Help! My 6 Year Old Is Still Having Accidents

Updated on December 23, 2009
A.B. asks from Anoka, MN
8 answers

My daughter is 6 years old and has been potty trained since the age of 2 1/2. This past summer, she began a span of having accidents for about a week and a half. (by accidents i mean pooping in her underware) i had no idea what to do and after a little while, she just stopped. she did it again a couple of times here and there and someone suggested having her wash out her own underware. well the last few days, she is having the accidents again. yesturday i smelled poop and immedietly knew it was my 6 year old and not my 2 year old (anyone else see a problem with this?) i am so fed up with this. i don't know why she is doing this and i need for it to stop. she is not sick, but has come home from school twice now with her underware filled. she will got the rest of the day at school sitting in her own feces until she gets home. most the time, she won't tell me, she'll just leave the "surprise" on the bathroom floor for me to find and then ask her about it. she knows she will be getting on the rubber gloves and washing them out. wouldn't that make someone want to stop?!?! please help!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

A visit to the doctor and also google what encopresis means. It is a condition that my sister had as a kid because she held her poop in all the time.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Well, get her a medical exam first to see that nothing is going on health-wise. Perhaps it's something as simple as constipation or something more serious.

While you're meeting with the pediatrician, see if she can recommend a therapist. Perhaps she's dealing with something that is frighteing or worrying her, or somthing is going on at school that she's not talking about. Perhaps she's dealing with something like clinical depression, or a stress-related disorder.

I'd definitely get medical help and perhaps the advice of a child therapist before resorting to punishment as your first course of action. Definitely, talk to her and see if something has happend recently that would cause her to suddenly let something so embarrassing happen to her while she's at school. I'm sure the kids are talking! Maybe call the teacher and see how she's handling the problem. If you smell it, they can too.

If this continues you'll probably get a call from the teacher, the school's counselor or nurse. I'd contact the teacher first and see if she's noticed anything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I wonder if she has constipation and is actually accidentally pooping in her pants. This is actually common and you should look into that possibility. if it is constipation then she should see a pediatric gastroenterologist or a Nurse Practitioner that specializes in constipation. I did a rotation in a "Constipation Clinic" that adjoined a Children's Hospital and your situation sounds just like the patients we saw there. Even if you're not sure if it is constipation, a Gastrointestinal clinic could help. Hope this helps.



answers from Minneapolis on

Power Struggles!

I would TOTALLY make her 100% responsible for her accidents. I wouldn't help a bit, make her clean the mess, wash out the pants and find new clothes to wear.

Does her classmates and teacher not notice the poop smell?



answers from Minneapolis on

Well, I don't know that punishing your child for this is really the best solution. Do you KNOW that she is doing this to misbehave? Unless you are absolutely sure there is no physical or emotional cause I think punishment is a very bad approach.

Perhaps she does have a physical issue. Constipation being one of the most common causes like something like this. Is it emotional? What about her day? Does she only do this at school? Maybe it is something simple like she is afraid to ask the teacher to be excused or she doesn't want to miss recess or playtime to go and then it is too late. If the smell is really acute, she might be getting teased by the other kids in school which could be mortifying. Have you spoken to her teacher about this? How is she doing?

You could always try cloth training pants for a while if you think that might help. That way you don't have to toss the underwear. Imse Vimse ( and Happy Heinys make some that look just like regular underwear but are made for issues like this. Check those out.

Hope you figure this out soon. I am sure your daughter is so embarrassed by it all.

Good luck.



answers from Duluth on

I'm wondering why nobody at school is DOING anything about this!!! I mean, surely you can smell it, and allowing a 6 year old to sit in her own feces is nigh unto neglect! Wow. I would take her to see her doctor, pronto, as well as talking to her teacher and/or the school nurse. Perhaps your daughter is simply the kind of kid who NEEDS to go at a certain time of day, and she's not willing/able to go at that time at school. But I think before you take a disciplinary approach, you should be asking medical questions. What does your daughter say when you ask why this is happening? My son, who is 5 in and in kindergarten, would be MORTIFIED to have poop in his pants and school--not to mention the fact that other kids would notice and make fun of him! He would definitely be inclined to tell me whether he felt bad, or couldn't get to the bathroom (some teachers are strict about bathroom times), or what the deal is. Perhaps she even has an issue with food she's served or something. Good luck--yucky problem to have to deal with!



answers from Madison on

Have you had a calm conversation with her asking her why she thinks this is happening? Is she being defiant or does she seem sad and embarrassed? It could stem from constipation. It hurts to go so she holds it in and then can't hold it any longer.

Sounds like she may not be doing it on purpose and is VERY embarrassed. She probably doesn't want to tell anyone, so she stays in dirty underwear at school until she can change when she gets home. It must be horrible for her! Don't punish her. Talk to her, talk with her doctor until you can get it figured out. Her teacher must be aware of it. You can't really hide the smell. Send some fresh underwear and pants so she can discreetly change if it happens at school.



answers from Omaha on

I agree with a couple of the other posts, you should take her to the doctor and see first if it is possibly a problem with constipation. I know it sounds strange to be having accidents if this is the problem but I went through the same thing with one of my boys. The colon can actually become enlarged if it is a continuing problem and cause them to have accidents off and on or even several times a day. My son ended up having a series of barium enemas at the hospital to clean him out and reduce the size of his colon back to normal. He was also put on Miralax for some time. We changed his diet to include a lot more fruit and less dairy. It took some time, but the combo of these treatments solved the problem for good. Encopresis is another possibility, again ask your doctor and see if he/she recommends your child seeing a counselor. Good luck!

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