Frustrated your child’s toileting problems aren’t resolving?
Plenty of parents have been there. Here, parents share their families’ struggles and their success with the M.O.P. approach. Take heart: Childhood toileting problems can be fixed!
"She has been dry for over two months now. I am beyond ecstatic."
"Now we have a happy, child who is proud to be in control of her body’s functions — what a gift!"
Marta Bermudez and daughter Sophia
"My pediatrician . . . considered the enema regimen excessively aggressive, and so did the other pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologist she consulted with."
My 5-year-old, Sophia, had only been dry at night five times since birth. My pediatrician kept telling me she would outgrow it, and there was not much that I could do about it.
Suddenly Sophia began having daytime poop accidents. At first, I thought she was too busy to get to the potty on time, but then after three in a row, I searched into poop accidents and found “It’s No Accident.” I knew I had the answer. I had known for a while that constipation could cause bedwetting, but because my daughter pooped every day, we discarded this possible origin. Sophia had 9 of the 12 signs listed in the “12 Signs Your Child is Constipated Chart” on the website. But I wanted an X-ray to be sure, and my pediatrician agreed to order it.
I sent the X-ray to Dr. Hodges and he confirmed that my daughter’s pelvis was filled with poop. My pediatrician agreed but considered the enema regimen excessively aggressive, and so did the other pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologist she consulted with. But after reading the book, I determined that the enema sounded less messy and made more sense than doing the Miralax cleanout. We moved forward, using over the counter enemas nightly for a month.
My girl had no pain and no complaints and felt better. She and all the family were totally on board, which was very important in this process. I also started daily Miralax, one cap a day, to make any spontaneous bowel movements mushy like mashed potatoes.
But my girl was still mostly wet at night. Another X-ray revealed she was still filled with poop. We continued with daily enemas for another month and introduced the bed wetting alarm. Finally around the third month of daily enemas she stopped wetting the bed.
She has been dry for over two months now. I am beyond ecstatic. I trusted in every word of Dr. Hodges’ study and was sure it was going to work, I was persistent and so was my child. She never refused to do the enemas, she takes daily Miralax and her poops are soft. I reached my goal: to help her as soon as possible, while she was young and not worried about it.
Kate Desmond, blogger at The Tiny Fashionista
"The problem just wasn’t going away and we were uncomfortable (pun intended) with the idea that constipation is a common problem in this age group, she’ll eventually outgrow it, which was the stance of our pediatrician’s office."
When I first inquired about constipation Annaliese had just turned 2. Up until this point she had gone with little to no problems. Around this time she, (gasp) got an opinion and stopped eating things just because we told her too. We try to eat clean in our house, but even this is not fool proof as she preferred the grains and cheeses to the leafy greens. We continued to push the fruit with some success, but the veggies unless disguised in a pouch stopped. Also, around this time we first started asking her if she’d like to try the potty. I thought it was a no pressure situation, but looking back I can now say we probably pushed a little too hard and she wanted to control when she did what, so the holding began.
In the beginning it would be a day or two between poops, then it started stretching to a week. She would strain and cry every time she had the feeling like poop was going to come out because she was terrified. She didn’t want to poop at all, no in her diaper and definitely not the potty. We spoke with our pediatrician and he recommended Miralax when she struggled, and apple juice. I’m not big on juice for kids, so we would try the Miralax and when the problem seemed to be fixed (as in she’d poop) we’d stop the Miralax. We didn’t know you had to use it continuously for real success.
In the year that followed, sometime around age 2 and 9 months, Liesee decided she would start peeing in the potty. Since that day she has had 0 pee accidents during the day. But, poop became an even bigger problem. A year of yo-yoing, and finally we couldn’t take it. The problem just wasn’t going away and we were uncomfortable (pun intended) with the idea that constipation is a common problem in this age group, she’ll eventually outgrow it, which was the stance of our pediatrician’s office.
Finally, I found “It’s No Accident” and a light bulb went off. I felt like I was reading our story from page one. From the poop holding to even the pee holding for long periods of time…it all made sense. I scheduled another appointment with the pediatrician, this time armed with the book. I told him, I wanted an x-ray. He said it wasn’t necessary, because what I was describing sounded like typical constipation in this age group. That may be so, I told him, but wasn’t satisfied. In the end, I got the X-ray and just as I suspected there was a lump of poop in her rectum. Bingo!
From there we discussed the master cleanse described in the book and talked about maintenance for her daily life. After a horrific (and I mean whoa!) Labor Day weekend of poop, poop and more poop…I feel like we are making progress. Since that time we have given her a capful of Miralax every morning. She likes her “tummy juice” and has had a good soft poop everyday since. We are not totally out of the woods yet, because she still won’t poop in the potty. But, when she gets the poo feeling she now asks us for a “nighttime” diaper, we put it on her she goes to a private room, does her thing and then asks to be changed. Once she gets that it no longer hurts, I’m hoping we will graduate to the potty totally. We are a work in progress, but so happy there is progress!! To us it feels like a huge weight has been lifted, and I’m sure it does to her too.
Fleur Bennett, DVM, Calgary, Canada
"It's No Accident provides the tools to help children get healthy again and put the shame and confidence-sapping experience of soiling behind them."
