my 7 year old son is soiling himself. he can use the bathroom for #1 but he never goes for #2. he either "sharts" or poops a little just enough to stain his underwear. and holds the rest in. I have to force him to go poop and when he does his poops are huge. I've tried so many things. he tells me he doesn't know when he poops himself. had anyone experienced this?? and what have you done to correct it? I'm losing all patience and need help!

  • Hi and welcome to the site. How long has this been going on? What have you tried? Have you spoken to any doctors about it? Thanks. Apr 25, 2017 at 0:13
  • it's been going on since he was born. he's never used the washroom for #2's ever. I've tried rewarding him, taking things away, making a schedule, letting him run around naked. nothing ever worked. I've finally decided to take him to see a doctor tomorrow. just wondering if anyone else has been thorough this?
    – Kristen
    Apr 25, 2017 at 1:04
  • I think the doctor is the right choice. It might be a physical -- large BMs can hurt or tear tender tissues -- so fear might be a factor. I of course can't say -- the doctor will point you in the right direction.
    – WRX
    Apr 25, 2017 at 12:56
  • I wonder if you saw the doctor? Does your son go to school or is he homeschooled? I ask because peer pressure is a factor. Is it possible that he doesn't soil himself in public?
    – WRX
    Apr 27, 2017 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


I understand your frustration, try and be patient about it as best you can. It's easy to get in a cycle of punishments and recriminations, and it's counter-productive. It's easier said than done, and I'm well aware of that because I've been there.

First, take him to the doctor to make sure there's no physical problems, and to give you some peace of mind. If there's nothing there that's good news.

There could be a few things going on, it could be your son is afraid using the toilet will hurt, this can turn into a vicious cycle as the longer he holds onto it the more it hurts. Once it hurts it can be sore for awhile, causing him to avoid it more. It could also be attention seeking behavior, you'd be surprised how often kids will poo their pants to get some mommy or daddy time.

Some kids have more body awareness than others, although it's doubtful he genuinely doesn't know when it happens, he's probably not saying it because he's embarrassed or afraid of being punished.

My suggestion is firstly do not punish him or get angry at him when it happens, it sends the message that he'll get yelled at, which is the wrong message. Promise him you won't and then stick to it no matter how much you want to vent. Ask him what he thinks the problem is and what you can do together about it, he may surprise you with his answers. It may be he has mild constipation, or he's not drinking enough water. Try getting more fiber and water into his diet, even if that's not really the problem it will give him something to work on, and a lot of this is mental. Give him gentle reminders to listen to his body.

It will get better, don't worry.

  • Agree with GdD. We were concerned about a similar situation and the best advice we got from a family therapist was let the child develop mastery on their own and don't punish kids for this. Every kid is different and they will eventually come around. That also means respecting their wishes if/when they say they need to go and dont try to coax them into going when it's convenient for you/me. Good luck!
    – sean808080
    Apr 27, 2017 at 19:27

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