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Toilet problems


Registered User
May 14, 2015
Please can you help me? My wife has dementia and has recently started being double incontinent. She wears a pad. The problem is she will not go to the toilet. So she ends up sitting in wet and dirty pads.
I have tried everything to persuade her to go but she refuses to go. My daughters plead with her and I have even gone down on my knees begging her to go. And she won't... She say she will go when she needs to... But she doesn't and because of this the soiled pads end up leaking everywhere onto clothes and pants and if I am not with her she puts her hands in to feel the pad and gets covered in dirt and it gets into her nails etc... It's become a real battleground and I am starting to get distressed as I know even now she is sitting in wee and poo....
She is a very stubborn person anyway and it is difficult to get her to wash or clean her teeth and I know this is a result of the dementia. Everything I need to do to keep her clean like bathing or cleaning her teeth is a fight but worst of all is the toileting.
Please help if you can with some suggestions. She is not forgetting to go - she knows where the toilet is - and can get there herself with a walking stick so that's not an issue. She just outright refuses to move from her chair and go.
Many thanks


Registered User
Jan 14, 2015
Fife Scotland
welcome to TP, I may not be able to help you with your problem but I know that you have come to the right place for help and encouragement as well as friendship.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
You could have been describing my mum in your post. It is soul destroying, everything a battle. Have no advice for you but good luck.


Registered User
Jan 19, 2015
Hi Karl, and welcome!

You are obviously very concerned about your wife, and I wish I could offer more than just my sympathy and admiration.

You say she seems happy just to sit and remain soiled, but to what extent does she actually resist being changed? It must be very difficult for you on your own, although you do mention your daughters. My father is at a similar stage but has been so only since being in care, where there is the availability of extra help on tap. He used to get his hands soiled by putting them into the pad, but one thing I have noticed the staff do to try to prevent patients doing this is to dress them in such a way as to make it difficult e.g. trackpants plus a belt tied round the back.

It certainly sounds like you could do with some sort of help e.g. care visits to help with her personal care, or even some sort of respite break for yourself. Have you approached social services at all?


Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
West Hertfordshire
You might find that she will conform for someone that comes in to just toilet & shower her.

Maybe a carer first thing in the morning, for a shower, then increase the frequency if you can get her to do the one trip supervised.

Maybe you could say the Dr says its what needs to happen?

Its horrible when you know very well they are wet/soiled and nothing you can do.


Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
Deepest sympathy from me too, my Mum's behaviour is very similar to your wife's.

I don't think begging and pleading for different behaviour works terribly well (it doesn't with Mum anyway).

Distraction sometimes works (eg talking about going out ... and before we go, we'd best go upstairs hadn't we?). Often it doesn't.

I try to assume wordlessly that of course Mum's going to be co-operative and talk in a very matter of fact fashion. I "plan" the environment (eg door open and light already on in the loo, all other doors firmly shut, spare pants etc laid within her peripheral vision but not in the direct line of sight) ...

It's the incontinence bit of dementia I find hardest of all to deal with, I'm afraid it colours how I feel about my Mum though I try not to let it.

If it's possible to bring in carers to deal with the time of day when you feel at your worst I think it would be very helpful. I'm not a morning person, never have been, and cleaning up Mum in the morning if the carers aren't booked is sheer hell.


Registered User
Nov 24, 2013
Hi Kalmanolah

You could have been describing my mum when she was alive, but my mum used to do this at night when in bed, not in the daytime, she used to pull off the expensive pant pads I bought for her, throw them across the other side of the room and go to the toilet in the bed, she was also doubly incontinent, and she used to have poo in her nails, hair on the sheets, it was everywhere.

You can purchase a type of plastic waterproof pant to put on over the pad, they do help with leaks, I don't know if you have any of these.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful, my mum could be stubborn aswell!
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Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
North East
Hi Karl,

Sorry you are now having to post for this problem. I would guess she has lost the sensation of needing to go or actually going itself rather than her being lazy or stubborn. In her head she really doesn't need to go!
How is she when she needs to be changed? Does she have outside care coming in to help with changing of pads?
Have her checked for a UTI too, with double incontinence suddenly happening like this and a change in the person possibly this may be a cause.
Best of luck x