I am at my wits end and I don't know what else I can do. I honestly feel like I have done everything. For the past 3 years my daughter will NOT go poop in the toilet. Dr's did say she had/has endometriosis and has been on a stool softener for the past 3 years. Her stool is very soft now with no leaking BUT she still wants to poo in her pants and doesn't seem to care at all. When she needs to go, she will sit on her foot and try to hold it in but is not able to because of the stool softener she is on resulting in MANY soiled underwear and pants all day long. I have tried rewards, ignoring the issue, punishment (taking toys away), etc. The other difficult part to this is that I feel like I have no support from my husband. He is just fine with cleaning her up and for the longest time was okay with her wearing diapers when she felt like she needed to go. So any structure I try to implement is not supported by him.

What am I doing wrong? What can I do now? I will try anything!

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    Do you mean 'encopresis' not 'endometriosis' as it would be very surprising for a pre-pubertal child to have endometriosis!
    – R Davies
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 8:30
  • 1
    There are many questions about encopresis on this site, so you're not alone by a long shot. If you search the encopresis tag, you'll find a lot of good answers, some of which might be new and useful to you. Btw, encopresis is stressful enough; lack of support from your partner is going to hamper your efforts. This should be examined by a family therapist or a therapist familiar with encopresis. Many such couples are in therapy together, even if they agree! You have my best wishes. Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 12:37
  • " I feel like I have no support from my husband. He is just fine with cleaning her up " Ma'am, you have high standards. Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


You will find many similar tales under the tag encopresis attached to your post.

Stool withholding makes no sense to those of us who are happy with our toileting, but for some children they really have problems with opening their bowels. Either they don't like the sensation, they fear it due to a painful bowel movement in the past, or they are too distracted and want to avoid going now. Obviously we all need to be able to 'hold on' for a bit until we get to an appropriate location, but some kids take it to the extreme.

Anyway, I can only assume your doctor has provided stool softeners and no further guidance. Eric is a british charity for childrens bowel and bladder issues, and they have plenty of guidance for parents and children on these matters. Here's their page on stool withholding It might be worth looking at something like play therapy to help your child process their feelings around going to the toilet. Maybe implementing regular, no-pressure to actually produce poo, toilet sits at likely times (usually about 20-30 mins after food) even if you have to bribe sitting still and relaxing with a spot of screen time. Good activities to help produce the poo include blowing, so like bubbles or toy trumpets (we have a 'pooper tooter').

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