5-year-old pooping in pants (not constipated!) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 5-year-old still poops in his pants. Daily. He is not constipated. If you rate a BM from 1 to 5 with 1 being diarrhea and 5 being constipated, he's a 2 - 3 most of the time. As in, the poop is rarely firm enough that it just falls off his underwear - I have to rinse and rinse and rinse to get it off.

My parents and MIL suggested use of a suppository. We tried that, probably a half dozen times. They all swore (independently) that it would work within 5 to 10 minutes. I've had him sitting on the potty for at least 45 minutes after giving him one of those and no results.

He rarely poops in his pants when we are not at home, so it is not a problem in that respect. But when we are home like normal, he does it every day. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes in the afternoon. If we are in town or busy doing things, he might poop at night, which is the only time it gets firm enough to just plop into the toilet, though it is still relatively soft for being "firm."

I think it is an issue of him not being able to relax. When he was still in diapers, if we went out of town for a week, he would not poop for a week, even though he pooped daily at home. Then I'd pay for it when we got back, though not necessarily with constipation, just lots and lots of poop. I couldn't poop in a public restroom until recent years (something to do with losing my modesty giving birth???).

He stands when he pees, though he learned sitting down. Do I need to give him the suppository and make him sit for an hour every day just so he gets used to the position, and hopefully gets some results? I'd give him a big stack of books, of course, but I am afraid that sitting there with him would only make him nervous and hold it in more.

My mother is sure he'll be pooping his pants when he's 21 - help me, please!
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Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#2 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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What does he say about why he is still pooping in his pants? When my son was potty learning. he didn't want to poop on the toilet. I taught him to put hiw feet on the seat and squat over the toilet bowl. He wanted to be in a squating position to poop. that did it. he is almost 7 and still poops in that position!

Maybe you could try that.
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#3 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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If he's constipated it is possible the poo coming out will be softer. It will be softer because it goes around the hard mass that's stuck in there.

But, that's not saying he's constipated.

Is it possible that he has food allergies?

And more importantly, are you making a big deal of it in front of him? It sounds like there is some anxiety in your family (your mom) with regard to this issue and it could be stressing him out. Try to relax and not comment on his bowel issues to him or to anyone else. He sounds like he could be anxious.

Finally, I would take him to the doctor for a quick check to make sure everything is in good working order.

Good luck!
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#4 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Christi View Post
What does he say about why he is still pooping in his pants?
I ask him, Why do you poop in your pants? and he answers, Because it's fun.

We've tried to tell him to do it in the bathroom, hoping to get him to at least do it there, then do it sitting on the potty, then do it in the potty. Didn't work.

He does go away by himself when he does it - downstairs or outside - so I really don't know if he squats or what. I think that contributes to the idea that he is able to relax and that is when the urge comes and he just goes with it. But how do you translate that go getting him to go on the potty? My MIL tried to pay him to go on the potty, but he doesn't really know about money so it was like giving someone a foreign object for doing a certain behavior - they aren't really going to care.

I mean, am I the only one who has a five-year-old who poops in his pants? Yes, it isn't something you hear about every day, but does it happen to other people too? He was late to eat solids, late to self-feed, late to talk, late to pedal a tricycle, late to do so many things. But eventually he gets it and you would never know it took him forever. Eventually he figured that stuff out, he'll figure this out too. But not without my getting a lot of grief for it.

Any and all advice/understanding is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#5 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
And more importantly, are you making a big deal of it in front of him? It sounds like there is some anxiety in your family (your mom) with regard to this issue and it could be stressing him out. Try to relax and not comment on his bowel issues to him or to anyone else. He sounds like he could be anxious.
All grandparents live out of state, so he isn't really subject to that drama.

Sometimes I am very good about just matter-of-factly cleaning him up. Other times, I mean, if you had to clean up poop every day, day after day after day, when all the other kids were pooping in the potty, would you not get a bit exasperated? I mean, he needs to understand that this isn't what he's supposed to be doing. It's hard to act like it's perfectly normal when it isn't.

