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He's Soiling His Pants

My son is 6-years-old and was diagnosed with ODD last year. I am currently having a problem with him soiling his pants. I am at "whits end" ...don't know what to do.


Hi J.,

Some of the reasons for soiling are:

---problems during toilet training

---physical disabilities, which make it hard for the child to clean him/herself

---physical condition (e.g., chronic constipation, Hirschprung's Disease)

---family or emotional problems

Soiling which is NOT caused by a physical illness or disability is called encopresis.

Children with encopresis may have other problems, such as short attention span, low frustration tolerance, hyperactivity and poor coordination.

Occasionally, this problem with soiling starts with a stressful change in the child's life, such as the birth of a sibling, separation/divorce of parents, family problems, or a move to a new home or school.

Encopresis is more common in boys than in girls.

Although most children with soiling do not have a physical condition, they should have a complete physical evaluation by a family physician.

If no physical causes are found, or if problems continue, the next step is an evaluation by a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will review the results of the physical evaluation and then decide whether emotional problems are contributing to the encopresis.

Encopresis can be treated with a combination of educational, psychological and behavioral methods. Most children with encopresis can be helped, but progress can be slow and extended treatment may be necessary. Early treatment of a soiling or bowel control problem can help prevent and reduce social and emotional suffering and pain for the child and family.

It will be important for you to catch your ODD son in the act of "not doing something wrong" (i.e., soiling himself). The trick will be for you to provide a lot of intensity when he is not soiling himself, and to provide NO intensity when he does. More on this in my eBook:  My ODD Child

Here's additional info on encopresis:

Please stay in touch,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi ya, i ave 12 year old boy who has soiled himself since he wasabout 5. He is under the hospital and on medication. He seems to be getting worse as he gets older and has severe behaviour problems. Please help me


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