Child Won't Poop in the Toilet
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Child Won't Poop in the Toilet
I'm a single mom with a wonderful almost three year old girl
who won't/can't poop on the potty. At 2.5 my daughter potty
trained in a day and a half by wearing thick cotton training
pants. She was dry all day and during naps and at night.
Wow, how easy, I thought. However, she was still not
pooping in the potty. No big deal: I expected it would take a
few more weeks, and she'd get the hang of it. NOPE! It's
been 4 months, and she still won't poop in the potty and has
many accidents in her pants everyday. I've recently switched
her back to pull-ups--my tolerance for washing out 3-4 sets
of poopy underwear everynight reached it's limit! She's
taking the switch in stride, and tells me, ''When I poop in the
potty, I can wear my big girl underwear, right Mama?''
This is what I've done so far.
1. Had many discussions about fears about pooping in the
potty. ''No, Mama, I NOT scared.''
2. Asked her if she'd like to put on a diaper or pull-up to
poop in. ''No, Mama, I poop in the potty!''
3. Read long stories to her when she's on the potty. ''No
more books, I done now, Mama.''
4. Bribe her with big girl underwear (vs training pants or
pullups). ''Mama, I poop in the potty, and I get to wear my big
girl underwear, right?''
5. Bribe with candy. ''Mama, I poop in the potty and I get two
gummy bears, right?'' (I HATE this option, but I was running
out of ideas.) The first week she pooped three times, but the
incentive seems to have worn off (although she brings it up
all the time).
6. My latest scheme is to have a special toy that she can
play with only when she's sitting on the toilet (it's a doll
house with little animals and furniture). She does sit for
longer and enjoys the toy, but no other results.
My daughter REALLY wants to use the potty and tells me
when she needs to poop. She'll sit there for 5 minutes with
no results and usually within 10 minutes of leaving the
bathroom, she'll have an accident. I think she doesn't wait
long enough, but I really don't know. When I try to get her to
sit longer (anticipating the accident), she says, ''No Mama, I
I'd love to hear any advice from parents who have been in a
similar situation. I'm at the point of wanting to see a
''specialist.'' (Does anyone know of any?) This is probably
one of those things that she'll just do in her own time. I'm a
lot less grumpy now that she's back in pull-ups--my
developing bad attitude was not good for either of us. My
one ''concern'' is that at her school, they can't ''graduate'' to
the next class until they're potty-trained. At this point, there's
only one other ''big kid'' in her class, and I'd like my daughter
to be able to move soon, too. (The school is very
understanding, BUT in the Pre-K classes, they just don't
have the staff to deal with lots of accidents.)
Any ideas, or should I just lay off?
Running out of ideas
For what it's worth, I'd go back to the gummy bear option and
increase the number or kind of treat she gets for pooping in the
potty! I wish I'd have offered gummy bears or jelly beans
instead of tootsie pops! My daughter ended up eating about 6
tootsie pops in 2 days. My good luck was that once she'd pooped
in the potty for a few days she just did it despite the
dissappointment of no more tootsie pops. The reason I suggest
you go back to the treat incentive is that even though it's
genenrally not a great idea to use food as a reward (especially
with girls I guess!) it sounds like this is just becoming a big
thing. I think for me, I'd rather the whole issue of pooping be
a non issue and move on so it doesn't become a bigger thing and
loaded psychologically between you two. (control and power thing)
If it means using candy for a few weeks and then weaning her of
these and then it was just being over as an issue- I think that
the little damage done by using food as reward can be easily
undone rather than having pooping be an issue. For me I think
that would be better in the long run.
One of our daughters was similar ... potty trained well for pee,
but just refused to go poop in the potty for months. She too new
all the things ... stickers if she went poop, getting to wear big
girl underwear, but nothing stuck. Finally we did several
things, so I don't know exactly which was the most enticing, but
it worked and instantly she does nothing but go in the potty now.
We made a little calendar on which she could put a sticker every
day that she pooped in the potty. Then we also made a grid thing
where she could also put a sticker. This way we could set up
awards for her for going poop 5 time, and then 10 times, and also
for three days in a row. And like before she'd get two stickers
for herself as well. The rewards were we'd all go out to her
favorite restaurant for 5, and then she'd get to go to a toy
store and pick out what she wanted for 10, and I honestly can't
remember the one for 3 in a row. Also Grandma was coming the
next week so we mentioned many times how wouldn't it be great if
she pooped in the potty enough so that we could take grandma to
So like I said I'm not exactly sure which combination worked, but
a couple days after making this calendar and all and explaining
it to her, she said she was going to poop in the potty, and did!
And then she continued to so that by the third day she had
already gone 5 times and the three days in a row, so we went
right out to dinner, well before grandma got here. We did the
toy store several days later, and she's been essentially perfect
ever since. In general I'd say she waits until she's ready to do
pretty much anything (crawl, walk, potty, etc etc slower than her
sister) but when she's ready, boom she's done.
I'm not an expert, but it sounds like it's become such a big
deal to your daughter that she's getting too tense to poop in
the potty. Tension can cause her sphincter to tighten up and
the poop won't come out.
I'd suggest just letting it go for a while. Let her wear
pullups and don't make a big deal out of it.
After she's forgotten the stress of failing to perform, and she
does go back on the potty, try giving her warm water to drink
while she's sitting there. That has always worked for me!
Don't worry - this is completely normal. It's a control issue,
and when she's ready, she'll do it. Our daughter was exactly
the same and no amount of bribing, begging, cajoling, or
ignoring could get her too poop in the toilet. Then one day,
out of the blue (I had basically given up) she announced she was
a big girl and pooping in the potty. She has not worn a pullup
or diaper since that announcement; and even at night - no
accidents. It's amazing. My son needed a talk with the
pediatrician; and two weeks later, he had made the same
announcement. Because of this, I truly believe the child has to
decide when they are ready - and it'll happen.
Your situation sound very familiar and, despite my initial
reluctance, the candy bribe option worked like a charm, though
our reward system was more than a few gummy bears. We don't
usually give her sweets, so half a candy bar or some other
sugary snack were a real treat for her. Once our daughter got
the hang of it, and it happend quickly, she never went back.
Sugar Therapy Works (Sometimes)
I'm potty training my 2.9yr old son and it seems like he finally
has the peeing part down (it's been a couple of months in
training) however I can't seem to get him to go #2. He'll either
go in his pants or he'll refuse to go to the potty altogether.
I've tried to ask him if he feels like going and he'll say ''no''.
I've even tried to have him sit on the potty with a pull-up and
attempt to go and after less than a minute he'll say he doesn't
need to go, even when he does a few minutes later! This is my
first potty training experience and it is tougher than I
expected, so I'm hoping I can get some words of wisdom and
experience. I've been doing loads and loads of laundry and my
husband is ready to put him back in diapers!
Potty training is exhausting!
We had the same problem and learned the hard way that our son
shouldn't have been in underwear until fully trained, including
#2. He actually started withholding his poop, which made for an
even worse situation that needed to be corrected with laxatives.
Once we realized that putting him in underpants was more for our
own parental pride than his good, we put him back in pullups,
explaining that underpants aren't made for poop, and that we
weren't angry but that he just needed a little more practice and
that wearing pullups would help him relax. Then we completely
dropped it. We didn't hover when he acted like he needed to poop
and we didn't comment when he went in his pullups (always).
After we went back to pullups, we all felt so much more relaxed
and able to enjoy ourselves. And within just a few weeks, he
decided completely on his own to start using the potty. Once he
started, that was it. Done.
