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New blog for children who soil

I have just completed a new blog for children who soil, telling the story of my childhood soiling experiences in simple language. It only has, and will only ever have, one post, combing simple text and photographs to relate my story from when I was still in nappies aged 3, to when I became completely clean aged 11.

The blog is designed to help these children feel less alone and encourage them to try to use the toilet. Children with encopresis often find comfort from discovering they are not the only child who suffers from this condition and enjoy reading stories about fellow sufferers. Parents of younger children may prefer to read through my story with their child. I hope that the blog also helps parents to start a conversation with their child about their soiling.

The blog is called The Boy Who Pooed His Pants and you can find it here:


3 Replies

Hi James - this is really helpful. My daughter soils not because she withholds, just because she choses to from what we can tell. We have been told she has 'non retentive soiling' do you have any tips or advice on that type of soiling problem? I've posted separately on it. She is 4.5 years old. Steph


Hi Steph, I'm glad you like my blog, I don't know if you have also read my Childhood Soiling blog aimed at parents. I have read your other post to get some background on your daughter.

In my own case, my soiling did not really neatly fall into either the 'retentive' or 'non retentive' category. I was not constantly 'backed up' so that liquid poo was leaking around solid stools into my pants, but neither was I deliberately soiling myself. I would withhold my poo rather than go to the toilet, and later my body would expel most or all of what I had withheld into my pants, so when my mother checked my pants she would usually find solid, normal poo in them, and quite a bit of it. This is probably why she thought I was doing it on purpose.

You say that your daughter chooses to soil her pants. Are you saying that she deliberately pushes her poo into her knickers as if she was sitting on the toilet? I have read of children, some of them a lot older than your daughter, who are so scared of the toilet that they would rather deliberately poo in their pants than have to use one. Also, I have read of children who dislike school toilets so much that they would rather mess themselves on purpose at school to avoid them.

However, I wonder if your daughter is similar to how I was, soiling herself simply because she chose not to go to the toilet when she felt the need to poo. Have you read through my blog with her? This week a mother told me that her son, who is around the same age as your little girl, pooed in the school toilets for the first time after she read my blog with him. Your daughter may be able to identify with my younger self, even if her situation is not identical.

While a lot of children withhold because they do not want to poo at all, there are a smaller number who are reluctant to use the toilet but are happy to do it in their pants. Fortunately, they do tend to be easier to help then those who are determined withholders. Indeed, I know of quite a few parents who encourage their child to poo in their pants (or provide them with a nappy or pull-up) rather than withhold if they refuse to use the toilet, to avoid them getting backed up and constipated. Many see it as a first step to getting their child to use the toilet. So hopefully you will be able to help your daughter to become clean at a much earlier age than I did.

I see that you are already getting her to clean herself when she soils, and someone suggested making her wash her messy knickers as well. This may be a good idea as long as it is explained to her that it is a case of taking responsibility for the consequences of her actions, rather than punishment.

It may also help if you are able to make bathroom time fun, combining whatever activities she enjoys with sitting on the toilet, eg playing on a tablet, reading to her or singing songs. Blowing bubbles while on the toilet is a good way of stimulating the muscles that can produce a bowel movement. And, of course, praise her for trying even if she doesn't produce anything.

It is great that your daughter is open with the psychologist, so many children feel unable to talk about their feelings around this issue. I hope you can get her to explain why she poos her knickers instead of using the toilet and help her to overcome whatever it is that is causing her soiling. I would urge you to enjoy these precious years with your child and not get totally fixated on what comes out of her bottom - your don't want all your memories of these years to be of poo accidents and dirty knickers!

I hope this helps and I really hope that you are able to help your daughter.

Best wishes, James


James thank you - I find your courage to be open very inspiring and helpful. Your hypothesis that perhaps she is like yourself could be true - she does appear to push her poo out - often you see her facial expression change - but there is a lot of behaviour stuff mixed up & it is very confused. Last Saturday we had three small poos in an hour all in her knickers, she had the consequences of cleaning up after each one.... then 3 hours later a giant poo on the potty which she told us she needed.

I love your advice of reading your blog for kids - I will do that.

I also thank you for reminding me to not just think about what comes out of her bottom - it does get like that, mainly because we get called into school a lot and you can't help but focus on it. Last summer we tried to 'relax' about it and she just soiled herself in the swimming pool every single day - really hard work - I'm praying things are better by this summer holidays.

Many thanks again for responding & for trying to help.


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