This is the most personal entry yet in my blog, about an aspect of my life that a few years ago I would never have dreamed I’d be writing about. It concerns my shameful childhood secret, something which I kept to myself for decades because I did not want people to know that I had such a babyish and disgusting habit as a child. But in the last few years I have ‘opened up’ to others on the internet, mostly on specialist forums, and now I want to tell speak to a more general audience in order to try to raise awareness and understanding of an embarrassing and distressing condition: childhood soiling.
|Aged 3 and still in nappies.|
I was late coming out of nappies, not wearing proper pants until I was three and a half years old. But my reluctance to use the toilet continued and I often messed my underwear. This occurred between the ages of 3 and 11, although it was worst up to the age of 7. It happened because I often avoided going to the toilet when I felt the urge to poo. I freely admit that it began as an act of laziness on my part, not wanting to stop playing in order to attend to my bodily needs, but it was never an act of naughtiness. I didn't deliberately go in my pants, but I would soil myself sometime later because of my failure to use the toilet earlier. I never felt myself actually pooing, I just became aware later that my pants were messy. Over time I became used to soiled underwear and would continue to play in it because it didn't really feel uncomfortable to me. I also wasn't too keen on being told off for having messy pants.
It was a long time before I made the connection between avoiding using the toilet and having dirty pants, because the need to poo seemed to go away when I ignored it, unlike the feeling of a full bladder which, if not dealt with in a speedy manner, would result in a wetting accident, something which I never had after my toddler years. Because of the time lapse between avoiding using the bathroom and soiling myself, I really don’t think I made the connection between the two events for a quite a while.
|Aged 7. My mother threatened to |
tell my entire class that I
dirtied my pants. She never did.
For a long time I had wanted to stop soiling myself but didn’t know how to do it. Once I had made the connection I then made more of an effort to start using the toilet when I knew I needed to poo. It wasn’t easy as avoiding going to the toilet had become quite a habit, and there were times when I still did it. However, before my 8th birthday I was mostly clean, other than on trips as I disliked using public toilets for bowel movements. My very last accident occurred on holiday at the age of 11. By that stage I had suffered the embarrassment of being messy and smelly, and gone through the humiliation of being changed by my mother, more times than I would wish to remember. I had put my parents through a lot of worry and heartache, not to mention some horrible clean-ups and laundry, and I had been shouted at and told off on numerous occasions. But at least the nightmare was over and I could forget about this awful chapter of my childhood.
I thought at the time, and for a long time afterwards, that I was the only child in the world who dirtied his pants. But I was later to discover that this was not the case...
For more information on childhood soiling and constipation, and other continence issues in children such as bedwetting, daytime wetting and potty training, why not visit the website of the charity ERIC who specialise in helping with these problems.