It's hard with your first to realize that this training period
will come to an end eventually, even if it's not when you
imagined it would. And it's completely normal for a boy to not
train on #2 until he's 3.5--your son would actually be a little
early if he did it now. Most of my friends' sons were past their
third birthdays when they finished.
Oh, and putting him back in pullups did not make him start peeing
in them again, as was my fear. He just kept on pulling them down
and peeing in the potty.
Been there too
I feel your pain! We went through the same thing with my son,
who is now 5. After a few weeks, I resorted to bribery which,
though I was philosophically against intitially worked like a
charm! We offered him a small Matchbox car each time he went
poo-poo in the potty. The only pitfall was that he did (and
does!) refer to his rather large collection of these cars as his
''poo-poo cars''. We sat him down and told him that to help him
learn to use the potty we would give him a matchbox car for each
bowel movement. After he had amassed quite a collection, I told
him we would be doing this for 3 more days and then switching to
giving hugs since he was such a big boy. I worried he would
backslide, but he never did. Yeah, I know bribery is not the
best parenting technique, but sometimes you have to go for
My 3.3 year old daughter is in the same place, potty trained in
all other aspects. I say don't sweat it. Between us parents, I
don't understand her fear of pooping in the potty. Sometimes I
ask if she'd like to try going on the potty, or sitting on the
potty with a diaper on. Or I try to explain how comfortable it
is not to go in a diaper. Etc. She never yields. What I tell her
(and myself) then is that she'll use the potty when she's ready.
This age seems to be full of fears that appear irrational to
adults, and maybe this is just another one.
Still using one diaper a day
If I could give just one piece of potty training advice, I would say--Just use Pull ups
until he volunteers to use the toilet on his own. My son finally learned to
use the toilet when he was 4 years old. He continues to use pull ups but doesn't dirty
them. Back when I was trying unsuccessfully to get my son to use the toilet he decided
to hold it in to the point of becoming constipated. This was really difficult for all
Finally he became interested in using the toilet on his own. I wish I had just left it
to him. good luck.
I watched my mom potty train my nephew. She is a ninja master at
it -- I have told her to hire herself out to potty train
everyone's kids! One thing she did was just sit herself down on a
stool (uh, I mean like a step-stool) facing him and just relax.
Sometimes she makes little noises that sound like she's pooping.
It wasn't a question of ''do you have to poop,'' it was figuring
out when he'd have to, and then sitting there with him around
that time. I know it sounds weird to sit there grinning at your
kid on the toilet, I dunno what a super official nanny person
would say about it, but just sitting there with him seemed to
make all the difference, and he was toilet trained in like a day.
For what it's worth.
That's great that he's peeing in the potty consistently!
Our son also trained at the same age as yours and we had some difficulty getting
him to poop in the potty. It was very frustrating, but just please stay with it. Do
put him back in diapers. That will only encourage him to keep pooping in his pants
and it will take him even longer to learn to poop in the toilet. I've heard of kids
take so long to learn to go #2 in the toilet that it leads to horrible constipation
problems as they hold it to avoid having to go in the toilet. The earlier they learn
go in toilet the better. It's also better for their self-esteem and the environment.
What worked for our son was to give him a lot of bare bottom time at home so that
he could get used to what was going on with his body. Diapers cause them to have
no idea what is going on with their bodies. He would poop on the floor, but at least
that was a way for him to get used to not pooping in his pants. After about 1 to 2
weeks of this he knew what was going on so I told him if he pooped in the bathtub
or the potty he would get a reward. (the bathtub was just a transition from the floor
to the potty) If he pooped in his pants or on the floor I would get the reward and he
wouldn't. I know it sounds mean, but it totally worked for our son. He got very
motivated as he did not want us getting the treat and him not getting one. We had
to change the reward every few days to keep his interest. Eventually he just got
used to going in the toilet and not needing the reward. He is now almost 4.5 years
has not had any accidents since he was a little over 3 yrs old. Another thing I've
heard of other parents doing is putting a diaper in the training potty so that he can
still poop into a diaper but not directly in his pants. This can be a good transition
for some kids. It is very common for kids to take longer to learn to go #2 in the
potty. Please stick with the training and be patient. It will all come together for
soon. He just needs practice. I think it's a good sign that he will sit on the potty
before he has to go #2 as this shows that he at least knows that a bowel movement
is coming. He will get it soon. In the meantime, some extra chocolate for yourself
helps to keep you going through this frustrating time. Good luck.
Hi, my 3 year old daughter has fear of pooping. She pees on the
potty but only poos on her pull-ups which is ok with us and we
let her do it as long as she would poo. She held her poo for 5
days last week, then when she could no longer do it, she had a
small slightly hard one. But now she held it again for 4 days
since the last time she did it. Dr. put her on Miralax and we
give her 1 tsp. 2x a day mixed on her drinks. Should I put a
suppository if she doesn't do it tomorrow? I know she is scared
of the suppository that's why I don't really want to do it
unless it is absolutely necessary. She is not comfortable and
is always trying to push yet she would stop. It may be that it
is now difficult to push it out bec. it will hurt. I just don't
know what to do next? She told us she doesn't want to poo. (In
the past, we always give her mineral oil with her drinks. Her
poops are not hard but if she held it for a few days it
eventually gets hard to push out.) Please advise if you have
similar case. Thank you.
My older daughter had a similar thing and required Miralax. She
would withhold her poops for a week at a time until (of course)
it was incredibly painful and would start the negative cycle over
What finally worked for us was to slowly increase her dose of
Miralax until, as her doctor put it, the poops were unavoidable.
Once she had a week or two of really soft urgent poops and her
bottom had healed up from the tears which had developed, we
slowly started decreasing her Miralax so that her poops started
to have form again, but were still soft. Gradually she started
drinking enough, also, and eating canned mandarin oranges, dried
mango strips, and prunes which really did the trick!
Just a short thought. Our daughter did the same thing at age
three, until one afternoon while talking to her it occured to me
that she had no clue where that poo came from and that it scared
her. I explained her about how food goes down a slide in her
tummy (a really long one with lots of turns) and all the things
her body doesn't need comes back out at the end. That solved the
problem. SHe has pooped ever since on the potty.
My three year old was also afraid to poop in the potty despite
a lot of success with the pee. I did two things
(this worked for two kids): candy bribe (has
to be substantial - one M&M won't be enough) plus a silly song
about pooping to make it more funny than scary. Here is my song,
sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, more or less.
Poop Poop Poop Poop
Poopie Doopie Doop.
I'm poopin' in the potty,
Bil-ly Boom-ing-ton (your kids name)
Sing that over and
over, make it really silly. My kids thought this was funny
and would sing along. It relaxed them on the toilet.
Hi everyone, My 3 and a half year-old daughter has been asking for
diapers when she needs to go ''poupou,'' and having accidents in her
pants when she is not with me. I don't mind these two behaviors. It will
take the time it has to take for her to be ready. Now, here is the problem.
At her school she has accidents, and sometimes she will deny it with the
teachers. Then she withdraw from the other kids (she stays alone); she
told me once it's because she does not want the other kids to smell her.
At home, she put a piece of schotch tape on the bottom of her favorite
stuffed animal; so ''the poupou can't come out,'' she says. Also sometimes
even with me, she will not go pipi on the potty, and will refuse a diaper.
She just hold herself until she can't hold it no more (the same with
''poupou'' if I am not with her). What disturbs me is that she is holding
so much (up to 4 days for ''poupou'' during Christmas time - we were
away to my parents, and I guess, she reacted to the new environment)
and must feel so uncomfortable; and, now I worry
about this withdrawing behavior at school. In the past, she saw all the
videos and books about potty training; I promised her the best toys if she
does ''poupou'' in the potty. We use a calendar that we put stickers in for
pipi in potty (or poupou, if ever,...) I do not act negatively if she has
accidents; rather, I try to show that I have confidence in her (''I know
that, when you'll be ready to use the potty, you'll get there on time).
