Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I wouldn’t wish encopresis on anyone, and certainly not on my younger self.  Yet, despite the painful and embarrassing experiences of soiling myself as a child, there have, I think, been some positive outcomes.  In this final blog post I would like to consider these.

The things I did as a child,
including soiling myself,
have made me very patient
 with children as an adul
Firstly, I think that my childhood experiences have made me very patient with children, which was undoubtedly useful when I did voluntary work in local primary schools, day nurseries and playgroups.  If any of the children did or said anything silly, I remembered back to some of the things which I did when I was their age, which may be considered silly when viewed through adult eyes, but which made perfect sense to me at the time.  I am particularly patient when it comes to children’s toilet issues and think nothing of it when I see a girl or boy past the usual age for potty training who is still wearing nappies or pull-ups, and would never punish any child in my care for a toilet accident, no matter how old they were, or feel anything but sympathy for that child.

I believe this empathy with the feelings of children who wet or soil themselves began at an early age.  As I said in my post A Pooey Bottom at Nursery, I never teased Holly when she pooed her pants at school, nor did I ever mention her accident to her or to anyone else.  Similarly, I never said anything to Melanie about wetting herself during rehearsals for the school’s nativity play, outlined in Soiling at School, or to a 7 year old friend who wet his pants while we were walking home from school.

I also think that encopresis has given me an appreciation of bowel control, and a determination to hang onto it, that is stronger than in many other adults.  For example, while a lot of adults dislike having a bowel movement while they are at work, or try to avoid using public toilets if they need a poo, I am happy to park my bottom anywhere when nature calls.  I have seen the consequences of withholding and I have no intention whatsoever of repeating the mistakes of my childhood.  Good bowel control is now too important for me to jeopardise it again.

Using my experiences to help today's
children who soil, and their parents,
has been the silver lining to the
cloud of encopresis. (c)
However, undoubtedly the biggest positive from my experiences has been the ability to help the children of today who have soiling problems, and their parents.  Although there must be thousands of adults who had similar issues when they were younger, there are few who are willing to share their experiences, which is perfectly understandable.  Though I was hesitant at first, choosing to write about my childhood soiling was one of the best decisions I have made and I am delighted that so many parents have found my reminiscences useful, and that older children who soil have found comfort and help from my books A Boy Like You and A Girl Like You.  I could not have written these books if I had not suffered from encopresis myself as knowing exactly how it felt to frequently poo yourself when you were 7, 8 or 9 years old was a key component to their success.  I have been asked more questions by parents about my toilet problems than I care to recall, which I have been happy to answer as honestly and candidly as I can.  Now this blog is complete it should hopefully be useful to more parents who are struggling to help and understand their feelings of their son or daughter who is suffering from this condition.

Someone once told me that I had to go through the painful experiences of encopresis as a child in order to help others as an adult.  While my younger self, and my mother who frequently had to clean me up, may never have thought that anything good could have come out of my withholding and soiling habit, I am very pleased that even the cloud of this humiliating condition has proved to have had a silver lining.


  1. when you worked at schools did u ever clean the children after an accident?

    1. No, as a volunteer I was not involved in the children's intimate care.