Controlling bowels???


New Member
I forgot to mention in my introduction post that difficult child has been having problems with messing in his pants the past several months. This was even before medications. I guess I had forgotten to mention it because it had been a couple weeks since the last time he had done it and that was a LONG time between times. It had been on almost a daily basis. I must add that when he has bowel movements, they are very large. (in the toilet ones, I mean). When I say large, I mean it looks like it came from a grown man who could be a wrestler or something. Sorry, too much information. Does anyone else have problems with this? He is 7 years old! I am at my wits end with this. I am so scared he will do this at school and get the label. Any ideas?

Sara PA

New Member
I went back and read your earlier thread. What kind of epilepsy do you have? Was it acquired through an injury or is it something you just have? Do you know anything about partial seizures? Abdominal seizures? Temporal lobe partial seizure disorders? Did your son ever have an EEG?

Why does he mess his pants? Does it come on so suddenly that he can't get to a toilet? Did he have the problem when he was taking Adderall, then it started up again with the Concerta?

My temporal lobe partial seizures caused what appeared to be IBS.


Former desparate mom
This doesn't seem to be unusual in some of the kids with developmental delays.
My son had this issue forever or so it seemed. I believe there is a lack of sensation then they develop what is known as mega colon from chronic constipation.
There is a thread in General Archives about Encopresis that addresses the issue.
It isn't control. Trust me.
For my son the issue improved with puberty. I believe the mega colon thing is still an issue but at 22,I am not that involved.
It is so demoralizing when you feel that you can't bowel train your child but I really believe it is a neurological issue that isn't addressed much when speaking to professionals about kids who have developmental delays. :tears:


New Member
I would agree to go look in the archives or do a search on Encopresis.

My son, Dylan, has the same size problem as your difficult child. Additionally, he pretty much held his bowel movements for about 8 months, which caused him to "leak", staining his underwear.

This is a medical condition and was NOT his fault. I can tell you there is treatment, and it can be fixed, but you will have to work at it.

We had to put my son into the hospital to be "drained" for 3 days. When he came home he was on a strict regiment of medications/fiber and having to sit on that toilet twice a day. It's been almost 3 years now, and he goes on his own, but it's taken a long time and alot of work.



Well-Known Member
Amy, my difficult child has the same problem. He's eleven. He's ALWAYS had the problem and we've tried everything that any of the doctors have ever suggested. No deal. Now, I'm just hoping he outgrows it. In the meantime, I try to get him to sit as often as possible, make him wash out his own underwear, and give him stool softeners.


New Member
Thanks! He has been potty trained since he was 3 years old. All my boys have been late potty training. Every year since then, he has gone through a stage about once a year where he has this problem for a week or two. Usually it is during a stressful time. This time though, it has been going on for nearly 6 months. Like I said, there for a while, it was on a daily basis. Sometimes it just looks like he didn't wipe good, but most of the time it is a full bowel movement in his pants. I can't tell you the pairs of underwear I have had to throw away. I have started buying the cheap ones. A couple time we made him wear a pull up to bed. His therapist has said definitely not to make him wear it to school and I would never do that anyway. I have tried stool softeners. His new psychiatric has said to try a prune a day. We are attempting that, but he is resisting.

I know for a while, since I am so new to this, that I will be more of a taker to this forum than a giver. I hope you don't mind. I just thank God that I found you guys!


New Member
Yes, over and over. He said he doesn't know, or that he tried to make it to the bathroom but just couldn't make it and instead of going to clean it up then, he just sits in it and sometimes it is hours before anyone notices. He pediatrician wanted to look into behavioral causes, because he really didn't think it was related to a medical condition with his bowels. I am not so sure. I think I might ask for a GI referral. What do you think?


Well-Known Member
When I ask my difficult child, he always says, "I dunno. I can't help it." SO, we plug along and it gets a little better, then a relapse.

Amy, I just wanted you to know you're not alone and from what I've read and seen, it's quite common in our challenged children.