Tana, wife to Steve (5/02), mom to Ben (7/03), Joey (10/06) and Caroline (9/09)
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#6 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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Well I may not win any parenting awards, but bribery works for us. We're getting closer to six and he hasn't had an accident that I remember in the past few months (he would hold it and then it would come out at night in his sleep). We used a chart so he could work toward earning a toy. He's fine now without any outside motivation.
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#7 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 11:05 PM
 
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I have a 5-y-o with constipation issues. He doesn't poop his pants but he does have "issues" about pooping that crop up. First, I would not use a suppository. They are uncomfortable, can be physically violating, and really are medicine for treating constipation (which does not sound to be the problem here).

What I would suggest is trying to get him to sit on the toilet (with a stool for his feet) once or twice a day for 10 minutes or so using a timer. Also a reward system - we pay $1 for each poop in the potty (for us to avoid holding in poop). Also consider other places he may be comfortable pooping that you can use to encourage him to eventually transition to the potty. DS had a fear of the toilet for a while but would poop on the bathroom floor and then standing in the bathtub. Eventually we got him back on the toilet. It made for easier clean-up and kept poop in the bathroom.

It does sound like he has control over when he poops - since he doesn't do it outside the home. He may just need help expanding the conditions in which he can relax and do it.
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#8 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pageta View Post
Sometimes I am very good about just matter-of-factly cleaning him up. Other times, I mean, if you had to clean up poop every day, day after day after day, when all the other kids were pooping in the potty, would you not get a bit exasperated? I mean, he needs to understand that this isn't what he's supposed to be doing. It's hard to act like it's perfectly normal when it isn't.

Does he help in cleaning it up or are you doing it all? Maybe having him take ownership of the process will encourage him as in, "You are welcome to poo in your undies if you like. I will teach you to clean up yourself and how to take care of your undies." Then do it and let him. He might figure out that it's MUCH easier to use the toilet; he's obviously already aware of what is going on with his body since he disappears to poo.
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#9 of 17 Old 07-21-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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No, you're not the only one who's 5yo poops in his boxers. Mine does too.

I agree w/PP though. He's old enough to take ownership of the issue. He goes into the bathroom and uses wipes to clean himself up. He "plops" the poop from his boxers into the toilet. He puts the dirty boxers in the laundry room. (We purchased him boxer-briefs to minimize the instances that poop would fall out )

This helped in two ways ~ I wasn't resentful of cleaning it up all the time and he paid better attention to his body. It actually took a few months, but he started to go in the potty pretty consistantly. We did talk to him about things that would make it easier ~ purchasing a ring-thing for the toilet and putting a step-stool in front.

We're in the middle of moving right now ~ so he's regressed a bit. However, he cleans himself whenever he doesn't go in the potty.

Don't look at him cleaning himself as some sort of punishment. It's just like if my kids spill something ~ they get a towl. That's life ~ you make a mess (accidentally or on purpose) and you have to clean it up. KWIM?

