23 answers

My 4 Year Old Still Poops in His Pants

I am not sure how to approach this situation. I took my 4 year old to the Gastro Doctor for constipation. My son is on Miralax twice a day. He holds his poop when he is on the potty so therfore he has lost some sinsation to feel the urge to poop. We had to do the whole cleaning out process( that was a mess) anyway now he is going regularly, but he will not tell me when he has to go until he has already gone and he says I need to go sit on the potty. Im not sure if he has his sensation back or if he is just being stubborn. I don't want to punish him but I am at a loss. I have tried everything to a Potty chart, rewards buying presents etc.... Help any suggestion.

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Well I have started potty time and so far twice this week he has came and told me he needed to potty. there has been just a little bit in his underwear, but I made him sit on the potty until he pooped, We will keep trying this, We went to walmart and got him a suprise for pooping twice in the potty this week. hopefully it will keep working. Thank you all for your advice. Thats what I love about this website. Everyone is so nice and actually takes time out to read peoples problems and help them out. Thanks You again. J.

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Although my son did not have the medical issues we did have problems with him pooping in his pants. My mom told me at the time that it was fairly typical of boys at that age, they do not want to stop playing long enough to take care of business. My solution was I made him wash out his own underwear everytime there was an accident and then take a bath. He soon decided it was quicker to go to the toilet on his own. L.

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I agree with the Ginger S and Ginger B. Whatever you do, do not punish him. He will get it down when he is physically adn psychologically ready. Put him in pull-ups and try to predict his "poop schedule" and schedule potty time. It won't last forever. He's been through enough with the "cleaning out process" and doctors. He may relating pooping sensation to all of that. I think if you just put a pull-up on to minimize the mess (which he may not like if he's in big boy pants already), and be patient then it will happen. Hang in there and love him and praise him - potty issues and food issues can cause the most psychological issues later in life.

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I agree with the Ginger S and Ginger B. Whatever you do, do not punish him. He will get it down when he is physically adn psychologically ready. Put him in pull-ups and try to predict his "poop schedule" and schedule potty time. It won't last forever. He's been through enough with the "cleaning out process" and doctors. He may relating pooping sensation to all of that. I think if you just put a pull-up on to minimize the mess (which he may not like if he's in big boy pants already), and be patient then it will happen. Hang in there and love him and praise him - potty issues and food issues can cause the most psychological issues later in life.

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I read a couple of your answers and i agree with Becky B (I'm V. C. Maybe there's a kindred spirit there! LOL) Kids need to know that THEY have responsibilities and consequences. Why should Mom have to do all the 'dirty work' that the kids caused. I'm not cruel, but I have 4 fairly well-adjusted adult children and 3 wonderful Grandkids. Parenting has been pretty much my 'life', but I don't cater to kids as if they're ALL I live for. They're gonna find out soon in the 'real world' that everything's not done for them, so the earlier they learn to have personal character and be independent, the better they'll feel about themselves. (I have a brother-in-law who had seizures all his life, and my mother-in-law pretty much 'kept' him (even when he was married). Now, he's 53, she's in a nursing home, and he's stuck with her house and 2 vehicles to care for with no income . . . My point is that we can 'over-do' the parenting thing. Rewards are great, but negative consequences are also a part of life.

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You probably already know this but I was told to make sure that the child's feet are firmly on the ground or on a stool. This way they don't have to tighten there legs muscles while sitting on the potty. Also use one of the potty trainers that fit onto a regular potty. This sits right on top. It helps them not to fall into the potty. Now all muscles are relaxed. This is where they can sit comfortable and read a book, listen to soothing music, etc.

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My daughter had issues with her bowel movements too. I was convinced she would never get out of "pull ups" before high school. My suggeston is patience! patience! patience! He is experiencing anxiety about having bowel movement, so do NOT punish for his accidents, instead praise every time you see a measure of success. We did reward our daughter when she used the potty, or even tried to use the potty with little motivaters, like little toys and or an M&M candy (one or two). He is probably ready to get over this hurdle very soon, but he has to do it on his own time. Learning takes time and everyone does it differently. The less of a big deal you make it, the better. Just calmly help him into a fresh pair of pants, and speak positively about how good he'll feel when he can use the potty. He'll feel clean, fresh and grown up!

Just know that it will work out, and he'll get it in time...
Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

Although my son did not have the medical issues we did have problems with him pooping in his pants. My mom told me at the time that it was fairly typical of boys at that age, they do not want to stop playing long enough to take care of business. My solution was I made him wash out his own underwear everytime there was an accident and then take a bath. He soon decided it was quicker to go to the toilet on his own. L.

1 mom found this helpful

I would emphaize cleanliness. Instead of wiping him off like a diapered baby. Have him stop all fun and head straight to the bathroom for a bath. Gently explain how big boys want to be clean and if an accident happens that it is important to bathe. Teach him how to wash, then follow up with your own washing. Explain that whenever he poops in his clothes that it will have to be taken care of in this clean (more time consuming manner.) Since he is 4, lessons on why and how we wash clothes might help him too. So involve him in the process of washing the soiled clothes. In no way should this be punitive, but more a way to help him have a more mature understanding of proper hygene. Good luck!

This is going to sound gross, but it has worked on both of my girls and I only had to use this approach with them twice each time. If your son is in underpants and has an accident, kindly take him to the batroom and dump out as much of the mess as you can into the toilet. Then, put the underware in the toilet and have him physically help you wash them out in the toilet. It really grosses the child out and they say they don't like it, etc. Then you can nicely tell them that mommy doesn't like to wash them out either becuase it is yucky! And tell them that the next time they go in their underpants that they will have to help you again. The next time, you need to be sure to follow through and have them help you again even if they don't want to.

After two times, my girls knew I was serios and never had another accident. I know it sounds nasty, but their hands will wash, just like yours will and it is worth it.

I had this same challenge with my sons. The problem is most of the time they get to stand when going to the potty so unless they have to sit they may not realize they need to poop. We went through the same process with the gastroenterologist and constipation and Miralax. My sons now take Calm a natural calcium/magnesium combination (available at Whole Foods) because even though they say Miralax is not addictive, I'm not so sure about that. Anyway when my youngest son was in pre-school he would stand on his toes and actively try to hold the bowel until he could get home. So they knew when he was standing on tip toe to make him go sit on the toilet. At home every other visit to the toilet, he is required to sit still at least five minutes to help keep the body communication open to having bowels. The problem only got worse when entering school because he just did not want to have a poop anywhere but home. All the males in my household tend to be that way. With your diligent effort this issue will subside, my son is now 6yo and rarely has an accident or holds it too long before going whether he is at school or home. I try to give him the Calm (a powder it mix in his juice) the same time every day and he usually poops about the same time each day. I just think it is a little more difficult for little boys than with little girls, we have to sit all the time and they have to decide whether to sit or stand. Most little boys will stand if they can because it is faster. Keep up the good work and be careful not to chastise, that may confuse him. Just put more emphasis on praising when he poops on his own. A. Burnette, Hillsborough, NC

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