Accidents in 5 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-30-2010, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some advice on dealing gently with a 5 year old who has begun having poop accidents.

He's had 4-5 in the last 2 weeks. The first time I assumed it was a fluke. Then he had another 2 days later. Then 2 days later he had 2 (in one day). It has been about a week since the last one and today he had another (I think today's snuck up on him though, he's taking abx for strep throat).

Sometimes he's playing outside when it happens, once he was watching tv, at least once he was playing in his room. There is no ONE thing he's doing when they occur. If I ask him why it happened, he just says he doesn't know or he didn't feel like going to the potty.

I'll be honest and say that my first instinct is to spank (which I've never done before, but these accidents for seemingly no reason INFURIATE me) or shame him (to say things about how big boys don't do this, does he need a diaper, etc.). I have never done those things, but they bubble right up to the surface and it takes a lot of effort for me to keep my cool. Dh thinks a little shame would keep him from doing it (I don't agree and never will, FTR). I do make him clean himself up as much as he can.

So how do we get this to stop? I am certainly open to suggestions.

Wife to an amazing man love.gif, mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) hbac.gif, and ds3 (9/26/10) hbac.gif. Part time librarianread.gif, full time mommysupermod.gif, occasional chef and maid.

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#2 of 9 Old 10-30-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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Has he been on the antibiotics when all of the accidents occured? What does he say about why it happened? I suppose I'd call the pedi just to be sure it's nothing serious. Does your son say he has urgency when it happens and then doesn't make it to the bathroom? Is there any connection to foods he's eaten? I have Crohn's disease and I guess I would want to make sure there isn't going on with his digestive health. (((hugs)))
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#3 of 9 Old 10-31-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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I too am wondering if this coincides with starting the antibiotics. Are his stools loose? Maybe it's been a bit more like diarrhea and he isn't able to make it to the toilet in time. Does he come and tell you after he's had an accident or does he just stay quiet about it?

Another question: is there anything new going on in his life? Anything stressful or unsettling? My friend just had to go away for 3 weeks, traveling for work. During that time her 5 yr old ds started having poop accidents. They stopped when she got home, and she's pretty sure that they're tied to her having been gone.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#4 of 9 Old 10-31-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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Please tread carefully.

DH had encopresis (pooping himself after toilet training) as a child, lasting from when he was 5 or so until he was 8 or 10 years old. In an attempt to correct it, he was forcibly given enemas every day before school, and sent to a therapist who found nothing out of the norm. It took many years for him to overcome the shame about this and to *finally* tell his mother that he had not been pooping himself on purpose!

It's pretty frequently caused by constipation, of all things. After a child has been constipated for a while, they have a hard painful poop a few times, and instinctually start holding it in to avoid repeating the painful experience. But eventually it comes out on its own.

Sometimes, the constipation can create a blockage of hard feces that softer feces leaks around... in this case, the child may not even feel the accident happening.

And sometimes the colon becomes stretched from chronic constipation and the child simply doesn't feel the urge to go until it is too late. This was the case with my husband.

Another cause is public toilet anxiety, but it sounds like your son's accidents are happening at home.

Please don't assume that your child is doing this on purpose. There's a good chance that he's not. I would sit down and gently ask him specific questions -- not "Why do you keep pooping your pants?" -- but "Did you mean to poop your pants?" "Did you feel like you needed to poop before it happened?" (if yes) "Why didn't you go to the bathroom?", etc.

DH was asked only "Why do you keep pooping your pants?!" and he didn't have a good answer, so he answered like your son has. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of unnecessary (and expensive) therapy and a lot of trauma (daily enemas) when the situation could have been resolved with stool softeners and more fiber in his diet.

--K
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#5 of 9 Old 10-31-2010, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizliz72 View Post
Has he been on the antibiotics when all of the accidents occured? What does he say about why it happened? I suppose I'd call the pedi just to be sure it's nothing serious. Does your son say he has urgency when it happens and then doesn't make it to the bathroom? Is there any connection to foods he's eaten? I have Crohn's disease and I guess I would want to make sure there isn't going on with his digestive health. (((hugs)))
No, this last accident was the only one in which antibiotics were involved. It has never seemed that the accidents occurred with any urgency behind them and I've never seen him try to run for the bathroom (and at least one of the times he'd have had to run past me to get to the bathroom).