HTH!
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#10 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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Don't feel bad, I'm finding that more & more parents are going through the same thing. My son was taking a bath and I was putting clothes away in my closet which is right next to the tub and I heard the water emptying, he was trying to clean the mess up. This was the 2nd time he did this and when I yelled at him and asked why he pooped in the tub, his reply was I didn't know I had to go and I forgot to get out of the tub. He's not contipated (that I know of). I have made him clean up his accidents before and it does not help - just more tears to deal with. I don't think the calm approach works either because I've done that too. I think it's something they will grow out of. My son starts Kindergarten and I'm so scared that he'll poop his pants and feel embarressed in front of his classmates but if it happens, then hopefully it won't happen again. So maybe since your son thinks it's funny, he'll have to be really embarressed for it to stop. My son still has to wear a pull-up at night. He cannot wake up dry. He sleeps right through it. And, at times if I forgot to put one on, he wakes up in the morning wet but it never woke him up. Hopefully he'll grow out of it for you. It is so frustrating, I know exactly how you feel. Good luck.
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#11 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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I posted in a similar thread earlier today....I am having the same problem, except with 4.5 yr old twin boys. And, I don't see any end in sight. I hear you on trying to not make a big deal, but I do get exasperated. my guys go into their rooms for "privacy" then come out and ask me to change them. Lately I have been helping clean them up, but making them change their underwear themselves. I hope they eventually figure out that pooping in the potty is easier, because no amount of bribery is working withe these two. At one point a few months ago one of them actually stopped underwear pooping for a month or so, but eventually regressed back to where his brother is. So, no, you are not alone....
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#12 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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Definitely not alone. My DS did this, though not daily, until about age 7. When we finally figured out, with the help of a teacher who's child had the same issue, that he had a lactose intolerance. One thing that did was make his pooping sudden and soft. His other symptom was an upset stomach sometimes, but I never put it all together. So he would have to go and it would be instantanious. He just never made it to the toilet. Eliminating fluid milk, ice cream, and yogurt (and limiting cheese) took care of the issue. He still has "I need to go NOW" issues whenever he overdoes dairy products though.

He didn't do it at school because he was so afraid he would go to the bathroom the minute his stomach rumbled and would stay there until he had pooped -- sometimes 30 minutes or more. Teacher got in the middle because he was missing so much class time.

However, his saying 'its fun" seems like it may be a different issue for you. Just tossing out and idea to try to see if there is any difference if you changed diets. Took us about a week for things to shift a bit.
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#13 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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My DD did this --only she chose creative hiding spots for her poop. I took the advice that I was offered in the GD thread and bribed her. She gets three sunspire m&m's for each poop in the potty. She loves it. She hasn't pooped anywhere but the potty in months.

It's the only bribe that I give her and frankly, it's worth it. I figure once the poop treat jar is empty we'll phase out the bribery.
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#14 of 17 Old 07-28-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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My DS did this same thing at about this age. My pediatrician told him straight to his face that it was his responsibilty to clean up after himself if he was going to act like that. I don't know if it was because he was hearing it from her and not me, or what- but he actually did start taking ownership of the situation. I would go even further than others have suggested and also make him rinse the poop off his pants, too. If he is going to do it because it's fun, let him see how fun it is to clean it up as well.

