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why does my 10 year old son still poop in pants


This discussion is related to My 8 year old pees the bed and poops his pants constantly!  Help!.
157 Responses
Avatar universal
Is there anyone that intimidates or abuses your child?  This is often a defense mechanism to ward off anyone that threatens them.  I can't say this is the problem, just one problem that you may wish to look into.  A good therapist may give you some clear answers.
Good luck and God bless.
Avatar universal
You should post this on the ask a doctor forum - there is something called encropesis (I spelled that wrong I think) that will cause these exact symptoms - it is something like impacted bowels that cause it.  
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Thought this website might be helpful also.. good luck!
Avatar universal
I happen to have a cousin who I take care of..that has the same problem. He's ten years of age, too. He has gone through a lot the past four years. He soils his pants so often. When we first got him his pants were full of poop. So he does this all day everyday...so instead of letting him wear big boy underwear, we spend lots of money on diapers and pull ups. We have tried to talk to him but nothing seems to work. He says he can't feel it, but the doctors have said that he could. He also hides his diapers under the beds and puts soiled pants in the dirty clothes. He has to clean himself up at times it gets to worse that we have to change him and clean him up. My only suggestion is that you pray about it. The main cause for him doing it is due to stress. I mean when your parents don't care...and you were taken away from them...that's a lot of stress. He has medicine and he is getting better.
Avatar universal
He is humiliated and that is why he is hiding it.   If he says he can't feel it - he can't.  The doctor was very unhelpful in my opinion.  You should really read up on encopresis because that sounds like what he has and he needs someone to help him.   What type of medicine is he on?
Avatar universal
Hi, fefe!  Believe it or not, I feel like I am reading my story all over again.  My husband and I went through the very same thing with my son.  He is now 13.  He never seemed to have any interest in the potty when he was young.  He used to scream and run away from me when I tried to bring him to the potty when he was young.  By the way, he was 2 when we adopted him from Russia and we thought perhaps they were too strick with training him there and that was why he refused to go potty.  But that's getting off your immediate situation.  I'm trying to explain this background to you so you can get a better picture of my situation.  Anyway, when my son started school, he was still doing this in preschool and I had to go pick him up early, change him on the school premises (embarrassed) and was told by his teachers that he really needed to be potty trained before going to school.  So. . .by the time he was in 2nd grade he still was not toilet trained properly.  He would wet himself during the day and poop in his pants.  He was also bedwetting.  It was driving me nuts!!!  And even what made me more nuts, is it never seemed to phase him.  He said he didn't smell it either.  I believe he felt ashamed.  So his second grade teacher had us do a home test while she did a school test, because he was also inattentive at school.  I witnessed this first-hand too!  He would not sit still.  We were going on a class trip and I was chaperoning and he would want to run to the back of the class, where I was and just sit on my lap!  All this while the teacher was waiting for him to come sit down.  He was disrupting the class.  We couldn't leave for the trip until he cooperated.  Everyone was watching him and he didn't care.  Well the tests we did, sure enough we confirmed he was ADD, attention deficit disorder!  He saw doctors and a therapist.  The soiling as mentioned in another comment, is what is called ENCOPRESIS.  It was the first time I had heard of this.  You really should read up on this.  It is not the child's fault.  For some reason, in my son's case, because of his ADD, he did not want to take the time to sit on the toilet or listen to his body's cue of when he needed to have a bowel movement, or urinate.  He was too busy playing.  He found this going to the bathroom to be boring.  After all, he has ADD.  They get bored easily.  So by holding in his bowels, he becomes impacted (constipated) and then what happens is soil or loose stools slip out past the hard impaction and his pants become soiled.  This could also effect the bladder which makes him have accidents.  You really should read up on this. There is so much info out there.  See another doctor too, and keep going to different doctors until you feel satisfaction.  I saw so many doctors for my son.  It is not an emotional problem, but the encopresis/enuresis could in and of itself become an emotional problem if the child feels ashamed because of it.  My son, too, use to hide his soiled clothing in his closet, drawer, under the bed, hamper!!!  Yikes!!!  I couldn't take it.  Some doctors gave us help such as using a reward system with chips, one mentioned having a high fiber diet, one mentioned using a stool softener, another recommended drinking water throughout the day, and making the child sit on the toilet different times throughout the day, so his body rhythm would adjust and become accustomed to sitting and using the toilet properly.  I hope this has helped.  I know it is a long entry, but I truly understand your situation.  Just remember, when puberty hits, they eventually will grow out of it.  Be patient, because that is the biggest thing I had to learn.  My son did hit puberty and thank god, is now through with the problem.  He does have ADD still but we work through it and he is a great boy!!!   Good luck!
Avatar universal
I can't begin to explain how it feels to read the above entries and know that my son may not just be lazy!!!!!  My nine year old's problem with pooping in his pants started last year when his daddy almost died in the hospital.  It was very traumatic for all of us.  Luckily, my husband did not die, but my boy began to have night terrors and then the messing in his pants began.  We tried spanking, rewarding, making him go to the bathroom every thirty minutes.  He would do better for a month or two and then it would all start all over.  We did the throwing away of undies, making him clean himself up, questioning about any abuse.  most of the time we would know before he did that he had an accident.  He says he can't feel it or smell it.  I was at the end of my rope until just now reading what other moms are experiencing.  I hope that this little insight will help us get on the right path. Thanks
Avatar universal
Hi i was just browsing this forum and thought i could help. I am 15 and i had the same problem when i was younger. I can tell u from experience that it really is a stress problem along with traumatic experiences it took me a couple years but i finally got over it and stopped messing my pants. after i eliminated all the stress in my life as much as possible i noticed that i did not need to mess myself anymore. the doctors said that it stemmed from when i was five and was molested. but thats another story but if u can find a way to make ur kid feel comfortable he should stop messing himself. and its really just away for him to be left alone because he feels that if he smells nobody will bother him and trust me if he is anything like i was he is embarresed about and that is why he will hide the dirty underwear or diapers or watever. so i hope this helps u and i would love to hear back on whether it helped or not.

