We returned from another trip to the children’s hospital…disappointed yet again with the ‘solution’ the specialist gave.  As if there isn’t enough pressure to toilet train your child, add on the pressure of your older child needing to wear pull-ups out in public every single time you leave the house.  Our youngest has not been ‘toilet trained’ – she is 9.  This is our journey with encopresis.  **I’ve asked her permission to share this story with you and she was more than happy to.  Her reason…because she knows what God has brought her through and she wants to share His glory.  She wants to offer hope to others.  This post is for when you find yourself pulling out your hair and screaming, Help! My Child Isn’t Toilet Trained! Our Journey With Encopresis.

Help! My Child Isn't Toilet Trained! Our Journey With Encopresis.

Lazy Parenting?  Or Something More Serious?

When one of my kids was 5, she was still having accidents daily.  Not just one or the other, but BOTH bodily functions.  I had tried everything to get her to go on the toilet.  Bribes, rewards charts, spankings, a special alarm watch, yelling, making her clean herself up (which ended up being the worst thing for her!)…the list goes on.

These accidents were multiple times daily.  Many times, it would be ‘small’ accidents, with her not being able to go more right afterward.  This made it even more frustrating!

I sure wouldn’t want to be seen as a ‘lazy parent’ who hasn’t toilet-trained her child properly.  That seems to be the stigma out there.  Actually, I recently saw a comment on a toilet training blog post where a teacher accused parents of being lazy in their toilet training because a primary student would poop himself daily just to get out of school.  OK, can we please be logical here? 

Seriously!  What kid would go to the lengths of messing themselves on purpose just to skip out of school?  Unless there is a very grave problem at school such as abuse, no kid is going to deliberately mess himself in class!  Mom and dad were likely – and are still likely – besides themselves with hopelessness in dealing with this issue.  I felt quite perturbed when I read the accusation!  So, please be aware of this problem if you work with children, it is much more common than one would think (**And use our God-given reasoning skills to think through something like that logically!).

If you aren’t dealing with such an issue but know of someone who does, please be so supportive of them and refrain from saying rude things about smell and such.  This is hard enough as it is!  Maybe do them a favour and forward this post to them!  They just may thank you profusely!

The Diagnosis And Standard Treatment

I finally managed to get a referral to a pediatrician.

And I got a diagnosis…encopresis and enuresis.

The road to recovery would be a long one, I was told.  Little did I know just how long.

Enuresis is a problem with the urinary function.  Kids don’t know when they have to pee and it dribbles out throughout the day.

Encopresis is with the bowels – these kids don’t know when they have to poop and they mess a little bit several times a day.  Really, they have been so constipated for so long that their little colon has been stretched way out of shape and the new ‘stuff’ bypasses the constipated mass.  Then it just leaks out.

I know – it sounds gross, doesn’t it?  It is frustrating and discouraging for any parent and child.

A Solution??

The solution was to do a major ‘clean-out’ with a product called Restoralax and then continue giving the child a capful of the product every day.

We did that.  For 3 years.  It didn’t work.

We even went to see specialists at BC Children’s hospital.  The urologist finally did a test on her and discovered her bladder was spastic.  She was put on some medication for 3 months, which helped regulate her bladder.  But, because the spasms were due to her enlarged colon, I feared we’d just get back to square one if the other issue wasn’t resolved.

We saw the GI specialist again with the hope that he’d offer us some other plan of attack.  He didn’t.  He just said to give her more Restoralax.

We left frustrated and hopeless.

What About Faith?

One of my greatest fears throughout all of this was that my child would lose her faith – or doubt God’s love for her.

This was something we talked about a lot.  We prayed and read scripture.  She reassured me that her trust in God was strong.  But I kept a watchful eye on her…just in case.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declaresHer favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11.  She holds fast to this promise, and for good reason.

One day, I asked her if she thought maybe her present struggle was something God was using to prepare her for something BIG He would ask her to do one day.  Without hesitation, she said “YES!

Amazing Faith

I am so amazed at this little one’s faith.  She is the first to go to God in prayer for anything.

It seems whenever I ask her to pray about something, her reply is “I already did.”

"Always believe in Jesus. It is good to believe in Him. I will always believe in Him. I do. You love me. I know You love me."

“Always believe in Jesus. It is good to believe in Him. I will always believe in Him. I do. You love me. I know You love me.”