My son went through a period of time doing the same thing, especially at
school. After awhile, we finally discovered that for some reason innate to
him (i.e., nothing we ever specifically taught him) he really wanted his
privacy, and what was bothering him about going to the potty at school was
that there was no door. This is typical in preschools for safety reasons,
so that the teachers can always have an eye on everyone, etc. We discussed
this with a school and they installed a half door, which helped. Another
issue with him was that by holding it in for awhile, it would tend to harden
and make going poop, when he finally would do it, a bit painful, whcih would
motivate him to hold it in even more next time, and constipation became a
real problem. We tried a mild stool softener, which helped a lot.
Ultimately, it's a phase that has to do with gaining control and confidence
over the whole process, and it will pass. Perhaps try to find out what you
can do to make it easier for her, even letting her put on a diaper, and
asking the teachers at school to do this for her if she requests it. It
won't go on forever, and if it allows her to relax and go when she needs to,
that is the most important thing, for now.
Our three-year-old boy is 100% potty trained during the day, but only
for ''pee pee.'' When he has to go ''poo,'' he insists on wearing a diaper.
He is adamant that he does not want to go ''poo'' in the potty. He isn't
attached to the product itself- he is uninterested once it comes out of
his body, and could care less what we do with it. I'm told that using a
diaper for ''the big job'' is common, but I would love to hear from those
of you who have been through this experience how long it lasted for
you, and if there was anything you did to convince your child that the
potty was preferable to a diaper. I don't want to unduly pressure him,
but I would like to close the deal, so to speak.
My daughter went through the same thing. She was daytime dry from about
two, but didn't stop asking for a diaper to poop in until she was about
three. I let it go on for quite a while, but I got sick having two in
diapers, and I began to suspect that the longer she went on that way the
more and more she was becoming attached to it. My take on it was that she
was resistant to, and a little afraid of the change. It wasn't that she
didn't want to poop on the toilet per se, but that she didn't want to change
her routine. She always loved to go off by herself and play her own games
while pooping and having to sit on the potty was both strange and confining.
I offered to buy her all kinds of toys in exchange for pooping on the potty,
and she talked a lot about getting Percy the engine with a battery if she
pooped on the potty but when it came right down to it she would always say
she didn't want to go on the potty. Finally, I went out and got some
extremely attractive toys (a bunch of marbles, a set of plastic dogs with
little dog houses) and the next time she asked me for a diaper to poop in I
showed her one and told her that she could play with it while she was
sitting on the potty and afterward if she pooped. This did the trick. She
couldn't resist the toys when they were right there in front of her, and I
think having them to play with distracted her from her fear of pooping on
the potty. After she finished I let her play with the toys for an hour or
so and then put them away until the next time. It took only a week until
she never asked for a diaper again. One other important thing was making
the toilet not scary. We put a small ring on it so she wouldn't fear
falling in when by herself (we always held her when she was peeing, but she
never wanted anyone around when she was pooping, so she had to feel safe by
herself) and we put a stool next to the potty that was high enough so her
feet weren't dangling. So, it may have been all these things, or it may
have just been the right time. One word of reassurance: off the top of my
head I can name five children who went through this and all of them
eventually gave up the diaper!
You could try having your son sit on the potty, in his pullups, and poop
there. Maybe the sensation of sitting and pushing the poop out with the
security of his pullup will make doing it straight in the potty a little
less scary. We did this with my daughter and though I wouldn't say it alone
helped her over this same problem, I do think it was a piece of the puzzle.
My son did exactly the same thing for about 6 months and then one day he
decided to go on the potty and has never looked back...I tried really hard
(not always successfully) to not worry about it. I would always ''offer''
the potty as an alternative to the diaper even though I knew he would turn
it down! But I just wanted it in his mind as something he could try if he
wanted to...and one day he did!
Try placing some toilet paper in the toilet before trying to get him to do
his job. It may be that he doesn't like the possible splash of cold water on
my 3 1/2 year old refuses to poop in potty. he will pee in the
potty just fine. Is there something that I should try or is
this normal? This has been going on for about 6 months. He
tells me he has to poop so I put him on the potty and he says
he cant do it. So after a while I put a diaper or pull up on
him and he does it. Any advice? Thanks!!
We just went through this with our daughter. Its now been more
than 2 weeks and she has pooped on the potty every time!! I
read the past posts and learned 2 things that we put into
practice: 1) Privacy - most kids want to be alone when they
poop. 2) Candy - we never even gave her any sugar until age 2
and it is very limited but after Halloween she knew what candy
was. I sat down with her and explained that when she sat on the
potty I would give her privacy and explained what this meant. I
also explained she would get a piece of candy each time she
pooped in the potty. She has never pooped in a daiper since and
has been in underwear since the next day. We now give her 1
candy at the end of the day only. And we always brush her teeth
afterwards! Good luck
The EXACT same thing happened to us.He was potty trained at
night and would bring us a diaper to poop in! Finally 2 weeks
before he turned 3 and started preschool i decided that why he
was doing it wasn't a fear...it was just a habit. So one
wednesday we were out of diapers and i told him no more. He
argued a little and did not poop. Did not poop on thursday. By
friday he was hurting and we had a 3 hours argument about it.
it would be about to come out and i would run him to the toilet
and he would hold it. Finally, it just came out and i put him
on the toilet. The smile on his face was unbelivable...he was
SO happy with himself. Couldn't believe how cool it was. He
talked about it for days and never ever again asked for a
diaper. My son is totally into routine and if that's how he
does something, he wont' even try it any different way. So it
wasn't a pleasant 3hrs but it made a huge difference. He was
very ready...just unable to do it on his own
Don't worry. My son was also pee-potty trained and yet refused
to poop in the potty. He held in his poop all day, then when we
returned from daycare he'd ask for a diaper and poop in it. It
was a choice of his, but one we didn't understand. Then when he
was about 3 3/4 he made a comment about ''I need to stand when I
poop - I can't poop sitting down.'' I decided we needed to take
drastic measures to make sitting down the norm (and up to this
point candy, etc was NOT working). I went on eBay and bought two
different lots of used, beat up Thomas trains - and every night
he successfully pooped in the potty he got a train. It took a
LOT of trains to make this stick, and then we started to taper it
off, and now at 4 1/2, the days of pooping in a pullup are a dim
memory. I think we just needed to up the ante and make the
reward something that was greater than his fear of pooping
Yep. We went through this and know several parents who did with
their kids also (mostly boys, but not all). We went to offering
our son a treat (small cookie) if he actually pooped in the
potty. It worked fantastically. We have offered this advice to
other Moms in the same predicament and they said they were
amazed at how quickly this worked. I was almost embarassed about
it when I told my pediatrician and she was completely receptive -
''That's great!'' she said - just a cookie.
Best of luck
Hi. This is mentioned at the ''pooppotty'' BPN page referenced by
the moderator but I thought I'd chime in too... Miralax! Our son
did well with pee potty training by age ~3, but got upset about
pooping in the potty. We tried forcing him and he withheld for a
few days. We just ignored it for a -long- time, because it
wasn't causing us any real problems and it was easy. Eventually,
when he was still pooping in a diaper at 4 1/2 years old, we
asked our pediatrician for advice. He said maybe part of the
problem is that because he's holding it in too long (waits until
he gets a diaper at night to poop), he's always constipated,
which makes pooping harder and painful, which scares him. So
under the advice of the doctor we started giving him Miralax
laxative (1/2 of normal dose), and encouraged but didn't pressure
him. At first he agreed to sit and try to poop but nothing would
come out and he'd poop in a diaper. But eventually, 2 or 3 weeks
after starting the Miralax, with a lot of enthusiastic
encouragement, he pooped in the toilet!! He regressed for a few
days, but soon did it again... this was only about 2 months ago.