Good Luck
Avatar universal
I had this issue from the age of 3 to almost 13.  Years later, and in my 30s, I decided to find out about my peculiar behavior and the possible cause of it.  I must say, however, that I agree with "helpdude15" -- although I was not violated sexually, my problem was having a broken home at the age of 2 and a father who abused me both physically and psychologically from the time I can remember until I hit 16 and was sent (from Iran) to live with my uncle and his wife here in California.  Thirty years have gone by, and I can tell you with almost certainty the cause of this behavior (or at least in my case - and I think you can find others that will agree with me), was a direct result of the abuse.  I should also add that I did not simply soil myself; rather, I would resist having bowl movements until I could no longer stand it and subsequently soiled my pants where ever I was.  I even remember sitting on the tile part of the floor and pushing until the fecal matter had only one way to go -- back up!!  So, firstly make sure your child is not soiling himself because he's actually holding on to it in the first place.  Either way, the word "Control" is what I've heard more than any other in regards to this matter.  I've been told that my world was so out of control that I was trying to control the one thing that I actually could.  I'm sure your child is much loved and is not having the horrific experiences that "helpdude" or I have had, but it might be worth looking at his surroundings and the people that occupy those surroundings.  Sometimes the smallest outside pressure can trigger such puzzling behavior in child.
Good luck and God bless!!
470168 tn?1237471245
It could be due to encopresis.  If so the bowel is impacted as well as having stools behind it that can leak through.  In this situation he really won't be able to feel it.
Or it could be a developmental problem like ADD or even Aspergers.  These types of disorders can mean they can get very focused on something and essentiall block out everything else including the need to go to the loo.  
If he has any sensory issues he may not be able to feel internal sensations like needing the toilet or his ability to feel these sensations may fluctuate.
You also need to look into any stress, anxiety or trauma.
Have you talked to your son about anything he thinks may help him?  If he has encopresis I have heard you can get mineral oil and you can get the dosage and timing right so that he gets into a routine.  He obviously is embarrassed about what is happening if he is hiding his underwear.  So if he says he can't feel it I would just believe him rather than punish him for that.
Avatar universal
I agree that it is a stress, or trauma that causes this.  I have no memory but was told I pooped my pants in the second grade.....I am adopted, and even though I was raised by a loving family.....there is trauma when
separated from a mother even at birth.  Are any of these children adopted?  If so there are many books out there about the psychological effects of adoption.
Avatar universal
Ok, I am a ready made dad, when i got with my wife now her children were 3 and 5. Pretty much from the time I got with my wife the 2 girls were pooping their pants. The children did deal with abuse from ther bio dad so im sure that had all and everything to with them pooping their pants. I delt with it and delt with it and tried everything I could think of to get them to stop pooping their pants. I tried reward systems, punishments like time outs and stuff like that. I tried every method I thought possible. I finally got them broke of pooping their pants and this is how I did it. Well..... I used to throw away their soiled panties and one day I decided NO im tired of this and im tired of them soiling their pants. What I did was every time they pooped their pants I made them hand scrub the poo out of their panties in the toilet. Now most of you are thinking "what a horrible father" well ya know what after a few times of having to hand scrub the poo out of their pants they decided they didnt like it and they quit pooing their pants. I know it might sound horrible but it worked for both of my children and maby it will work with your child. Hope this helps
603946 tn?1333941839
I don't think you are terrible- but it helped you find out for sure they had control over their bowels..... It's just a natural consequence- let's say I got sick with a tummy ache and I had an accident- I would have to clean it myself- it's really just the most natural answer. If they had not stopped you would probably look into their being a medical problem.

