24 answers

6 Year Old Wearing Diapers

My brother's girlfriend's son will be starting kindagarden in August. He still wears diapers because he is constantly pooping in his pants. They have taken toys away, taken tv away, and made him go to bed early. he knows when he has to go and at times is not even doing anything. nothing has seemed to work with helping with this problem. any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi T.,

A suggestion I would have would be to create a reward chart. Each day he does not poop his pants he gets to put a sticker or smily face on the chart. Once he gets five in a row or whatever works for you have him get a reward (small toy or out for ice cream or something he would want. Good luck!

This situation is extreme. I would either have the pediatrician recommend a child psychologist for the family, or call Children's Hospital, where they have a clinic for children with poop/pee problems.

More Answers

One day in kindergarten being the only kid in diapers will probably straighten him out right away. In the meantime, he really should be cleaning up after himself every time he has a "mistake". I would also recommend getting rid of the diapers, having him pick out brand new underware with his favorite superhero on it. Always bring a spare set of underware and pants, plastic bag and cleaning supplies. He's a big boy. If he poops his pants he can clean it up. You don't have to make a big deal out of it. Godd luck!

My niece was the same way. My sister tried reward systems, taking privileges away, everything. Finally what worked for her was giving her daughter money. That's right! She just had to find what was a true reward for her little girl, and she paid her a dime or a quarter or whatever, every time she used the toilet. Of course, now that she's finally potty trained, she still thinks she should be paid and has a hard time understanding why she is no longer getting paid to poop, but those are the knocks, I guess.

Go see a specialist and rule out medical issues.

Take the DIAPERS away. Pooping in underwear feels alot more gross, and then make him clean it up himself.

with my brother we used m&ms to guide him to the toilet instead of punishing him reward him my cousin wore pooped himself till he was 11

The parents need to take the child to a doctor or psychologist. Something physiologically or psychologically is not completely developed. An expert might be able to help. They shouldn't be punishing the child.

OK, I read some of the responses and I have to say that the advice is good...to an extent. I was once where you are now. My daughter would poop in her pants often. We tried making her wash them and letting her wear them all day long. It didnt help. We tried the big girl thing, taking away priviledges and such, but with no changes in her behavior. Then about a year ago, I recorded an episode of Dr. Phil that I planned on watching, but I got bored and almost deleted it multiple times. Every time I went to delete it, I felt very strongly that I should watch it and finally I did. It was an episode where parents could ask various medical DR's questions, and one of the families featured seemed to be telling my story. The woman had two boys (ages 9 & 15) that were still pooping in thier underware and it was a nightmare for them. What I didnt know is that there is a medical condition called encompresis sp? that is part of chronic constipation. What happens is there is a hard old clog of poop in the colon which stretches the colon. Then the fresher, softer poop seeps out around it into the underware. The stimulation of the hard clog eventually causes the child to loose the ability to feel that they have to go; the rectum becomes overstimulated and so they just quit feeling the urge to go. As for the smell after the accident, well it is like wearing perfume; after a while you cant smell your perfume anymore because you become used to the smell.

My daughter and I spent years going round and round. I thought that she was just being lazy, but in reality she has a real problem. A quick trip to her doctor got us on the right path. He prescribed Miralax, which is really great, and keeps her regulated, but I forget to give it to her. A week ago, I decided to try her on Activia since she can get it for herself, and it has worked wonders. She has pooped in the toilet every day she has eaten it.

Good luck.

Make it his responsibilty to clean himself and his clothes up when he poops. And absolutly no diapers. He is obviously in a power struggle with this portion of growing up and it is the last thing that children have absolute control over. Also if there is any instability in the houshold they will also present with this problem at this age. Good luck and tell them to stick with it and it will get better.

First of all, do kindergarden will take him if he can't go to the bathroom by himself. They need to get him back into underwear. They should go through the potty training basics and start from the beginning. Maybe taking him to the bathroom every 1/2 hour will help with him pooping in his pants. But the most important thing is that they need to be consistant with him.

This situation is extreme. I would either have the pediatrician recommend a child psychologist for the family, or call Children's Hospital, where they have a clinic for children with poop/pee problems.

First of all, has he seen his pediatrician or a GI specialist about his issue? There could be more going there. Pain or discomfort? Fears? I would recommend those to start. Also, kids need consistancy, so trying to put him on a schedule to poop, for example 10-15 minutes after every meal, have him sit on the potty to go or try to go. Start with small rewards or even a "star chart" to earn rewards. Positive reinforcement works great. Punishing does not. I know from experience with my 5 year old son. He has seen a specialist and these are all things he has recommened as well. Good luck. Hope it helps. I know how frustrating this phase is...Thankfully, my middle son has never had this issue.

You know, when it comes to elimination, we always choose to believe the child KNOWS when to go and has complete and full control over it. This is NOT always the case.

Has he had a complete physical exam AND has he had an evaluation with a child psychiatrist (the medical doctor, not the therapist) for THIS??

If a child is in an abusive situation or has been sexually abused, this is common.

If the child has a colon, anal, or rectal problem, this is common. (think Pain when releasing will cause a child to avoid bowel movements)

Also, remember, in a child's life, there is only one or two things they have control of; what they put in their mouths and how they eliminate it. AND, let's face it, the eliminating is the one they have the MOST power over. This is an area where pushing you're own will proves futile and frustrating. Stop with the punishments and focus on the other good things he does...this is becoming TOO much of the focal point in their relationship with him--their whole world is all about his bowels.

