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2.5-year-old is pooping in her panties

October 2005

I am looking for some advice on potty-training my 2 1/2 year old. We are mostly successful in this endeavor. She goes number one in the potty with babysitters and at school without fail. She usually goes number one in the potty when we are out and at home. We are having a tough time with number two. She goes in her panties more often than not. We have talked repeatedly about how poopy goes only in the potty, but it doesn't seem to help. Fir instance, yesterday, she went number one in the potty while at a friend's house and then five minutes later started to go poop in her panties. has anyone successfully dealt with this issue? How? -anon


Doesn't sound like she's ready to fully potty train. She has to make that decision for herself, so I recommend diapers or pullups (whatever's easiest for you) until she's ready. It will reduce stress (and laundry) for the whole family. As far as speeding up that decision, you can try rewards/bribery or indirect peer pressure (ie, telling her ''Susie NEVER poops anywhere but the potty, did you know that?'') It might work, and it might not. Just have patience and don't stress about this ... it will all resolve itself soon. -- Been there!
This was exactly our experience with our three year old. She figured out number 2 about 4 months after she mastered number 1. It just takes a little while to get the hang of it. I think there is just some discomfort with the concept for some kids. One thing we did was give her ''privacy'' in the bathroom, even leaving for a couple minutes, or just stepping away to give her some room. I'm not sure if that made a difference, but there was point where it just clicked and she never pooped in her panties again. Lori

3-year-old daughter keeps pooping in her underwear

December 2006

Or daughter is just about 3 years old and seems to be getting the potty training down for the most part for her pee pee. But when it comes to pooping in the potty, she keeps going in her underwear. We have tried everything- treats, stickers, new underwear she really likes - as well as threatening to put her back in diapers or pull ups full time(which she HATES). She keeps saying she understands but then keeps pooping in her underwear. We are 2 full time working parents so are trying are hardest but it seems her nanny and preschool teachers keep having to clean up the messes. Any advice to what has worked or not worked? We are at our wits end and just don't know what else to do. We have kept her pants off for the whole day but then she seems to hold going #2 until she is clothed again. She has said it doesn't feel good so knows it is not the right thing to do but just hasn't made the connection to go in the potty
Frustrated mom


Put her back in pull-ups, I'm sorry to say. Exactly the same thing happened with my son at the same age, and he really wanted to stay in undies. But we were losing our minds cleaning all the pants and finally just explained, ''Look, Sweetie. We're not mad at you, and this isn't a punishment. You just need some more practice, and pull-ups are for practice. This way, you can relax while you learn. When you keep your pullups clean for a few days, then you can go back to underpants.''

It killed us to do that, but after going back, he was happier and more relaxed, we were happier and more relaxed, and everyone could just enjoy themselves. Six months later (yes, six months!), he has decided, completely on his own, that he's ready. And there it is: He's pooping on the toilet, no help or prodding from us. Finally!


I had a similar situation in that my daughter was completely potty trained for pee, but insisted on pooping in her diaper for quite some time. She clearly knew when she had to go poop, she had total control over it, but she would ask for a diaper. Not at ALL interested in sitting on the potty, for the longest time. Eventually it stopped and she pooped in the potty (I can't remember when). Maybe you can ask your daughter if she would like to poop in a diaper rather than her underwear, and encourage her to ask for a diaper when she has to go. Sometimes kids feel weird about pooping in the potty; it feels strange to them, I've read. Regardless, everything I've read about potty training is that you really cannot and should not try to force your child to do something they are not ready to do. It is one of the very few things they have absolute control over and the more pressure you put on them the less likely they will be to change. I would be most annoyed by the mess it is for you, which is why I would maybe offer the diaper to your daughter - just for pooping; and not shame her about it, or say that she's not a big girl - rather just say something like, ''It seems like you're not ready to poop in the potty yet, how about if you use a diaper until you're ready, so you don't mess up your underwear'' - something like that.