Avatar universal
I used to have that problem when I was a kid. No kid is going to tell you what happens because it's too private and too embarrassing. It's not that you poop your pants, it's the fact that you hold it in because of a pleasurable sensation it causes. Then there's always some poop that comes out and that causes the problem.

Here's how my parents solved it, they schedule me to go to the bathroom 4 times a day, and would not get up until I was completely done. Also, every time I would go pee, as a rule I would have to wipe my butt so it took me a while but I actually conquered the beast and when I turned eleven it was gone, no soiled clothes.
Avatar universal
My son has been constipated since ha was 6 months old. He had a hard time potty training. He was completely potty trained when he was 5. Just recently (2 months ago) he started having accedents and not telling me. It started off like big skid marks and not he has more than that. I try to stay on top of it. The last thing I want is for someone to notice and make him feel bad about it. Personal hygene is very important and that should be a parents number one goal. They might do things you don't understand or like.
Avatar universal
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the person who posted the link regarding "encopresis" the information has definatley given me something to talk to my sons doctor about...I also now don't feel like I am the only mom out there with a 10 year old pooping his pants..
thank you again....
Avatar universal
Our family is dealing with this problem right now with our 5yo.  She was potty trained for urination at quite an early age but we let her use a diaper for pooping until she was about 4 1/2.  Soon after we went off the diapers she started "holding it" and became chronically constipated.  She also has severe food issues which don't make the problem any better.  There are only about a dozen foods she will eat and not many are high in fibre so we use Miralax to try and keep her regular.

It's important to know that kids with Encopresis cannot feel that they have to go to bathroom because their colon is stretched and their nerve endings are shot.  You have to get rid of the constipation and then get the bowels back in shape which can take weeks or months.

This is a great document.  It has some detailed explanations of common questions and a cute (if fecal soiling can be cute) story that might help kids understand the problem and ways to help beat  "Sneaky Poo".

I hope this helps and good luck to all of you.


"A revised edition of the earlier Beating Sneaky Poo, this edition looks at the common questions parents may have including, “How does faecal soiling start?” and “What problems can it cause?”  An illustrated story is also included that can be read to children. Beating Sneaky Poo aims to assist children who are suffering from faecal soiling and also assist their parents, teachers and health professionals."
Avatar universal
Thank you to everyone for posting there comments . I'm pleased i'm not the only one going through this problem with my son . I'm going to take my son to the gp .I feel really horried now . All the time this has been happening and i have been shoutting and screamming at him for doing this and it could be a medical condition and not just him being lazy .
Avatar universal
To the moms out there who battle the constant soiling of underwear. This is NOT always an abuse issue. Unfortunitely it is a more common problem but for those of us dealing with the issue it can become overwhelmimng. It is not you and your not alone. My son is 9 and has been taken to the Dr. and Specialist who say he has chronic constipation. Common in kids. This problem not from you. My son has been soiling his underwear now for "5 years" Often he sits in his soiled underwear and doesn't seem to bother him at all. It is frustrating but the only solution I have done is pull ups and constant buying of new underwear weekly up to 14 pair a week. Yes expensive but my sanity is needed just as bad. He just changes with nothing being said. He doesn't feel the need to hide them ( causing health issues). He feels comfortable changing and I deal with it. The Dr. said he would probably grow out of it. I pray daily and I pray for you because I am there I know how you feel. If you need to talk email me. Frustration is common but being able to talk to someone in the same shoes helps me deal with the common problems with my son too.
Avatar universal
My wifes son is soon to be 17 and just recently (within the last two months) stopped crapping in his pants.

I met my wife when he was 9 and he was doing it then. I thought of all the possibilities while my wife made excuses for him. Medical condition, nerves, fear, get attention and stress were just a few excuses she had.

The key words you used were " the smell and the feeling does not seem to bother him"  this boy was the same way. He would act as if nothing happened. He did not want to clean himself up. He was not embarrassed to be around other people . He would shove his undies under his bed or in his pant leg. like he was collecting them. Almost as if he was proud of himself. Only difference for me is that my wife would not punish him or make any attempt for that matter to try to stop him.

After our relationship was seemingly at its end because I refused to be near him for any reason, she decided to get medical tests done only to find out there was nothing physically wrong with him.

Then onto the shrink who after many visits told us that he actually for whatever reason like being in and smelling his own poop! How she got that out of him I don't know but thank god she did.

Then my wife was sick to her stomach and started taking all his fun away no phone, TV, computer, video games, candy, ice cream you name it. It took almost five months before it came to an end. but it's over.

