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Bathroom issues -- apologies for subject matter

Hastings's picture

We have ongoing issues with SS9's bathroom habits. Nothing extremely serious or disturbing, but gross and annoying as heck.

For a while, he was having off-and-on accidents. It seemed to be caused by him not wanting to get up and stop his game or video or whatever to actually go in the bathroom. So, he'd have an accident and then just sit there and ignore it. DH (who has a very sensitive nose) would smell it and SS would always deny, then DH would make him go shower and change. Once, we had to deep-clean the couch because the odor had soaked in after one incident. He tried talking to him about it, asking him at regular intervals if he needed to go, etc. Still happened. That seems to have lessened, thank goodness, as it's been a few months since the last time it happened.

Lately, apparently SS's aim is off. DH has found evidence that SS has been going #1 with the seat down (lid up) or that he's missing entirely. SS, again, denies it's him (no one else it could be). Last night, DH found it and made SS clean it up and, once again, gave him the basic hygiene lesson/lecture.

We've also learned that sometimes SS goes #2 in the shower. Again: Evidence. Gag. DH has talked to him, asked him questions: Can he not feel it coming out? Does he just not want the hassle of getting out to handle it? Why is he not going before he gets in? Nothing.

SS seems completely unbothered by it all. BM says she hasn't noticed any problems or seen anything like it when he's with her. She has her faults, but I do believe she's being honest.

We're aware there could be medical reasons, so DH is going to ask the doctor at SS's upcoming check-up.

In the meantime, yuck!

Cover1W's picture

Not unusual here sadly.

My YSD had bathroom isses (not forgetting to use toilet) too, roughly around age 7 - 12.  She left pee on the seat (yep, a girl), didn't wipe, didn't flush, left poo on the seat, flushed so much TP toilet backed up, no hand washing, etc.

DH ignored it. It was something I could not and I fully engaged.  EVERY time I was there and she used the bathroom I checked.  Told DH if she's going to act like a toddler she'll get treated like one.  She hated it.  But too bad, until you learn how to use the bathroom properly I'll be on it.

She's almost 14 and Ok now.  She even re-fills the TP holder.

Be on him all the time - he acts like a toddler he's treated like one. Parental enforcement. If he makes a mess, then he also gets to help clean it up.  No negotiation.

kd622's picture

My SS10 has bathroom issues as well. no accidents thank god but he is just lazy. doesn't flush doesn't ever wipe or wash which in todays world totally makes me GAG he can't even shower or brush his teeth without being supervised. I've walked into the bathroom and the toilet was full of poo whn I asked why he didn't flush he says he didn't do it, really cause it's only you and I and I didn't do it. I started telling DH when it happens becasue I know that if my kid was doing it I would hear about it. I also told DH that i do not supervise at shower time, he is 10 and quite capable of bathing himself and brushing his teeth. My DH actually told me to stop harping on the not washing his hands issue says he is a little boy how dirty can they be...are you kidding me he efing touches everything so I'm pretty sure they are filthy. and then he wants to dig into the potato chip bag or make a sandwhch.I don't think so ......YUCK !

Kes's picture

This is not normal, it might be normal in a 3 yr old, in a 9 yr old, no.   If he has no learning disability, then for sure there are psychological problems which need addressing. 

Hastings's picture

We're wondering if there's some physical issue. Apparently, extreme constipation can cause accidents and a kid genuinely not feeling it. But what makes me wonder is the fact that it doesn't happen at his mom's. Either she's really unobservant (not impossible there) or SS can control it. He just chooses not to at our house.

Maybe it's a cry for attention. Or falls in with his clinginess and the the baby talk thing that pops up from time to time.

Harry's picture

To start with.  And next  so called  ACCIDENT . No video games for three weeks. Ect.  Your DH doing the TALKING TO. is not doing a thing 

kathyd's picture

My SS is the same way! Everytime he comes out of the bathroom I  have to say did you wash your hands? Then he rolls his eyes. I said it so much the other day my DM husband basically said to back off. No I won't, he is going #1 or #2 and NEVER washing his hands, then wants to go and make a sandwhich and touch food with dirty fingers. GROSS!

My DH is so OCD about everything else why is this only a problem for me? I hate the thought of touching a door knob or eating a potato chip worrying about wether he touched it first and is there poop residue !

He admitted that he doesn't have to wash his hands at BM house. Thats great !

