About Impacted Stool in Children

When a child develops impacted stool, it can be the result of constipation or a condition known as encopresis. There can be many reasons your child is having issues with impacted stool, such as dietary, potty training, or stress. While it can be a frustrating experience for you, it can be downright painful for your child. There are various ways to treat this condition, but always consult your pediatrician before choosing a treatment.

Chronic Constipation

According to the Mayo Clinic, constipation in children is marked by very few bowel movements. When your child finally has a bowel movement, the stool may be hard and look like small pellets. When your child has constipation, it may be due to diet (i.e. too much junk food or not enough fluid intake). Also, potty training can make your child want to avoid using the bathroom, which can result in fecal matter building up in the intestines.

Symptoms of Constipation

You will know your child is constipated because he may not have a bowel movement for days. He may refuse to pass a stool because it is too painful. At times, your child may complain his tummy hurts, or that he feels sick to his stomach. Though it might be startling, blood could show up on the surface of the stool.


Though your child may not have a bowel movement for a few days, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is very important to see a doctor if he has not passed stool for more than two weeks. If he begins to vomit, has a fever, weight loss, or swelling of the stomach, or is experiencing a rectal prolapse (where the intestines come out of the rectum), see a doctor immediately.


Encopresis is the result of severely impacted stool from your child refusing to use the toilet. According to the Mayo Clinic, the stool will begin to collect in your child’s rectum and colon. When your child becomes so impacted, liquid stool can leak out.


Usually, children who develop encopresis will get it after they have been potty trained. Since encopresis is due to constipation, your child may refuse to use the restroom. Stool becomes more impacted, which makes using the restroom more stressful for your child. Some children also develop encopresis as a result of being potty trained too soon, or because of a traumatic situation.