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My four year old is starting to poop her underwear... PLEASE READ

My fear year old daughter is starting to poop her underwear. I don't know if it is simply an accident or something more.

I am in the middle of a divorce with my daughter's father. Typically when I am at work, he watches her. Sometimes she is at a babysitter's house instead (Always the same babysitter). Last week she pooped and peed in her sleep (something that has NEVER happened before) while at her father's house. I didn't think much of it at the time. I thought it was just an accident.

Tonight she was supposed to see her father, but plans changed and she had to stay with the babysitter. The babysitter informed me that she pooped so bad and all over herself and the floor that she had to clean the bathroom and place her into the tub. Note: when we got to the babysitter's house, she was upset that she wasn't at her dad's house. The babysitter also mentioned that lately she has been eating less and been keeping more towards herself!

A little background, really fast... My daughter keeps saying that her dad only plays video games and doesn't play with her at all - this is one of the many reasons why we are divorcing in the first place.

Should I be worried about my daughter's new behavoir or is this something that other four year olds go through? I am lost and confused. PLEASE HELP!


Asked by USNavyWife0330 at 10:58 PM on Sep. 10, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • It is normal for stress to manifest in this sort of way with a child.
    It's also true that initially withholding for some reason (such as overall disliking pooping, emotional triggers, or having experienced a passing constipation-related difficulty/pain with pooping that causes the child to try to avoid pooping) can set up pooping problems. The avoidance/withholding can lead to mild or severe constipation, enough to reinforce the withholding. And even a single large or difficult-to-pass stool can cause an anal fissure. The pain associated with THAT can lead to chronic avoidance, which can result in the "need to go" signals getting messed up to the point that they don't register with the brain, and the child literally doesn't realize she has to go (until it's too late.) This is especially common with an undetected fissure, because the constant healing/re-injury messes with the anal sphincter & causes spasms.
    Look up encopresis.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:28 AM on Sep. 12, 2012

  • It could simply be from all the changes going on around her. She might be confused and worried. 4 is a hard age. I know some kids have set backs when they go through life changes and that may be what this is.

    Answer by kmath at 11:02 PM on Sep. 10, 2012

  • Kids can have a physical response to emotional problem. I am sure the divorce is a big change and it doesn't sound like he pays much attention to her. If it were me, I would probably take my child to the Dr. and have them check her out to make sure that nothing is physically wrong and have that documented. I would ask if they could recommend a counselor to help her work through her feelings on the changes to her family and having to split time between the two of you. A counselor will be a good third party if documents or evaluations are needed for court.  Otherwise I guess just try to reassure her that you are always there for her and that you understand that she might need some time for this adjustment.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 11:05 PM on Sep. 10, 2012

  • ^^^^^^^ agree with kmath!!

    Answer by m-avi at 11:56 PM on Sep. 10, 2012

  • You have your own answer: "I am in the middle of a divorce with my daughter's father." and "her dad only plays video games and doesn't play with her at all".

    While it is not normal for MOST 4 year old's, it IS normal for any child to act out in some way when their life gets turned upside down. While some discipline is in order, I would NOT come down very hard on her. She can already sense the stress and strife between the two of you and is desperately trying to control anything and everything she can, to keep her life "normal". Give her LOTS and LOTS of love and hugs. Also, reassure her constantly that the divorce is NOT her fault. She needs compassion and understanding right now, not lectures.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 11:52 PM on Sep. 10, 2012

  • I Agee with the other posters that's it's probably related to the changes going on in her life. However, it can be a sign of constipation. Younger kids who feel discomfort having a BM on the toilet can start to associate the bathroom with pain/discomfort and a avoid the toilet.

    Answer by sharpendoodle at 3:37 AM on Sep. 11, 2012