Channel Mum Chat

Toddler sleep/poo habits

We have our 3 year old daughter. And on Sunday we started sleep training as she was waking every night between 10-11 every night and refusing to go back to bed in her own bed so during the lockdown we did get in the bad habit of bringing her straight into our bed because her sleep was so disturbed in the night. We’re due to have our second baby in July and I’m having an elective csection and want to get her out of the habit of coming into our bed to protect myself after I’ve delivered.

We’ve been really gentle with the sleep training as she can be anxious and she’s done really well with that, but every night it comes to bed time she will do a couple of poos. She is potty trained in the day and doing really well, but at night still in pull ups which is fine. But every night me or her dad put her to bed she will use needing the toilet as an excuse to not go to sleep, but saying she needs a wee which I can’t ignore. I tell her she has one time to do her wee on the toilet then it’s time for bed. But then she will do a poo in her nappy, resulting in needing it changed, then a few minutes later doing another one. And just worried that it’s because she’s anxious etc. She says as I’m reading her second story her belly hurts, is this nerves because she’s having to self settle at bed time?

Sorry if this sounds stupid. Thank you

Hi @Sophia.johnson13

It does not sound at all stupid and it is a very valid subject to post about. My name is Maggie and I am the Channelmum HV and sleep and parenting specialist.

Can you tell me about the sleep training you have been doing so far and what your bed time routine consists of? How often is she waking in the night. Often wanting to go to the toilet is quite a common tactic in getting parental attention at bed times or once in bed.

Would you say she is an anxious child, you suggest she may be? From what you say if she really does need the toilet then let her go put straight back to bed with the minimum of attention. I do wonder if she might be doing this deliberately - how much poo is there when she goes and is it soft? Children can use toileting and stool holding as a means of getting attention.

Does she every complain of tummy ache at other times? It may be a ploy to delay bedtime. How long after dinner does she go to bed? I think it is good to acknowledge her feelings but which may show as belly ache but not refer to her belly ache directly. Give her a hug and tell her you Iove her.

I will wait to hear about her bedtime routine and the sleep training programme you are doing before suggesting anything else.

Is she at nursery?

Maggie xx