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Foster carer new to encopresis

Hi I am. Foster carer and have had a 12 yr old placed with me. He has encopresis which effects him with soiling through the day and night. This is not an issue I have supported a young person with before and do not want him to feel bad about it. We have been told there is no medical reason for his encopresis but I am going to be taking him back to the doctor to start from scratch with possible explanations. On a practical note we are working on getting him to regularly change to keep himself feeling fresher and to minimise odour. I am struggling with the washing as it needs to all be separate to the rest of the household and wonder also what products work best. So far everything I’ve used doesn’t seem to get rid of the smell so even clean clothes still have an odour. He is a great young person and I really want to get his right for him.

4 Replies

Hello Nicky555 and welcome!

I have a twelve year old who has suffered chronic constipation since birth. Earlier this year she started soiling and we had absolutely no idea what was going on. Long story, short, it turned out it was overflow. I hadn't even considered this to be an option as she has daily laxitives and was having regular bowel motions so I didn't think she could possibly be constipated. The telling signs were that she wasn't aware if it happening (no sensation of leakage), it happened multiple times a day, it smelt very metallic and I thought 'briney ', the smell stuck to her skin and it was impossible to wash off clothing.

If this is what you think could be happening to your boy, have a look a the pinned post on here which is the video by 'the Poo Nurses'. It is excellent, I wish I had seen it a long time ago. At age twelve, your boy might find it helpful to watch too. My daughter found it really enlightening.

As for dealing with the clean up, find a source of cheap undies and ditch them! There are a few posts on here about various continence pads. Have a look at some of the older posts.

I really hope that you both get to the 'bottom' of this. I often post here that this is exhausting, for both you and your boy. I applaud you for seeking information here and wish you both the very best.

Kind regards,

The Laundrymaid xx



I am fairly new to this forum. I recently phoned the ERIC helpline and the advice I was given has been very helpful. It seems quite quiet on here this week so perhaps if you still feel you need more advise you could call them if you haven't already?

My LO always gets more constipated/ soils at times of transition (new school year) so maybe he will settle down a bit once after he has been with you a bit longer?

Good luck

L xx


Nurse at bladder and bowel clinic was very helpful. I too am a Foster Carer. The boy I have is nine but very developmentally delayed. Plus he had never been taught a toileting routine. Does he have a consultant? If so, push for an appointment to see him/her as well. My boy is doing very well at the moment so don’t give up hope.


Don't necessarily take their word for it that it's not medical. I have an adopted daughter with bladder issues and her siblings have had the same. We've been told it's not medical but I think it's too much of a coincidence. The others aren't here and there's no reason they'd all be the same unless it was a genetic thing.


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