My 4.5-year-old son was well potty trained. He has only recently started to soil his pants. This always happens in the 30 minutes before bedtime, always when he is in his room playing alone. He tells us that he didn't know he had to go or that it was because he didn't clean up very well. He usually uses the toilet as well, so it's not like he doesn't go other times during the day.

I have read about encopresis, but it doesn't seem to be that since he can and does use the washroom. Since it only happens at the same time every night, we think he's doing it for a reason but don't know what it is.

What might be the problem and how can we address it?

  • 1
    Since it always happens at the same time, have you tried asking him to potty 5 minutes before the usual soiling? Does his accident have some desirable result, like delaying bedtime or parental attention at a time when he would otherwise be expected to amuse himself?
    – Meg
    May 7, 2019 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


@Meg is onto the right idea. Don't worry about the cause; see if you can intercept the symptom.

We got an Amazon Alexa robot for the house, and we use Alexa for daily timed reminders like brushing teeth, taking medicine, etc.

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