I don't know if that's your kids problem but it may be something to look into
Avatar universal
My son is 6 and has been pooping in his pants on and off for the last two years.   He will go to the toilet some times but mostly he goes in his pants.  He too is at a private school and I have been hauled in just recently and told about the health and safety issues. He has been seen to put his hand down his trousers, pull some poo out and play with it on the floor and then to smear his fingers along the carpet with it.  He goes to the toilet for wees but not poos.  He has seen a specialist and there is nothing wrong with him.   I can talk to him about it, beg and cry to him about it, offer untold riches and anything to get him to stop but it goes in one ear and out the other.   I really believe he does it on purpose.  When he started this new school he had two weeks of no accidents but then they started to appear slowly, one every couple of days and now its just every single time.  I think we have kept Primark in pants this last year and I cant leave the house without a bag of spare pants, wipes etc.  He is made to clean himself up but I honestly believe he does not care.  I have no more ideas of how to stop this.
Avatar universal
Hello Everyone!!  Please help me, my son is 10 yrs old and still poops his pants.  he does not have any health issues no ADD, no ADHd no issues with abuse mentally or psycally.  I have done every punishment you can think of punished from DSI, WII computer, phone going out to play.  i have made him scrub his pants and still does, it doesnt faze him.  i have thrown out all poop underware he doesnt care. he doesnt even care when he poops his pants, he will sit in it and he stinks, when you ask him if he pooped he looks you straight in the eye and says no.  it gets to the point that is dries up and falls out of his pants!!!!  I have been going to the same doc and he says he is just being lazy,  Im going insane, its causing strain  on my relationship.  i have done the rewarding things doesnt work.  he just doesnt care!!!! what is the next step.  i have another child that is 3 and poops on the potty fine.  its just that since poop falls out of my older son's pants i have to worry that my 3yr doesnt think its candy if i dont get to it on time.  SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME
Avatar universal
My 6 year old is exactly the same.  No problems whatsoever apart from pooping in pants and flat outright denial when he's done it.   Like you I was getting myself in a state about it.  I am taking my son back to the drs and I asking to be referred to see a psychologist.  Since I told my son we are going to see a specialist, he has had only one accident!   I sat him down and told him that I had no idea how to help him as everything, like you, I had tried failed.    I'm not sure if he is scared about seeing the dr but I'v only found 1 pair of hidden pants this week!!  I will let you know what happens!
Avatar universal
Tonight I finally tried typing in a search for "my 17 year old son still has regular poop accidents" and found this site.  I was amazed to read so many familiar sounding stories.
Our son is about to turn 17 this summer and STILL has his ongoing accidents.  We have been to about 6 or 7 different doctors over the years, 5 different hospitals, shrinks, and the problem goes on.
When confronted with it he says he doesn't smell it or feel it.  He was not abused, or adopted, no violence in his life.  He has been spoiled since he was a baby, and even when we couldn't afford things, we made sure he had a good Christmas and birthday, we showed him love all the time, so we see no reason for a psychological issue.  He was also hiding his soiled underwear in his room, under the bed, in other clothes.  When he was younger and took swimming lessons, he left the showers in his bathing suit leaving a trail of brown water heading for the pool, so I had to turn him around, cancel the lesson that day, and clean up after him.  He went to school and managed to get through grade school with the teachers calling us at least once a week to come and get him at the office and take him home.  Surprisingly the other kids never made fun of him although we think that they were told he had a medical problem and not to make fun of him.

Over the years we have tried everything from praise when he did go to the toilet, to rewards, to games, etc....  Didn't work.  We tried punishment like grounding, no games, no computer, no tv, no friend over, no going outside, and when he got older, no cel phone, ... Didn't work.  The grounding lasted anywhere from a week to a month, with no luck.  We finally let up because we felt bad.  The groundings were not helping, so we let him have his things back.

If he has an accident and you stand next to him and smell it, he denies it.  He will argue so much that you would swear he is fighting a case in court.  He puts up such a battle, he raises his voice, gets mad, and we can smell it.  And then when we send him to take a shower, we find his underwear in the shower with poop in them.  When he was younger we had a dog, and we found so many pair of underwear with the crotch eaten out of them because he would hide them and the dog would find them during the night and eat right through them.  I am surprised the dog never got sick.  We have gone through hundreds of pairs of underwear over the years, and the problem still goes on.
Even as recent as last night, we had an argument because of an accident he denied, and we found he had one.
We have no idea what to do anymore.  Everything we try fails.  We know what all of you are going through and we wish you luck.  For those of you who have gotten past it, we are happy for you.  For all the others all we can say is, we know how you feel, and we know how hard it is.

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