This entry focuses on the psychological factors associated with two elimination disorders: (1) encopresis (i.e., involuntary defecation) and (2) enuresis (i.e., involuntary urination). Although encopresis and enuresis are both elimination disorders, they are distinctively different. Therefore, psychological and behavioral factors associated with both disorders are discussed separately.


Historically, encopresis was viewed as a mental health disorder and patients were referred to as patients with psychogenetic megacolon, with the first line of treatment being psychotherapy. In the late 1950s, this notion was challenged by the findings that children with soiling issues were often diagnosed with constipation, which pointed the scientific community to a medical model to explain the prevalence of encopresis.

A significant number of studies address the question of whether children with encopresis are more likely to ...

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