If your child has bowel movements (BMs) in places other than the toilet, you know how frustrating it can be. Many parents assume that kids who soil their pants are simply misbehaving or that they’re too lazy to use the bathroom when they have the urge to go.
The truth is that many kids beyond the age of toilet teaching (generally older than 4 years) who frequently soil their underwear have a condition known as encopresis. They have a problem with their bowels that dulls the normal urge to go to the bathroom — and they can’t control the accidents that usually follow.
Many people mistakenly believe that encopresis is a behavioral issue — a simple lack of self-control. But punishing or humiliating a child with encopresis will only make matters worse. Instead, talk to your doctor, who can help you and your child through this challenging but treatable problem.