Good luck. Don't worry, it'll happen, just try not to pressure her. I know it's hard
anon


Do NOT pressure or shame your toddler around using the potty. It will probably only make her resist even more. My daughter didn't potty train until she was around 3 and 1/2 and my son didn't fully until he was almost 4. My daughter was very high energy and my son tends to get very engaged and both of them just couldn're remember to get there in time. It's not worth the stress or pressure you are putting on her, especially with a new sibling coming soon. Just put her in pull-ups or diapers until she feels she is ready. She might notice that her friends are wearing panties or might, after a week, decide she wants to try again, or it might take a year. I know it is a pain to have 2 in diapers (my kids were 2 years apart, so I did this for over a year) but it is just not worth getting so upset over. My son, who is almost 5, still has poop accidents occasionally when he is too engaged in something to get to the potty. Just don't stress over it. There are way more important things to focus on!! good luck jenn

4 year old seems to be leaking poop 3-4 times a day

March 2009

My almost 4 year old has been lightly soiling his underpants for the past couple of weeks. He's been potty trained for over a year. He's not doing a full ''poop'' in his pants, but rather he passes some gas and a little bit of poop comes out -- this is what he's told me happens. I guess the slang term is ''skidmarks'' but, without going into too much detail, there's a bit more poop then that! He's never done this before and his diet hasn't changed at all. It happens even if he's really pooped that day-- before or after the poop. Its getting worse now. About 3 or 4 times a day he comes to find me with his pants down at his ankles and his underpants are a bit soiled. This never happens at preschool, hmmm. My 5 month old doesn't poop this much! The worst part is that I catch him with his hands in his pants and he sometimes touches his poop (TMI I know!). I'm worried about him spreading the poop around our home. I'm also not sure why this is happening because if he has to really ''poop'' he goes right to the toilet. Does anyone have experience with this? Will it pass? Today I finally told him that he had to clean himself up as I was busy, and he did do it (best he could). But what could this be? Need more underpants!


Hello Skidmark Mom, This sounds oh-so familiar to me. And, it took me a while to figure it out. I, too, felt my son was potty trained. I, too, felt that he would go potty when he needed to. But then, one day, I figured it out--he was trying really hard NOT to poop at that particular moment, and in the process of holding it in, it would ''peek out'' and make the mark. On occasion, the tip (sorry for being graphic) would break off, and that would cause there to be a ''pebble'' in his pants. I tested this theory--the next time I found the pebble I made him sit on the toilet. ''Five minutes or until a poop comes out, whichever is first'' Ker-plunk. Poop. Why was he trying not to go poop? Well, he was having too much fun at school or at home, or just couldn't be bothered. So, we started a new rule. Every day, after supper, no matter what--he has to sit on the potty for 5 minutes or until a poop comes out. This has trained his body to poop after supper, I think, because more often than not--ker-plunk! And, we never had skid marks again . . . Former skidmark mom
My daughter went through a phase like this when she was first in preschool. She's now almost six and it doesn't seem to be a problem anymore. We figured out that it had more to do with her ''wiping'' technique (or lack thereof) than anything else. She was so interested in getting back to playing or doing whatever she was doing, that she really didn't want to take the time to wipe her self very well. Have you ever noticed what type of physical prowess it takes for a child to turn and wipe themselves well? I was noticing this one time when we were in the bathroom together and realized that if I put this together with being in a hurry, it was easy to see where her skidmarks came from. Hope this helps- Skid Marks No More
It sounds to me like he has been holding in his poop at school. A lot of children don;t like to poop away from home. After doing this a while, the poop has gotten clogged up and is now leaking out uncontrollably when it builds up. This is called "encopresis". You should do a google search and read up on encopresis, because if it is left to go on for too long, it can really cause some major bowel problems. Good luck!!

4.5 year old pooping in his pants

June 2006

My 4 1/2 year old daughter poops in her pants because she doesn't want to stop playing. She knows when she needs to go, but gets lazy and ''leaks'' in her pants. She doesn't seem to care about it at all. She gets diaper rash and has to clean herself up and change clothes. This happens just about every day. Any ideas? Peri


My duaghter had this problem as well. I was starting to get really irritated by the problem because I thought she was old enough to ''listen to her body'' and stop playing long enough to go to the bathroom. After doing some research on-line I found that the problem could also be related to holding the poop in and getting constipated. Apparently, when this happens, there can be leaks and they don't even realize that they've had an ''accident.'' The solution to this problem is adding more fiber and liquids to the child's diet so that constipation is less likely. This seemed to help my daughter, and while she still has accidents occasionally, it's no longer a weekly ordeal. Good luck!
I pooped in my pants until quite late (7-8 years old). My mother also thought it had to do with not wanting to stop playing, and it did, to some extent, on the clean-up side. But the reason it happened in the first place had more to do with the power of witholding and having control, although she did not realize this. Just a tip...