Eventually, when he realizes that it is going to take him an hour to clean himself up, clean his pants, clean the bathroom, take a shower/bath, etc, dig poop out from under his nails, etc- taking a couple minutes to poop on the potty and being done with it won't seem like such a bad idea.
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#15 of 17 Old 01-02-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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I am having the same problem with my 7 year old boy. It has at least been reassuring to read other posts by people with the same issues who have tried the same things.
His problem started last March when we went to FL. We go to FL every year and he is really excited about it always. We do see my MIL there and that is someone who he used to be very close with, but she has grown more busy with her life and not as interested in him (I wonder if this has something to do with it). At that point, he just seemed to be holding it because he was busy. Then he would say urgently that he had to go and go to the toilet, but would have some streaking in his underpants. It happened regularly, but not every day necessarily. His doctor said that it was really normal for boys his age to do that. I was still concerned. And I was still cleaning up a lot of poop. Sometimes poop would drop on the floor and I would make him clean it up. Sometimes I was very patient and loving about it when he would make it late and sometimes I very frustrated and exasperated. One time we talked about consequences because I was sick of doing so much extra laundry. We agreed that if he made it on time, he would get some kind of reward, if he didn't, he would have to rinse out his underwear and throw them in the laundry. He did this fine when he had to. Recently, like in the last few weeks the problem has been getting worse. He is pooping more in his underpants and not wanting to go on the toilet at all. He seems afraid. I can tell in his face when he is holding it or going and I practically have to drag him to the bathroom (but while trying to be encouraging and nice) to get him to go. If I get him to sit down, he will often say that he doesn't have to go, even though he started going in his pants. He has some sensory issues and is telling me that he isn't feeling when he has to go, but I am not sure. For him it seems to be emotional and physical. I am really worried about why he has grown this extremely anxious about it. He has also wet himself a couple of times now and says he didn't realize it. This is totally unusual for him. I don't think he has damaged his pelvis or anything.
I took him to a Naturopath and she gave him a homeopathic remedy and recommended positive retraining. IF that doesn't work, she said we could look into neurological testing.
To make matters worse, I mentioned to my mom how I had had him do the laundry and clean up after himself a few times (over the last 9 months) and she is just aghast. She keeps bringing it up to me and telling me that I am going to have to get him psychological help now because I did that to him that that is THE worst thing I could have done to him and this will effect him for life. I agreed with her it wasn't the best approach and she is acting like it is child abuse. She said that it is SO MUCH worse than my husband's step dad hanging bed-wet sheets out for all the neighbors to see. In fact, it wasn't even in the same ball park that it was so mortifying what I did to him and that this is why the problem has gotten so bad. Ugh. I mean, I already feel like a terrible mother for not understanding why this is happening.
I am at a loss of what to do. we are trying the positive retraining. I take him in and read books to him and just have him sit there, but he doesn't want to be in there. I act silly and sing songs in there. I even have his four year old brother do the same thing even though he doesn't have a problem. He says it hurts when he goes, but I don't know if he is just saying that or not. He starts school again in a couple days and I don't know how it will be. Right now this is like an all-day long occurrence. He will go a little, we'll clean him up, he won't poop on the toilet so he will go more in his clean undies and on and on and on. He will even cross his legs on the toilet right now so he won't go! This has really just been since the day before the holiday break (happened once at school). I can't figure out why such a shift.
Thanks for listening and if anyone has any ideas, it would be appreciated!!!
I never thought I would have to deal with so much poop in my life!

Jessie
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#16 of 17 Old 01-06-2009, 02:13 PM
 
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My 5yo DS has been having a poo-poo problem on and off for about a year. When he has to go...he runs to the potty...but other times, he just sits down wherever he is because he says if he sits down the poo poo stays in. WELL..IT DOESN't!!! He has streaks and stains a few times a week. He never actually lets a whole bunch come out into his pants but doesn't seem to be bothered by ithe little smear that eventually ends up in his pants.

He cries and gets mad or defensive if I ask if he has to go. I can tell when he does beacause he gets a weird look. He denies having to go but then goes a little in his pants!

UGH! I have tried everything. I am at my wits end. He is in kindergarten and never has an acident at school...only at home.

Help!
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#17 of 17 Old 01-06-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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My 5 y/o DD was pooing in her pants as well. NOTHING seemed to be working. Seriously. She also thought it was "fun" too poo in her pants. I started making her clean it up. She didn't think that was fun, but kept doing it anyway. And if I had to clean it up I did my best not to have a melt down, because having to clean poo out of pants a couple times a day even was just more than I wanted to do. But I know I was exasperated and resentful for it and she could feel that.She had been "potty trained" around 2.5 but then regressed when her dad came home from a deployment. Just recently though she has been having fewer and fewer accidents. Some days even a week or so she'd go without any accidents and I had to sit and think about what was different about those days. I realized those were the days she felt really loved. I was getting some good one on one time with her. The days where I sat and made sure to look her in the eye and talk to her and give her some solid undivided attention, which can be hard to do with 3 kids, a dog, a cat, a husband, and house to take care of. So I've been working really hard to make sure that everyday I give each of my kids at least 5 minutes of them and mommy special time. No one else. And I make sure to look them in the eye and interact with them. They feel more loved and seem to do better with everything when I give them this time. And she poops her pants less. In fact she hasn't pooped her pants for a little over a week now.
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