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.
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.