My daughter is soiling herself at school but not at home.

I am going through a very critical issue with my four-year-old daughter at school. When she wore diapers, she started taking them off from the age of two. Since she started school this year, she has been soiling in her pants.

When I ask her about it, she says that she was playing and she does not want to miss out on time with her friends by going to the washroom. I have talked to her several times about going to the washroom in time, but there has been no improvement. I know that she does not have a constipation issue or any other problem. At home, she is fine and goes to the toilet normally.

I have tried a lot of things with her, for example telling her that she will be praised if she poops in the toilet at school, but nothing is working. What do you suggest? Is she doing this because of an issue at school or with her teacher? I would really appreciate any advice you could give me.

Your daughter is probably accurately telling you why she is pooping in her pants. She is having fun and doesn’t want to leave her friends. Unless you have other indications of problems at school, I would just take her at her word.

There are a couple of things you can do.

Talk to her teacher about it. Try and figure out with her teacher how your daughter can be prompted to visit the toilet at school on a regular basis. Scheduling going to the toilet at natural breaks in the day or every two hours would be a good start. When a scheduled toilet visit is to occur, she should be discretely told she is to go to the toilet. If she is asked if she wishes to go, she will likely say she doesn’t need to. She should be expected to go for more than a few seconds.  If the teacher can also praise her for going to the toilet when she returns, this will help. If she is clean for two or three days, the level of prompts can be less.

At home, you can do two things:

  1. Keep a “Clean at School” chart. Every day she is clean, she can get a sticker with a big fuss about how pleased you are with her being clean.  If she improves her current level of soiling, make sure you acknowledge her improvement with something special, e.g., more reading with you or a trip to the park or her favorite meal.
  2. Have her clean up her panties when she comes home soiled. She should wash her panties by hand before they go into the washing. Don’t make it too easy. This natural consequence should not be accompanied by shaming or criticism. It is just that she is old enough to clean up after herself.

It would be best if all of these methods are used at the same time. Good luck.

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