I eventually outgrew it and I'm really not sure there was anything she could have done. She did take me to a therapist but he was unable to find anything helpful. She also became understandably angry after dealing with it for so long. She would make me wash my own underwear (fine) and one time she lost it and literally rubbed my nose in it. I don't want to judge my wonderful mother, who is human and put up with this for so long. I can see how it happened but I would also use the incident as a warning because it caused a deep feeling of disgust with my bodily functions for awhile. And it didn't help with the problem, either
Previously poopy


5 year old boy pooping in underwear!

Oct 2010

Our son is five and just started kindergarten, which my husband and I know is a big transition for him - and he's doing pretty well, misses his preschool times though. He wears underwear during the day and pull-ups at night which are usually soaked in the morning. He had been mostly potty trained to poop in the potty since he was about 3.5 We co-sleep with him. For a while now, he will poop in his underwear during the day (or if in a pull-up in the morning on a weekend when we don't immediately change him into day clothes) poop in his pull-up. I think we need to stop the pull-ups, but because we co-sleep, my husband and I don't want to risk him peeing on the mattress...!! We notice that when he's super-focused on a video, or running around playing super actively with friends, he will pee in his pants (or actually poop, but still run around like he didn't!). I don't want to make him feel ashamed or embarrass him, but I just don't know how to get him to poop in the potty *all the time*. We talk to him all the time about how he needs to listen to his body's signals, go to the potty right away when he feels like he might have to go. I know boys can take longer to get 100% potty- trained, but can anyone give advice as to the best things we can do to get him to always use the toilet? My husband is so frustrated he tells our son things like, ''If you poop one more time in your underwear, I'm taking away a toy (or video..)...'' I think this is the totally wrong thing to say. We need alternatives and to hear other parents' stories. What had worked and not worked for those who have a 5 year old boy who has regressed with the potty-training, and who co-sleep? Is this due to the transition of starting kindergarten? Thanks for any advice!!


Give him a special treat, whether candy,food or an activity he loves, each and every time he poops in the potty. Go crazy and make a HUGE deal out of it. Yes, it is bribery, but the point is to get him to the potty so he can feel how great it is to do it. Maya
My oldeest son (now in college) pooped in his underwear occasionally till he was about 8. It was more about not wanting to stop what he was doing...sheesh!!! We started making him wash out his own underwear and clean his own mess. That stopped it. Sounds like a little more about maturity in your son then not wanting to take the time, but....make him clean it up himself once or twice...see what happens. Good luck (yuck). mom of boys
Boy, have I been there, and all I can say is, Relax, you have very little control over this, and that's OK.

This WILL pass, and it's my belief that it will pass with time, regardless of what you do or don't do. My boy is now six-and-a-half, and it's now very rare that I find skid marks in his undies, mostly because he forgets to wipe. But all the way through kindergarten he came home with poopy undies every day. I could tell that he felt shame, which I didn't want to reinforce, so I would shrug and casually soak the undies in the toilet when discovered. I would sometimes ask what happened, with sympathy, and I would hear that he didn't notice the poop coming until it was too late, or that he was in the middle of something that he couldn't bear to leave, and I would casually point out that next time he can try to remember to listen to his body, and that most things can wait for a minute while he goes to the bathroom, but that it's really ok to have poopy undies when you're 5 or 6. Privately I would wail to my friends about having to swish the poop out of undies YET AGAIN, but really, it will pass.

