UCanPoopToo is not a substitute for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis, care or treatment, and it is important that you always seek the advice of a physician or other health care professional for all health-related matters, including the use of medicines. 

Does encopresis ever stop?

Most people do eventually overcome encopresis, however, the timeframe for this varies based on the individual and what other medical and/or behavioral issues he or she may be dealing with.  Unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for all for others, and there are some individuals who may have encopresis for longer periods.  

If your child continues to struggle with having accidents, it is important to seek help through physician consultation.  

The UCanPoopToo site offers a number of tips for caregivers working with encopresis at:

Acknowledging Encopresis/Finding Help

Many parents feel isolated, embarrassed or frustrated about their child’s encopresis and therefore do not go about seeking help, but parents should not just wait for the child to “grow out of it”.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the most important tasks as a parent is to quickly seek a solution for this problem. If the symptoms are allowed to continue, the child’s self-esteem and social confidence can suffer.  It is important for you to consult your child’s doctor or locate a pediatric gastroenterology specialist familiar with encopresis.

The following link is specific to parent tips for encopresis: Parent Tips.  

The page lists different audio chat topics and other helpful information; if you click a specific link on the page, it will direct you to more detail information on that topic and/or the audio chat excerpts that offer expert answers to questions regarding encopresis issues. 

Should I take my child out of school?/Working With Schools

There is certain research that suggests treating encopresis works best when a team approach is used.   The team should include the child, parents, teachers, and health professionals working together to develop a plan that is both feasible (able to be implemented) and supported by research.  Even with the most effective treatments children with encopresis generally take up to six months to get fully better, and relapses are common during times of change and transition. This is one of the reasons that ongoing support and monitoring are crucial.  Positive outcomes take both dedication and time.  In the link below, Dr. Coehlo poignantly notes, “children with encopresis need understanding, support, and encouragement to be successful at learning what to do to reach a milestone that many of us take for granted.”  Treat Encopresis As A Team

Many parents have questions regarding how to work with schools, and many children have more difficulty at school than they do at home. You may find the Encopresis Tips for Parents section of our website helpful.  We’ve included audio links and written questions and answers from a number of discussions with encopresis experts on working with teachers, school nurses, and other educators, as well as information on individual education plans. The UCanPoopToo program includes even more information on how children and parents can overcome the challenges of school related issues. 

For additional information on working with schools, you may find the link Working With Schools.  

Why do we have relapses?

Overcoming encopresis is often not quick solution, but commiting to a long-term solution.  Many children will have initial success, but will relapse into old habits.  This should not be taken as failure, but just a small step backwards. The important thing is to not wait, but to get back on track immediately and go step-by-step.
UCanPoopToo offers Encopresis Tips for Parents at  The questions on this page have come from parents who have requested additional help with their individual situation, like you are doing now.  Also, if your child was successful for 12 days but is now having frequent accidents again despite following the clean out rule, you may want to consult with your physician.  Does your physician have a good understanding of encopresis?  S/he may be able to help determine whether there is still an impaction. 

We have found that many families struggling with their child’s encopresis benefit from reading the stories of other children.  It sometimes helps the child and parent feel able to relate to others in similar situations and provides encouragement even though there may not be a quick or easy solution.  We do hear some parents say that it may take a longer time of continuing with the program despite certain setbacks to gradually see improvements in the encopresis. 

Behavioral Problem?

In most cases, children with encopresis do not have their accidents on purpose, out of spite, or because they are lazy. Rather, many secondary behavioral problems occur as a result of the encopresis. Once the encopresis is treated, many of the behavioral problems can get better. However, behavior therapy is usually not sufficient to cure the problem.

For more information on possible causes of encopresis and the basic principles around solving encopresis, you may find the links Possible Causes and Basic Solutions to be beneficial.

Accidents at Night

For children who have a long history of encopresis, sometimes their muscles relax during sleep.  This may happen if there is a lot of withholding throughout the day and/or if the child generally has poor muscle control as a result of longstanding constipation and encopresis.  Further evaluation and discussion with your child’s physician to determine the next best step, which may include a clean out regimen and laxative maintenance therapy, would be a recommended.  

Handling Encopresis in Two Homes

With regard to handling encopresis under two homes, consistency and communication are key.  This means involving the other parent (or guardian) and certainly getting your child actively involved, as well.  Children can and should play an active role in ending their poop accidents.  It is important they understand the underlying causes of encopresis, know how to poop correctly, and help re-train their bodies to recognize when to poop.

We only have accidents at home.

One technique for dealing with this challenge may be charting the occurrences in a diary. This can assist you in determining if the accidents are happening at the same time of day and can ultimately help you together with your child’s physician make the appropriate decision about timing of necessary encopresis related interventions and medications.  Charting is an important part of understanding and treating encopresis.