A mom writes in looking for advice about a messy situation: Her 8-year-old child won’t stop pooping his pants. She’s tried absolutely everything, and the most she can get out of doctors is that the issue is due to “laziness.”
Over on the Mamas Uncut Facebook page, our robust community of moms is always having a conversation about topics that matter. We like to highlight those conversations from time to time. Important mom questions. Thoughtful mom answers. Let’s hear from the community!
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A member of the community asks:
My 8-year-old son still poops his pants. Not every single day, but probably every other day. He has been to the doctors, counseling, and a GI specialist and they have just decided it’s due to laziness! I ask him to go very frequently throughout the day, it just seems like sometimes he waits to get out of the bathroom, sits on the couch and poops?! I have tried absolutely everything! Punishment, rewards, charts, paying him, EVERYTHING!!!!! If anyone has dealt with this before, Help me before I go crazy, please!– Mamas Uncut Community Member
Let’s see what the community had to say.
He May Just Grow Out of It
“My brother was like this. Same thing. Die to laziness. Unfortunately, he just grew out of it. And we tried everything. Yelling, punishments of all sort, compassion, taking things away. He grew out of it around 12.”
“I had a cousin who did that and he grew out of it once he decided he liked girls.”
New Solutions to Try
“Make him clean his underwear and pants he’ll get tired of it and go back to using the potty.”
“Try checking for a dairy allergy.”
“My nephew went through the same thing at the same age. My sister tried everything including taking toys away and even grounding him. Eventually, she thought to try pull-ups. She made him wear pull-ups which was embarrassing for him and he eventually quit doing it. She even made him buy his own pull-ups with his allowance and he definitely didn’t like that. All in all, it worked!”
“I would make him clean up his own underwear and wash them by hand because he needs to know what you need to do to get them clean.”
“My son did it for awhile off and on. I put him in the shower and sprayed him off with coldish water instead of comfortable water, then made him hand wash his own underwear. Keep in mind this was the last straw, last-ditch effort to get him to stop, and it worked. Now he only has accidents when he’s really sick.”
“Had this issue with my oldest. We started giving him more fiber-filled foods and sending him to the bathroom 30 minutes after he ate. He hasn’t done it since.”
“If it hasn’t already been suggested, read Steven Hodges’ book “It’s No Accident.” There’s also a FB group I think. Stop punishing. Start collaborating. Talk with him about how he feels, how his body feels, how can you both help him. How does this make him feel when it happens – i.e. shame or is he unconcerned. Second opinion with pediatric GI. Follow up with counseling once all medical indications are ruled out. There must be a reason and if it isn’t medical/physical, please carefully and gently make sure it isn’t sexual abuse. Hugs to you, mama.”
“I HIGHLY doubt he is just being lazy. There is almost always an underlying issue. Two doctors told my mom I was just being lazy, the third found out that I have Crohn’s disease. Please seek a second opinion before doing some of the things that have been suggested.”
More Information and Opinions Needed
“My 5-year-old has issues with pooping his pants, and he has constipation issues. With constipation, there is added pressure to the colon and rectum, making it harder to hold stool when he has to go. I would get a second opinion from a different doctor before starting to discipline. Also, nicely let him know not to wait to head to the bathroom when he feels the urge to go. Stress to him to stop whatever he is doing, and go straight to the bathroom.”
“Are you sure he isn’t being bullied or something is going on?”
“Maybe it’s not a physical ailment and more of a mental one? Has he been tested for mental/learning disabilities?”
“Definitely get a second look. My little brother is 12 years old and had no control over his bowels. He doesn’t know when he had to poop basically and he still struggles today with it. We tried everything. We thought it was that he never was taught properly or he was doing it on purpose.”
Most commenters encourage the OP to continue searching for the root cause of this pants pooping issue, because in these cases, there is usually something else going on. Either a physical issue or a mental/emotional one. Many comments underline the important point that doctors don’t always get the diagnosis right the first or even the second time, so if the issue persists, getting a second or third opinion might not be a bad idea.
If, in fact, the issue does come down to “laziness” or it is just not due to something more serious going on, we like the idea of having the child clean his own messes, as it may make him try harder to make it to the bathroom. And having him wear diapers until the issue is under control may also help, both with the messes and with encouraging him to change his behavior. (Because no 8-year-old wants to wear diapers.)
We wish you the best of luck solving this pants pooping problem, mama!
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