I have two boys, just turned six and nine. While occasional #1 accidents are not that uncommon in Kindergarten, both of my boys started off their Kindergarten years with lots of them, including #2 accidents. Even a single #2 is way too much in school, and they both had up to two a week during the first few months.
It's been a complete and mortifying nightmare.
My oldest had lingering issues throughout kindergarten and the first months of first grade. My youngest stopped having #2 accidents after the first few months, thankfully, but had consistent #1 accidents throughout the year. He is repeating Kindergarten partially because of this issue. He's just an immature little boy who needs more time to grow up (and that's okay).
Just a few weeks ago, in the second week of summer camp, my littlest had a few #1s during the week, and then THREE #2s in a single day. It's a shame, since it's been so many months since the last time. While the school district is required to accommodate, the camp is not. He was understandably kicked out. I can only guess he reverted because it was a big change in his life, starting camp, ending his first year of school.
He's now back to his old daycare, where he's again having lots of #1s, and one or two #2s that I'm aware of. They make him clean himself, doubly make sure he washes his hands. The logical consequence is that he can't go to the pool, nor on trips, since its difficult enough to have to deal with this on site. On the occasions that he does have a #2, despite being reminded to go to the potty--and sent back to sit more, when he inevitably gets up too fast--he goes immediately to bed, no reading or singing, which means a lot to him. He'll almost proudly come up to you and say "I pooped myself."
My oldest is still having accidents, but now it's just enough to "get by". He keeps it to himself (it's only a little...which burns him, which make him afraid to go, which makes him hold it in, which is impossible, so it repeats). Only a couple times this school year the teacher will ask if he accidentally put on dirty clothes. They smell something but don't connect the dots.
This past month he has had multiple stretches of four days in a row staying totally clean, and he gets technology and allowance back when he reaches a full seven days. It's been many months since he's been allowed to play a video game or watch cartoons. Technology means a lot to him, so I'm surprised it hasn't worked more quickly for him. Now he sees older kids with devices at camp, which seems to be making a difference.
If he does have an accident, and waits until we discover it, and we have to tell him to clean himself (which he can do just fine), then he's not allowed outside for the rest of the day, which impacts him. He needs to take care of it without us knowing about it. When he does, we can count it as a clean day.
And he absolutely knows. You smell it, you give him a few minutes to do something about it, then ask him to "show me I'm wrong", and he'll instantly get really angry. We keep reminding him that he absolutely must take care of this on his own, without waiting for us to notice it. Maybe you could convince me that "he just doesn't know it's happening", but there is no way in hell that he can't take care of himself once it's happened.
I'll admit that we did have our head in the sand regarding potty training for longer than I wish we had, and we are definitely responsible for this situation to an extent. But we weren't this neglectful by a longshot. We were consistent with "potty dance" celebrations, gave a single M&M when they went when told, two when on their own, three for #2. We also followed through with consequences, such as when they were told to go, blatantly don't do it, and then have an accident. I don't know when it spun out of control, but it's obviously past the point of just waiting it out.
We have scheduled appointments with gastro enterologists for both, and a urologist for the younger one, but I'll be honest and say that I do not believe for a second that it's medical. These specialists are hammers and my boys are nails. Of course they're going to find something wrong. A few years ago when my oldest went to the GE, she stuck her fingers inside him for less than three seconds, and then said he was encopresis I think was the term...which of course required more of her services.
Despite my skepticism, we are doing what it takes once again to rule out the medical possibilities (my wife does think that medical is indeed possible), and once again will follow through with whatever they recommend. It would be so easy to give up and just assume it's only medical. It's been going on for so long, it's such a part of their lives, it obviously feels like more than just a choice at this point.
So how do we start over with these boys? I'm hoping the 9-year-old is nearing the end of this (the first thing he tells me when I get home now is how many "clean" days he's had), but it feels like we're in for another few years with our little one, and I want to try and make it go quicker than that if at all possible.
What I really want to know, is what we can do to dig ourselves out of this huge hole we find ourselves in, ASSUMING THAT IT'S NOT A MEDICAL CONDITION.
I'm nervous for the potential parent bashing that could come from this. We're desperate and embarrassed beyond words. I'm being as honest and candid as I can so we can get some real answers. Aside from this huge enormous gaping chasm of an issue, we feel like pretty good parents.