My 6 year old is pooping his pants. He has been grounded from video games, toys, and other activities. I've also tried the loving, understanding approach; asking what's going on, and what can I do to help. He's been fully potty trained for almost 4 years up until 4 or 5 months ago. I'm a step parent, so he's at his mother's house most of the time. He's at my house every other weekend, and usually during any school break. This is also happening at his mother's house. I know it happens at school also. When his father asks him why this happens his answer is that he is holding it. He is obviously embarrassed by this as there are other older children in the house. I can't believe that he would do this on purpose. I have very limited influence on intervention by a pediatrician. I've suggested it, but can do little more. What can I do for this poor little boy?
You should post this on the "Ask a Doctor" forum and get Dr. Kennedy's advice. Sometimes kids have this problem because of impacted bowels - and sometimes it there may be underlying emotional issues. Post it on Dr. Kennedy's side - and then print out the answer and give it to the boys father. Hopefully no one is making fun of him or punishing him for this. He needs help.
Wow, this sounds familiar! I have gone through this for years and in fact just posted a comment to another mother about it (I will copy and paste it to the end). It sounds like your son may posibly have encopresis. I am not a dr. but would suggest starting by asking his dr. about that. I know this is a very frustrating and embarassing thing to go through for both you and him.
Here is what I posted earlier to a mother who was having a similar problem (I hope this helps):
"My oldest son (who is now 10) started doing this when he was 5 also. He never peed his pants, just pooped them, and it was always at home. I took him to psch. and dr. back and forth betwwen the two for years. He was doing it as much as 2-3 times a day. The Dr. told me it was probably a condition called encopresis, a bowel disorder which causes him to lose control of his bowels. She gave my son a stool softner to see if it helped, and it didn't...so we ruled that out. Finally the psch. told me it sounded like he was trying to control something in his life, things had been up and down with his father and I since all of this started happening. We would argue, split up, and get back together again. We had created a very unhealthy environment for him and he felt his life was out of control. He was doing this because he felt like it was the one thing he could control and a way to get our attention when we were arguing. We have since mended all of our reltionship and he is living in a normal healthy env. and has stopped poopinh his pants.
I don't know if that has helped, and I am sorry I rambled on so, but I understand your frustration, I really do! I just wanted you to know you are not the only one who has gone through this.
Whatever you do, don't punish him for it. Reward or praise him for the time he goes without soiling his pants and make sure you explain why he is being rewarded/praised. Start a sticker chart for the days he goes without soiling his pants, but be discreet so you don't embarass him in front of others. This has all helped me through the years of frustration I went through."
My son is 10 and has been doing this since he was close to 3, before that about (2) he was mostly potty trained and seemed like no problems. But his father and I had recently divorced and he had custody. Things were very rough with that relationship and I'm 99% possitive it is due to this stress. Over the years things have still not been good between his father and I. We have just recently got things more stable, but at his fathers house he is punished pretty harshly at times for it and I totally think this is prolonging the problem. I only have him every other weekend and breaks and such... some weekends are better than others but I think its a total stress thing.
Its hard on the whole family but I agree punishment is the wrong way to try to help it. Reward good days! I don't get many of those but here we just ask him to clean up and leave it at that. I also from time to time get hidden underwear and I try to express the need to get it to the laundry not hiding it. Things are slowly getting better that way. He obviously is embarrased, but also tries to ignore it and deny it when he is dirty. I try to no put alot of emphasis on it and treat him lovingly and it seems to help some. But with him not here much its not something that I see alot of improvement.
If you can I would try talking to the mother and figure out a way to put less stress on the child. I don't know that is just my opinion. I don't think my son has the encopresis. I think its emotional. he has been to doctors also.
Good luck and I hope I helped some. sorry this is so long!
My son is almost 7 years old and is going through the same thing. Schools is almost out for him here - but I keep getting calls about every other week stating that he's wet his pants or once pooped in his pants at school. (The pooping has been happening more at home than anywhere else). My son is also embarrassed, but when I ask him if he likes sitting in his own mess and stinking, he says no - but that he just can't control his body sometimes. We've taken him to the doctors and they have all said that it's a normal process for boys his age. We just have to stay vigilant and stay on top of him to remind him to go to the bathroom. I've noticed that I can't let my son go too long without telling him to go to the bathroom and try going both number 1 and 2 each time. I've stopped asking him if he needs to go because he usually tells me no so he doesn't have to stop doing what's he doing at the time. (Usually playing) I tell him in a kind way that he needs to go to the bathroom. I've read many different comments from many different people and it seems that with boys (I don't have any girls, so I'm at a loss on that end) they'll be potty trained for a while, then sort of digress for a while before finally becoming fully potty trained. I've also learned that me and my husband are not alone in this and we with most instances, we just have to stay the course and remain patience with our child. Good luck to you!
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