Elimination Disorders: Lifespan Perspectives

The term elimination disorders in the context of childhood development is usually used to refer to enuresis (i.e., involuntary urination) and encopresis (i.e., involuntary defecation). These disorders are related in a fundamental manner, in that they each refer to malfunctions in a child’s ability to eliminate the by-products of the body’s intake of fluid and food. However, they also differ in important aspects, and thus, they are discussed in individual sections of this entry.


The term enuresis is derived from the Greek word enourein, which simply means “to void urine.” Over time, however, it has taken on a pathological connotation that is not inherent in the original derivation. Specifically, it has come to refer to the voiding of urine in inappropriate places. This usually occurs at ...

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