Our expert says:
How unpleasant ! It is not normal for a 5-year-old to have enuresis and encopresis ( the formal terms for what you describe ) and this would suggest that the child is potentially psychologically disturbed ; and it sounds as if the parents have somehow not handled this well, or the child should surely have been taken to see a child psychiatrist well before now. It sounds as if there could be srous problems in her home, and if the mother is hitting her in the belly with her fists, that is child abuse, and one would need to consider reporting this to the proper authorities.
As you say, the child must notice that she is wet and dirty, and the odd thing is that she is not noticing the feeling that leads all of us to decide to use the toilet, not bothering to control this, or to cope with it properly.
Maybe you can discuss this with your "swaer", if he doesn't sound involved yet. But I'd be worried that something has been going seriously wrong within that household.
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