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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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My 4 year grand daughter seems perfect in every way with the

Customer Question

My 4 year grand daughter seems perfect in every way with the exception of her reluctance to go to the bathroom to have a BM. Instead, she will begin to rock herself on the floor when she feels she needs to use the toilet. This behavior of clenching began when she was 8 months old. At the time we were told that it was a soothing behavior she would out grow. My daughter gives her Mirolax every morning to soften her stool and ease the process. At home her parents are very observant. Once she begins to rock they make her go sit on the toilet. They give prizes if she passes a BM. She does not use the bathroom unless directed for the most part. She was toilet trained before she was three years old. She is in pre-school and her pre-school teachers are not willing to follow the procedures that seem to work for my daughter and her husband. The pre-school teachers are very concerned that other children will begin to make fun of her. What do you suggest?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.

Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. I would be more than happy to assist you today as one of the Parenting Experts on this site. To tell you the truth, my son had this same problem around the same age. He is 12 now and perfectly fine so your granddaughter will whether this storm eventually.

First of all, the pre school should attempt to be on the same page to help her go to the bathroom. Maybe the pre school can use a sticker chart when she has a BM. Then after so many stickers, about 5 to start, she can take the sticker chart home and be rewarded by her parents. The school does not have to be responsible for the rewards...just the stickers or stars or happy faces. However, the school should not draw attention to the rocking motions to make the granddaughter feel uncomfortable. Just have them ask her if she needs to use the restroom just like they might ask the other kids. However when she does have a BM, she should really be praised!!!

With regards XXXXX XXXXX other children possibly making fun of your granddaughter, your granddaughter must be told that if she starts rocking, her classmates may notice and start asking her questions and might say unkind words. Therefore, she should use the restroom. However, many children even in elementary school refuse to use the restrooms at school. They like the comforts of the bathroom at home.

If your granddaughter has been checked out thoroughly by her pediatrician and there are no underlying medical conditions that are preventing her from having a BM, then I must tell you that the most probable reason why she is holding onto her BM is because it is more of a control issue. This is one of the last things that your granddaughter really has control over. and she does not want to give up that control.

Just do not make it a big deal. Ease up and never punish her about not having a BM. The more attention that is drawn to it, the worse it seems to get. What may happen is that she is trying to hold onto her BM as long as possible and then some may start to seep out staining her underwear, She will get really uncomfortable having stained underwear or much more uncomfortable with small pieces of BM that have slipped out. She may start having more BMs because she does not want to be embarrassed.

Some experts may tell you to add a small amount of mineral oil to juice to help the BM slide out because the longer she holds the BM, the harder it is to push it out and it becomes very uncomfortable and even a little scary.

Here are some books that might help:

It Hurts When I Poop: A Story for Children Who Are Scared to Use the Potty

By:Bennett and M.S. Weber

Where's The Poop?

By: Julie Markes

Everyone Poops

By: Taro Gomi

I Can't, I Won't, No Way!: A Book for Children Who Refuse to Poop

By: Tracey Vessillo

Other helpful hints are to include a fiber rich diet, keep up with the Miralax, and drink plenty of water.

Hope this was helpful. If you need further advice, please feel free to ask. Have an awesome rest of the week. Thank you for allowing me to assist you. :)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am Charlie's Mom (the little Rocker in question)

Thank you for your advice and suggestions. We have not touched on this issue for a while since Charlie was in Summer School and then had a 2 week break before the Fall session began last week. Like my Mother mentioned, we've grown accustomed to recognize the first signs of the rocking motion and we immediately say "looks like you need to the restroom, let's go." We stay with her until she is done, wiped and washed her hands.

Charlie will rock if she needs to urinate as well. My non-expert thought is that she just does not want to stop what she is doing to use the restroom. She is a procrastinator at age 4! We have added Miralax to her diet and we make sure she is eating enough fruits and fiber.

When we sat down with her teacher for a parent/teacher conference last week, we tried to stress that when they witness her rocking to ask her to use the restroom. We explained that at home, we ask her to use the restroom every 90 minutes to every 2 hours so she rarely gets to a place where the rocking begins. The problem is, they ask her. Meaning she will usually say "No" in order to continue with what ever project she is doing. She has learned that they won't press the issue and thus, the rocking eventually ensues.

She attends a montessori school and it seems like the philosophy is that children need to listen to their bodies and excuse themselves to use the restroom. The previous more traditional daycare center that we had her in had the children all line-up for group "potty" time where the kids used the potty one after another. Charlie has come home with some pretty soiled panties while attempting to wipe herself the few times she did manage to have a bm at school. I guess they don't believe in monitoring this activity at this stage in her schooling.

She will be starting Kindergarten next year.

They are strongly encouraging us to take her to a psychologist to address this behavioral issue. I guess we should, if not for any other reason to appease the staff and demonstrate our willingness to find a resolution.

The Summer School staff never noticed the rocking. I would come to pick her up and she would be rocking in plain sight. Either they didn't notice or they were not familiar with her condition.

With a new teacher and the full staff back at school, this issue has been brought to light once again.

I guess my question is, what type of therapy would be most effective? Psychologist? Therapist? The world of behavioral health treatment is new to me. Are there professionals that specialize in this??


Thank you again,



Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
Hello...and thank you for responding. The best course of action if you have not done so already is to discuss the issue with your daughter's pediatrician. Seek a referral from your daughter's pediatrician as he or she will be able to guide you in the most appropriate direction. There are child psychologists that deal with all sorts of behaviors.

On the other hand, it would be easier if your daughter's school would be willing to work with you in your requests. That seems to be a major problem here. Maybe the new teacher will be more accepting to your requests. It takes a partnership between the school staff and the parents to help a child become successful in the total educational journey. The school seems to be adding to your daughter's problem when they could easily be assisting her more. Children must be taught all sorts of behaviors and coping mechanisms. A psychologist may be the answer that you need since the school has not been meeting your child's needs completely.

I hope that I have been helpful. Please let me know your thoughts or if you need more information or assistance. My goal is to assist you and provide you with excellent service.

Take care and have a great week.