Your gut is right that all the chastising in the world isn't going to do it, it might actually make it worse, so just shrug and grin and bear it. You have to understand and truly believe that your little boy is doing the best he can, and one day he'll be a big boy and you'll look back on this period of vulnerability with nostalgia. swishing pro


Get rid of the pull-ups. He's five. Unless there's some developmental delay, there's no reason for him to think this is an option (which is why it probably isn't a big deal to poop in his pants). -- always amazed
You are enabling this behavior. You need to night-time potty train him. He is far too old to be in a pull-up, especially since you are clear that the only reason you have done this is to save yourself trouble. If you had tried in ernest to night-time potty train him and he could not get it, that would be a but different. But the fact that you let him pee and poop in his pants while having a diaper on means that he has made the easy translation that it is okay to pee and poop in his pants when he has underwear on. No big surprise.

Stop taking the easy way out, and potty train him. Yes, potty train him. Even though he is 5 and you should have done it long ago. Take him to the bathroom every 30 minutes or 1 hour during the day. Put a rubber sheet on the bed, wake him up several times a night to go to the bathroom, and take him first thing in the morning. He is far too old to be in diapers as a result of lazy parents. If there was something developmental going on, it would be a different issue but you admit it is because you have not put the effort in to potty train him. Come on!

And in case you need further encouragement, think about the grief he is gonna get at school when his friends realize he has pooped in his pants. That will stay around as a joke for YEARS. I feel sorry for your kid, who is only in this situation because his parents have not put in the effort to potty train him! the answer is easy: its called potty training


I missed the original post, but in case this is helpful wanted to share my experience. My son pooped in his underwear (about once a week) for years before a pediatric g.i. specialist ordered an x-ray and found out that he was extremely constipated. We tried all kinds of sticker charts and various other ideas and talked to our pediatrician and another specialist before we got the help we needed for him. Without being graphic, I can just say that we would never have guessed he was constipated! It may be worth seeing a specialist. I wouldn't assume this issue is in his control. Good luck. This too shall pass. Been there
I empathize with both you and your son. My son is now 8 and we still struggle with this issue, though we've finally figured out several things that have helped. There are a number of potential reasons why your son may be soiling himself that are not within his control--or may be in his control only if he is trained on how to manage it because there are physiological factors, in addition to, or rather than, psychological ones at play. The medical community calls this condition encopresis and it is very poorly understood. I'll share with you some of what we have learned:

1) Punishment/shaming/anger only makes it worse.

2) Regularly scheduled trips to the bathroom to sit on the toilet and try (even if he doesn't think he needs to go) are helpful--especially if done 20 minutes after eating (apparently this is the body's natural cycle).

3) Food allergies may be part of the problem--gluten, dairy, lactose, or wheat are the most common culprits (in our son's case learning the difference between lactose and dairy led us to realize that a lactose free diet greatly improved things)

4) Parasites are a potential factor (again this turned out to be one of the issues for our son, but eliminating them did not eliminate the problem entirely).

5) Soiling Solutions is an excellent online forum/resource. The most helpful pieces of advice we got there in terms of managing the issue (before we figured out what the causes were) were the idea of regularly scheduled sits 20 minutes after eating, the use of hot chocolate after the meal (think kid's version of a cup of coffee to get things moving), and monitoring that in total at least 1/2 cup of poop comes out of his body each day (there is a protocol that includes the use of suppositories or enema's for this purpose).

6) Pediatricians often recommend giving kids with encopresis stool softeners. In our experience and in the experience of others we talked with, this helped very briefly but then made things worse.

We spent a long time being angry and frustrated with our son because we thought he just didn't care enough to stop what he was doing and go use the toilet. We felt very sorry/guilty when we discovered that parasites and food allergies were really messing up his system. Addressing those issues helped more than any rewards/punishments/behavior management systems. Good luck! Julie


You can try the probiotic drink Good Belly for Kids. It comes in packs of 4 at Whole Foods or Pharmaca in the refrigerated section (next to the milk at Whole Foods). We did 10-12 days of one little carton/day, and it solved our similar problem. The problem actually got better within 2-3 days. We asked our pediatrician before tyring it, and she said it was fine to try. anon

5-year-old pooping in her pants

September 2006

My 5-year-old daughter just started Kindergarten 3.5 weeks ago and is frequently pooping in her pants. It started in July at her pre-school and started happening maybe once/week by the end of August. The pre-school said several of the ''graduating'' 4- and 5-year-olds were having a similar problem. Then since starting kindergarten, it's been twice per week and this week it's happened 3 days in a row. Two of those days during the afterschool program and one of those days before dinner while playing at a park with her Dad and sister.