Hastings's picture

Thank goodness my DH has a problem with it! It drives him nuts and completely freaks him out. I haven't had to say or do a thing because DH is on it. Again, thank goodness. Otherwise, this might be a deal-breaker for me.

Gimlet's picture

I honestly had no idea that kids older than toddlers shit their pants and waffle stomped turds in the shower before I came here.

WT everloving F.  I have no words for this.

Hastings's picture

Tell me about it. I'm the oldest of five and have numerous nieces and nephews, yet this was a first for me.

tog redux's picture

Once he gets the all clear from his doctor, there needs to be some discipline around this issue. If he can't play video games without pooping/peeing himself, no video games.  If he poops in the shower, he comes in and cleans it up (and scrubs the whole tub for good measure). He can also clean up the pee when he misses the bowl or doesn't put the seat up (that, he can do NOW, before he sees the doctor). 

Enough talking - more action. 

Hastings's picture

Oh, he's getting to do all that now. Last night, DH found pee on the seat in the downstairs bathroom. Called SS in. SS denied he did it but DH told him, "You're the only one who could have. Now clean it up." He's not getting any free passes from DH.

If the accidents while watching or playing start up again, yeah, some kind of discipline will be needed. That one hasn't come up in a few months so hopefully that's behind us.

tog redux's picture

Good for your DH - sounded like he was just "talking" to him. He needs to clean up the poop in the shower too, even if he does have encopresis. If any of us have toilet accidents due to illness, we have to clean it up -it's real life. 

My DH tells a story of a time when my SS wet himself while playing video games.  SS is now almost 20 and a full-blown gaming addict.  Your SS may be a potential one as well, if he can't stop to use the bathroom. 

Hastings's picture

That's my worry and DH is aware. He's extra vigilant because BM is very technology-focused and her brother even moreso. He's an IT person, so it's his job, but apparently even when he's not working, he spends all his time playing games instead of interacting with real people. DH is worried SS will end up the same way.

For a while, he was doing things like playing on the iPad while walking from the car across a parking lot. DH put a stop to that pretty quick. And he's not allowed on it while eating, etc. Also had to stop him from watching TV and playing games at the same time. It's one or the other.

Lately, I've suspected that SS has been waking up in the middle of the night and, instead of trying to go back to sleep, has been going downstairs to play on his iPad or watch TV. He was also doing stuff like falling asleep on the couch at 5:30 in the afternoon, etc. Again, we're keeping an eye on it. If it does seem to be a real problem, we'll just take the electronics and remote controls to our room when we go to bed every night. As I told DH, if he wakes up, he needs to just try to go back to sleep, not immediately go for the screens. If he has trouble, he can read a book.

tog redux's picture

My SS was just like that. DH tried to set limits, but BM let him do whatever he wanted. At 15, he stopped coming over to our house and we could see that he would play video games all night before school.  Needless to say, he barely graduated high school, and he's now doing nothing with his life, except gaming, pretty much. 

thinker's picture

I agree with all the advice above regarding making SS personally responsible for the clean up.  In case there is a medical issue, I'd sugget your DH handle it without any shame or implied meanness; just teach him better hygeine and when he messes up remind him to clean it up. I had a close acquaintance with bed wetting issues that didn't resolve themselves until he left for college and his parents dealt with it with pull ups and teaching him to clean up after himself.  He went through puberty very late and by the end of puberty the issues resolved themselves.  He grew up to be a very clean and organized person, and I don't think he had any mental health issues that were at issue, just physical challenges he couldn't control.  

Hastings's picture

Yeah, we don't want to shame him -- especially if there's an underlying medical problem. If he genuinely can't help it, he doesn't need to be shamed for it. Still needs to clean it up, though. Thank goodness DH agrees on that.

The most recent shower surprise was, unfortunately, not discovered until SS had gone back to BM's for the week so DH had to take care of it. We're going to start checking regularly post-shower now to make sure. Actually, we're going to have to check the bathroom every time he uses it, too, because we know from experience that SS will not clean it up unless told to. He'll just leave it and assume no one will notice. Pain in the rear, but until all this goes away, we don't really have a choice.

A couple of months ago, there was a strong urine smell coming from that bathroom and we finally localized it to the waste basket by the toilet. Nice, decorative one, too.

BethAnne's picture

I was acused by BM of being abusive for making SD wash her own poop filled panties. She was not in trouble, and was not shouted at, just shown how to wash them and asked to do it herself. Initially we just talked about what was going on and tried to offer options to help her wipe better (we guessed that was the issue) but when then problem continued I got SD to wash her own underware a couple of times....I must be the worst person in the world.