Now he's gone for a couple of months exclusively pooping in the
toilet and we are sooooooooo happy. So, you should check with
your pediatrician, but Miralax was absolutely key for us.
Let it go. It takes time. It is hard, according to the books
I read. There is an opposite procedure for #2 than for #1. I
can't remember what exactly...but for one you have to relax and
let go and for the other you have to tighten and force it or
something like that. Eventually, without pressure, it will
happen. Just keep giving your kid the option (diaper or potty)
with no pushing that one is ''better'' than the other...take off
the pressure and it will happen. Your child won't be wearing
diapers to the prom.
Getting ready to ''train'' our second one
Regarding children refusing to poop in the toilet, we
were ''there'' and found a good solution after a long battle. Our
daughter seemed to enjoy the comfort and ''freedom'' of her pull-
up diapers and preferred them. My sister asked her once if she
had pooped in her diaper and my daughter replied with a
smile ''not yet''. One day I got fed up, knew she was about ready
to go, and pulled off her clothes and diaper and put her in the
bathroom while I stayed outside holding the door closed. She
screamed and pleaded for a diaper. She had only two choices-go
on the floor or use the toilet. After the tantrum things
quieted down and then the words I had longed for ''I did it
dad''. That was the end of the battle as she never turned back.
We quit buying diapers and she was on her way. 12 years ago.
Been going thru this with both my twins since they started
preschool (where they are required to be potty trained). This is
what worked here - each at their own pace - downplaying any
accidents - no negative reinforcement just very matter of fact.
Laxatives as needed (ask your pediatrician for recommendations)
including adding dissolving fiber to foods - keeping track on a
chart as when I would forget one or the other would be horribly
constipated. And finally, I never thought I'd say this but,
bribery! When either one poops in the potty we have a celebration
with a few jelly beans for both kids. We do high fives and praise
them a lot. It took a few weeks but they are both now back to
using the potty. Whew. Good luck!!
- I think we made it.
I recall reading something about this a while back, but I could
not find anything listed in the archives. We started to
seriously potty train our son when we could see that he was
ready. That was just after his third birthday. He will be 3.5 in
a month and he is completely potty trained for #1, but #2 seems
to have stalled completely. He has pooped in the toilet about 6
times in the last 2 months, even taking care of it by himself
and telling us afterwards. So we know that he can do it, but 95%
of the time he asked us for a pull-up, or he goes and puts one
on by himself and then poops in it. He also was a once a day
kinda guy since he was a wee thing, but in the last 2 weeks he
has decreased to only going every other day. Today I read to
him for 15 minutes while he sat on the toilet - no success. Then
15 minutes later - on goes the pull-up and here it comes like
magic! I know that this is common, but I'd like to know what the
best way to handle it may be. Should we gently push him to use
the toilet, refuse to allow him to poop in a pull-up, or let him
do it his own way in his own time? I lean towards continuing the
hands-off approach and letting him do it in his own time, but I
don't want to encourage him to continue with the pull-ups, and I
wonder if holding it in for an extra day might be a bad habit to
start. Since his birth I have always followed my natural
instincts as to the right course to take, but I am clueless on
this one. I look forward to some feedback. Thanks.
Your posting made me smile, remembering what now seems like a
long time ago, when our daughter did the same thing. She used
to put on the pull-up, stand tall, get all red in the face, and
deliver! I remember my mother smiling, too, at a behavior that
was new to her, even after 10-plus grandchildren. ''She'll
outgrow it, dear,'' was my mother's advice -- and outgrow it she
I honestly can't remember when she stopped asking for the pull-
up -- sometime before she turned 4, I think. She is now 9, and
quite over that phase! Your instincts are right to not make a
big deal over it. Some day you, too, won't remember exactly
when or how it changed, but it will.
anonymous, please -- at age 9, she would be embarrassed
Not long ago my son was like yours -- asking for a diaper to
poop. Then a genius on this list made a suggestion about potty
toys that I heartily endorse. Following her (or his?) advice, it
took less than a week to get my son to poop in the potty all the
time. Basically the idea is that there are special potty toys
that only get to be played with on the potty. If the child
successfully poops in the potty, he or she can hang onto the
toys for an hour before putting them back in the bathroom to
await the next potty sitting session. That was all it took to
get my son pooping on the potty, sometimes three times a day!
After a while, the toys just kind of lost their magic, but once
he was in the habit of potty pooping he's never looked back.
We decided to let my 4-year-old poop in a Pullup because he
started holding the poops in so much that he would get
constipated, and once, the constipation was so bad that he
developed encopresis (where soft poops leak around the hard one
that has stretched the colon out so that it can't feel the need
to poop). (By the way, we gave him Mountain Dew to clean him
out, and that stopped the encopresis.) The doctor said we could
either give him Miralax, a very expensive laxative for kids, or
just let him poop in the Pullup. He said he'd realize
eventually that it's not so bad pooping in the toilet, and he
won't go to college in Pullups! So rather than pay $25
copayments for the Miralax, and have to sneak it into his apple
juice, we decided to let him use the Pullups for poops and
nighttime only. Just wanted to share our experience, and warn
you about the possible problems with forcing the toilet.
Hannah and Sammy (he wanted to type his name)
My daughter did the same thing! We finally crossed the bridge to
peeing on the potty, but poop was a no-go. You can't force them
to go, and holding it in is not an option, so we decided to wait
and encourage - it's not ''scary''; dumping the pull up contents
in the toilet so she could see where it goes, etc. (Side note, I
hear that some boys are afraid their penises will ''fall off''
when they poop in the potty...may that be something to
consider?) Ultimately, we used the standard ''behavior
modification'' - a treat (a sugar-free lollipop) for a poop in
the potty. After half a dozen successes, she stopped asking for
the treats and now is just basking in the praise...good luck!
My son is 3.9 years old, and he's been able to pee in the
bathroom by himself for about a month. However, he refuses to
poop in the toilet no matter what. He knows when he wants to go.
When the time comes, he asks me to put a pull-up on him instead
of an underwear he wears. Then, he poops in the pull-up.
When I try to sit him on the toilet, he just refuses, and holds
it in. Once he said he's scared (when he was sitting on the
toilet). He's the kind of a kid who needs great effort to do
anything new, like trying new food (so he's picky). If he can
poop in the toilet once or twice, I think he's set.
I feel it's very close, yet so far. I'd very much appreciated if
you can give me any advice.
i had the exact same experience with both my boys. they
were ''pee-pee'' potty trained but had control and/or emotional
issues with pooping in the potty. i just tried not to
make it a big deal, although i did just put a diaper on
them to poop as the pull-ups were just too expensive!
that may have been part of the motivating factor
but one other thing i did which you might try....
we have a small plastic potty, i put a paper towel
in the bowl and i asked him just to try pooping on it
i think it may have made him feel safer, knowing that the poop
was going to land
on something soft. it seemed to do the trick!
i truly think this is a pretty normal issue and
he'll outgrow very soon! good luck!
I bribed my son with Hot Wheels. I bought 25 of them at
Walgreens and laid them all out so he could see them, admire
them, etc. Then I said, ''Every time you poop in the potty, you
can choose a car.'' That night, he pooped 5 times! The next day,
7! And that was it, he always pooped in the potty after that (it
did, however, take a while for him to feel comfortable using the
BIG toilet. This is very, very common). He understood that
when the cars were gone, he would just be ''pooping for nothing.''
