Son refuses to go to the bathroom

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KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 9:57 am

Hi! I'm brand new here, so I apologize if this question has been asked and answered before.

My son is 9, was recently diagnosed with Asperger's, and has always put off using the bathroom until the last moment (or too late). He says he doesn't have to go, even as he's doing the "pee-pee dance". I don't know if he can't sense that he has to go, doesn't like going, doesn't want to stop what he's doing to go, or hates washing his hands after, (all could be true) but it's a big issue in our house and I'd love some ideas from those who've experienced this. Even timed toileting isn't working because he really fights me.

Thanks!



Icheb
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23 Oct 2011, 10:30 am

Hm, don't know if this is relevant, but as a kid I was scared of the sound of the toilet flushing. My mother would tell me I should flush first, then wash my hands and then leave the bathroom, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. I would wash my hands, unlock the door, stretch out my arm as far as it would go, flush the toilet, yank open the door, jump outside and close it quick to cut off the noise of the flushing.


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KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 10:59 am

Yup, that's absolutely relevant! He admitted to that years ago, so I gave him the option of not flushing or going back to wash hands after the noise had stopped. It had improved to where he could flush himself, but he'd definitely rush through hand washing to get the heck out of there. I'm currently flushing for him anyway because the flusher is being tricky to push, so it's not the noise issue anymore. It's something else going on, in addition. :(



DW_a_mom
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23 Oct 2011, 11:01 am

Icheb wrote:
Hm, don't know if this is relevant, but as a kid I was scared of the sound of the toilet flushing. My mother would tell me I should flush first, then wash my hands and then leave the bathroom, but I couldn't bring myself to do that. I would wash my hands, unlock the door, stretch out my arm as far as it would go, flush the toilet, yank open the door, jump outside and close it quick to cut off the noise of the flushing.


My son went through that, too.

There can apparently be dozens of sensory and fear issues associated with a bathroom. All very, very real - regardless of how silly they may seem to us.

I would suggest that your son's issue lies somewhere in that room, and you'll need to identify and the mitigate the issue before you can make any progress.

Your son is probably a little old for this, but when my son was 3 he went though a phase of only wanting to pee against a certain tree in our side yard (an idea he picked up on a park outing with other little boys). But maybe you can brainstorm other alternatives to the dreaded bathroom and see if any click. That could be a lead in to discovering what the real problem is.


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DW_a_mom
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23 Oct 2011, 11:05 am

KariHari wrote:
Yup, that's absolutely relevant! He admitted to that years ago, so I gave him the option of not flushing or going back to wash hands after the noise had stopped. It had improved to where he could flush himself, but he'd definitely rush through hand washing to get the heck out of there. I'm currently flushing for him anyway because the flusher is being tricky to push, so it's not the noise issue anymore. It's something else going on, in addition. :(


Seems I was typing as you were posting...

What is he usually doing when he has to go and refuses? Is there a pattern there at all, or does it happen regardless of what he is involved in?

And don't forget to check out medical issues like infections.


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KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 11:09 am

It's pretty much every bathroom, even at relatives' houses and school. He holds and holds until someone pretty much forces him to go. And always insists vehemently (yelling) that he does not have to go. (Always does have to, and as soon as he's in the bathroom it's a mad dash for the toilet and usually ends up in wet underwear and floor.) Even when he had leg surgery and only had to go into a plastic handheld urinal, it was an argument. I keep trying to have him pay attention to the feeling in his body, but he swears he does not feel like he has to go until he's in the bathroom standing on front of the toilet. It's getting him to that position that seems to be the obstacle.



KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 11:10 am

Yeah, we're off sync. :) I notice it when he's playing or watching tv mostly.



DW_a_mom
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23 Oct 2011, 11:25 am

I realize you've probably already asked him this a hundred times, but what does he say is going on? When he's out of the situation and not engrossed in something else?


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KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 12:20 pm

Sometimes he says he doesn't have to go and I'm forcing him. Sometimes he says he doesn't want to stop what he's doing to go. I think it's a combination of the two -that he doesn't feel like he has to go (sensory?) and that he is engrossed in tv or toys. This makes it harder to find a solution that works. I've tried sticker rewards, but it doesn't really work for this. We fight over it a few times a day.



KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 12:24 pm

It also concerns me that he doesn't think it's a big deal if he doesn't get his underwear off in time or gets it all over the bathroom, or wets the bed. Sometimes even denies that his underwear is wet when it is. I worry about what happens during the school day.



DW_a_mom
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23 Oct 2011, 2:50 pm

Have you talked to him about the possibility of wearing diapers? My thinking here is that if he sees the world as having two alternatives to choose from (diapers or bathroom), he might dig deeper on helping you help him. And if he honestly prefers the idea of diapers ... Something to think about.


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 23 Oct 2011, 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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23 Oct 2011, 9:54 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
Have you talked to him about the possibility of wearing diapers? My thinking here is that if he sees the world as having tow alternatives to choose from (diapers or bathroom), he might dig deeper on helping you help him. And if he honestly prefers the idea of diapers ... Something to think about.



LOL I was thinking the same thing but thought it might sound trollish if I said "Put him in diapers."



KariHari
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23 Oct 2011, 11:03 pm

I think diapers is a bit extreme for a 9 year old just because I don't want to argue with him about going. He's not walking around with poop in his pants or anything, he just resists going until the very, very last moment. I'm hoping for some insight into helping him recognize the sensation or prioritize the need to go above playing or whatever. Maybe a motivator. Is diapering what people really do as a solution to this? He hasn't been in diapers since he was 2.



DW_a_mom
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23 Oct 2011, 11:42 pm

KariHari wrote:
I think diapers is a bit extreme for a 9 year old just because I don't want to argue with him about going. He's not walking around with poop in his pants or anything, he just resists going until the very, very last moment. I'm hoping for some insight into helping him recognize the sensation or prioritize the need to go above playing or whatever. Maybe a motivator. Is diapering what people really do as a solution to this? He hasn't been in diapers since he was 2.


Well, it is hard to know on a message board just how extreme an issue is but, yes, some ASD kids wear diapers. Some ASD adults decide they prefer diapers. It's not that far out there.

Your son will recognize the sensation, or plan appropriately, when he prioritizes it, assuming there are no real sensory issues or fears involved (which there might be, I don't think we've ruled that out). The question is, why isn't he prioritizing it? My thought in throwing out diapers is that having such a conversation with him will help him understand how strongly you prioritize not soiling clothes and flooring, in the hopes that it will kick in for him. Or, barring that, that he will do a better job looking inside himself and identifying the real problem.


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lovelyboy
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24 Oct 2011, 11:44 am

Ok...I think me and my son get the 'Noddy bach" for this topic!

We are potty training for 5 yrs now! :(

He turned 8 yr old and still soils his pants with poo sometimes! This is very embarressing for him! We did al the medical tests, no prop...there is speculation that his gluten intollerance causes soiling of the pants.
The psichologist says this can be supprest anger...it might have been, but not at present.

The OT says its neurological...I tend to agree...it has alot to do with poor sensory registration. He keeps on telling me he doesn't feel it, but I'm not so sure...He will walk with dirty underwear...and only later tell me about it. He says that sometimes he doesn't want to go to the loo when playing with his friends, because he is worried that they will leave or he is embarress to go when they are around...makes alot of sense to me!

He struggles to wipe himself, this is because of poor motor planning and body perception...not being able to do an activity behind his back without seeing what he does...also because of a bit of poor balance while wiping.
He is also tactile sensitive and once told me that he hates the feeling when the poo comes out...also doesn't want anything to touch his hands.

Ok, what else...the pdoc suggested he drinks a cold glass of water in the morning and then eat and get dressed, to stimulate the colon to poo...her thoughts is: A clean colon can't cause any problems.

At school he tries to go alone, but gets anxious to walk all the way alone, banging of doors, exct. He takes a clean undie with and throw the soiled one away if needed.

We tried everything!!!And I mean everything! Nothing worked!

You do get a monitor that you hook onto his shirt and onto his undies that sets of an alarm as soon as it gets a drop of urine....this might help....some condisioning....this helped for us to get son of night diapers at 6yr! LOL it conditioned his mom to wake up at midnight to take son to the loo :P

I will definitly not go the diaper road...well not with my son! I did had that discussion and the humiliation and tears in his eyes were terrible...He tells me he is really sorry, promise to try but sometimes still fails....
Don't make a big deal...the pdoc just said that we must say...'you know what, I know you will get it right, you're the boss of your colon..."

Strenghts...I know this is very frustrating!


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