The photo above is a journal entry she made (you’ll notice she also has dysgraphia, a problem with printing – actually a problem with the sides of her brain communicating – see Dianne Craft‘s Smart Kids Who Hate To Write for a solution to this problem!  Bonus – she is a Christian!).  Here, she is stating her confidence in Jesus’ love for her.  There is no doubt here.  No question.  We could be taught a lesson here about having faith like a child.

I never want that tender spirit to be squashed by trials.  By doubt.  And I am so thankful that she is so strong in her belief of God’s love for her.

My Friend, Google!

After the last (hopeless) trip to the children’s hospital, I was desperate for something that might help.  I can’t tell you how many times I Google searched “encopresis” – and any other words that might be associated with it.  Too many to count.

But in one last ditch effort to find something, I tried Google one more time.

And something caught my eye.  Soiling Solutions.

Could it be?  Hope?

I clicked the link and read the site.  Hope started to grow.

But was it too good?  Too promising?

I sent the link to my hubby and asked him about it – what he thought.

I could buy the eBook – but it was $99 USD!

What if this was a scam!?

Hope…Real Hope

But I searched a bit more.  And I prayed.  And prayed.  I downloaded and read the sample on the site.

Marcus said to go ahead and buy the digital copy.  He reasoned that we had no problem driving 6 hours to the Children’s hospital, pay for hotel and food and we got nowhere.  So, what is another hundred bucks if it just might work.

So, I bought it.  I read it that night.

Hope.  At Last.

This just might work!

It involved glycerin suppositories, enemas, ex-lax…and something called ‘power-hour’.  But it also meant eliminating Restoralax!  And maybe even the messes!

Sounds Logical, Right?

The reasoning behind this method, in a nutshell, was that children have lost the urge to poop, therefore they need to be reminded of that feeling – their system needs to be retrained to feel that urge.  And the best way to do that is with products that will cause immediate urges.

I made my shopping list and went to the drug store.  I discussed with my child what we were going to do and she was somewhat apprehensive, but, like me, she thought that just maybe this will help her.  She was willing to try!

We started the protocol in December 2014.  We went from multiple messes EVERY DAY to one mess every few weeks.  Yeah, that’s right.  It WORKED!

I See The Light At The End Of The Tunnel!

Eventually, we were able to stop the ‘power hours’ and go about our day as normal.  She would need a glycerin suppository every 2-3 days now.  That was enough to get her moving and prevent any problems with constipation.

She was so happy!  I was thrilled!

Fast forward several months and things are still going so well.  Minimal accidents.  She feels the urge to go.

We were all happy with the progress – and our pediatrician was thrilled!

But we’d still like to see more progress.  We’d like to not have to use anything on her at all. 

UPDATE June 2016

My daughter is completely healed from encopresis and enuresis.  She has not had to have any help in the way of laxatives, enemas or suppositories for several months now.  She goes on her own every day – NO accidents!  No messes.  No shame.  And no embarrassment.  She can go places without me and NOT wear a pull-up OR worry about having an accident.  She is fully healed.  

A Few Last Bits

This has been a difficult journey for our family.  But, we are very much on the road to recovery with our girl.  A few things I want to share with you if your family is struggling with a challenge such as this:

  • Don’t blame yourself. I blamed myself for a long time – like maybe I did something wrong.  But that was a lie.  This was not my fault.
  • Keep searching for solutions. I was ready to give up.  I am so thankful I tried ideas other than the standard treatment from specialists.
  • Keep your child’s faith – and your own faith – strong.
  • Never shame your child. I heard that shame happens often in these circumstances.  That makes me sad.
  • Get some outside help for you and/or your child. I spoke with a counselor and she gave me some great tools to help our family cope with this medical issue.
  • Don’t make your child deal with the mess himself. It is so embarrassing and shameful enough.  They know they shouldn’t be having accidents, but they can’t help it and don’t know what to do.  Help them clean up their messes.  I know, it is gross, but do it anyway.
  • Just because this is not terminal doesn’t mean that you should ignore it or treat the problem casually.  We must fight for our children and not minimize their struggles regardless.
  • Keep praying. Keep bringing your child to Jesus.  And if you are ever feeling at your wit’s end, talk to someone who will understand.  As of this moment, you know you have at least one friend who will understand…me.  Feel free to contact me, if you need to.  I know.

This is our journey with encopresis.  It has been a tough one.  But, God has been healing and doing His work…in a way I never imagined.

