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5 Year Old Having Accidents

Occasionally an older child will suddenly begin to have accidents. Determining the cause is critical to helping the child change this behavior. This is a guide about 5 year old having accidents.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 13, 2008 Flag

I seem to be having a sudden problem with my 5 year old moving her bowels in her pants. When asked why she does this she says she isn't getting there in time or she was playing and didn't stop. We have tried taking things away from her, putting her to bed, time outs, no tv but nothing seems to be working. It just doesn't seem to bother her. I am so frustrated and embarrassed as she is doing this in public. What can I do please give me some ideas.

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Debbie from Berwick ME

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June 13, 20080 found this helpful

Soiling or Encopresis happens to boys and girls. She needs to go to the doctor for a check-up. It can be a serious condition. Something has caused her condition. You can check on the internet for information about this problem. Do not punish her she needs help. Good luck.

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

Something has changed in her world to make her go backwards -- moving, a new sibling, a death of a pet, abuse, something as simple as a fight with a playmate -- the list is long. You need to figure out what that change is so it can be addressed. Punishment is not the answer at this point as something is bothering her and this is how she's telling you that. A good place to start would be her pediatrician.

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

My friend's 4 yr. old had the same problem The dr. found the child had an impacted stool and had little control over his bowel movements. After the child received an enema, he had no more problems. The parents felt horrible since prior seeking medical help, they assumed the child was lazy and punished him, when, in fact, he could not control the soiling.

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

My nephew has had this problem off and on for several years and she finally took him to the dr. and constant constipation and poop buildup made the nerve endings of the colon stop registering any information about the need to get to the bathroom in time. Ask the dr., I think they were doing more vegetables, sitting on toilet more , etc.

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

My grandson is 7 & still has this problem. His parents punished him at first but then felt really bad after he was diagnosed with Enchopresis (spelling ?). He had a colonoscopy & other tests. The other person is correct about them not having the nerve ending responses to know when to go. It also does something to their sense of smell where they cannot smell it. They get impacted and the poop goes around it & usually ends up being loose. It also has an awful smell. He has meds to take but it gives him diarrehea. They need to eat high fiber foods etc. to keep it moving. He has to wear pull ups in public sometimes. He will probably outgrow it we have been told. Good luck, take your child to the Dr. for a thorough evaluation & mention this diagnosis so they can check for it. You can also look on the internet for info on the subject.

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July 15, 20080 found this helpful

I am having the same problem with my 5year old at the moment and I just took him to the doctors. The reason he is doing it in his pants is he is all blocked up. So take her to the doctors because maybe he can help. She could be in pain.

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August 19, 20080 found this helpful

I am having this problem with my 4 year old daughter. I am not sure what to do about it. She is going to school in Sept and to a babysitter, and I know that the school will send her home! I really don't know what to do? Somebody help me?

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August 19, 20080 found this helpful

I took my daughter to the doctors like every one said, and the determination was that she has very sensitive bowels and to watch the whole grains and fruit we give her. Do not give her both at one time or to much in any giving day. Other then that they said everything was ok. So know if she has fruit in the morning we don't give her whole grains too or if she has bread or wheat crackers for lunch or dinner we don't give her fruit. So far so good no more accidents. Thank You all for your suggestions

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February 1, 20090 found this helpful

I am going through the same thing with my son, part of it is a power trip with him, he is learning his own body and controlling the urge to go is one thing that he over-controlled, to the point where instead of going every day he was going every other day or every two days and got very backed up, and very stinky.

The way the pediatrician explained it was that he basically stretched his colon from holding his poo so much and with that he desensitized the nerve endings and weakened his sphincter muscle. He is currently on 1 tsp of miralax/day, 1 tsp of benefiber, and .5 mL of little tummies laxative. This keeps him going every day.

The point of the treatment is to basically keep the bowels moving so that the colon starts to shrink back to where it is supposed to be. It's been about 3 months and although the accidents have decreased dramatically there are still occasions when it still occurs. Good Luck!