Figure out if your son has a ''currency'' that would work for this
kind of bribe. Healthier than candy, and much more of an
incentive! Good luck...
I was very lucky and my nanny trained my daughter to poo/pee in
the toilet at 18 months. I thought it would be impossible to do
it that early but apparently not. In fact, I think because she
started so early, it was easier to get her used to using the
toilet. In any case, although she still has accidents and isn't
100% trained, she is almost there. The way my nanny did it was
to time when she normally had to poo and look for signs that she
needed to poo. As soon as she saw the signs, she put her on the
toilet and sat and read her books or played with her. I think
the first several times, it took about half an hour. Then when
she did poo, she praised her a lot. If she didn't poo, she
would try again in a few minutes. It was a very time-consuming
process. My husband and I (once we got over our initial shock
and amazement that she was actually using the toilet) took over
the training when our nanny wasn't there. We especially made
sure to praise her a lot and make it seem like a lot of fun in
the beginning of her training. We weren't negative or
disappointed if she wasn't able to go. We used a lot of
positive enforcement. Now that she's almost 2, she is pretty
regular and always tells us when she has to go and we still read
her books on the toilet and it usually takes her just a few
minutes to go. Good luck!
The archive of advice is very good on this topic, but I just wanted to let
that I'm going through exactly the same thing right now with my daughter,
who is a
few months younger than your son. She doesn't wear diapers any more except
night, but will ask for a pull up if she needs to poop, or will just poop
on the floor
(sigh) and then carefully pick it up (carefully in the widest sense of the
put it in the toilet, then come tell me. This has been going on for
several months. At
preschool she pees in the loo and simply doesn't poop there. For a while I
it, and tried every piece of advice in the archive, and then I gave up.
caught her mid-poop and managed to carry her (she was willing) to the loo
for the poop to go in. Then her older sister and I danced around like
singing 'Charlotte pooped in the toilet, etc etc' for like five minutes,
and we'll see
what happens. She's a self-determining kind of kid (the kind our parents
call a stubborn little baggage) so I'm just waiting until she's ready. But
I feel your
pain. Not many college kids still poo on the floor, so I imagine they'll
both get it
eventually. Good luck!
Have him poop in the pull-up sitting on the toilet for awhile. Then
decide upon a time
when he'll go without. Do this with him so he feels in control. By then
he should be
used to sitting to poop & ready to let them go into the toilet. (Some
kids fear that a
part of them is being flushed away!)
Hi. My son also toilet trained at almost 4 years, and was apprehensive
pooping on the toilet. I transitioned him to the toilet using a really
small baby bjorn
potty. He could sit down in almost the same position he would use when
the diaper, and he felt much more comfortable. After using this
for a couple of weeks, he was fine. I would just go with whatever your
son is ready
for. Also, a little bribery may get him over the hump if you break the
(little potty instead of diaper or toilet). Also, do not let him see you
flush the poop
down the toilet - watching this was a major setback for us. If nothing
entice him, he isn't ready, and let him poop in his pull-up and try again
in a month.
It is really unhealthy for him to withhold. Good luck.
My almost 4 year old was the same way. we tried to get him to
poop in the potty for a year after he started consistently peeing
in the potty. He wouldn't even wear a diaper and sit on the potty
to poop. I finally got him a highly coverted toy (buzz lightyear
action figure for him) and the next time he asked for a diaper to
poop I let him play with it only while sitting on the potty (with
diaper) and if he pooped, he could play with it a bit longer
afterward. It worked very well. We have since been slowly weaning
him from the diaper - first we undid the tab on one side and when
he got comfortable with that we undid the other side. now he gets
the diaper, puts it on the potty (we don't put it on him anymore)
and poops then asks to be wiped.
Next we'll take away the diaper and then I'll start teaching him
My son was exactly like yours---completely aware of bodily
functions, used the toilet for peeing but was afraid of pooping
there so we put on a diaper for that. we were completely relaxed
about it and did not push him at all. and one day, when he was
four, it just changed as it will with your son. i guess there's
something scary about letting it go or getting sucked into the
toilet, but it does pass. i think the only reason to be concerned
is an ecological one. otherwise, i encourage you to trust his
I have been in your shoes. Only difference was that my son would pee
in the toilet and stay dry at night starting at around age 3 but pooped in
his underwear for about a year after that! He was my third child and I
had learned that it happens when they are ready. I tried to never get
mad at him and just keep reminding him to try to use the toilet...but I
wash out underpants for almost year - and then suddenly he used the
toilet. So I have no advice but much empathy!
hang in there
Mom of poopy pants
I'd bet your son is afraid of the toilet -- afraid of the fact
that it sucks up everything into a dark and endless hole -- and
is afraid he might fall in and get flushed down as well. Here's
my idea: there are toilet inserts that hospitals and nursing
homes use that fit into toilets (or into commode chairs) in order
to catch excrement/urine for sampling. It's the same kind of
thing you find in toddler potties. Try Johnson's supply in
Berkeley for something that fits under the toilet seat, that will
keep him from sitting over the open toilet water (and that scary
hole). Maybe that will help.
My very strong willed daughter will not poop on the potty. She has been peeing
on the potty for well over a year. She even pooped on the potty 1-2 times, but
something must have traumatized her. There is nothing physically wrong with
No amount of cajoling, talking, stickers, games, prizes, toilet training seats etc.
have convinced her. When asked, she will not address it. When the diaper is
withheld, she will have a MAJOR temper tantrum and will hold it in.
Any suggestions? Just throw out the diapers and let her hold it until it comes
out her ears?
Thank you in advance.
my son was the same way. I think he was a little constipated
and pooping was uncomfortable for him. he insisted on a
diaper. since he was not using diapers in general, he had to
ask for one to poop. I told him he had to poop in the
bathroom (with the diaper). once he was pooping in the
bathroom. I got him a HIGHLY coveted toy (buzz lightyear
action figure) and he got to play with it only while sitting
on the potty with his diaper on. if he actually pooped, he'd
get buzz for another hour or so - no longer or the novelty
would wear off. then I had him sit with his diaper on and
one of the tabs on the side undone (he kept putting it back
together so I cut it with scissors). Then the other side.
then I'd put the diaper into the potty and have him sit on
top of it, then a piece of toilet paper draped into the
potty bowl. each stage took about two weeks until he stopped
showing signs of hesitation/discomfort. it was a long haul
but it worked.
buzz is my friend too
Being a nanny for many years and then having a son who had
this apprehension I have had experiences like this more
than once. The best advice I can offer is that you reduce
the pack of diapers you have down to only a couple and
tell your daughter that this is it for diapers and let her
know that you won't buy any more and now that she is a big
girl she needs to use the big girl potty after the diapers
run out. It will allow her time to absorb that the end of
diapers are coming. Talk about what you think will
benefit the process.
There will be tears and tantrums, it's tough, really tough
but once they have done it, most kids realize that it's no
big deal after all.
The most important thing is to stick with a plan, don't
give in and don't make a big deal about it. A ''you will
go when you are ready'' attitude will reduce tension and
anguish. When she needs to go, work with a plan that you
think will be the most beneficial. If you don't have any
diapers left you may find that the tantrums will go on for
a while but in the end there aren't any so using the
toilet might not be a bad idea after all.
One last option is to get someone over, a friend who will
take some time with your daughter until the deed is done.
You can have some time to yourself and wait for the call.
An outsider without the tension that you have over this
may have more luck. I did this option with my son's
godmother, it took over two hours and it he never pooped
in his pants again.
