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Understanding Soiling in Children
Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Soiling (where unwanted poo leaks onto underwear), can be a distressing condition with both children and their caregivers.


Soiling is almost always seen in conjunction with constipation.


As the stool builds up in the rectum, it becomes firmer and the rectum will start to stretch. This can lead to a child experiencing a reduced sensation of the feeling of needing to do a poo. This can become a cycle; with the child now not feeling the need to go to the toilet, stool continues to accumulate.


The soiling is the liquid that travels around the hard stools that are in the rectum. Poo accidents are often a soft pasty consistency, which can be confusing for parents as this makes constipation seem like an unlikely culprit.


Poo accidents are not your child’s fault and are not caused by laziness or naughtiness.


Timely assessment and management of soiling is important, in order to reduce the impact upon the child’s self esteem and the family distress that can result from this condition.


Soiling is involuntary and is not caused by laziness or naughtiness.

Image by Markus Spiske

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