Real Life Stories

James, aged 5, had no difficulty in attaining urinary control but bowel control was inconsistent and never completely accomplished. He refused to sit on the toilet and resisted his parents' repeated efforts, which varied from cajoling to punishment. When James entered preschool he seemed to adjust well initially, but after a few months his teacher noted that his underpants were often soiled and the other children didn't want to play with him. When she brought this to his attention, James became embarrassed, started to cry and then resisted going on the school bus.

Marissa, 4 l/2, mastered bowel control without incident before the age of 3, but then began to soil again and to suck her thumb, much to the consternation of her mother. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to help Marissa regain control, her mother sought professional advice. After a meeting with the family, it was discovered that the soiling and other regressive behaviors were related to Marissa's reaction to the argumentative relationship between her parents and their recent decision to separate.