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Del Morrill, M.S. C.C.H


A Center for Counseling & Hypnosis
Tacoma, Washington, USA
(253) 752-1506



          I had a call from a mother who is looking to help her four year old with constipation.  The doctor has checked him out, and there is nothing physically wrong. The doctor gave the child a prescription for benefiber and it is not working.  He goes to the potty once every 2 days.  Has had accidents in school where the teacher had to change him.  He was at one time potty trained and was doing fine but now is not.  She says he goes potty in his pants THEN sits on the toilet to please her.  I read up on encopresis (not going #2 in the toilet past the age of potty training) and stool retention and found that it can sometimes come from having a painful bowel movement that causes the child to become afraid to potty.  Other than this, I know very little about this problem. Have you worked with this before successfully?  If so any pointers 


     When a child has done okay with potty training and then suddenly is no longer doing well, I start wondering what’s going on in the family. Did a new child come into the family?  Is there fighting? Is the child afraid parents might divorce? Was there a death of a relative or pet? etc.  A painful BM is certainly a possible initiating event, especially with a very young child who can’t imagine beyond the moment.    Here are possibilities:

 1.  Find out the child’s favorite hero/heroine or TV character who they admire.  Ask if they think that person soils themselves or gets the potty on time? Then make up a story where the child goes on an adventure with that character through a day-long period, where they stop now and then to go to the bathroom, in order to continue their adventures.  You could even have the child in the adventure have to “go” but hold on until getting to the proper place because they don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their “hero.”  Always include how easy it is and how much better she feels afterwards. 

2.  Use the problem-solving script I created for young people in Great Escapes, Volume IV.  You can adapt it to the 4-year old. It’s designed to deal with the initiating cause. You simply ask the deeper mind to seek out whatever imprints are causing the problem underneath the soiling, and to change them into something more helpful to the child.

3.  Also, in my GREAT ESCAPES, Volume IV are some bed-wetting scripts which might be adapted. In the same volume (IV) are some “dumping problems” stories and scripts which could be helpful if, indeed, the child is concerned about something.  She could even “dump” the habit she has. 





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