Differences in toileting habits between children with chronic encopresis, asymptomatic siblings, and asymptomatic nonsiblings

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1999 Jun;20(3):145-9. doi: 10.1097/00004703-199906000-00002.


No studies have compared toileting-specific behaviors of encopretic children with those of asymptomatic children and have controlled for environmental factors such as parental attitudes, parenting styles, and bathroom facilities. This study prospectively examined the toileting habits of 86 chronically encopretic children compared with those of 27 asymptomatic siblings and 35 asymptomatic nonsiblings. Although encopretic children experienced significantly more soiling than did controls, the total number of daily bowel movements passed in the toilet (+/-SD) was comparable in the three groups (.92 +/- .76 in encopretic children compared with 1.14 +/- .43 and 1.08 +/- .47 in siblings and nonsiblings, respectively). Encopretic children experienced pain with defecation more often than did controls. During the 14-day study period, encopretic children complained of pain on 2.75 +/- 4.03 days compared with .58 +/- 1.84 days among sibling controls and 2.31 +/- 3.21 days among nonsibling controls. The mean pain score in encopretic children was .76 +/- 1.00 compared with .05 +/- .15 and .26 +/- .38 among siblings and nonsiblings, respectively. All three groups of children sat on the toilet without parental prompting the same number of times each day. In summary, children with chronic encopresis do not seem to avoid toileting, and they exhibit toileting behaviors that are very similar to those of asymptomatic siblings as well as to those of nonsibling controls.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Encopresis / diagnosis
  • Encopresis / psychology*
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sibling Relations*
  • Toilet Training*