Help! My Child Isn't Toilet Trained! Our Journey With Encopresis.

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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...

Latest posts by Aimee Imbeau (see all)

  • Karen Del Tatto

    What a tremendous testimony that your daughter was willing for you to share her story on your blog. The Lord is already using her in a mighty way!

    Thank you for sharing with such transparency and honesty. I’m sure what you have learned will help others out there who might be going through the same thing with their children.

    I can speak from my own experience which is similar, but not exactly the same. I was a bed-wetter until I was 12 years old. I didn’t go on sleep overs with my friends for fear of embarrassment. Thankfully, my parents were very encouraging and understanding.

    How wonderful that your daughter knows the Lord and is trusting in His promises to her which is a wonderful testimony to your Godly parenting. 🙂

    • Thank you so much Karen. I am so thankful that my little girl is so strong in her faith. Not being able to control bodily functions can be so devastating. I’m glad your parents were encouraging and understanding. I think that is one of the most important things. If we don’t have that kind of support from our own parents, it just makes the problem that much harder.

  • Katrina@theyallcallmemom.com

    Wow, what this post made me think of is all the other little ones who have the same issues but yet their parents aren’t searching for answers, or if they are they aren’t finding any answers. My heart goes out to the children who get scolded and punished and shamed for something like this when obviously it’s not something they can control. You are an excellent mom to never give up…and now it looks like you found the fix for the problem. So happy for your and your daughter.

    • Thank you Katrina. I wonder how many parents get told that the problem is their fault, too. Comments such as “when will your kid be out of pull-ups?” don’t help at all.I wonder how parents have just given up looking for answers or don’t realize that there actually is a problem. No one really talks about it. It really is sad. I just pray word gets out and parents and kids find a solution.

  • Anastasia

    My little brother (12 years old) has struggled with this since he was a kindergartner. My parents have taken him to many specialists as well. I’m so thankful I found this post through Pinterest and again through the Roll Out the Red Carpet post. I forwarded it right on to my mother, hoping it can be of some help as she is still searching for something to help him. Thank you!

    • 12 years old and still struggling – that must be so hard. And frustrating that no specialist is able to give a solution that has actually worked. I am glad that you are passing it along to your mom. If she has any questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them.
      BTW – I am a frequent visitor to your blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed your content.

  • Ana, would you mind sending me an email or have your mom email me? I have some tips on the soiling solutions (might be TMi here) and an idea where to get nitric oxide with a 4 month money back plan. My email is mimbeau (at) telus (dot) net.

  • Thanks for sharing, Aimee!

  • Pingback: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015 - A Work Of Grace()

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  • Emilee Feaster

    This is so encouraging! I have a daughter who’s almost 5 and struggling with encopresis. We have never been able to get her potty trained because the soiling is so bad, plus she also can’t hold urine either. My mom keeps telling me it’s because she’s strong willed and refusing to go and that I have to just show her who’s boss. That hasn’t worked. Neither has miralax. In fact, I think it has made her worse. My husband and I are both at our wit’s end with this. We have a 7 year old son with mild autism, and a 15 month old son as well, and this is just too much.

    • Hi, Emilee. I totally understand what you are going through. It isn’t easy! It is frustrating and discouraging. My youngest who had this problem is very strong-willed. And because she is, I am confident that her strong-will would push her to go to the bathroom properly if she could, NOT purposefully mess herself. That just doesn’t even make sense! You don’t need to show her who is boss (I have a couple of posts on strong-willed kids, too that you might find helpful – just search ‘strong-will’ and they ought to appear). In fact, it was my daughter’s strong-will that helped her keep her faith in God AND helped her agree to get better quickly. This has nothing to do with obedience. Nothing at all. I encourage you to try the Soiling Solutions protocol. I know it is a hefty price for a download, but I am not sorry I bought it (I do not get any type of compensation if you buy it). My daughter is completely off of the PEG, suppositories, exlax, enemas…everything. She is OFF of them all! And she is fully healed. No problems for about a year and a half.

      She was on meds for her urinary problem, and those worked (for a spastic bladder). But that problem would simply return if we didn’t get her constipation under control. Her bladder may have went back to normal if she had done the Soiling Solutions first, I don’t know. But the meds really aren’t a big deal since it was for a short time.

      Feel free to email me if you have any other questions – aimeeimbeau@gmail.com – or if you just want to vent or talk to someone about this who understands. This isn’t your fault. OK? Never forget that. It isn’t your daughter’s fault, either. If you do buy the download, let me know and I’ll share with you some extra tips that helped my daughter and me.

