I have a 4 yr old boy who will not stop pooping his pants. Help.

Samantha - posted on 10/22/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My 4 yr old still poops his pants. I have tried making him clean himself up, hosed him off in the yard, took his favorite toy away. NOTHING WORKS. He knows poop goes in the toliet and will tell you so but it always ends up in the undies first...why? Please help.

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Kaily - posted on 04/29/2013

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OH MY GOSH LADIES!!! My son is 7 and I am still having regular, I mean regular, episodes with the same challenge. What do I do??? I am literally on the verge of tears everyday at 3pm and dont know what to do. Any helpful suggestions are welcomed please.

Shelly - posted on 10/27/2009

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First, let me say that every child has a different personality. What works for one, will not work for another. That being said, here is my story. I tried being patient and rewarding my son, age 4, afterall it had worked wonders with his older sisters. They were trained at 18 and 16 months. It simply didn't work with my son. He is my youngest, and one day he just told me that he didn't want to be a big boy, he was a baby. So I changed my approach. I started babying him when it was time to go sit on the potty and told him that I was proud of my baby. This worked for pee but not poop. He would go hide when he needed to poop. I tried everything! I finally realized that my stubborn son just needed to know that I was the boss and that he had to poop in the potty. I watched him like a hawk and made him sit on the potty everytime he tried to sneak out of the room or into the corner. I put him in the cheap white underwear, that I could bleach, and told him that when he stopped messing his pants then he could go shopping and pick out his own underwear. We even looked at them everytime we went to the store. I had to be firm! Rewards did not work for him. He finally decided that I wasn't giving up the fight and started going on his own. It took about 5 days of being very strict and observant, but it paid off. He was about 4.5 yr old. Unlike his sisters, I found that he didn't want attention drawn to him. The girls wanted you to clap and praise. He hated all of that. When he did his business, I helped him learn to wipe and never bragged. My advise is to find out through trial and error what bothers your child about pooping in the potty, resolve the issue, and do not let up until it is done. At age four they need to know that you are the boss. Good luck!

Sophie - posted on 10/22/2009

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i am in the same boat! mine is almost 5, but likes to go into the other room to "hide" the smell. i make him shower & rinse out his undies before putting them into the dirty laundry. & he doesnt seem to mind. now its become an issue at daycare...

Gresha - posted on 04/07/2014

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Ok ladies... I need help!!! My 4 yr old son was so hard to potty train, then finally one day he started peeing, and then came pooping in the potty, that only last for bout a month then he regularly poops his pants!!! We have gone threw so much underwear i cant afford to buy anymore, i mean, its beyond cleaning his undies after he poops in them... Ive never had the problem with my 2 older boys, they were so easy to train but there is something wrong with this one... He knows it is wrong to go in his pants but yet goes in another room and does it... The weird thing is, he will stand there squeezing his cheeks together so he can hold it in... Its like he dont want it to come out!!!! Then he ends up not being able to hold it and just lets it go, in his pants... I am at my wits end, family members have stopped taking him overnite because it is seriously like changing an adults diaper and its nasty!!! Is there something medically wrong??? Because i can not come to any other conclusion!!! Im in tears because this happens 3 to 5 times a day!!!! Plzzzz help!!!!

Amanda Lee - posted on 04/29/2013

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I am having the same issue my son is potty trained for the most part, at night he has accidents. Lately at his day home its like he gets lazy and just poops and pees himself. I have asked his day home questions after questions like did anyone scare him in the washroom? or is it hard for him to turn on the light? etc but she keeps saying nothing.. its weird because he doesn't do it anywhere else, not at home or his grandpas or friends no where, just the day home. I have taken his toys away, etc and still doesn't listen. I have talked to the doctor the doctor said maybe give him more attention, I work full time but after work I will go outside and play or play toys read him a book and he still does it.. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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User - posted on 07/07/2014

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The truth is that many kids beyond the age of toilet teaching (generally older than 4 years) who frequently soil their underwear have a condition known as encopresis. They have a problem with their bowels that dulls the normal urge to go to the bathroom — and they can't control the accidents that typically follow.

Although encopresis is estimated to affect 1% to 2% of kids under the age of 10, problems with encopresis and constipation account for more than 25% of all visits to pediatric gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in disorders of the stomach and intestines).

Most encopresis cases (90%) are due to functional constipation — that is, constipation that has no medical cause. The stool (or BM) is hard, dry, and difficult to pass when a person is constipated. Many kids "hold" their BMs to avoid the pain they feel when they go to the bathroom, which sets the stage for having a poop accident.

Well-intentioned advice from family members and friends isn't always helpful because many people mistakenly believe that encopresis is a behavioral issue — a simple lack of self-control. Frustrated parents, grandparents, and caregivers may advocate various punishments and consequences for the soiling — which only leaves the child feeling even more alone, angry, depressed, or humiliated. Up to 20% of kids with encopresis experience feelings of low self-esteem that require the intervention of a psychologist or counselor.

Punishing or humiliating a child with encopresis will only make matters worse. Instead, talk to your doctor, who can help you and your child through this challenging but treatable problem.