She is still having issues now with it over 2 years later so I have no idea what is going on. This visit I addressed it after the first load of laundry that I did and discussed with her what was going on and asked her why she thought it was happeneing and tried to offer solutions etc. Tellingly the second load of laundry did not seem to have the same issues, so either time away from BM's house is good for her (if it is a pshycological issue) or she just needed reminding that it is gross and she needs to pay more attention. My money is on the second option.

Rags's picture

Definitely the second option.  For some reason recent trends on StepTalk are to blame behavioral issues on mental illness or psychological issues when the odds of mental illness being the cause of behavioral issues is slim at best.  Mental illness should be no more prevalent in blended families than it is in non blended families and not every ill behaved asshole is mentally ill. Mental illness or developmental issues are a nearly statistically insignificant cause of ill behaved kids.  A multi $Billion industry has developed over the past few decades for creating the syndrome of the month that gives shitty parents  never ending excuses for their ill behaved poorly parented spawn. Legitimate mental illness or developmental issues absolutely should result in treatment for kids that actually have these issues.  There just are not that many kids who legitimately have these issues.  Far too many kids are labeled with shit they just do not have because no one wants to call a Spade a Spade.  Idiot parents and their ill behaved spawn should not be tolerated and manufactured  excuses should not be accepted.

In all likelihood there is nothing wrong with this kid other than she just doesn't like wiping her butt and daddy doesn't have the balls to deal with it effectively..

IMHO of course.

Hastings's picture

More poop in the shower. This time, DH clarified, it wasn't in the tub itself. It was on the tub ledge under a washcloth. Gag. Luckily, this time he found it while SS9 was still with us. I heard him call SS upstairs, quiz him pretty sharply (got no replies -- just shrugs) and then make him clean it all up.

So gross! He's not doing it in his pants and, according to BM, he isn't doing it at her house (she and DH have a good relationship and, yes, I believe she'd tell us if he were), which leads us to believe he absolutely can control it. DH will still ask the doctor at his annual check-up, but until then, vigilance, making him clean it up and, if it keeps up, removal of privileges.

Citygirl05's picture

This is an older post but I am new to the group and wanted to offer my own experience. Future SS had an ongoing problem with having accidents that we later learned was encopresis. Even his doctor had never heard of it. Seemed to be physical and behavioral in his case...one problem leads to the other. Anyway, he had it for years - until late middle school...we were at our wits end...he was wearing diapers in middle school to hide the smell. Finally he seemed to improve when FDH would set bathroom times but have him take his phone with him for distraction. Or maybe he just outgrew it. Anyway, this may not be the issue for you at all, but just wanted to say that you're definitely not the only one dealing with bathroom issues in an older child.

Hastings's picture

Good question. I actually read a good bit about this a while back and told DH about it. It's an issue he plans to bring up with SS's doctor at his next check-up. Thankfully, the accidents haven't happened in several months now.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

One thing you can do if you suspect encopresis is try to minimize constipation. Make sure he is eating plenty of fiber (fruits and vegetables) and drinking plenty of water. I worked in school health and so many kids lived on snack foods and fast foods, and did not consume enough fluids. Led to chronic dehydration and constipation. 

NoThanks's picture

Do you think it could be a passive agressive "eff you" from the kid? ExSD would poop on the toilet seat, leaving a huge poop streak where the poop was pushed or slid into the bowl. She was aware she was doing it but wouldn't even attempt to clean it up. Even when other family members would complain, she just shrugged it off. Daddy would then clean it up. She would do similar things with other bodily functions too. She knew it was wrong because when others wouldnt cover a sneeze she would be the first to shame them. But she also was put on a pedestal by her dad and had an elitist attitude so Im almost certain this was passive agressive "clean up after me peasant" behavior. 

Hastings's picture

Knowing him, I'd be more inclined to see it as laziness/not caring, then trying to hide it out of fear of getting in trouble. He's spoiled and entitled, but not vindictive -- at this point.

Rags's picture

Zero tolerance with complete and total abject misery for "accidents" including immediate and permanent loss of video/computer games in your home.  Not just turn it off for a short period. Disconnect him completely from electronics in your home. Introduce him to books.  Of course get the kid checked out by a Doc, in the off and unlikely chance that this is something more than just a game addicted lazy kid trying to scent mark his territory and piss his SParent off.