We had a similar experience with both of our sons. And as
the archived posts say, it's apparently pretty normal, if
tiresome after a certain point. What worked for us, given
that there were no other physical or medical issues:
--not making a big deal out of pooping in pull-ups even
though it was gross;
--reminding our son that the toilet with or without a potty
seat was available if he wanted to try;
--offering to hold his hand, read a story, sing, or talk
with him while he used the toilet.
What finally got our second son (now 4), over this hump: a
few months ago we were in Midway Airport on our way home
from a trip, we were out of pull-ups, and he needed to go,
badly. My husband offered to take him to the bathroom, and
said that no matter what happened, as long as our son tried
to use the toilet, he would be rewarded with a chocolate Ben
& Jerry's milkshake. He was a proud little man when he
emerged from the bathroom and ordered his milkshake. He now
handles all of his toileting by himself at preschool, though
he prefers help with the toilet paper at home.
I thought I would never reward my kids with chocolate...
Although our kids don't watch tv or play video games, we
found the best technique for getting our almost 4 y.o. to
poop was a lot of exercise during the day (made a hug
difference) and a little hand-held video game that he could
only use on the toilet. Taking his mind off the actual act
enabled him to just relax and go in a matter of minutes.
Berkeley mom of 4
Check out the program ''Soiling Solutions'' at
soilingsolutions.com. I learned about it from BPN and
this program has been a miracle for us! My son struggled
for 1.5 years with this--we used a traditional pediatric
approach (i.e. Miralax only) and then we went to Meg
Zweiback for 6 months (for parental consult and play-
therapy for our son), and really, SS was the thing that
finally worked. It took 4 months of following the program
daily, but now our son has had daily BM's in the toilet
for several weeks without the program, and is so proud of
himself! Please seek help--don't just let your daughter
continue to ''hold''. This stretches out the colon and
makes the nerves eventually unable to feel when she has to
go, and it will lead to possible impaction, stool leakage,
etc. If you purchase the SS manual (written by a
behavioral psychologist, not an MD), you get access to the
Listserve, where you can get advice and support from 300
other families also dealing with encopresis. The Manual
was $75 but this is a fraction of the cost we spent on
visits to Drs., Meg Z., and medications over the course of
our son's problem. He was never potty trained for poop,
started withholding at age 3.5, and we finally started SS
just after his 5th birthday. I wish we had started
sooner. If you'd like more info about SS, please feel
free to email me.
This may be an issue of comfort and balance. I'm not sure if she has a child sized seat that fits
on the potty but if not I would get a padded one.
Also there's a cool one at home stores where the small child's seat fits into the lid and can
easily be pulled out. This might make her feel better about
any fears of falling in. You may want to read a book to her and let her sit in the bathroom
(possibly reading a potty themed book or playing a potty themed DVD beforehand). If she is
constipated or withholding poop talk to your pediatrician. One more idea have a playdate with a
potty trained friend and area if that inspires her. Good luck!
My son was EXACTLY the same way. Nothing was enough incentive to make
him poop in the potty. ''Why do you poop in your pants?'' I'd ask him every
day after preschool when he'd come home and stand at the window seat,
playing with his cars and inevitably make a deposit in his underwear. ''Because
I LIKE to,'' was his smug reply. When I taped beanie babies up over the toilet
and told him he could have one every time he pooped, not only did his 9-
year-old sister throw a fit-''I collect beanie babies and I poop in the potty
every day!''-but he collected his own animals from his bed, laid them out on
the living room couch and said ''Every time I poop in my pants I get one of
these!'' I gave up and put a diaper on him every day after we came home from
school. It was ALL about control. Finally, there was an object of desire strong
enough to make him change his ways: Buzz Lightyear light-up sandals. He
wanted them. I refused (a long-held resistance to light-up shoes.) And then a
lightbulb went off. ''OK, you can have the sandals, but you have to poop in
the potty. Ten times.'' We made a chart, and he was pooping multiple times a
day. ''Look mommy, there's three poops in the potty. I get three stars!'' That
was it. He's now 8 and has been a regular pooper for 4 years. So I advise:
relax, eliminate the battle, and wait for the right incentive. BTW - the power
struggles continue: now it's all about food. He's a very picky eater, but at
least I know now that it's really about having some limited amount of control
over a life dominated by adults (and a now teenage sister.) Good luck. This
too will pass (no pun intended.)
A friend has a daughter that went thru a similar thing. The
went to see a child behaviorist who gave them some excellent
advice which helped them quickly remedy the situation. You
should be able to get a referral thru your pediatrician.
Kaiser has good ones if you are with them.
Try giving her something that makes the poop come out
really easily, maybe flax seed oil. Maybe if it comes out
really easily she might feel more comfortable using the
My advice is to just drop it and wait. Let her poop in
diapers, and gently suggest/encourage that she try the potty
again when she has to poop, and if she says no, don't push it.
Please don't make this a big issue or else she is likely to
start trying not to poop, which causes even bigger problems.
We had to wait until my son was 4 3/4 years old, but it was
worth it. One day he just decided to poop in the potty, and
then that was that. If you just drop it and wait until she is
ready, the day when she is ready may come sooner than you
think, and then everything will be fine. Patience.
My son will be 4 in June. He is a very bright and
articulate kid, he is already starting to read. Just
after his third birthday, he started peeing in the
toilet. He had never once done it before that time and he
has literally had 2 accidents since. I never have to ask
him. In fact, he doesn't need any help at all, he just
does his thing. Once he got the peeing in the toilet
thing, he's been a champ.
Poop has been a whole other
issue though. He nearly always goes in his underwear, or
night pullup, or even on the floor. He's pooped in the
toilet a number of times, all of them self initiated.
I've never pressured him to go in the toilet, in fact I'm
quite ok with him going in a diaper, if he chooses. If he
asks for one, I'll put it on him. The big problem is that
he never does ask. Today, he pooped in his bed during
naptime (he wears underwear during naptime). I've tried
everything I can think of, short of punishing him for not
going in the toilet, which we don't want to do. We've
offered a reward system, a treat, a training potty,
totally taking the diapers away, anything. I can't quite
identify what the problem is because I know that he is
capable of going #2 in the toilet. We have an appt with
his dr to make sure that there isn't anything
physiological but I was hoping to tap into the collective
knowledge here for some possible insight. Thanks so much
Not sure if I can help but I sure can commiserate with
you--been there, done that. My son had the same experience
of being able to pee in the potty but was not able
communicate when he needed to poop (at age 3 1/2 or so). He
was quite excited by his big-boy underwear and unwilling to
wear pull-ups. As you are too well aware, cleaning poop off
a child wearing underwear is a nasty proposition. I did try
taking all of the stuffing out of the pull-ups and billing
it an intermediate step (primarily to be used during
preschool since his teachers were quite unhappy with us
during this process), but he was unwilling to wear them.
What finally worked for us was the promise of a new toy
truck for him and his twin brother (who did not have any
trouble in this department)--now he had a potty coach. ''Do
you need to poop, brother?'' became a constant refrain in our
house! FWIW, it was probably only 1 month total that we
lived with poopy underwear but it sure felt like a lot
longer. Good luck!
Poop Trouble Survivor
Your son could be related to my son! Geez, I went through
exactly the same. Our son would perfectly pee in the
toilet - even get up at night to pee while he was in bed.
Rarely, if ever, were there accidents. However, pooping
was an enormous issue. He'd hide, do a special poop dance,
and almost always went in his pants. I tried to be nice,
talk to him about it, bribe him, and I even got mad.
