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Four year old pooping in his pants!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My son has been reliably dry since age 2 1/2 during the day, and reliably getting poop in the toilet since maybe 3 1/3 or so. He just turned 4. For the past several months he has been holding his bm's until the last minute, making a little "skid mark" on his underwear. The past few weeks, though, it's been getting worse, and the past few days he's been having full blown bm's in his pants!

I don't know what to do. I have discussed this with him and he knows that it is a problem. He knows that it can make people sick to not get feces in the toilet. I got pretty upset yesterday because he was just wearing his pajama pants with no underwear, and it all fell out on the floor...I ended up yelling at him (and of course feeling awful afterwards).

Any advice or btdt?

post #2 of 9
This was happening with my ds. I thought it was emotionally related, he had alot of stuff going on. What is actually turned out to be was a "blockage". He would hold his poop so he was getting consipated and it just kept getting worse and worse. It got to the point where he rarely had a bm in the toilet. I finally took him to the ped, figuring that there must be something wrong with him, and the dr just said he was all blocked up.

What ended up happening is, ds had a prescription laxitive that he had to take 3 doses of in one day to flush his system out, he had to poop until it was clear. That didn't work so he ended up needing a suppository which 2 of those did the trick

DS needs to have extra fiber and 1 dose of laxitive a week so that he doesn't back up again. His problem was a couple of years in the making though so he doesn't have good bowel habits yet. However he does has a bm at least everyother day now, in the toilet
post #3 of 9
Have you guys heard of ancorpresis? I don't know that much about it myself but your posts rang a bell. I am going to try to find a good link to post. In the meantime you could probably find a lot if you search for it, that would give you a better idea and more to go on to see whether your child's situation might be it or not.

Sorry for misspelling: It's encropresis!

Couldn't post link, will try again later.
post #4 of 9
I would first try to think about if there is some stressor or emotional upset that could be connected to this. Start of school? Something at home? Too busy schedule? Is there something he is afraid of? - just to name a few. Often kids can hold their bms as a way of taking control of something in their lives. What does he say when you ask him why he does this?

Next I would look at it from a health perspective. Any diet changes? Does it hurt to bm? Any health/medical concerns? We had the "skid marks" thing for a little while when my son was 4. I gave him acidopholus and that sorted it out for us. I think it helped to regulate him and made the urge to go stonger, so he couldn't hold it. But if it seems more involved than that, I would definately run it by your health care provider.

I would also enlist your son's help in the clean up situation. Before it happens again, perhaps you could have a talk with him about how you will both handle the next bm in his pants. Then if he does have another, showing no emotion at all (hard, I know!), I'd say "OK, here's the paper towels. First clean up the poop & put it in the toilet where it belongs. Now use some toilet paper to wipe your bum. Let's wash our hands. Now let's put your clothes in the wash." And then, end of discussion. Move on to whatever you were doing before.
post #5 of 9
I had this problem in two different ways with my DS #1. The first time, he was choosing not to go to the potty. I made a chart and gave him a star for every day he kept his pants dry. When he received five stars, he got to go to Chuck E. Cheese. We were eating pizza (and wishing for earplugs) within a week.

More recently he has developed problems with constipation and encropresis. He can't help the seepage. Our doctor also prescribed a laxitive and suggested an enema. We did these and the problem got a little better for a short period of time, but it has now been getting worse, so I think I need to schedule another visit. Sigh. Man, I thought when I had a baby I'd be cleaning up poop for two years, I didn't imagine I'd be doing it five years later.
post #6 of 9
Encropresis you need to treat it for long term. You want to soften the stools to shrink the rectum down.

My son we had to have him on a stool softener for a very long time. Then when him off SLOWLY!! Then we had to watch him and make sure he remember to bm. My son is 10 and I still think his body misses the signal that he needs to bm. He was constipated so long that I think his body just learned to ignore the signal.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies.

I don't think he has encopresis...his stools don't seem hard, and he is not constipated. They are fairly soft and bulky (tmi, I know!), as he does eat a lot of fruit and veggies.

I'm thinking this is more of a behavioral/mental thing more than a physical thing. I didn't bring it up at his four year old well visit, maybe I should have. We need to find a new doctor anyway, so I will once I find one.

Yesterday he started doing his "don't look at me" routine (which can mean a number of things, but sometimes it means he has to go bm), and I told him "I thing you need to sit on the toilet" and that worked. I guess I just need to keep a good eye on him for now.....

post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin
Thank you for your replies.

I don't think he has encopresis...his stools don't seem hard, and he is not constipated. They are fairly soft and bulky (tmi, I know!), as he does eat a lot of fruit and veggies.
DS's stools weren't hard either so I did not think he was constipated, and even though he was holding his bm he was still going enough that it seemed normal to me. Ds's ped had an x-ray done and he was quite backed up. I do want to add that the last 3 months before he went to ped he was having a bm everyday
post #9 of 9

4 yo, no progress in using toilet for poop

My just turned four year old has never been regular. He poops up to five days apart and they have consistently clogged the toilet (when he gets it to the toilet). They are grossly huge, pardon my honesty. I started giving him some milk of magnesia and now he is pooping his pants even more. First it was because by time five to six days rolled around he absolutley could not hold it anymore. Now, I'm sure it is because he doesn't recognize the urgency of "the feeling" from his past ability to hold it for days. My question to you is what are you doing to put the extra fiber in his diet. I think the Milk of Magnesia is making his stools too loose. Obviously, I'd prefer a more natural solution, too.

Second to that is I am running out of ways to handle this. Ignore it, yell, aske him for his ideas. His teachers have had to clean him up now too. They were less than understanding and I am feeling so much anxiety to find some progress with this.
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