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My son Ted who's now six-years-old has struggled with soiling in his pants since potty training. He came out of nappies at three and was dry within a day or two in the day and dry at night within one month. However, he continued to have poo accidents in his pants. 

Boy with bubblesStress and frustration

We all found this incredibly frustrating, Ted got upset with himself when this happened, and as parents we were pulling our hair out with not knowing why he kept doing this. For three years it was unknowingly causing a lot of stress in our family. 

Getting desperate

I tried many things to help Ted, he was put on Movicol by the Doctor, but this made it worse, we tried sticker charts, rewards for every time he went for a poo, sitting reading books, games, you name it we tried it. And I have to admit, I even got angry with him. We would go out for a few hours and then we got the familiar whiff of poo, so I would attempt to clean him up or we would just go home. 

At school, he would just sit in his dirty pants, school were not very supportive - they knew he had the problem but they did not really do anything to help us. I had spoken with the school nurse who was unhelpful and unsupportive. 

Enough is enough

After a weekend away and Ted going through nine pairs of pants in two days, I said enough was enough! I took Ted back to the Doctors and she examined Ted's tummy and said he was not constipated but he was choosing not to go - withholding. So with that in mind I knew there was no medical reason for him doing this. 

Finding ERIC

The Doctor suggested I called the ERIC helpline, I spoke with a very understanding lady who got what I was saying straight away, she did not tell me off for what I had or hadn't done, she was sympathetic and was able to advise and suggest what I could do. 

Helping Ted get into a routine

Finger on a star chart It was simple.... when Ted was going to the toilet he was not completely emptying his bowels - probably because he is always in a rush! So, with the recommendation of ERIC, I set up a lucky dip bag, and when Ted did a "proper" poo he could have something out of the lucky dip. He does every so often need encouraging to sit a bit longer, but by doing this it then massively reduced the amount of accidents he had in his pants. Ted quite quickly established a routine of going to the toilet and it is very rare he has any accidents. He and I are much happier and I didn't realise how stressful the whole situation was becoming for our family.

Download ERIC's toileting reward chart to develop a regular, effective toileting routine for your child.

A stock image has been used and names have been changed.