I think this is something she's doing out of stress or anger, but I don't know how to appeal to her. I'm afraid of doing lifetime memorable damage because I'm becoming so frustrated and angry with the situation myself. We've tried to make her help us clean her clothes as a dis-incentive. We've been firm with her, and not very sympathetic, but in general have not over-reacted, at least in front of her. We've tried brainstorming about solving the problem together and the idea of getting back into diapers has come up. She has a mixed reaction to this -- sometime says it's fine with her, but tonight said that it was not fine. I don't want to shame her, but the practical reasons are obvious.

She gets terrible rashes (because she doesn't tell anyone there is poop in her pants until it's really uncomfortable) which then are painful to take care of.

If this is an anger thing (as answers to similar previously published posts have suggested) what are some ways I can get her to appropriately express her anger? I've emailed her pediatrician with this question, but does anyone out there have other suggestions? worried & frustrated mom


Without much ado, put her into pullups. She will not like that soon enough and will go back to her old ways of not having accidents. Be sure the kindergarten teacher is on board first, though. And, pack some extras. -Good Luck.
We went through almost the exact same thing with our son who is now 5 1/2. I think it was his reaction to so many transitions going on in his life over which he had little control. We had just moved, and then a few weeks later, he started Kindergarten. Many things don't bother me, but poop in the pants is one of them. For awhile, we were doing all the ''wrong'' things: lecturing, freaking out, constanting nagging and asking him if he had to go poo... And then after talking with a friend and realizing that these tactics were not working at all, we basically ignored it. My husband and I agreed that if and when he pooped in his pants, we'd just take him somewhere private, clean him up and send him on his way. I even told my son that if it happened again, we would not be angry with him, but that he should tell us so we can help him clean up. After 1-2 more incidences, it stopped. We would also praise him each night he kept his underwear clean. Hope this helps, good luck! - been there
I have similar issues with my just-turned-six-year-old son. We are still not at the end of it, but here are some things I have done.

1) Teach her to clean herself up without any help. I have started including a ziploc bag with two clean washcloths for my son along with underpants and pants. He uses one washcloth for himself, then cleans up the mess he made of the toilet seat etc. with the other(!) Now that he's able to do that himself, he doesn't stay in the stinky clothes all day. This should help with the rashes. Along this line there was recently a great explanation on ''how to wipe'' in the advice line in the past month.

2)My boy gets too busy to stop and use the toilet, or is unsure of what to do at times. Starting kindergarten is stressful and there are many new rules and systems to learn. I got my son a watch with a repeating alarm that vibrates. I set it for 1 hr 45 min (the recommended time is 2 hours, but this seems to work better for the rhythms of his day.) He doesn't like it, and I suspect every kid in his class knows what it's for, so once he is totally accident free (for a month? two weeks? I'll tell ya when we get there!!) he can stop wearing it. I bought it online at http://www.pottymd.com/ There's good info there too. I thought the watch was my invention, but there it is for this purpose! My guys wrist was so small for it that I bought him a velcro watchband at REI so that it would fit.

3) Talk to her teacher, talk to her teacher, talk to her teacher!! Talk to the afterschool program director and teacher too. There may just be too many things to get used to. Find ways to reduce the stress. I use a sign language sign that the teacher also employs and that helps with consistancy. Tour the school and ask where would you go to the toilet if you had to go now?

