Updated on March 25, 2008
P.G. asks from Bethel Park, PA
7 answers

Hi! My 7 year old son has been dealing with encopresis since he was three. I'm losing my mind!! Can anyone relate???

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answers from York on

Hi ya P., have no fear....I does drive you crazy but it is ok. I have a few questions for you? Does he take laxatives prescribed by a doctor? I have a few things I know that can help you to make it easier on you. My son is 8 and still on his medicine, which really helps regulate his bowels. Taken in the evening before bed helps, because he can relax better. We have been dealing with our son since he was two...he had confidence issues on the toilet. I actually bought him a toilet seat that latches on the toilet and makes him feel like a big boy. Also when your son goes to the bathroom, sit with him and talk (it helps to relax them) and do a game I call make a balloon, it helps with the actual flexing of his intestines and stomach area. Make him suck in a large breath and release it out, making his muscles contract. As for my son, I have found that tighty whites don't help this situation, and boxers are the way to go. Let me know if any of this helps....I got plenty of ideas. I got frustrating at first but it does get better.



answers from Harrisburg on

Hi P.,

I can definitely relate although I haven't been going through it for quite as long as you. My son (almost 5 years old) had this problem since he was 3, but he has dealt with irregularity since infancy. I got to a point where I was washing underwear up to 10 times a day and going back and forth to pull-ups because it was just easier! I finally diagnosed the problem myself because my pediatrician didn't take the condition seriously enough. I ended up taking him to the hospital to be "cleaned out" about 6 weeks ago and since then he's taken miralax every morning. We also do timed potty sits about 20-30 minutes after each meal. P., I gotta tell you, this has worked wonders. Occassionally we have an accident, but it isn't encopresis, it's because he can't make it to the potty fast enough. He still doesn't realize the urge to go. This will take time, hence the timed potty sits. I found an interesting site- aboutencopresis.com - that really helped me finally realize how real his problem was and that other people go through this as well. There's tons of advice on this site and methods that have worked for other moms. Good luck, keep trying, and hopefully you won't lose your mind!




answers from Pittsburgh on

wow i can totally relate/ My daughter has this. She is 5 and 1/2 and we have been dealing with it since she was 2. She still does not go poo in the toliet. After reading what everyone has said to you its made me realize how ive been dealing with this issue. (Not really good) I even figured by now she should be able to go to the bathroom. If you ever want to talk or vent you can email me. [email protected]____.com. I havent taken her to a gastroentologist yet but that is my next step. She does take Miralax which is prescribed by her peditrician. If your son does need a prescribtion see if your doctor can give you one that way your insurrance will help with the cost of the medicine. I know its sold over the counter but its expensive and if you can get through your insurrance I would defiantely do that.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I sure do feel your pain with this. My son is turning 11 and we have been dealing with it since 3 also.he stayed in pull ups till about 3rd grade. it took 2 years just for {ALL} the doctors,specialist to even dignose him with this. we used mirlax,mineral oil,enemas,unifiber you name it we used it. after we got the right dignoses and many years of wanting to scream and pull my hair out. I searched the web and found web sites with other moms dealing with it. if you would like to chat and see what we did that helped us you can email me anytime. {[email protected]____.com}. it takes alot of tough love to get through this ,but it does help being ontop of it.



answers from Erie on

My son, now 10yo, has encopresis. I found out all I needed to know at this website: http://www.aboutencopresis.com/ and they have a discussion board, too.

One thing the website will tell you, and that my own doctor verified, is that it is NOT a behavioural or psychological problem, it is a medical problem with psychological effects. Typically there is a bout of constipation that happens when the child is very young. With some children, it sets off a chain reaction which effectively damages the muscles and nerves in the lower part of the colon. In order to heal and retrain the muscles, regular "sits" on the toilet after eating train the colon to work the way it is suppose to, and the use of meds like Mirilax assist in keeping the stool soft so it passes easily with little "pushing".

My son had a barium enema with x-ray to rule out a specific genetic disorder of the colon that causes encopresis. It did. Then we were refered to a pediatric gastroenterologist who looked over the x-rays again and prescribed the Miralax and "sits" protocol, and we saw the gastro nurse for follow up nutritional counseling. A high fiber diet is very very important in their diet.

Doctors typically will not consider a diagnosis for encopresis because stool potty training can take until children are 6yo on the "normal scale." You can start the "sits" schedule on your own and buy Mirilax over the counter, make sure your little one drinks enough fluids so the Mirilax can do its job!

I hope that was helpful and please contact me via this site if you'd like to talk more about it. My son has an IEP for a reading disability and we actually had clean up and toilet protocol written into his IEP, he is allowed to use the bathroom whenever he feels the need, for instance. And he is verbally encouraged to use it after meals. Clean up procedures are also written in.



answers from York on

Hi P., Yes I can relate! My daughter went through that from ages 5 until about 10.....which is what we were told to expect.....that it often takes until the child is a preteen to resolve the problem. Our Dr. had us use a routine where my daughter had to spend 5 minutes on the toilet (we used a timer)every morning and every evening. In addition, laxatives and suppositories could be given if needed. And ,since it is a behavorial, as well as medical problem, our Doc, suggested, she wash her soiled undies. We put rubber gloves on her and tried this and I tell you, P., it absolutely made her gag! I felt bad for her, however she did improve how often she was holding. On our own we decided to educate her about her anatomy, and got some library books with great pictures, and explained how her digestive system worked, and why it was so important to dispose of the waste from your body, when your body tells you to....don't hold it, don't keep playing, etc..We did everything the Dr. said and more, it all helped, sometimes only in spurts, mostly it seems like it's a matter of time,emotional maturity and physical growth. Best of luck! If you have questions for me my e-mail is [email protected]____.com.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi my name is Tahiyya and i too have a 7 year old that has encopresis and a 4 yr old who doesnt . I stay at home also and been with my husband for 10 years as well. I know your frustration with the encopresis. My son manages to make through the school day without soiling or should i say at least no one noticing it. I really need to turn back to work and i dont know how this is going to work for me.The GI did an exam and said he feels sensation it is a matter of him just getting up and going.I think he may need to see a psychologist. I dont know if it is control issues or what someone threw this at me. Well anyway P. it is nice to meet you and im sorry i havent given much advice but wanted to let you know you are not alone.

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