One of his preschool buddies came over for a playdate and
did the same thing! So I talked to his preschool teacher
about it and she laughed and said: ''Most of the boys in
the class do this. It's what boys do.'' She thought that
they often were too engaged with their play and that they
just didn't want to stop what they were doing to take the
time to use the bathroom. So there ya go. You are
absolutely not alone with your frustrations and your son
is completely normal.
Our son started Kindergarten in the Fall and I was worried
about him pooping at school. Never happened! In fact, now
he goes at school, wipes himself, and is extremely proud
of himself. I wonder if it was the peer pressure or the
embarrassment that made him decide to just use the potty,
but either way I'm happy.
MY 4 year old daughter has major anxiety about pooping in the potty. She pees in
the potty without a problem and has done this for a year and a half. For some
reason, pooping is a MAJOR thing for her. I am assuming other people have had to
deal with this, as well. She asks for a diaper and then goes to poop in the closet.
And changing her diaper is becoming quite unpleasant. We've tried positive
reinforcement, rewards, taking away her diapers (then she holds in the poop for a
week and we have a bigger problem on our hands). As of right now, we have
resigned ourselves to trusting that when she is ready, she will poop in the potty.
But... there is a part of me that is worried that she will NEVER poop in the potty,
that she will become more set in her ways of pooping in her diaper as she gets
older. Any thoughts?
we just went through this with my daughter, and it's hard.
first of all, it won't last forever. some things may not work as
well, like withholding diapers, since it may cause more rather
than less stress. basically this is a stress thing and a matter
of needing to relax. my daughter pooped in the toilet for a
while, and then a few things happened that made her uncomfortable
and changed that. so i retraced our steps. (in our case, we had
traveled for a long period of time, and she came back not pooping
in the toilet any longer. also, she had the stomach flu and the
runs, so she was unhappy and worried about 'letting go' after
that). here's what we did, we talked about it a little bit to
find out if she was physically uncomfortable, etc., and i tried
to let it go for a while, just not mention it. she too wanted
privacy and would go in a closet or corner. we also switched to
big girl pullups and would only put them on at the right time
(sounds like you're doing this). she was around a peer and her
mother, who she really likes, and my friend lightly suggested it
one day and told her her daughter does it and she tried it, was
successful and proud. (it took a while for it to happen again,
but she had it under her belt once). we also talked with her
pediatrician and briefly gave her enulose syrup when she
withheld. we also shifted diet a little and started doing less
cream of wheat and more veggies/fruits and more water! she just
had the breakthrough and part of it came from being in a
classroom situation where other kids went. btw the
pediatrician's office and the preschool said this kind of thing
is very common, so don't worry too much. patience is hard but it
helps them relax. ultimately someone else's patience helped us
over the hurdle.
My now 4-year old son went through this awhile ago. It was a
huge pain. He pooped in his pants or diaper for like 6 months
after he peed there consistently.
Finally, we started giving him a piece of chocolate to get him
to use the potty. We had to go very slowly. If he asked to put
on a diaper before he pooped, he got a piece of chocolate.
After several weeks of that, he would get a piece of chocolate
if he pooped in his diaper while sitting on the potty. After
several weeks of that, he would get a piece of chocolate if he
sat on his potty.
It went much better if we were out of the room while he was
pooping. He started asking for privacy and we gave it to him
and *then* he would poop on the potty.
After awhile in each case, he stopped asking for the chocolate
and we stopped giving it to him.
First, excitedly invite her in the bathroom with you when you
go poop. Make sure you don't make any unpleasant faces. Really
ham it up. Say a relieving ''Ahhh'' when you poop, with a smile.
Then pat your own arm and say ''Good job, Mommy! You went poop
in the big potty!'' ''That was fun!'' I know this will make some
people's eyes bug out, especially if you like your privacy in
the bathroom, but concentrate on the goal, okay? You want the
idea of potty-pooping to have positive associations for her,
and it may take awhile. Even better if she can go with both
parents and see that everyone loves going poop on the big potty
Second: so she knows when she has to poop. She asks for a
diaper and goes into the closet. Is her pooping around the same
time each day, or after a meal? If so, you can invite her to
have some alone time with her diaper in the bathroom at that
time of day. Offer a compromise during the interim, while you
are building the idea that potty-pooping is fun. Ask her to
poop in her diaper, in the bathroom all by herself with the
door closed. She doesn't have to sit on the toilet, just be in
the room where people go poop. Light off if she wants (I assume
she chose the closet because it's dark and private). And tell
her you are going back to the kitchen/living room so she has
some privacy. Ask her to let you know when she's all finished
so you can wipe her up. And do that (go to kitchen/living
room). Leave her alone.
Hopefully, over time, she'll come up with her own idea to try
it on the potty.
We had this same troubling problem. My sister once asked our
daughter if she had pooped in her diaper and she answered''not
yet!'' as though she was planning on it and it would not be an
accident when it happened. She had gotten to like pooping in
her diaper and the instant attention it got her from everybody.
I decided to resolve it by removing her underwear and locking
her in the bathroom. She had had many lessons about how to sit
on and use the toilet but seemed very comfortable doing it the
usual way in her diaper. The day I removed her diaper and
locked her in the bathroom she had a tantrum realizing she
either had to do it on the floor or on the toilet-both not her
preferred choice. She screamed and demanded her diaper back and
I just held the door tight and waited. Finally things got qiuet
and we heard a flush. I opened the door and found her so proud
of herself that she had finally done the right thing on her
own. From then on she used the toilet on her own by preference
to show us all she could do it and was all growed up.
Kids will poop in the potty when they're ready to. But I when my
daughter, who had urinated in the potty from an early age,
wouldn't poop in the potty (opting to do it in her Pull-Ups), I
did two things that I think prompted her to finally take the last
The first is that I came up with some pretty exciting (to her)
rewards for pooping. I had her tell me what toy she wanted if she
could have anything, and she described a big pink stuffed dog. I
found a gigantic stuffed pink poodle at Amazon.com, and I bought
it. I showed it to her, and then I put it in my closet, telling
her that it was hers as soon as she pooped in the potty. (She was
not happy she couldn't have it that moment, let me tell you!) She
also kept asking for one of those expensive Mylar balloons, and I
promised one to her when she did the deed.
The second thing I did was tell her that she had to sit on the
potty, even though she was wearing Pull-Ups, when she pooped. My
thinking is that part of her fear was the whole sitting down
thing. Up until then, she would stand up. We had a big fight
about that, too. But she did it.
One enticement is that I told her she could hold the poodle while
Within days, she was pooping in the potty. She got the pink
poodle and the balloon, and she told everyone at preschool about it.
Good luck! I feel your pain! But believe me, you'll soon be
looking back on these days, as you deal with the next parenting
I went through this and tried every conceivable way to do
it ''nicely'', ie, treats, rewards, talking, positive potty
movies and books, etc. With my son, it was about power and who
was in control (this has become an obvious component of his
personality over the last 10 years). Here is what we did.
I finally made a firm decision that he no longer needed to poop
in diapers at over 4 years of age. He had demonstrated that he
could do it in the potty, but chose not to. One weekend we
told him that we had no more diapers in the house and were not
going to buy them anymore. I took my son into the bathroom
with a good book (for myself). I sat him on the potty, and I
sat on the floor with my book. I told him that we were not
leaving the room until he had pooped in the potty. He cried
and complained, but I sat there and ignored him while I read my
book. He actually took a little nap on the potty, but
eventually he woke up and did the job. That was it - he knew I
was serious and wouldn't put up with his being in control of
the situation any more. And he felt very pleased about the
whole thing afterwards. Good luck to you.