4) Take a deep breath and repeat, I love my child and I'm a great mother -- because you are!! Good luck

Professor Poopy Pant's Momma


5-year-old frequently pooping in his pant

December 2005

My son just turned 5 and is frequently pooping in his underwear still. He doesn't have a full bowel movement in his pants, but there is just enough there that he smells and stains underwear. He never has had an extended period of time without accidents, but now it seems to be even more frequent (almost daily). He does this not only when we are out, or at school, but also at home. Sometimes he says he is too busy to go to the potty. He doesn't like to wipe himself and when he does go poop in the potty at home, he wants us to do the wiping. Sometimes he seems embarrassed about this and he never wants to talk about it. Usually it is myself that is the one to mention the smell, but sometimes he brings it up first. Other parents and kids have started mentioning it to me, when I have not noticed it first. So-this has been going on for over 1 1/2 years. We have tried many things and nothing has worked. We've tried talking to him about it to find out what he thinks would help him remember, or to find out what the real issue is but he is not very communicative about this. We've tried incentives like little toys for each day without an accident or a marble jar that, when full, means a treat. Early on, I'm sorry to say, we tried a punitive approach of no dessert on a day with an accident. Needless to say, we are very frustrated that nothing works. We know he knows how to poop in the potty, so we don't understand what is going on and why he chooses to continue this behavior when I think it is embarassing to him and he knows it is disappointing to his parents. We really try not to make him feel bad or get mad, but this casual approach is also not working. Is there some deeper psychological issue here with him? Control? I should mention that in the last 3 months he has started kindergarden and his baby sister was born. A LOT to deal with I know, but this problem has been going on way before this. In general he is a happy kid and he is doing well in school and loves his sister, but we are noticing him having some trouble at home with testing limits and whining more lately and we are having to be a little more clear about letting him know what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Any advice or ideas that have worked for others out there would be much appreciated. Desperate Mom


We had a similar experience with my 4 1/2 yo son recently, although it was only for a month or so, not nearly as long as what you have been going through.

You didn't mention whether or not your son is constipated or tries to withhold his poops, but often, these types of ''skidmarks'' are a result of bowels that are at maximum capacity. Basically, he is ''leaking'' poop because his intestines are full, and it is something that he cannot control.

I would definitely consult your pediatrician -- I spoke with both my son's preschool teacher and pediatrician about this, and their take was exactly the same. We ended up administering a prescription laxative (you could do 3-4 oz of prune juice daily or a tablespoon of mineral oil) to encourage elimination, and it seems to have taken care of the problem.

Finally, if this has been going on for 1 1/2 years and it sounds like your son is either constipated or withholding, it is likely that his intestines are pretty stretched out, and that he is much less sensitive to feeling the urge to poop. You might want to ask his doc about this, but you will want to consider using a laxative for an extended period of time, so that his bowels can shrink back to normal size. Meg Zweiback's excellent book on toilet training has a chapter all about withholding that describes all of this to a T. Good luck!


Sounds like it may be encopresis, which often involves ''cleaning out'' retained stool and re-establishing regular bowel patterns. It's a fairly common pediatric problem which typically starts with constipation where stool leaks out around the retained stool mass. Over time, the child becomes less sensitive to the stretch receptors in the distended rectum and thus doesn't notice till already soiled. Your child's pediatrician should be able to help you address this problem. If other kids are starting to notice, it could start getting rather socially uncomfortable for him, so please don't wait. stay at home mom/pediatrician
This happened to my son until he was even older, and finally, when we brought it up at a dr. visit, his doctor suggested that he might have a problem with constipation. A bit of mineral oil for a few days worked wonders! It has NOT happened since. You should consult your pediatrician for dosages and such. He also gave us some handouts about this sort of thing. There's a medical term for poop leakage, I forget what it is. anony
Hi - this might seem counter-intuitive, but do you think there's a chance your son might be severely constipated? This happened to my daughter, and what was really happening was that she had a large poop she was withholding (for many reasons - control and fear of pain mostly) and there's some yucky liquidy kind of stuff that they pass involuntarily when their rectum gets distorted from holding onto the poop for so long. It seemed like this might be the case since you said he didn't actually have full-on poops in his underwear. If this is the case for you, we ended up using Miralax (Rx) until her rectum shrunk back to shape so that she could actually feel what was going on down there. - good luck!
My 5 year old neice poops in her pants daily. After all kinds of behavioral efforts, it turns out that she has a medical condition called encopresis. Her bowel is completely distended from very old, rock-like poop, and she has completely lost muscle control in her rectum. All that to say, if I were you, I would want to rule out a physical source of the problem before doing too much with the behavioral aspect. A simple x-ray should show whether the bowel is normal in size and shape or not. kris
This happened with my son throughout elementary soon and I realize in retrospect that he probably had encopresis, because it would not be a full poop, just a little bit. I didn't know about that then, though. I just thought that he was too lazy to go to the toilet until too late. Poor little boy! I hope you will ask your pediatrician about this or look it up on the internet because if it is encopresis, he can't control the poop leaking out.

