Stories & News Blog What's it like working on the ERIC helpline? Alina, one of our helpline advisors, shares an insight into her work at ERIC. I recently overheard my son tell a friend of his “My mum’s job is to talk about wee and poo all day” and they laughed before going back to their game. I smiled to myself because, as a member of ERIC’s small, but dedicated helpline team, that is exactly what I do! We help parents spot the signs that their child is ready to start toilet training. Together with my colleagues Natalie and Sharron, we help parents spot the signs that their child is ready to start toilet training, give practical tips on what to do if accidents keep happening and offer tried and tested behavioural strategies for children who withhold and refuse to wee or poo. Alina taking a call Expert information We receive training by health professionals to provide expert up-to-date information on the major bladder and bowel issues - potty training, daytime wetting, constipation and soiling and bedwetting. All the information we give follows guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The helpline service is for everyone, not just families: we’ve spoken to school staff unsure of how to support a child who’s been soiling and regularly pass on ERIC’s resources for how to keep the bladder and bowels healthy. The helpline service is for everyone, not just families. A compassionate, listening ear We offer a compassionate, listening ear and emotional support to callers who are often feeling frustrated and at the end of their tether. One mum wrote in an email recently “Help! It’s driving us all crazy and I’m so worried for my son that he’ll be bullied at school”. Callers to the ERIC helpline often tell us how alone they feel and what a relief it is to talk to someone who finally understands how stressful day to day life has become. They could have been prompted to pick up the phone and seek help by a day at the soft play when their child had an accident at the top of the slide, or the third call in a week from school to come in and change their child. Callers to the ERIC helpline often tell us how alone they feel. It’s very moving to speak to a young person who is struggling to deal with the practical side of managing a bladder or bowel issue alongside feelings of shame and isolation. Empowering people to know their rights A big part of our work on the helpline is empowering people to know their rights and fight for their child to get the treatment and support they are entitled to. I’ve lost count of the number of parents I’ve spoken to who’ve been told by a health professional that their child will “grow out of constipation” or “don’t bother treating their bedwetting until they’re 7 years old as nothing can be done yet.” Nobody should be made to feel like a fussy parent when they’re just trying to do the best they can for their child. I feel angry on their behalf as all the research points to early intervention being key and nobody should be made to feel like a fussy parent when they’re just trying to do the best they can for their child. ERIC's helpline advisors We get it A mum of a little girl with daytime wetting recently wrote to us saying: “It feels like there is finally someone that 'gets' it. My daughter is only five years old but the impact, strain, isolation and frustration with the accidents has been weighing very heavily on our family. I wish I'd found you sooner and really cannot thank you enough for making us feel normal and OK and understood. I also feel like there is something we can do while we wait for the ever so long referral appointments.” So all that talking about wee and poo is making a difference and that’s an amazing feeling. To call the ERIC helpline, it's 0845 370 8008 or email [email protected] Lines are open Monday to Thursday 10am - 2pm and calls to the helpline cost 9.6p per minute plus the service provider charge.