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, I hear all of you here on this problem, my son was that way at age 5, we took him to doctor, they said if he was my kid, I'd take him to Childrens Hospital. Well that scared us to death, but we done just that, went there and had to find out that he had a impaction. Crazy we had to go so far to find this out, but we did, we ended up getting this liquid stuff that looked like tar. I'm having problem with the name right now. It's been 28 yrs ago, we put this in his drinks, & guess what? He was so much better after that, just keep them from getting all packed inside, this stuff really did work, maybe someone on here knows the name of this, its black like tar. Hope this helps you all out here with your little one.

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July 23, 2009 Flag

My son just turned 5 yrs. old. He's been potty trained since he was 2 1/2 but just recently for about 3 or 4 months he's been going in his pants. Is something wrong with him? Should I take him to the doctor? Why do you think he's doing this? Could it be that he is too lazy to go to the bathroom? Please help.

By prov31woman08 from Denver, CO

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July 23, 20090 found this helpful

Hi, I am a parent and parenting educator and want to say that I know toileting changes can be tough for both you and your child. I've known a number of children who have had this kind of experience - it can be physical, but it is often related to some kind of emotional stress usually resulting from some changes in the child's or families life. Like a new baby, a new home, starting school or attending a different one, parent's separation/divorce. Is there anything going on for your child right now? If so, one step you might take is to talk with your child about the issue that may be connected to these toileting changes.

Make sure you have the slack to listen to him and his feelings. Since that is often what a child needs. One thing we know about 5 year olds is that they are often in a developmental place to begin to worry about things that they might not have thought much about when they were younger. There is lots of good info out there re child development. Are there any parent resource centers near you that you can also connect with? Good luck!

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July 23, 20090 found this helpful

I think my first response would be to have a talk with the child. It would probably be at bed time or some other peaceful, non-stressful time. Listening to what is NOT said is just as important as what is said. My next order of business would be a visit to the doctor.

I would not assume the child is lazy or doesn't care because I believe he most likely does care very much. As suggested by listeningmom, I'd look for changes in the life of the child. If nothing is different at home, what could be different at day care or where ever else the child goes. Bullying is my first question.

He could just be playing too long and then when he does decide he really needs to go it's too late. Maybe frequent calls by you to "go potty" could help. I know this must be terribly frustrating but with love and patience you should be able to discover the cause.

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July 24, 20090 found this helpful

For some reason, your child has reverted. Like the other poster said, he could be under stress over something. Has something happened that you are aware of?

I had that problem myself once, at the same age, and I know what caused mine----be sure to talk to your child---at least you have noticed a change in him, and don't just brush it off.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

For some reason maybe your child is seeking attention. How is the home relationship? Does he get as much attention as other children? Or he could have a medical situation needing to be addressed. Or It could just be a stage or Many other numerous things. I would try this, Try rewarding him for going to the bathroom. Like a dollar or something that might catch his eye. It may make wonders then tell him Big boys go to the bathroom in the toliet. If he still doesn't do that. Talk to him. A little talking can do wonders.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

I have read the responses that have posted to this point, and agree with parts of all of them. The only thing that I think each one of them came close to, but just didn't actually mention. Are there times when your child is alone with a person that he was not alone with before? Do not, I beg you, rule out any form of abuse, as in sexual. I was abused by a step grandfather who died when I was 10. It was years later before I could tell my mom, (not her step father, by the way), because I knew she would have to tell my dad, and I felt he would believe his step dad, not me. I am nearly 71 now, so you have an idea of the way things have changed since then, but do all you can to see if there has been improper touching, or worse. A 5 year old does not know it as being "bad".

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

First I would take him to the doctors and make sure everything is okay. Then has something changed in his life. Also if he is fixing to start school in the fall this could do it, AS a preschool teacher I have seen this happen and I have seen 5 year olds get very clingy to mom also just before school starts.

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

Look for something causing him great anxiety. Might be something obvious but it could be something you don't even know about. I'm a teacher and this is usually what it means. Don't let this go until you know what it is. Don't mean to scare you but, you just never know.

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