem (unfortunately not an option). We have to push through it. Walking the delicate balance between explaining the severity of the problem, the importance of hygiene, while not destroying his self-esteem. It is so easy to think, “What is wrong with you?” I would give anything to find out. I would give anything to be Professor Xavier. Complete control over his mind!!! Or at least a little insight.

The Plan:

Step 1: Remove all electronic stimuli. No tv, no xbox, no tablet.
Step 2: Wear Pull-Ups for 14 consecutive days with no accidents.
Step 3: Wear a watch with an alarm to remind him to use the restroom.
Step 4: Develop better bathroom habits. Waiting for all the pee to come out. Wiping better after a bowel movement.
Step 5: Listening to what his body is saying.
Step 6: Eat more red meat… just in case.

Any suggestions?

May 16, 2013 - 3:53 am

Alexa - Have you done ABA therapy or would that be something you are interested in? Is it diarrhea? Aspie kids often have serotonin imbalances, and serotonin is found in the stomach and gut, so this imbalance can manifest itself as constipation and then diarrhea.

May 16, 2013 - 4:00 am

Aspieventures - Alexa! Thank you so much! I’ve looked at ABA but there isn’t covered by our insurance (or at least it wasn’t last I checked). I also want sure if it would help much. There’s a therapist close by that does “brain reconnection therapy”. I’ll check into it again.

We have been doing the GAPS diet which focused on resetting his gut balance. He hasn’t been irregular or constipated in months. They are well-formed movements but the amount varies.

May 16, 2013 - 10:48 am

Stephanie Goad - Hey There, I know it’s so frustrating and we have been doing this with Madison for a long time only difference is our kid wont wear clothes:)Madison is autistic is turning 10 soon and with her, it was all about the being to busy with the computer or her movies and would just go on the floor were ever she was. We have many toileting stories and they aren’t for he faint hearted.
Different story at school though, she would just hold on all day or use there toilet. Madison is in a special school and we have been working on the toileting thing for as long as I can remember. Hang in there, I feel for you. I still find nuggets of poop hidden in her room all the time, can usually tell by the not so pleasant smell.
My daughter Jaimee calls her a squirrel that stores nuts for winter, haha! Your not alone, just remember that! I wish you well and fingers crossed for you it will just one day click for him and the pressure will be off. Take care of you
Steph

May 16, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Aspieventures - We find nuggets of poop everywhere! But we think they fall out of his pants. Thank you for sharing. It is so nice to not be alone in this.

May 16, 2013 - 2:34 pm

Mom - Hi Boo, I have been thinking about you all night. So, I’m going to run this by you again. I understand that the professionals don’t agree with me, but I still think that this is a control issue with him. (That then becomes a practice) . At 8 he shouldn’t have a lot of power, but maybe a little would encourage him to stop making you crazy. Because however much he loves you, he does have that superpower .
Maybe you guys could ad to your plan something like…
No accident for 2 days he gets to plan 2 meals
No accident for 5 days he gets to choose the route to school
he gets to choose what you wear, or bedtime, or whatever will give him some sense of winning. I think he needs to get something for good habits . Other than just the show he gets when he presses your buttons. Just a thought, I love you, and Mike, and The Boy ( poop and all) Mamma

May 16, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Aspieventures - Thanks mama. Those are good suggestions. Consider it added 🙂

May 16, 2013 - 10:37 am

Jacqueline - man. life is so crazy. I am thinking of you and Mike and Cullen. you are amazing. I wish you could run our country.
I would give you some suggestions, but I have not a clue. I guess the incentive most kids get from not pooping or peeing their pants is the social repercussions of doing so. ie. I remember a friend of mine accidentally peeing her pants while crossing the monkey bars one day in 3rd grade. she cried her eyes out b/c everyone saw and kids can be mean and she was embarrassed. if Cullen doesn’t feel this way, it’s a different game. on the same token, not caring what other people think is like super awesome.
I don’t know. I’m still trying to learn how to take care of myself. love to you all.
ps- do you have any animals over there? how’d the fish go? (my cure-all… not necessarily a cure-all)

May 16, 2013 - 10:44 am

Aspieventures - The fish is still alive and well. It’s actually the friendliest beta fish in the world. Or it just always wants to eat. I’m going to go with friendly. We (as parents) don’t have time for anything requiring more care than the fish. He does enjoy going to Oma’s farm and helping with her animals.

With the Zero Tolerance for bullying I don’t think kids are allowed to be as mean as when we were kids. He hasn’t said that anyone is teasing him, and he doesn’t think anyone can smell him (which I know they can for a fact). But he does try to hide it so I don’t know.

July 12, 2013 - 7:52 am

Crystal - My aspie son went through this for a thankfully brief time at day care. He was younger but no less frustrating to have your perfectly potty train child at home still not even starting to potty train at daycare a year latter!The only potty control he showed at day care is occasionally when made he would poop in an inappropriate corner! My solution was a combination approach I combined big rewords with big punishments. If he used the potty I would give him a treat that he liked immediately not from a star chart think something like cookies or candy or there equivalent preferable this would be something your son believes is a no no food a food he cant get any other way so if you don’t do cookies in your home make cookies(just don’t tell him there healthy). You get the idea. 1 “cookie ” for each success. Combine this with a punishment the punishment should be two part in nature one your son should hand wash all soiled clothing and hang it to dry as well as have to clean any other mess he caused by his “accident” secondly he should receive a small punishment for the accident with the message he is to old to be pottying in his pants and knows better (assume he knows better and act as if you believe he knows better whether he does or not as he is getting his message from you if he thinks you think he cant he wont). I chose a spanking as the punishment but it can be a time out or a loss of a privilege until the next time he uses the toilet correctly. Depending on your family discipline methods. I know one mom who would ground her preschooler to the toilet until they made a pee or poo to me that was a bit harsh but worked for them. Whats important is that you reward every success and punish every accident as soon as possible afterwards and send the message that he can and should be pottying in the bathroom. This combination worked for my 3 year old son with the consequence and reward happening when I picked him up at the end of the day instead of at time of accident as he was in daycare and I wasn’t there during day. our routine was hug, tell him I missed him ask if he used the potty if no accidence Id hand him the treat If accident Id pull him aside away from the other kids and Id spank him. It took me three times of spanking him to totally potty train him. We also used this method on my 5 year old highly autistic nephew who at 5 is just starting to talk. and it worked for him with rewarding and punishing every time.

July 12, 2013 - 7:54 am

Aspieventures - Thank you so much Crystal!

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