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Question:

My 4 yr. old grandson has issues when going potty. He does not wet his pants or the bed at night. It’s when he has to poop that he has an issue. He will hold it till everyone is out of sight then goes in his underware. Then he takes it out and leaves it anywhere. Yesterday he smeared it on the bedroom walls. We’ve tried everything but he just won’t cooperate. He also has trouble speaking in a sentence pattern. What do you suggest? We are a our witts end.

Please help

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Answer:

It is true that children achieve developmental milestones at slightly different times and at different rates of speed. However, by four years of age one would expect that he would know what the potty is for and would be able to speak in clear sentences. In other words, judging from your description, there may indeed by something that is not going right for your grandson.

We could speculate about what might be wrong. However, there is no point to doing this because there is no way of knowing what, if anything, is wrong. What I strongly suggest is that he be evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children. There are a couple of reasons for having an evaluation done:

First, the family, I am certain, is feeling very anxious about this child’s behavior. It is reassuring to find out what, if anything, is wrong, as opposed to being in the dark about these things. Not knowing only adds to anxiety and worry.

Second, if anything is wrong, it is best to have him treated when he is young rather than waiting for him to be older when treatment could be more difficult.

At four years of age, he is getting closer to when he starts school. He needs to have some of these problems resolved before he enters kintergarten ohe will might feel very ashamed of himslef.

In sum, the family should act now to have this child evaluated and, if necessary, treated. Even if it is found that nothing is wrong, at the very least, the family will learn how to help this child behave in ways that are more socially appropriate.

Good Luck

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