i hope i can find someone or something to help me get my kid to stop going in their pants at home ... as they seems to have no issues at school or elsewhere but at home they will wait till the pants are up and they lets it go. i have tried everything under the sun ... taking toys away ... giving a reward ... something to do when on the pot and so on and they seems to refuse to use it. i am at my wits end over this and i hope there is something i have not tried that might work as my kid needs to get it that going in the pants is not ok.

  • Welcome! It seems you posted the same question twice. When you want to change anything in your post, please use the edit function, thanks.
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 5:21
  • 1
    That said, before we start guessing, can you please explain a) what have you tried already and b) have you talked to your child and asked them about the situation?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 5:23
  • Is he going ok when out of the house, or holding it all in until he's home?
    – R Davies
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 7:45
  • from what i can tell they are ok using it out of the house to a point but when they are at home they have no issues using their pants as going pee is quick and out to play. i have done everything i have found and then some. no mater how many talks and so on they seem so set on using their pants at home no matter how much in trouble they are in. as well as having them clean out their own underwear and so on i am at a loss of what else there is to get it threw that pants bad potty good.
    – user44561
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


I don't really understand what's going on here, because I've never dealt with it. I've taken care of kids hospitalized for encopresis (you can search that tag), so I'm fairly up to date with that problem. I've dealt with kids who are just too wrapped up in what they're doing at the moment to take a bathroom break, so they'll do it in their pants. That's a common problem, but usually in a bit younger kids. This is confusing to me, and I'm pretty sure there are a lot of important details left out of the narrative if it's happening as you say it is. One of them is what your child's doctor has said and done about this after a complete physical exam, because your child's primary care provider should be working with you here, and making the appropriate referrals if needed.

Because I really don't understand why this is happening, I'm going to deal in generalities.

First, is your child neurotypical? If they are not, that might be part of the problem. A doctor or qualified therapist needs to administer the testing required to diagnose that.

Second, is his diet optimal for passing of soft (a.k.a. quick and painless) stool? The less time the child spends on the toilet, the easier it is to give up some of that "playtime". High (insoluable) fiber diets and plenty of fluids, especially water, is encouraged to soften and bulk up stool. An added benefit of wetter and bulkier stool is that it will definitely be less comfortable to poop in his pants, and prolonged contact with wetter poop will cause skin irritation, which can hurt (a lesson learned?).

A stool for his feet while on the toilet to better position himself to have a bowel movement (like a squat) should be available and used. An study was done wherein male medical students in the US used a "squatty potty" for a period of time; the vast majority said it made having a bowel movement easier, and a significant percentage went on to use the device regularly.

Rewards are more effective than punishments. If this is - from your son's perspective - a power struggle, negative consequences will confirm his ability to control the narrative (he succeeds in frustrating or angering you.) Don't get angry/show frustration when he poops in his pants. Just treat it like a neutral event each time, with the consequences being consistent and delivered without emotion (except sympathy): when you detect soiled pants, he stops whatever he's doing, goes to the bathroom to dispose of feces, wash out his underwear and pants if soiled, clean the washtub, bathe, and change into clean clothes. If this takes more time than he would have gained by avoiding a pit stop to poop, he'll learn it's to his advantage to go to the bathroom. Every time he makes that decision, he deserves sincere praise, but not a backhanded compliment, e.g. "Finally you choose right, like a big boy!" (I.e. "Before, you were acting like a baby, which I disapproved of.") Sincere praise feels good; praise tied to something negative does not. An accumulation of successful bowel movements (e.g. a full sticker chart - he chooses the stickers) might earn him an extra-large, incentivizing reward.*

These are just some general recommendations, and - again - this may help if the child is neurotypical. That, with your physician, is the starting point.

*When I had my second child, my first regressed in toilet training, an exceedingly common event. Too tired and sleep deprived to deal with it in a more relaxed manner, I offered the child a big reward, something I knew he wanted but which I had been unsure about, if they could go on the potty only for five consecutive days. Five days later, they were back to being fully potty trained, no fuss, no muss. I have zero regrets.

Constipation in Children (American Academy of Pediatricians)

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