New Member
Oh and in response to my epilepsy. It started when I was 13 with grand mal seizures. NOthing else until I was 21. And then more grand mal seizures. Now I have temporal lobe partial seizures and have been diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. I have several seizures a day, but they are all so minor. I am completely alert and aware during them all. I am permitted to drive, unless I have any absense seizures or another grand mal. Nicholas has never had an EEG, but Gregory has because it was speculated he was having absense seizures. It was negative.

Sara PA

New Member
Temporal lobe seizures are detected by EEG's 50% of the time. They can rule in but they can't rule out TLE. With your history and the symptoms you are describing I would very seriously consider that your child is having partial seizures. A partial seizure (or localized short circuit) can cause the body to do just about anything it can do, including unprovoked emotional outbursts, voiding (pee, poop or vomit), spacing out (not just absence seizures but longer ones), tic like movements. If you can associate an increase in these behaviors with his taking stims (or antipsychotics), then you really have a red flag for partial seizure activity with your family history.

Here's my list of links. You will probably find many of them interesting:

The Pediatric Neurology Site: Seizures

MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia: Seizures

Partial (focal) seizure

Medications which may lower seizure threshold

Possible Temporal Lobe Symptoms

Temporal lobe lesions

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Abdominal Epilepsy

Fear as the main feature of epileptic seizures

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy: Seizure Disorders


New Member
Sara, I can't thank you enough for those links. I will be checking them out as soon as I get home from work. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I noticed one thing on one link I was able to look at and it was salivating. He does on occasion drool, even during the day while he is sitting watching TV. Thanks again!


Well-Known Member
I know this sounds simplistic....and, in fact, it is LOL....
but on rare occasions the bowel issues can be resolved by
combining a couple of simple non-medicinal plans.

First, most children with this issue (I personally know) do
not have a set time to sit on the toilet. All of our lives
are so busy with hussle in the AM to get going, school and
chores all day, then the rush to play before dinner and bed
etc....there isn't much unallocated time. My Mother was a
school teach "back in the day". She told each of us when we
were kids that the hardest thing about being a teacher was
that you HAD to make sure you planned your bathroom breaks.
As kids that made sense to us because we knew teachers had to stay with us and it triggered quite alot of thought and
talk at We all set out own "time" and since we
had four kids and two parents sharing 1.5 bathrooms it was

Secondly, one a time is set the child often needs an incentive to relax and get down to business. Dangling feet ((solved by using a small stool) can be an irritation with small chidlren. Older children might edd a short simple funny book or picture book. Some kids might respond to soft
music which would drown out the noises of the household. A
warm towel over the lap in a chilly bathroom might help,too.

Each person is unique and making potty time unique for that
child can be a big help. IF the time bears no results then
the kid gets off the pot, washes his/her hands, puts away the stool and book for next time and moves on without being
hassled about it.

It may not help your child but it sure can help some. DDD


Active Member
I suggest you look into gluten intolerance. It could explain the toilet accidents and the behaviour problems. In my own house, when we eliminated gluten, my child's ODD behaviour disappeared. My other daughter displayed signs of ADHD (but was undiagnosed) which have gone away. The last time my older daughter had some gluten by accident, she had a tic for a few weeks. Probably the easiest way to tell if this is a problem is to eliminate all foods with gluten for a couple of days to a week and see if the toilet problems go away or the behaviour improves.


Well-Known Member

I could write a whole book about the bowel problems, but I'm not going to start. If you have any specific questions, please ask and I'll be happy to share my (horrible) experiences of it with you.

I just wanted to say, it's called encopresis, it's not an illness but a CONDITION. In my opinion, a visit with a pediatric gastroenterologist should be scheduled, and he will be familiar with this condition and try to help you.

There are a lot of chldren with this problem -- far more than people "owe up" to.

With almost all children it seems to just disappear at puberty. But, like Fran wrote about her difficult child, signs of it linger on, such as enormous bowel movements in the toilet.

Just for your information, my son was completely potty trained at the age of three. At four and a half he started crapping in his pants, and didn't stop until 13 and a half. That's it in a nutshell -- nine years of pure hell.

Feel free to share, ask, and vent. If I can be of any help, I'll happily put in my two cents' worth.

Love, Esther