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5 Year-Old Pooping Himself...

My 5 year-old has been pooping himself for the past 6 weeks. He's been holding it when he needs to go to the bathroom, and it comes to a point where he holds it so much that he starts to "overflow". I have had to give him enemas because he refuses to poop. I don't know what to do anymore! It's sooo frustrating, and I am at my wits end with this. He is in kindergarten, and can't be doing this! I don't know if there is something emotional going on - he won't tell me anything. He just tells me he doesn't know why he poops himself.

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Asked by Meggin_Linquist at 2:01 PM on Oct. 24, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (11)
  • It's probably because he has started kindergarten. He doesn't want to go at school.

    I would not give him enemas! Talk to the teacher. This has to have happened lots of times before.

    Answer by Gailll at 2:08 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • Take him to his ped to rule out anything physical. I agree with Gailll to not give him enemas, as the body can get used to this, and before you know it that will be the only way he can go to the bathroom.
    If it isn't a physical problem, then it's most likely emotional or behavioral.

    Answer by luvububee at 2:42 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • I've only given him an enema once, and that was a last resort when a suppository didn't work - this was after he had gone 9 days w/o passing a bowel movement.

    I know he doesn't like going at school because his dad told him that there were germs on the toilet (thanks a ton!), but that doesn't explain why he won't go at home.

    Answer by Meggin_Linquist at 5:01 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • Tell your son there can be germs there but if you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom you don't have to worry about them. (okay, not totally true, but, what else can you do? if he has to go at school, then he should go!)

    If he just isn't going, then maybe you need to start giving him prunes and lots of fiber-filled stuff.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:06 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • Its not uncommon and it is a medical issue. The more you try to punish or get angry, the more he senses frustration, the more he will retain his fecal matter. So number one thing: stay calm. Second: he's in pain. That is what started this. It will most likely not be a quick fix. Sorry. Ever hear of anal retentiveness? This is where it came from.  I'm assuming you are doing all the medical things you can do.  Keep doing them.  Being constipated in not only painful but it can be dangerous as well.  Third: be loving and understanding.  The more he knows your on his side the more he will be willing to accept your guidance and encouragement in the poop department.  Diet of course.  But you know that.  I won't insult you. 


    Answer by frogdawg at 9:15 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • The more a child (or adult, I see this in adults everyday) is constipated the more they hold it in. They become fearful and anxious about tioleting. Because it DOES hurt. It becomes as hard as a brick. He will get over this. Fourth: bring wipes and extra clothes with him to school and when you go out. Know he really can't help it. Again, compassion. Honestly just keep up with the medical side, stay loving/empathetic, don't show anger, and he will get through this. The more anger from parents the more shame, anxiety, and pain. It really is easier to poop when you are relaxed and not so nervous. My son has a potty coach, my husband. We have a stool to help him push his feet - makes it more comfortable. Handles to grab on to and we cheer him on. If it doesn't have any poop in the potty we are not bent up. I would do all I could medically and diet wise but also be supportive. He's hurting.

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:20 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • Someone told me that peanut butter can cause constipation - is this true? He LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwhichs. He has one in his lunch just about every day. I am wondering if this may be the cause of it being so severe since he started school.

    Answer by Meggin_Linquist at 10:00 PM on Oct. 24, 2009

  • Encourage him to take a book or video game into the bathroom. Give him a set time to go in the bathroom. You can also add benefiber to his drink or food to help push it through.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 10:12 AM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I encourage you to bring your 5 yr old to the doctor. I am going through this with my 6 yr old son and after years of fighting with his doctors have finally figured out the problem. He was so backed up for so long that it became endocrepsis (sp?) from being so constipated. I tried enemas as a last resort but we both wound up in tears. Doc finally recommended a clean out routing of one piece of ex-lax chocolate and glasses of miralax depending on weight. If it's sudden it could be something else that mimics this. He is also underweight because of it all. I joined just to offer some insight. I hope that it all works out.

    Answer by Kaphrodite at 10:26 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I would take him to his peditrician....My daughter daoes the same thing and I have also done enemas, and gave laxitives once a day everyday and it would still get to the point where it wouldnt work. There is something that is genetic that is where your intestines are lazy and it gives u trouble when you go to the bathroom. I found out when my dad got put in the hospital that is runs in our family. My gdad, dad, and sister are all carriers. It wouldnt hurt just to have his doctor check it out. .

    Answer by sandra_27 at 9:35 AM on Oct. 26, 2009

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