I have 2 kids, ages 6 and 7. Neither of them have ever been completely potty trained. Neither of them pee themselves but both poop themselves. Both of them are in therapy, we've seen doctors and they say nothing is wrong, we've tried numerous forms of rewards and punishments, and parenting seminars. If something does work, it only latst a little while. They are making the choice to poop themselves and/or not wipe themselves. I don't know what to do anymore. I can't do this anymore. Almost every day we are getting a call from one of their teachers or the school nurse. Bullying has started already. Neither of them seem to care that they are doing this. My 6yo actually got mad yesterday and went into the corner of the classroom and pooped herself. She had just been asked if she needed to go bc she said that her stomach hurt and she said no. She actually lied and said that she had gone that morning. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Please search the site for the tag encopresis. There is a lot of information about this frustrating problem. Apr 21, 2023 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


Here's the first paragraph in an article from the National Institute of Health on Encopresis.

Encopresis or fecal incontinence is defined as the involuntary passing of stool into inappropriate places such as the underwear in children older than four years of age. It represents severe psychological distress on children and their families. This activity reviews the evaluation and management of encopresis and highlights the role of the interprofessional team, including pediatricians, child psychiatrists, and pediatric gastroenterologists in approaching and treating children with this condition.

Since you don't go into detail about the doctors that your children have seen, I thought this article might be helpful in that it describes the team of providers that they recommend be involved with a child's care.

The article states that for the majority of children with Encopresis, chronic constipation is the root cause. If that were true for your children, it might explain why your parentimg interventions work for only a short time.

For sure, poop is not the most pleasant topic of discussion, for example, when the family is gathered around the dinner table, yet pooping is a critical bodily function. My experience was that my children didn't know what was "normal" and healthy until I told them in clear plain language.

It seems likely that you have already covered that topic with your kids, but just in case you haven't, you might consider putting poop/pooping/digestion on the family discussion agenda.

My family has a history of digestive issues, and my mother never talked about poop, and as a result I suffered the constipation-diarrhea cycle until I was in my early 20s. Having suffered for so long, when I had kids I made sure that we openly and repeatedly talked about poop, and what I found was that my kids had questions, but ones that they only shared after I brought up the topic.

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    One other thing is to get a simple childs body book (I used the usborne "My first body book") and go over the digestive system that shows how the food moves through the body. I read this book to my daughter from quite early (like 2) and she never had a fear of pooping
    – stan
    Jul 25, 2023 at 14:02

I believe that it is due to your children's fear of pooping. My 4-year-old son pooped in his pants one time at his preschool, but only one time. Here is my personal advice:

First, it is highly recommended to make your child have a firm belief in you, not as a parent but as a sympathizer. Second, you should train your kid to pay attention to and be aware of pooping in the potty (when you feel your kid wants to poop, you just take his potty and patiently sit near it, just saying “it’s time to poop so that your belly won’t feel hurt”). Third, you should either encourage or reward him after he can poop “What do you feel now? Is your belly comfortable? Well done”. Last but not least, you need to let him eat enough fruits and vegetables, and drink sufficient water.

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