Daughter, 7, pooping in pants and on the ground

March 2007

I know this forum has discussed encopresis and other issues with toilet-trained children having problems controlling bowel movements. However my child is going to be 7 in July and is still having problems. She eats lots of fruit and vegetables and is regular. I know when she will probably be ready to have a BM, I remind her to try the toilet, and she insists that she does not need to go. Then 20 minutes later she has pooped in her pants. Then I have to get her to tell me the truth about it so we can get her cleaned up. I have tried gently reminding her to pay attention to her body, encouraged her to be in charge, and tried not to make her feel ashamed. Now I am wondering if a little shame may help or if she needs medical help? The last straw was yesterday. She was playing outside and I reminded her again to try the potty. Then later she came inside and told me a ''strange animal'' had pooped outside. She took me to the site and there was a nice healthy little girl poop on the ground. I lectured her, showed my dissappointment, tried not to throttle her. Then I got a shovel and buried it. She got excited about the shovel because she likes to dig and I told her this was not a fun thing because human feces do not belong outside. She lost some privileges that afternoon, but did not seem phased by what she did at all. Do I have a puppy or a child? Help! Anonymous


My nephew went exactly through what your daughter is experiencing at age 7, too. What my brother simply did after doing everything you've done is something drastic that you might not like the ''smell of'' but it brought results. My brother made his son simply carry ''the load'' (the bigger the better) for a day to see how he liked it. After my nephew's ''yucky'' experience, he decided NEVER AGAIN to poop in his pants. He simply didn't want to go through that again. It smelled and it hurt his bottom! So this might seem drastic but she might just get the message. First you can warn her of your plan and if she still doesn't bother to change her ways, then change your way and follow through and let her carry her own ''poop'' for a day and see what the result is! Good luck!! Pooped Out
hi, i am worried about your child. i have a friend whose son was pooping in his pants at age seven and the family found out that the cause was extreme emotional stress due to a horrible event he went through. please seek immediate counselling. thanks. worried about your chlid

7-year-old's food allergy = poop accidents

April 1998

My 7 year-old son has hopefully conquered a bowel problem now that he is on a dairy free diet. He had been having occassional accidents but it wasn't until last fall that it became chronic after starting first grade and being at school all day. It was humiliating and awful for him. I confided in another mom at school who told me that he could be lactose intolerant because his symptoms sounded similar to her son. First we eliminated milk from his diet. We bought lactaid instead of cows milk, lactose free margarine and switched Mocha Mix or Rice Dream for ice-cream. He continued to have problems until we eliminated cheese (I found tofu cheese at El Cerrito Natural Grocery which he really likes).

We went through alot to get to this point. Last fall his pediatrician ran every test on him to make sure he didn't have a disease. At one point he thought it could be a behavioral problem so we tried sticker charts and a daily potty time plan to no avail. He had told us that the only way to find the source of the food allergy is by process of elimination and that you can be lactose intolerant and still be able to eat dairy products, which really confused me. Also everyone is different and some people can tolerate a little dairy and others none at all. Since then we have seen a nutritionist who explained the need for him to get calcium from other sources and he has been eating and feeling better. I have found helpful food allergy info through the Parents Digest listing on the internet. It has been a trying experience and a relief to have it under control although we will always have to stay aware of it.

I thought I would share my experience to warn other parents that sometimes a food allergy can be the source of an ongoing bowel problem and that it should be considered, investigated and ruled-out.


Your child may also have a wheat allergy, glutin intolerance, or Celiac Disease. These cannot be diagnosed by standard blood and allergy testing. These problems are woefully under-diagnosed. Perhaps you could eliminate wheat products for a few weeks (if you haven't already tried this) and see if your child's condition improves. Elysse
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