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Pediatrics/Potty training problems


I have been going on this rant for awhile now with my son who is 5 years old. I've done and so has my ex wife tried the cotton underwear in hopes that when he does go to the bathroom in his underwear, it will bother him. Well, it doesn't work because he just continues to go in his underwear. When I ask him if he went to the bathroom (pee and poop) he blows it off like he has nothing in his underwear. When I talk to him about going poop on the potty, he is distracted and acts like it doesn't bother him. As any 5 year old would though I'm sure. I've tried taking away things from him when I find an accident, and from what I was only told, same with his mom. When he did go to the bathroom (of course when asked by either his mom or me) he was rewarded. After being rewarded, he would poop and is still pooping in his pants. It's disappointing and I'm really at a loss for words with his responses to utilizing the bathroom. Any help, I'm up for any ideas...

Hi, Mark,

This is a condition called encopresis, is treatable by a skilled and caring pediatrician, and needs to be addressed.  It can be treated by a cleanout and maintenance plan to retrain the bowels, and re-establish nerve connections and muscle strength in the colon.  Your pediatrician should be able to help in this problem that is mainly medical, and somewhat psychological. I suspect he doesn't even feel the poop leaking out.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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