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post
I too am wondering if this coincides with starting the antibiotics. Are his stools loose? Maybe it's been a bit more like diarrhea and he isn't able to make it to the toilet in time. Does he come and tell you after he's had an accident or does he just stay quiet about it?

Another question: is there anything new going on in his life? Anything stressful or unsettling? My friend just had to go away for 3 weeks, traveling for work. During that time her 5 yr old ds started having poop accidents. They stopped when she got home, and she's pretty sure that they're tied to her having been gone.
There was twice that the stool was loose and the rest of the times it has been a normal consistency. Afterward he'll generally come tell me, although yesterday he tried to hide it.

As for new stuff, yeah. August brought Kindergarten and he got another new baby brother in September. Accidents didn't start until mid-October (that's not to say that aren't connected, of course). He seemed to adjust pretty well to each, although it took about 3 weeks for him to be ok with Kindy.

Wife to an amazing man love.gif, mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) hbac.gif, and ds3 (9/26/10) hbac.gif. Part time librarianread.gif, full time mommysupermod.gif, occasional chef and maid.

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#6 of 9 Old 10-31-2010, 12:42 PM
 
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I vote for new baby because 5 yo DD has done the same thing a couple of times (and s even worse with pee )

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#7 of 9 Old 10-31-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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I would not be at all surprised if new baby and/or Kindy is connected. If possible medical/diet issues are ruled out then I'd be surprised if they weren't connected.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#8 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 04:22 PM
 
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I'm having the same issue with my 4, nearly 5 year old. He was fully potty trained shortly after his 2nd birthday however in the past 6 months there have been numerous accidents...in his pants mostly but there have been multiple occasions where he has gone outside in the yard!!

We have a 15 month old child now too so I'm wondering if it is that, but as I read the other posts I don't want to rule out constipation issues which create and an unexpected urgency resulting in the accident.  He typically only poops about 3 times per week and when he does it's quite a doozy (sorry, probably too graphic).  We have tried to have him sit on the toilet every night for about 15 or 20 minutes to see if that will lessen the accidents, but it's not helping at all, he still goes just as infrequently and continues to have the accidents.

Where can I buy a stool softener for a child?  I'd like to give that a shot.

Thanks for the posts everyone, I'm glad I'm not alone.

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#9 of 9 Old 02-14-2012, 12:37 PM
 
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We just went through this with my son.  He's just now started pooping in the toilet again.  We moved and found out I was pregnant about the same time, so I'm sure that's got something to do with it.  Two big changes at once (new baby, Kindergarten) could be what's getting to him.  It could also be something else that's really small and happened right in line with school and the new baby.  It's possible that something little was just the tipping point.  It could also be a lot of little things that happened at the same time.

 

I'd tried asking my son all the standard questions, "Did you mean to poop in your underwear?"  "Did you know you had to poop before it happened?" that sort of thing.  He always gave me the answer he thought I wanted to hear.  It was very frustrating and not terribly helpful.  I decided to just deal with it.  Not long after this I had a friend tell me her step-son used to do the same thing whenever he would come to visit.  He was perfectly healthy and normal, but that's just part of how he handled the situation, through regression.

 

With my son the only thing that worked was patience and giving him control of the situation.  When he pooped in his pants we took him to the bathroom, made him empty the poop into the toilet, rinse out the underwear in the sink, and clean his bum with wipes.  We didn't make it anything shameful or a big deal, so he didn't make a big deal of it.  The only times it turned into an issue was right after he had some pretty serious diarhea (it was going around) so we put him in the shower to clean up after he had an accident.  After that he started fussing and complaining because he thought accidents were an excuse for bath time, but we worked through that.  Eventually he just decided it was quicker and easier to poop in the toilet, and it meant he didn't have to change his clothes or rinse his underwear.  It just became convenient to poop in the toilet, so he just did.  He hasn't gone back since, though I fear he might after the baby's born.

 

It can't hurt to have him checked out by a doctor if it seems like anything that may be bothering him.  Obviously if he looks at all uncomfortable when he poops, that right there is a clue.  However, given the new baby and Kindergarten situation, I'd give it a little while and see if he sorts it out on his own.  And I would try making him clean up after himself, not as a shame thing, but just as a "You're a big boy now and this is how we handle it" kind of thing.  The way I explained it to my son, he's big enough to handle it himself like a big boy.  Big kids would have to clean up after their own accidents.  Adults have to clean up after their own accidents.  Therefore, he had to clean up after his accidents.  It's just part of growing up.

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