Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

Hi, My 5 and 1/2 year old boy is still wetting at night, which i am not really worried about because i had a problem with it when i was young. what i am worried about is, he poos in his nappy a night time because he doesn't think to go during the day. is there anything i can do to help him change this habit? He didnt start this until he started going to kindy last year.

A very common cause of encopresis (voluntary or involuntary passing of stools) is constipation so it would be worthwhile having him checked by a GP. This can result in nighttime wetting as well as soiling. If left untreated, constipation can result in leaking of faceal matter that can very smelly and dark in colour. Constipation can occur if your son’s diet is low in fibre, he does not drink sufficient liquids, is very inactive or develops a habit of holding onto his stools. It is not unusual for children to hold onto their stools when they start school; sometimes this can be because they just don’t want to miss out on lunctime play or occasionally it can be because they do not feel comfortable using the school toilets. It would definitely be worth raising some of these possibilities with your son. Sometimes children’s nighttime soiling can be an indicator of stress. Moving house, starting a new school or difficultiues with friends, are very common stressors for young children. When psychological stress is an underlying factor often it helps for children to speak with trusted adults or in some instances a clinical child psychologist. Once resolved you will find this behaviour soon comes to an end. All the best. Regards, Dr Cathrine