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I use childlike words but she has no idea what I am talking about. Then, many times, after spending time trying to explain it while she is on the toilet (with no luck), I put her into bed at night and she will have "accidents". We also go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea which is a constant struggle. Any suggestions?

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Was going to mention what Rainman said about leaving some one the toilet for an extended period of time. I am sure it happens to everyone but the elderly in particular compress the nerves to their legs and they become paralyzed so can't get up. Once they are off the toilet full function quickly returns but it is something to be aware of.
There are padded toilet seats available which I personally find disgusting but that may help if the patient needs to "sit"
This idea may be far out but have you considered putting up a picture of a nice fat poop where Mom can see it when she is on the toilet.
Can you watch Mom for oncoming signs of needing to go? Just like training an infant there are signs like smelly gas, screwing up the face and holding the belly and sometimes very loud belly gurgling. Keep a log of the times when she is incontinent for a few days and you may find there is a pattern you can follow. Talk to her Dr or nurse about giving a very small warm water enema just as she is about to sit down which could have a reflex action.
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I agree with Babalou and others that it is time to use protective garments or adult diapers and still put her on the toilet. I have both parents in diapers.
Mom was hospitalized last weekend and was totally incontinent while there and when she first got home. I put two diapers on her the first night home just in case, the regular one with a overnight one over it. Our CNA took over in the morning and said mom is using the toilet again, but she's still using a pad on her.

There is almost an entire aisle in the drugstore devoted to these products because it it is so common.
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I agree that making someone sit there till they go isn't a great idea. I did that with my disabled son who had been exercising his limited control in his life by "withholding" - then having an accident on purpose. Anyhow - unbeknownst to me his legs fell asleep and when I went to get him up he fell. Bad Rainmom!!!
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OK, well something needs done because you just can't let the patient go all over the house.....
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RareFind, children have the capacity to learn, dementia is childhood in reverse, their brains are shrinking, not growing. If her brain can't tell her muscles to push out a BM then no amount of training will work. The bowel schedule only works because it trains the caregiver (not the care receiver) to become aware of and use the body's natural rhythms.
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Make her sit there until she goes. Some parents do this when potty training kids, so why not do this with her? She'll get the idea
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My cousin became bladder incontinent pretty fast with her dementia. About a year later, she was bowel incontinent too. I agree about keeping a schedule of putting her on the toilet, even though she is wearing diapers. Explaining to your mom what to do may not be helpful, but sometimes they just happen to go while sitting there if they are on a schedule.
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Go with the EXPERTS, as above, but you will need to be very conscious of her eating habits, and bowel movements. I know that a lot of older people Love prunes rehydrated with a little boiling water overnight in a bowl to enjoy each morning, 2 each morning should keep her constant, and then on the days when she seems "loose", you will need to hold those back, as they are very effective. Other things you can try is adding in bulk, like oatmeal, wheat toast, and other grains. On those days when she gets truly constipated, try Mirilax, or its Generic, as it is much cheaper. It is does not work exactly like a laxative, but if constipation is chronic, then a scoop every day, will make a more consistent and softer BM. Also, it's always a good idea to check with her Dr on this, and their recommendations for dietary changes. Its sad when our elder gets to this point, but I know you will do well, with all of these suggestions. Oh, also, I often see adult diapers at the local senior center thrift store, much cheaper than the stores, or purchase them from A*azon, or other online store! Check out those thrift stores!☺
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Yes, it's time to accept that she is fully incontinent now and have her in protective underwear 24/7. That doesn't mean you should stop toileting her though, just that actually getting her to go on the toilet is a bonus... one less cleanup for you!
Put her on a toileting schedule, after meals is the most likely time she will have a bowel movement so make sure to take her then. Give her plenty of time, I have read that at least 9 minutes is needed (not sure who came up with that magic number). I have read of others who toilet every two hours, but that seems excessive to me and frankly I'm not that concerned over the urinary incontinence.
Figuring out the constipation/diarrhea cycle will be a bigger challenge. Pay attention to what she is eating. Getting enough fiber and drinking plenty of fluids is essential for health bowels. Be stingy with laxatives if you use them, too much can easily tip you in the opposite direction.
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Is it time for protective garments (Depends) to be used in lieu of trips to the toilet? Is she getting additional, consistent fiber in her diet, which might regulate her and get her on a toileting schedule? Have you tried eliminating milk to see if that's what is causing the diarrhea?
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Try running the water in the sink and see if that sound would work. I know it would make me want to "go".
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