Toilet training and ADHD

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    • #82506

      I am wondering how many other ADHD parents had children with very delayed toilet training. My DS is coming up to 5 yrs old and we are still not there. His occupational therapist recommended a trip-training schedule that works for autistic children, but it has not resulted in success although we’ve been following it since September. Basically you figure out how long they can stay dry, then send them just before that time limit. When they are consistently dry for 2 weeks at your monitoring, you then step back a bit and let them recognize their body needs to go, and self-initiate more. This has not happened. I have him to the point where he can go into the bathroom when asked, use the toilet, put on a new pullup/underwear if wet IF he recognizes it’s wet, and come back out again. He also now poops on the toilet about 95% of the time, but has setbacks every now and again where there is a cluster of accidents. This is our third time we’ve had a cluster, and I’m now having to go back and monitor/reward/retrain with going poop in the toilet. Again.

      As far as urination, I have him down to using the toilet every half hour and he is not consistently dry. Usually, but not always. He can stay dry overnight for 12 hours most nights, and he has no other health issues, so I don’t see a medical reason being a culprit. His pediatrician isn’t concerned when I bring it up. When he goes to bed at night, if he has to go before he falls asleep he recognizes it and gets up to go (of course, less distractions around him right?) and sometimes he recognizes during the day now that his meds are working fairly well. But not nearly enough to keep him dry. I could theoretically shorten the times between, but making an ADHD kid drop what he’s doing every 15-20 minutes to go pee seems unreasonable.

      Has anyone tried another method? Do you think more medication would help and maybe the dose isn’t high enough yet?

      thank you

    • #82513

      Undiagnosed chronic constipation is a frequent underlying cause of late toilet training and is common in kids with ADHD. A distended rectum presses on the bladder and can cause day or night incontinence and/or loss of bowel control (encopresis). The child may even have daily bowel movements, but without fully evacuating. Belly pain after eating and occasional unexplained nausea and vomiting are additional symptoms, as are very large stools. A pediatric gastroenterologist can diagnose the problem with an X-ray. It is quite common for the problem to be related to dairy intolerance. Eliminating dairy and twice daily toilet sits after meals can help in early stages but more entrenched problems probably require more aggressive treatment.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by momofthree.
    • #82518

      I thought of that, but he has had very soft stools daily since forever, with no tummy pain. Never in his life has he had even one ‘log’ (tmi). He is also very intolerant to dairy (from infancy) so he doesn’t eat any. He has a very sensitive tummy so I even monitor how much he eats of things that would make him loose, as he will get diarrhea quite easily 🙁 Hmm, I will ask the pediatrician again when I see him next. He is the head of Pediatrics at our hospital and really good so hopefully he can help me rule this in or out.

    • #82545
      Penny Williams

      ADHD is a developmental delay, so it makes since that things like potty-training are sometimes delayed also. This article mentions bedwetting in an interesting context to consider:

      How ADHD Resembles Retained Primitive Reflexes, and Vice Versa

      I know a family whose son (ADHD diagnosis) was still soiling multiple times a day in kindergarten and first grade. He was tested to be gluten-sensitive. When gluten was removed from his diet the soiling issue resolved immediately.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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