My five-year old daughter has been diagnosed with anal retention disorder by a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist in Dallas, Texas. I've done extensive research on this, and cannot find any substantial information to help encourage my daughter to poop on the potty. She is "frightened" by the prospect of it. She has no physical, intellectual or emotional developmental delays. She has had thorough exams to ensure she has no physical problems attributing to this situation. We have tried everything. My main concern is that I don't want this to "harm" or interfere with her emotionally or with her self-esteem now and later on. I'm extremely sensitive to every aspect this situation is and could bring to her....how can I deal with it. If she doesn't resolve the situation by the time kindergarten begins, I will homeschool her, which is certainly fine. The ridicule she could receive at school could be potentially detrimental if I put her in before she resolved her "situation." In the large scheme of life, this is a temporary problem, and am confident it will be resolved. I realize it needs to be on her time, not my time. I love her dearly, and want to know if there are any suggestions. Thank you.
--A concerned and loving mom.
You are right in thinking that all will be well. This situation does resolve in time, and you now have the satisfaction of being assured that things are OK from a medical perspective. You have taken care of the necessary diagnostic work. Now the key will be to consult with the pediatrician and see if he/she wants to start your daughter on a regimen to promote regular bowel movements, in spite of your daughter's reticence. When children avoid bowel movements they are, of course, prone to constipation and impacted bowels. When they become constipated, bowel movements are uncomfortable, and this exacerbates the problem - they tend to want to persist in avoiding the bathroom. The importance of a regimen, undr medical supervision, of laxative and stool softeners is to avert constipation and impacted bowels and to promote bowel movements in the face of the child's reluctance. Be sure to schedule times to have your daughter sit on the toilet, and don't leave this to her discretion. Be patient and supportive and understanding, but do not cooperate with her avoiding the bathroom. With her pediatrician's help and your thoughtful approach, this will turn out OK.
Kudos and respect to you for not seeing this as an end-all-be-all problem! And for not seeing it as your problem, but as something she will eventually work through!! My oldest was on mineral oil from 9 months old to 6 years old. She is still prone to constipation, but knows how to handle it via diet now. (13 years old now)
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