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5 year old still pooping in pants adult content

My son is 5 years old and still kind of pooping in his pants. He doesn't have a full piece of poop but its like he starts but doesn't finish in his pants. I try to be nice and calm and tell him that's not ok. I have taken stuff away for a full week that didn't help. I have also tried having him read a book, color or play with his Nintendo DS but that still doesn't help. I haven't tried telling him to try going potty every hour but that will just cause a tantrum. I just don't know what to do to get him to go potty in the toilet. Its very frustrating having to clean poopy underwear and smelling it. I just wonder if he's the only one that is doing this at this age and if he isn't what did you do to get your child to stop or any ideas on how I can help him want to go in the toilet and not his pants.

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Asked by MamaLisec at 12:49 AM on Jan. 27, 2013 in Kids' Health

Level 13 (975 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • Then only give him the Nintendo while he's ON the potty. He doesn't get it any other time until this stops.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:22 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • He is constipated? That happened to my daughter when she was , i couldnt work out what was going on all of a sudden I was seeing small stains on her underwear, until I realized what was going on, another thing it could be is is he wiping himself properly when he is done?

    Answer by Princess_s21 at 1:17 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • Look up the term "encopresis." The pattern of soiling you describe fits the description.
    It can happen for emotional as well as physical reasons, and the two (emotional & physical) can mingle because once a child is withholding for whatever reason, they can get constipated. Then there's a physical issue with "going."
    Once you get to the leaking stool stage, you probably are dealing with some level of constipation & stretched/enlarged colon, which means there's a good chance for an anal fissure (a small tear when passing a large, firm bowel movement) to develop. Or a fissure could have started it all.
    This all can interfere with physical signals (telling him he needs to go) from the anal sphincter. The constant internal pressure of the stool against the internal sphincter, or issues around the pain of a fissure, can cause this involuntary muscle to spasm. Anyway, it's a large constellation of issues that feedback to each other.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:21 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • The issue with constipation doesn't always involve hard or dry stool. If a child has developed encopresis, the issue of withholding and not immediately passing stool when he needs to or when he has the urge, can imply actual constipation without the issues we associate with the term (straining, hard dry stools, difficulty passing anything, etc.) It takes awhile for the colon to return to its normal size if it's been stretched and this has become the new "norm." The poop may not look hard and he may pass it eventually, but he can still fit a clinical definition of "constipation."
    It can be as simple as expressing a power struggle, or simply reluctance (fear) to poop after one poop that was hard to pass & hurt a bit, and the initial withholding results in a full-blown situation involving leaking stool in underwear, stretched colon, etc.
    Consider this a "project" situation, something you are working to correct, & take a

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:31 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • Have you asked him why he is doing it? Maybe he has physical reasons he is doing it. He can't tell until it's too late?

    Answer by musicmaker at 1:03 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • That is true. If it takes a long time for him to poop, it could be constipation.

    Answer by musicmaker at 1:19 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • long-range approach. It's a matter of correcting an established pattern & letting his body adjust. The first thing to do is address the "dynamic."
    I would say Yes to your goal of being "nice & calm," but would recommend you not emphasize the "This isn't okay" message. You are not trying to "get" him not to leak stool in his undies; you are dealing with/responding to the fact that he presently IS leaking stool in his undies. Of course you don't want him to do it, but you need to create the conditions for correcting the underlying problem, rather than focusing on the undies as something HE'S "doing" & seeking a way to make him stop. So, strive for more of an "Oh, okay" response to the realization that he soiled, and deal with the logistics. Tell him this leaking is a signal that his body has poop ready, that right now his body's "signals" aren't working right to get the message to his brain but this is time to sit on the toilet.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:40 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • Constipation doesn't necessarily mean the stool itself will be hard. It can just mean can't go or hard to go. It could also be that maybe his body doesn't tell him he needs to go until it's too late, or maybe he's even not recognizing the difference between the urge to poop and the urge to fart. Some people do that with diarrhea, but maybe he's got something going on that has him doing that all the time.

    Have you talked to his doctor about it? I would start there, to ensure there's no physical issues causing it that need to be treated. I'd then discuss with his doctor increasing his fiber, to make going easier.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 9:08 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • It does sound like it could be encopresis. You can schedule to see a pediatric gastroenterologist to have them confirm if there is a blockage. They usually put the child on a dose of Mirilax or some people use mineral oil, but you should check with your Ped before starting either it get their opinion and correct dosage for your child. Also, if you up the amount of fiber you give him, make sure you up the amount of liquids he drinks as well. Extra fiber can actually make constipation worse if he does not get extra liquids.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:34 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

  • audiobook (you could get different ones at the library, or check out the selection of audiobooks at Barefoot Books, and make it special daily listening during that time.) Keep up the fluids & come up with some snacks for his date with the toilet that might help out...nuts, dried fruits. Chocolate can stimulate the urge to poop so you could make chocolate snaps for that time (they aren't super-sweet, more flour & cocoa powder than sugar in a typical snaps recipe, but they are pretty effective & could make the toilet time positive.)
    Soiling/leaking, or him passing gas, would be prompts for toilet time, too.

    These are ways to respond to encopresis--what to do on a daily basis to help resolve the issue. Look up the term online & if it seems right, contact his doctor. They might recommend stool softeners or some dietary changes, too.

    Make amends for the past: "I got upset with you sometimes & I'm sorry for that. I didn't know."

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:38 AM on Jan. 27, 2013

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