So, if they're going to be upset about it; take him to a good CHILD PSYCHIATRIST for a thorough evaluation, take him to get a complete physical exam to rule out structural or functional difficulties, and allow him the pleasure of cleaning up after himself--stop making it an issue and HE'LL stop making it an issue whether it's in his control or not.

Avoid assuming anything.

Not that this will help much, but... My daughter, who is 5, keeps resorting back to the same thing. I've noticed that she would just rather play with poo in her pants than take the time to go. The time has lengthened inbetween the accidents since I stopped putting so much pressure on her. I just take her home (if we're out) clean her up, make her do most of that, I even make her clean her underware out in the toilet. Then she has One punishment, no time in the basement for the rest of the day. The computer and play room are in our basement. All I do is remind her why she can't go downstairs, and she has to find something else to do. At first it was only days, then a week, almost a month,and now it's been just over a month since the last accident. Good luck!

sometimes the kid just wants attention. Bad attention is still attention. If they just stop punishing him and - i've heard some parents say that they would make the kids stay in the clothes they pooped in (of course cleaning up the poop) that that would help them not do it because they don't like to stink. and people dont like to be around them when they stink... So they could try that... Haven't been thru it personally, but good luck!

Hi T.,
They have to stop punishing him immediately and take him to a Doctor. There are many great pediatric Docs that will have helpful ideas. Have them look up a Developmental Pediatrician in their area. Also they need to make the school aware of the situation. Most public schools do not have toileting assistants. They may have to take hime to a different school in the district until they can figure out this situation.
Take care,

Unfortunatly because he's still in diapers, the school may not take him until he's been potty trained. If he's excited about going to school, that may be the ticket. They need to explain to him that if he doesn't start using the toilet like a big boy then he may not get to go to school like a big boy. He's old enough to understand everything now, so hopefully he's like other kids and is excited to be going to school to make new friends and so on. The threat may be the only thing that works and sadly it's a real threat.
Good Luck

Oh goodness, it sounds like it is time for a GI doctor. Peeing is one thing, but soiling at his age. I am willing to bet it is pretty stinky and loose (not quite diariah but not formed) My son has chronic infantile diariaha diagonsed at two. I have IBS so it was easy for me to spot. Now he is just clasified as a low tolerance child. He does not eat dairy, soy (bean), nor corn (including corn syrup). Preservative are a big no like the soys and corn syrups in produced foods. BHT. This means we eat organic, 100% natural (packed in natural juices and citric acid) and cook a lot. there are some products that are fine like Lays plain potatoe chips and Back to Nature Grahm sticks. but the list is limited and expensize. and, we all feel better not eating that proessed stuff anyway. But i bet your nephew can't control his bowels...otherwise, he would be going on the toilet. We see Dr. Rosenweig and love him as he is very kind and has kids himself.

Hi T. - Your friend may want to check out this website: www.peepclinic.com If she doesn't live in Colorado, they probably can provide her with a list of resources in her area.

She can also inquire about programs at her local Children's Hospital. The one in Denver has something called "Dry Time Clinic" ###-###-####

Both of these deal with all ranges of elimination problems.

Hope that helps to point you in the right direction!

This sounds like Encopresis. Here is one website:


My son had this condition and it took us a very long time to diagnose and come up with a treatment plan. It is important that this child get treated soon. Once he hits school it will make his social life VERY hard...trust me, I know. My son had a terrible time in elementary school because of this condition. We finally used a treatemnt plan from this website: www.soilingsolutions.com. It was a godsend and I'm happy to say that it completely cured our son. I hope this helps!

Hi T.,

A suggestion I would have would be to create a reward chart. Each day he does not poop his pants he gets to put a sticker or smily face on the chart. Once he gets five in a row or whatever works for you have him get a reward (small toy or out for ice cream or something he would want. Good luck!

I would definetly quit putting him in diapers. Make him uncomfortable about it. I also agree that he should have to clean up the mess-he is old enough to be responsible for his own messes. Then maybe a lot of support and being positive would help a lot.

It sounds like encopresis, punishing him will not help but only make it worse.You should look it up on line and get educated on the condition.There is a Dr. who specializes in this, his name is Dr Robert Collins and his website is www.soilingsolutions.com. This is an incredibly stressful situation for both the child and the parent.It's easy to judge but just try to have compassion for them.It took us years to find out about encopresis and I believe Dr Collins' program has saved our daughter.

make him stay in his poop, dont' let him wear diapers. he'll learn

I have to say that I agree with Holly on this one.

This isn't your child and so he isn't your responsibility unless you are watching him for your brother and his girlfriend. Then you've got some say in the matter, especially if you are having to clean up after him.

At this point in time, unless they are asking you for advice, it may be better for your relationship with your brother and his girlfriend if you just watch and observe what they are doing or aren't doing and file it all away for your own reference.

Keep in mind all the potty training advice that you've gotten and will get but you also need to remember that all kids develop differently.

He may have some medical problem that makes it hard for him to control his bowel movements until just before he goes. He also just may not be interested right now.

So be supportive of your brother and his girlfriend. Offer advice if and when they ask, but don't badger them or force advice on them. Unsolicited advice, especially when you are doing everything you can think of, tends to make people feel like they are being accused of being a bad parent.

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