Hi everyone! I have a rather common problem about potty accidents, and a rather interesting pattern of when it occurs. Now I am wondering how to resolve this issue.
I work in an after-school program with children ages 5-12. The school age children are divided into two groups: one group, which is kindergarten-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade. Due to the size of the classroom, and the amount of children (specifically kindergarteners) that are enrolled, the kindergarteners are divided up between myself and my co-teacher. Everything is going great: I love my co-teacher, who is awesome, and the children are great listeners. I genuinely love this age group, and I missed working with them, as I had 4 year olds this summer.
This is my issue: I have a 6 year old in my class who poops in his pants. He had accidents last year during 4 year old kindergarten, usually pee, and sometimes poop. This past summer, I remember him having quite a few accidents with poop. Within the last week, he has had an accident (poop) everyday. This means that I have to stand in the doorway of the bathroom, which literally takes me out of the classroom away from the other kids, make sure that he cleans himself properly, and get on with my afternoon. I will ask him if he needs to poop, and he will tell me he doesn't. Yesterday was gross: we were outside playing "Red Light, Green Light" and when it was time to go inside, I smelled something as he walked past me. Once we got to the classroom, I sent him to the bathroom and I was right. Poop in his pants, again, and it was fresh, meaning that he had recently pooped. I cleaned him up, due to the fact that he had poop on the toilet seat from wiping himself.
Yesterday, I made a mental note as to what we were doing and what time he pooped. I realized that between 4p-430p like clockwork, he has an accident. I send him to the bathroom upon arrival to the center from school, and today I sat him on the toilet around 4p for 15 minutes, to see if he would poop. I checked the underwear, and sure enough, he started pooping in his pants prior to sitting on the toilet. I explained to him that poop needs to go in the toilet and not our pants. He cried while he sat there, and kept insisting he didn't have to poop, yet I also knew that if didn't sit, he would most likely have an accident.
All children have accidents, especially if they aren't potty trained. Some children have accidents because they are so engrossed in their play they may "forget" or not realize they have to go potty. So what exactly are you supposed to do when a potty trained 6 year old has an accident everyday? Does it frustrate me? Yes, because I have to take the time to clean him up, search for clean clothes, and baby wipes, which takes away from my class. My bosses can't come into my classroom everyday to step in for me to clean this child up. Secondly, I do not see why a potty trained child of this age should be having accidents like this. I have discussed this with Mom and Dad. Mom says "we will talk to him", blah blah blah. Dad and I had a conversation this evening, and Dad pointed out that change is difficult for him, so I am wondering if the transition from 4K to summer to kindergarten/after school care is doing a number on him, and pooping is his way of adjusting? I mentioned to Dad that I have him go potty once he arrives at the center, and that I sat him on the toilet for 15 minutes around 4p and Dad said that was fine. The other thing Dad suggested was that maybe he isn't going at school, at which point I mentioned to Dad to email his teacher, and ask if he can go every so often. The problem is when you ask this child if he has to go he will say no, then he has an accident. In other words, he has to be forced to go, or he will be changing his clothes.
This may be a dumb question, but how I do know that these accidents aren't done on purpose? I would think that they are not, however, this child does have a history of inappropriate behavior he thinks is perfectly acceptable and funny. I studied 4 semester of psychology and remember a term called Encopresis (I think that's how it's spelled) covered in Abnormal Psychology which is the clinical term for children over 5 years who poop in their pants.
I know it's part of the job, everyone poops. I am just frustrated about cleaning up a child who is old enough not to have accidents.