Dr. Hodges’ book provided me with explanations of my daughter’s problem that finally made it all make sense. After many years of her struggling with encopresis and enuresis and subsequent UTIs, not to mention receiving multiple unpleasant diagnostic tests, I felt that we finally had a comprehensive plan and was hopeful it would help us turn a corner with this. And it did! While my daughter’s case turned out to be a little more complicated than most, without Dr. Hodges’s book and his personal attention to our case, our lives would still be revolving around dirty underwear and all of the underlying problems that represented. Now we have a happy, healthy young child who is proud to be in control of her body’s functions — what a gift!
This book is a must read for any parent about to embark on toilet training or who is having difficulty after the fact, all medical students and general practitioners, school teachers, and day care workers. It answers all the questions that health care providers either do not have time or the inclination to answer for their patients. Most importantly, it provides the tools to help children get healthy again and put the shame and confidence-sapping experience of soiling behind them. I cannot recommend it enough.
Marnie Craycroft, blogger at Carrots Are Orange
"Even though the doctor did not support it, I demanded an abdominal x-ray. Much to my bittersweet affirmation, the X-ray revealed SEVERE constipation."
Our middle son was a classic early potty trainee. Really, I didn’t train him. His older brother did so by modeling. He was only 22 months and fully out of diapers. Fast forward one year and we ran into problems. He began complaining about his belly aching. Then he started preschool and began to have accidents, more and more and again and again. It didn’t stop or even get better. One day I walked in on him in his classroom’s bathroom pants off/down staring at the toilet smeared with poop and felt such profound sadness I burst into tears on the spot. (You know, the kind of tears you choke back and hide from your kids. I cried the whole way home). It was the moment of clarity. The next day I pulled him from school.
His behavior regressed, not only with toilet training but also with his temper. When we voiced concern to the people in our lives, we got the ‘He’s not even three yet’ and ‘The bigger deal you make of it, mom and dad, the bigger deal it becomes…’. As his mother, though, I felt with all my heart that there was something more to the story.
Alas, his behavior didn’t get better in the weeks following his withdrawal from school. So, I took him to see a pediatric urologist. The doctor was clearly gifted and experienced, albeit patronizing in her dialogue with me. I tried to keep in mind that she treats children much older than my son for a problem that probably began at my son’s age. My main goal was to prevent a major long-term issue down the line. I knew as his parent that something wasn’t right.
Even though the doctor did not support it, I demanded an abdominal x-ray. Much to my bittersweet affirmation, the X-ray revealed SEVERE constipation, which for young children means weakening of muscles that help with #2. Constipation of this sort also impacts bladder function, not to mention the emotional issues that come along with it. He had a mass of poop the size of a football in his little body. No matter the age, friends, sometimes it’s not just an accident. Sometimes, more often than we adults realize, accidents are in fact a real medical issue.
I know I sound dramatic but this book changed our life. We are on the road to recovery, but it has been a long road and we are still traveling on it 7 months later. After “diagnosis,” don’t under treat the issue. It can take many months, depending on the child, of course, to resolve the issues.
My son is happier as he works the discomfort out of his system and is able to gain control over his actions once again. Thanks to this book, we were able to take control of the situation. I feel so very grateful. I highly recommend this book to any parent and educator who has doubts and wonders in this area.
Jolie DeVries, Evansville, Indiana
"Thank you for this book — it’s a life changer!"
My 11-year-old son has been struggling for years with no help from our doctor. I heard about this book from the Another Mother Runner podcast. We started the following weekend and it is WORKING! For the first time ever, my son is not worried about sleepovers and summer camp. Very well written and easy to follow. Thank you for this book — it’s a life changer!
Mom of 17-year-old, Boston
"If only we had recognized the constipation as the reason for the bedwetting 10 to 15 years ago we might have prevented all these years of bedwetting and an overstretched colon that may require surgery!"
I wish that I had read this book 10-15 years ago and could have possibly prevented so many years of betwetting for my 17-year-old son. He has been a bedwetter all his life. The pediatrician told us each year at his physical that Jack would outgrow the bedwetting.
At 16, we took him to two urologists and two sleep specialists to do sleep studies. The urologists said he was constipated and treated with senokot daily but the bedwetting continued. DDAVP didn't work and was not a solution long term even if it had. The sleep studies came back normal.
I am an avid listener of Dr Radio, in hopes of hearing some solution to bedwetting for teenagers. I heard Dr Hodges speaking 18 mos ago and when he said that 95% of bedwetting is due to constipation and that enemas would help, I took Jack back to his gastroenterologist. He diagnosed Jack with constipation and put him on Senokot and ExLax and fiber over the next year. Jack had some dry nights but nothing consistent.
We were losing hope for a permanent solution, so flew from New England to Wake Forest to see Dr Hodges who showed us on the xray that Jack was constipated and told us how enemas could help. We started the nightly enemas and put Jack on Amitiza and Motilium for chronic constipation, and now at 17, Jack is dry every night unless he sleeps in more than 9 hours (so 6 of 7 nights a week). HUGE improvement! Dr Hodges referred us to a colleague at Columbia to pursue another type of enema and possible surgery to reduce the size of the colon as his colon doesn't seem to be stretching back to normal size after 6 months of enemas. If only we had recognized the constipation as the reason for the bedwetting 10 to 15 years ago we might have prevented all these years of bedwetting and an overstretched colon that may require surgery! Send this book to any family or friends with bedwetting children. Pediatricians and pediatric gastroenterologists should read this book!