Encopresis and Its Causes
Three to six times more common in boys, encopresis isn't a disease, but rather a symptom that may have different causes. To understand encopresis, it's important to understand constipation.

Jessica - posted on 04/09/2014

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My son is 9 years old. For about 3 years off and on I've had problems with him pooping in his pants. He has been to doctors and a psychiatrist. I give him prescription medicine from his pediatrician. Now he's not having a full bowel movement in his pants it's only very large stains. This is multiple times a day. I make him clean up thoroughly after each time to prevent rashes. His father is of no use for help because he says he's a complete angel at his house and does nothing wrong. Not that he would notice when he shoves him in front of a video game all day every day he's with him while he plays games himself. I make my son sit on the toilet but he just pitches fits, screams, hollers and kicks things saying he doesn't have to go even though there's evidence in his underwear that clearly says he does. I'm losing my mind. I don't know what to do anymore.

Rochelle - posted on 08/21/2013

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My son is 4 and half and still poops his pants idk what to do any more I am in tears with it he starts pre k soon and I don't think he is ready

Rena - posted on 06/11/2013

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I am having problems with my nephew pooping his pants at my house. His mother says it never happens anywhere else besides here.

I only have him for 2 hours a day and this happens almost every day.

I have tried being sensitive and asking him more often if he has to use the restroom. I make him go to the bathroom right when he gets to my house.

His mom suggested I wait outside the door and make sure he knows I'm there. I have been doing that...but still no success.

I have asked him what will help him remember to use the bathroom, but he just cries when I try to talk to him about it.

I tried rewarding. Telling him we will go to the game room and the end of each week if he doesn't have an accident.

Nothing is working. If it is "only" happening at my house, I don't want to end up being blamed for this.

Help?

[deleted account]

Same here! I almost had him completely used to the toilet, then one day he refused to sit at all. Honestly, I've never seen him so angry! :( I learned the hard way to never get mad... all you do is reverse every progressive step until that point. The best way to keep everybody calm in my house is to simply clean up the mess like it's no big deal, (a LOT of mess sometimes, I know! ), and invite him into the bathroom when you have to go. It is weird, but seemingly a bit easier on him if he can literally 'know' he's not the only one who has to go through it. Sometimes the fascination of it all can distract him from screaming. It's hard to get anything done, whether you're a child or not when you're stressed right? You've got to loosen 'em up! lol Good luck to you :)

Tammy - posted on 10/26/2009

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I can tell you that I know that feeling my son is 5 and has been potty trained for 2 years and now has decied to go poop in the bed rooms on the floors instead of the toliet and the hard thing for me is he has autism so if I punish him after I find it he has no idea why I am doing it. So I feel your pain.

Kim - posted on 10/26/2009

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Boys for some reason are harder to train they don't want to take the time. But you may want to have him checked out. My son started having problems here and there and ended up with encopresis like some others have posted. He woudn't go, so he stretched out his colon making it so he didn't feel it after awhile. He would get constipated and looser poop would leak thru into his underwear. THey also get used to the smell so they have no idea. We gave him MIralax everyday and had him sit twice a day to find out when he pooped which was after dinner so he sat every day after dinner. We finally got him straightened out after a long time, the nerves have to regenerate. But after being ok for 9 months he is back to square one(this is his 2nd setback) its something you really have to keep on top of.

Tonya - posted on 10/25/2009

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My 5 yr old still does the same thing at times. I have fortunately come to recognize the signs and can usually get him to the potty before the "accident." He doesn't completely go in his pants, usually it's just I guess what you might call skid marks...but it's because he is trying. Now I know he has more problems when he is constipated. The best I do is have him go when I'm with him...not all the time but at least once a day. I just keep talking to him and explaining the importance of him going potty and being a big boy. Sometimes there are rewards involved, but on rare occasions. I don't want him upset if he goes potty and doesn't get a treat. Especially if I'm not there. Good Luck!

Marlenys (Marly) - posted on 10/25/2009

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I feel so relief after reading all of these posts. I felt that I was the only one in the world going through this with my son. My son is 9 years old and he has Autism. He also relieves himself in his pants. I have taken him to a Gastroentrologist because I wanted to make sure it was not a medical condition. I have tried many things to help him such as a reward system but it works for a couple of days and then it becomes boring for him. Right now he is going to therapy with a psychologist. For the most part it is helping but he is still having issues.

Kelley - posted on 10/25/2009

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Samantha, My son just got potty trained this past Memorial Weekend. I got him superhero underwear, transformer underwear, ect... That seemed to help. He didn't want to get his "friends" messed. up. Maybe you have already tried this. I know another mom who had the same issue. Someone had suggessted she have him clean himself up, but I see you tried that. Does he go at a certian time of the day that you could have him sit on the potty before it happens in his pants? Boys seem too busy to stop and go- that's how my Bryce was before this May.