      • Emilee Feaster

        Thank you so much! I’ve felt many times that I’ve failed as a parent and it’s something that I did it didn’t do that’s causing it. Question: did you daughter have behaviors or bad outbursts also? My daughter has horrible mood swings and is incredibly emotional (we are a stable Christian home, which is why I wonder if it has to do with the bowel problem as well).

        • I used to feel that way, too. But now I know for certain that it wasn’t my fault – nor hers. It is something that just happened. I think when we feel powerless and hopeless as parents, we are more likely to get down on ourselves. But now you have a new tool in your tool belt to solve this problem. It must be so shameful for our kids – really, what child messes themselves on purpose? Your question – my daughter didn’t ever really have outbursts. But my son did! Oh, boy, did he ever! I tried every parenting ‘trick’ out there to solve this issue. None worked. I finally had the brains to ask God what I should do. I am sure He was just patiently waiting for me to come to Him for his wisdom. After I prayed, I knew God was speaking to my heart and telling me that my son’s tantrums were due to his intense anger – his emotions are all quite intense. And his anger terrified him. This is what I had to do – in the midst of one of his outbursts, I was to hold him close to me, pray for him and speak calming words over him. What a huge difference that made! Of course, this is what we had discussed we’d do in the calm moments so he was prepared, and he really liked the idea – and he agreed, his anger scared him. He did not know what to do with it. So, we also came up with some healthy ways to manage anger. Under no circumstances was he permitted to hurt himself or anyone else. There were a couple of books that we read, too. Like this elf-help book – Mad Isn’t Bad: A Child’s Book about Anger and How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger. We talked a lot about God helping him manage his anger and emotions and I led him to pray for himself about these problems, asking God for healing. It took time, but it worked. My son is also very strong-willed;) I bet your daughter is a very highly sensitive child (do tags bother her?). Ask God for wisdom here. He will gladly give it! Trust His spirit guiding you, that still, small voice. Even if it goes against pop parenting philosophies!

          • Emilee Feaster

            We got the digital download of the Clean Kid Manual several days ago, and I have to say, I feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel already. We’ve actually been able to achieve a good clean out in about 2 days with the recommendations in the book. It used to take several days, if not a week or longer, to get results with oral stimulant laxatives. I also feel like her behaviors and attitude the last few days have been so much better. I’m sure it’s because she feels the difference in her body. Her little abdomen is soft and not distended for the first time in ages. Even though she fights us a little before the enemas, I feel like she understands that we are doing this to help and not to upset of punish her. Thank you for the encouragement and wisdom. It does not go unappreciated.

          • How are things going, Emilee? I hope and pray they are still going well and you continue to see improvement.

          • And she probably does understand that you are helping her – kids tend to understand much more than we give them credit for;)

          • Emilee Feaster

            This is nothing short of a miracle. My daughter is now fully toilet trained, which really felt totally unachievable before. She still wets her bed at night sometimes, but so did I as a kid. So we just have her wearing pull-ups overnight. We have had to remind her that she needs to poop every day, and she is able to sit and get some out on her own. She’s at the point now where she goes sometimes without being reminded. We don’t even need enemas all the time, but usually once or twice a week we’ll use one if we think she may not be emptying. It’s been truly amazing. Without this, I don’t think we would have been able to help her.

  • Deylee P

    Praise the Lord I just read your journey, so encouraging, as I am delaing with my son who is 8 years old now and have encopresis we got so small information about it and since 2014 we going no where having goods day and goign backwards once we stop the used of hte medecine, feeling down as parent, but as you we share an amazing faith. we know that our Lord is a great healer, a God of grace, and thank you so much for all the information. May go and read you again. be bless thank you to yoru wonderful daughter . tomorrow i iwll show to my son that he cna related to other children.

    • Hi, Deylee. This condition is a difficult one to cope with. I was told by a specialist that this was something my daughter will simply have to learn to live with…and I basically knew nothing because I didn’t accept his prognosis. It would be funny going to see him again to show him that my daughter is fully healed! Without his help!

      Yes, let your son know he isn’t alone in this – in fact, since my daughter has allowed me to share her story, I’ve heard of so many families struggling with this condition.

      Be sure to check out that Soiling Solutions manual. It sure helps! Let me know if you have any questions.