Before life as a Child Psychologist, I didn’t even know this problem existed. When I first started practicing, I promised myself I’d never work in this area! Twenty years on, I’ve helped hundreds of families deal with this embarrassing, uncomfortable, smelly and confusing issue. Yes, I’m now an expert on children pooing their pants!
After being cleared of medical issues, it’s often labelled an Anxiety Issue, a Sensory Problem, or even “trauma related”. And as with so many child behaviour problems, you’re told not to worry, they’ll grow out of it. Or you’re given a few half-hearted often ineffective strategies to try. Unsurprisingly, parents are exasperated by the time they see me. They’re sick and tired of cleaning up the mess, staying calm and being patient. They’ve also tried all the standard strategies, such as reward charts, toilet routines and not making a fuss. Yet the problem persists – and if you’re waiting for your child to grow out of it, maybe don’t hold your breath. I’ve seen children as old as 12 still pooing their pants. It causes major stress for the parents and it’s obviously very negative for the child. The accidents can happen when you’re out or when they’re at school – and we all know where that will lead – “here comes stinky-bum”!The 3 Key Factors in fixing the problem:
- Do not emotionally engage with the child when an accident occurs.
- Stop the rewards and bribes, they are often counter-productive.
- Most importantly – we need to make it the child’s problem – only then will they work on fixing it.
By following tried and tested behavioural principals and strategies, and not getting caught up in all the emotion and possible causes/excuses, it’s surprising how quickly this problem can be addressed. Please get in touch via the Contact page, or make an Appointment so that we can discuss everything in detail and get on with helping your child to use the toilet properly.