Lorna Jane - posted on 10/25/2009

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My son was recently diagnosed with encopresis, i like most of you struggled with cleaning him up without feeling angry about it, but believe me your child will feel just as bad, if not worse and the the last thing you should do is punish him/her for it. In some cases it can be a medical issue i have been going through this with my son since he started school, when teachers were not allowing him to go to the toilet. This meant he would try and hold the poo in, which in turn led him to be constipated and eventually bagged up so bad that some poo would seep out wether he wanted it to or not. I advise anyone going through the same as i did to contact their GP, and ask advise regarding their child, i wish i had so sooner, as my son is now reaching the age of 13 and still having the odd accident.

Tammi - posted on 10/24/2009

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My son is 7 y/o and still does this business in his pants also. We have narrowed it down after many doctors visits that he has encopresis which is an issue with BMs because the muscles in the colon are so stretched that he doesn't have the sensation of needing to go until it almost to late.

Believe me I am not calm about it when it happens and it constantly cleaning up. It has even gotten to the point that his father gets angry because the situation has not resolved itself in anyway. The next step will be a psychiatrist because it could very well be a mental issue. I believe that he is hyper active and that may be part of the problem with this issue.

From what I understand after talking to many parents about this is that it will take some time and to try to be patient with your child as he/she is going through probably the roughest times of their lives. They have to carry the burden during daycare or school with them and we can only hope that they don't come home crying after being picked on after an "episode" and many clean ups and changings.

Good luck and if you find any solution, please let me know as I would be very interested in any solution at this time.

[deleted account]

I don't know if any of this will help or pertains to your situation, but I had the same problem with my daughter. She pooped in her panties until she was 6-7 years old. She has a mild case of ADHD that is easily controlled with behavior modification, thus bipassing the need for medication - at least for now.

Anyway, she would try to go most of the time, but would inevitably end up not making it. We tried having her clean out her panties and clean herself up, just like you. We threw away so many panties, but she didn't care. We tried many other things, but nothing worked. Finally, I told her we were going to put her back in pullups (actually overnights, because she was too big for pullups) and she would have to wear them to school. After one week she had had no accidents, so we put her back in panties and she's been poop-free in her panties ever since - she is now 9 years old.

Now, I'm not saying I was the perfect parent and went through all this calmly and with a smile. I was very angry most of the time, but tried not to take it out on her. I'm just thankful it worked, even though I didn't think it would.

My advice is to try to be patient (even though it is extremely difficult), and keep trying. He will eventually get it. You have to find out why he's doing it, though he most likely won't tell you verbally. You might have to observe him and see what's going on around the time this is happening. My daughter likes to finish the task she is on before moving on to anything else, so if she needs to go to the toilet and she's in the middle of something, she waits until the very last minute before going. Maybe this is what your son is doing.

Well, good luck! Keep us updated.

Kim - posted on 10/23/2009

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My son had the same problem for a while after he was fully potty trained and his was also due to being backed up. U should ask the Doc. He also started wetting the bed at night when this happened.

Melanie - posted on 10/23/2009

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I never scolded, got angry or punished my son for having any accidents. I told him I understood but next time try and make it in the potty. We read many potty books and he seemed to be facinated by them and wanted to copy what the children were doing in the books. Children also tend to "forget to go" and wait until the last minute especially if they are in the middle of playing. We have a friend who has a daughter and she would hold hers until it was too late and had 3 accidents at our house because she would rather play than go on a hard cold potty. She finally out grew it. Mine was fully potty trained by 4, although everyone is different. I noticed that when my son ate dairy he got stopped up so rather than pushing it out he held it inside making it worse when it had to come out. Does he have younger siblings? Is he doing it for attention? I hope this has helped shed a bit of light on the subject. I know how hard it is but be patient and he'll be trained before you know it.

[deleted account]

Give him a reward chart, like a piece of construction paper with each day listed in a chart so when he poops on the toilet, give him a sticker. Tell him if he reaches a certain amount, such as 5 stickers for he full week, or even include weekends that he can have a reward such as McDonalds or his favorite movie, dinner etc. I think instead of reprimanding the child or disciplining the child encouraging with rewards works so much better. Then they become proud of themselves. Good luck!

Teresa - posted on 10/22/2009

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patience is all i can say. My oldest hated being dirty so he got it down pretty quick, but my youngest took some extra time. We tried punishment to no avail, he just needs time and yes it is normal. It is very frustraing but not much you can do, one day he will decide he does not want to be the stinky kid.

Heather - posted on 10/22/2009

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try putting cherios cereal in the toilet just a couple and c if he can hit them sounds gross i knw but has worked to make potty time game time and reward with some candy.

Crystal - posted on 10/22/2009

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I was sooo fusterated with my daughter doing the exact same thing! It got so bad I asked her dr if he had any advise.. He told me it could be a medical issue. We had a xray done and sure enough.. she was backed up. I would deff ask your pediatrician. If not, well every child is different and he will come around! =) Best of luck to you.

[deleted account]

If it's any consolation, my son was nearly 5 before he suddenly decided to become fully potty trained. Sometimes it's just a matter of his deciding. Boys potty train later than girls, with very few exceptions in my experience. I'm not sure why. Talk to your pediatrician to rule out any medical reasons for it, and just be patient and loving. Make sure your son knows you love him no matter what. You cannot force potty training, trust me!!

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