38 answers

My 7 Year-old Son Keeps Having Accidents in His Underwear.

I have a 7 year old son has always had loose stools ever since I can remember. He was effectively potty trained at 3 1/2 years old. About a year and a half later he started having poop accidents in his underwear. Ever since then he has an accidental BM probably twice a week, sometimes more in a bad week. He seems to be just as surprised as I am when I take him to the restroom. He has no aversion to the bathroom or issues with laziness, I truly think he doesn't realize he has leaked until it is too late. He never has any urine accidents. I am truly at my wits end with what to do about this. We have tried rewards, punishments you name it, to make him more aware of his need to go early if he feels an urge, but they just don't work. It's gotten to the point that he doesn't want to pull down his underwear for fear that he might find that he's soiled and we might get angry. Has anyone had any experience with this and what worked? I am unable to put him on any fiber supplements to bulk up his stool, because he is allergic to wheat.

What can I do next?

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My assistant's son was having a similar problem and they even kept him back in kinder a year. Finally, they decided to take him to a pediatrician and found after a lower GI that he was impacted and probably had been for a very long time. After a weekend of enemas and a week of watching everything he ate he was cleaned out and hasn't has a problem since. See a pediatrician.....

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Hi C.. I haven't had to deal with this problem, but as an otherwise experienced mother of two, I would advise you to talk to your pediatrician about this problem. There is no reason at all to ever get angry with him about these accidents. As you already know, he is not happy about it himself. In addition to a talk with the pediatrician, I would check into exactly what he is eating. Sugarfree foods, candies, etc. may be to blame. I would keep a diary of what he eats each day and also when the accidents seem to occur. Get him to go to the bathroom whether he feels the urge or not every hour and check himself and also try to go at those times.

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Hi C.,

Looks like other responders have said what I would think it is. My 8 year old son has encopresis. He has many other physical problems as well as wasn't considered potty trained until he was 5, so it took us awhile to figure out the underwear soiling was not a potty training thing. We took him to a pediatric gastroenterolist who confirmed the encopresis. Since he has a feeding disorder, his diet contributes to his "functional" constipation. He truly isn't aware of the "skid marks" (some of them Big Time!) until he pull his pants down to pee. He doesn't see aware of the need to poop until "the turtle head is poking out"!

How we manage it most of the time is to provide a "toilet sit" each evening within 30 minutes after dinner. He gets to sit with his Gameboy on the toilet and give his body an opportunity to go. Something about sitting on the toilet opens your bottom up, gravity helps it along and much of the time this does the trick and he goes fairly quickly. If he goes more than 2-3 days without a BM, then we do a week or so of Miralax. I don't keep him on this all the time because then we get the opposite effect! This helps to greatly reduce soiling in the school/daycare setting. And believe me, these entities just don't know what to do with an 8 year old who "poops in his pants" and it is embarrassing to all involved.

Good luck to you in finding a workable solution to your child's problems.

K. Howell
Mother to 8 year old Caleb and 5 year old Weston and wife to Wayne

1 mom found this helpful

My assistant's son was having a similar problem and they even kept him back in kinder a year. Finally, they decided to take him to a pediatrician and found after a lower GI that he was impacted and probably had been for a very long time. After a weekend of enemas and a week of watching everything he ate he was cleaned out and hasn't has a problem since. See a pediatrician.....

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe call your pediatrician to rule out any health issues...especially since it seems to surprise him.
I had issues when my daughter was much younger. The doc helped me out with advice (no health problems.) But once she learned, she never went back to soiling her underpants. I wish I could help more...but I would definitely call the doc.

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Both my kids have wheat/gluten allergies too! Does he eat alot of fruit? Maybe that's the cause of his loose stools. I've heard bananas stop up bowels, maybe try that. Good luck!

S.

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The biggest issue here is how you deal with his situation and it should be only with love and compassion...no more threats or punishments. He obviously isn't in control of his body any more than you are when you blink your eyes (wouldn't want someone to punish you for that).
I would wager that it is probably another food allergy...If you have an allergist already, I would talk to them.

If not, sometimes the liquid bowel can be a sign of an intestinal blockage and the only thing that can get through is the liquid part of the stool. You would need to have him seen by a gastroenterologist who can do a lower GI series (not pleasant at all, but can rule out blocking cancers or tumors of the GI tract).

Either way, treat this as an illness, not a behavior and do what you can to help him get the treatment he needs.

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This truly sounds like a medical issue, not a behavioral one. If his stools are continuously that loose, I have to assume a food allergy or digestive issue. It sounds like her truly can't control his BM;s regularly. I would not punish or berate him in any way, I would take him to your doctor, and if you don't get anywhere there, try alternative medicine, a dietician, herbalist, etc.

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Take him to a pediatric GI doctor. This sounds like a medical problem to me. I have a child with a GI problem. I am also an RN.
Good Luck.
L.

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