I am at a loss. My son is almost 8. He was fully potty trained by 2 1/2, but now isn't. I have tried everything; taking away TV, toys, etc. I have even grounded him. I have even tried to be calm and encouraging by reminding him that these things happen and we need to listen to our bodies and try harder to not get distracted.

His classmates while in school notice and make fun of him, but this doesn't seem to effect him. We have been to the doctor and went to see a specialist. They both said he was constipated, gave me Miralax, and sent us home. We have since stopped the Miralax due to it increasing his accidents. If anything, it is making them worse!

Every time I ask him why he had an accident, he just says he doesn't know or lies and says he didn't. He will be in 2nd grade this year and it breaks my heart to think that he doesn't see this as a big deal.

I am done trying to ask his doctor, all they want to do is pump him full of Miralax and say "that will fix it." (obviously not the answer!) He was perfectly potty trained before preschool and now this. I am at the point of crying because I don't know what to do! What should I do?

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    Are the accidents 'total volume', or just small volumes and then he realizes and goes to the toilet (but his trousers are already stained)?
    – loonquawl
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 5:05
  • sometimes with the pooping, they are small amounts other times they are large. with the pee, it's always large amounts. he wont even budge when he does it. it's like he doesnt realize he did it. as soon as you ask him tho, he immediately says "I didn't have an accident" or "I didnt know I did it"
    – A.Dun
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 14:12
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    Has anything changed (i.e. a new stressor around the time this behavior started) in his life? How does he respond to enforced timed visits (every 30 minutes)? Have you tried a different doctor/specialist?
    – Marisa
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 15:07
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    Hi and welcome. Please look at the answers to questions with the encopresis tag. If you're not happy with your doctors, keep looking until you find one you're happy with, and keep in mind that this may not be simple "constipation". This answer gives an excellent overview of constipation/encopresis, and please note the role of the physician. You may need to have a pediatric gastroenterologist take a look at your child. (Also, please read the article linked. Miralax is important.) Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 16:07
  • Does he ever use the toilet now, or does he always go in his pants? Also, are you SURE the ridicule at school doesn’t affect him? Finally, have you taken him to a child psychologist or a neuropsychologist? We went through the same thing with our oldest son and we had his mind evaluated as well as his body in an effort to find out what was wrong with him. Here is an answer I wrote about our experience parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/12585/…
    – Jax
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


Recently the same thing was happening with my nephew and I tried the same things. Until I happened upon an answer on this site someone had posted. I'm kicking myself for not saving it but they suggested after every meal spending a small amount of time in the bathroom 10-15 minutes at a time and I combined that with another suggestion to add a stool (squatty potty for posture) so he could be more comfortable. I use the stool now myself so it was a great suggestion. It took about 2 weeks and if he didn't go in the morning or the night before he would go straight to the bathroom when he got home from school. This was very recent but we have not had a problem since. Good luck to you.

Also I added a monetary incentive as the article suggested not punishing when there were incidents, which was very helpful as well. Also, keep a record so you can measure progress.

Clarify: I added squatty potty type of stool to help with posture. It has really made a difference. We would use laxatives if he did not have a movement the day before and they would work.

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    Hi, Nathan, and welcome to the site. Thanks for answering! One question: do you mean you added stool softener? If not, what was it that you added? Again, welcome. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 2:35
  • Hi, thanks for pointing that out. It was a stool to improve posture while sitting. I did an update to be more specific. Thanks again.
    – Nathan
    Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 3:02
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    Oh! That didn't even occur to me! Thanks for straightening me out. :) Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 3:06
  • I once read it was important to not punish the accidents, as sometimes the child would understand they were punished from peeing or pooping altogether, which could turn into them trying not to pee or poop ever. Which gives more accidents, of course...
    – DainDwarf
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 12:56
  • Yes, I read the something similar and they were correct. Once we added the monetary incentive for using the bathroom plus he will sit for 10-15 mins after every meal and has not had an accident since.
    – Nathan
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 14:11

I'm 29 now. When I was 7, I used to pee and poop my pants. Not because I didn't realize or I was too busy playing, but it felt really good to hold it. I don't know why to this day, but I can remember holding it simply because it felt good. And when my body won, I would pee and poop wherever I was. My mom gave me laxatives, and then when that didn't work, suppositories. I would never tell them it felt good, and the poor woman drove me to every doctor. I'm sure by now your kid has outgrown it though.

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