Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Deidre | 2012/06/08


5 almost 6 yr old


I have a problem that my 5 yr old boy dirties his underpants everyday. He''s been threatened, received hidings had time out and I''ve even taken his favourite toys away from him but nothing helps.
Every morning he promises that he won''t do it again but ends up coming home with a dirty underpants.
I''m concerned now as there may be an underlying problem that I''m not aware of + the aftercare children started to make fun of him because of his smell and he plays on his own or cries when I fetch him. Even his 3 yr old brother is making fun of him.

What must I do?

Expert's Reply



When children of this age regularly soil their pants it is known as 'encopresis'. This can be quite a problem and causes a great deal of unhappiness and embarrassment for these children. This problem can start off in children who are constipated and it is the overflow leaking of stool that causes the child's pants to be soiled, or it can be due to a psychological problem. It is important to take your son to see your paediatrician if he has been constipated, otherwise he needs to be seen by a child psychologist. Read more about encopresis on Google.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: Ano | 2012/06/08

My cousin''s son had the same problem and it had nothing to do with discipline. He could actually not feel when it was happening. It is a medical problem. Rather take him to the paed than punish him any further. Poor thing!

Reply to Ano
Posted by: Sharon | 2012/06/08

I honestly don''t think that punishing him will help the matter much as this will create a bad association! My little one has just started bedwetting at age 6, and although it is frustrating, I know that she cannot be punished for it. I read recently about how people receive a signal to the brain when it is time to go to the bathroom, but that in some children, when they are young, this signal is weak or delayed and so they mess themselves. Perhaps this is the problem. He could also perhaps be too shy to tell the aftercare teachers that he needs to go to the bathroom. I''ve instilled in my child that no matter where she is or who she''s with, if she needs to go, she must go! You should also speak to the aftercare staff about the other children making fun of him - not nice, and they should be made aware of this. x

Reply to Sharon

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