We are really at our wits end about our daughter ''T'' who is
otherwise a healthy alert bright 4.5 year old. She is toilet
trained, doesn't have accidents during the day, but we still
put a pull-up on her at night because she wets the bed
otherwise. The odd thing is that even after we get her to go
potty - whether 6PM, 7PM, 8PM, multiples, etc - about an hour
later we get an unpleasant olfactory surprise even when we have
asked her repeatedly if she needs to go to the bathroom. We
always get the response '' I don't need to go potty'' and even if
we make her sit and pee on the potty, you guessed it, shortly
after she has a bowel movement in her pullup. Our daughter
can't explain it, our pediatrician can't explain it, I've had
her tested for diabetes and other test to see if there is
something less benign lurking in her blood/G.I.tract --
nothing! It always comes down to checking her repeatedly each
evening with her multiple denials of needing to go to the
bathroom and then having to change a dirty pullup anywhere from
6PM until sleep.
Never anytime during the day, only in the evening and close to
bedtime, even after a bowel movement, even when we make her
stay in the bathroom until she has gone potty at least once.
This is our second daughter, our first (''V'' 6.5 years)was
toilet trained at 3 years and completely over bedwetting by 5
years. The 2 girls play and fight together, changing from
friends to rivals and back to friends about every 10 minutes
when they're together. The kids have rarely been away from each
other overnight unless the older is at a sleepover. Is this a
psychological issue that others have experienced/overcome?
Our son had a very similar issue. he'd hold it all day and then
ask for a pullup for pooping. we could not get him to even sit on
the potty with the pull-up on to poop. this lasted about a year.
Finally I followed BPN advise and got him a highly coveted toy -
a Buzz Lightyear action figure. ''I said this is your
poopy-in-the-potty toy. You may hold him while sitting on the
potty (with pull-up) for as long as you want and if you poop
while sitting, you may play with him awhile longer.'' It worked
like a charm! after that I'd wait until he seemed like he was
comfortable pooping (with Buzz) and then I'd undo one side of the
pull-up, then the other side (sometimes I had to cut the side so
he couldn't re-attach it himself), then just lay the pull-up in
the potty and have him sit on it. then he'd get a piece of tissue
and lay it in the potty and then finally he didn't need anything
to poop in the potty and he's free to play with Buzz whenever he
I have a 4 year old boy who is afraid to go poop on the potty.
He's had problems with constipation in the past and so has had
painful poops. He eats plenty of liquids and fiber. Our
Pediatrician prescribed a stool softener which we give him but
he still holds his poop in fear of the pain. When he's getting
close to needing to go to the potty he gets very anxious and
clingy. I have tried bribes, rewards, having him sit often on
the potty to try and relieve the fear, role playing with his
stuffed animals, you name it. But he's still terrified of
letting go and having a poop. Any advice?
My husband was shocked that I hadn't written your post. Our
magic wand is broken or I would pass it on to you. I thought I
would write and let you know you aren't the only one. Our 4.5
y.o. son is almost identical to your son, but he will poop in
his underpants and not tell us. We have tried all you have as
well as seen a child psychologist and gone to Meg Zweiback. They
were no help. Meg didn't get a fair shake because my son took an
instant dislike to her because of all the potty talk. Our
peditrican had no clue what to do and recommended a behavioral
pediatrician. We have an appointment Monday.
Everybody tells me to chill it will just happen, but I am so
tired of this. My only hope is that I talked with another
mother who was in the same boat. Her son just started using the
toilet on his own at 4.75 y.o.
Tired of this
My son was the same way until he was 3 1/2. We tried everything.
He went through stages of having to poop in a diaper, then
pooping in a diaper taped to the potty (so it would catch it),
then onto the regular potty. One day when he was sitting on the
potty I began to describe what was happening in his body when he
held onto his poop. He became really curious about the parts of
his body I was describing. Later we got out some human body
books and talked about the digestive system, the functions of
each part, how the system is designed to go only one direction(!)
etc. It seems like once he learned about how his body works he
started to resist less and less. If he started holding on to it
again we'd just talk him through the process again. If he
started freaking out about it being too hard and hurting we gave
him a sippy cup of juice while he sat on the potty. Sounds odd
but it worked for us.
How about asking him if he would like a diaper instead? He might
just not be ready yet for pooping in the potty. When he's ready
he will get rid of the diaper. I have a 4 y.o. daughter who is,
too, struggling with it. Unfortunately she does not want a
diaper. My son went through 6 months of pooping in a diaper and
got rid of it around 4, and a friend of mine has a 5 y.o.
daughter who still poops in a diaper so don't feel alone!
Our nearly 5-year-old daughter still refuses to poop on the potty. Sometimes
I can coax her to sit on the potty for a few minutes, but ultimately she ends up
demanding a diaper. I know we're supposed to not push it and be positive about it,
but it's getting increasingly frustrating and difficult for us to do so, as we see
no progress for our almost 3 years of waiting for her to do it on her own. We've
tried stickers and treats and even a potential trip to Disneyland, but when the time
comes, she still staunchly refuses to go on the potty. She is not severely
constipated, although she could stand to drink more while she is at preschool.
We try to encourage high fiber and fluid intake at home. We are at our wits end
trying to figure out how to help her, but when she refuses to try on the potty every
single day we're having a difficult time consistently staying positive about it. She
will be starting kindergarten in the fall, and we're also worried that this could
become a social problem for her there.
I know this problem is not rare, but in the archives I can only find advice on
preventing constipation and encopresis. Instead we could desperately use advice
on how best to support our daughter and successfully end what is becoming a
battle of wills. How do you help someone learn something if they keep refusing
to try? Anecdotes of what you did to help your child through something similar
would be very helpful.
Thanks so much for any and all advice.
Running out of ideas
My daughter also refused to poop in the toilet. We talked
about it and decided that on her fourth birthday I would take
the pull-ups away and she agreed to poop in the toilet. I took
away the pull-ups on her birthday and as I expected she was
constipated and didn't poop for four days. On the fourth day I
gave her a suppository and in a matter of minutes she ran to
the toilet and pooped. Once she did it once and realized it
wasn't so scary she was able to poop in the toilet all the
time. It was hard not to give in those four days but now she
even poops at school and in stores so I think the method worked
for her. Hope this helps.
We had a very reluctant 3 1/2 year old who pee in the potty, but
would poo in his underwear and really didn't see a problem with
that ;-) On one long extended weekend we just kept him home each
day naked until he pooped (we explained that it was time to get
potty trained and that we couldn't leave the house until he
pooped on the potty) and then we would get dressed and go out
and do things. The next day we repeated the same process. After
about 3-4 days, he was successfully using the potty for both pee
and poo. Still has accidents now and then, but once he got over
his total aversion to pooping in the potty, our lives have
gotten dramatically easier.
We found ourselves in the same position with our 5 year old
son. He had a history of withholding poops and so we were very
concerned about not pushing him. But it just seemed to go on
forever and ever. So here is what we did.
For some time, weeks at least, we talked occasionally about the
fact that he needed to start pooping in the toilet. We told him
that we would not be buying any more diapers when our supply
ran out. As the supply got lower and lower, we reminded him
more frequently that we were about to make the change. We
talked about what a big boy he was and that it was time for him
to use the potty. He never showed an interest in pooping on the
Finally one day, no more diapers. He asked what he should do.
We told him that he would have to plan a little better for
pooping, since he needed time to get to the potty after he felt
the urge. For about 2-3 days he ran for the potty, but lost the
urge by the time he got there. Finally I convinced him to sit
down on the potty and see if the urge returned. After the first
couple of poops, everything was great. He was surprised how
easy it was. He stopped withholding. He may have had an
accident or two, but I can't remember. All the years of trauma
associated with poops just vanished.
As an aside, a friend's son started pooping in his underwear
when the diapers were taken away. She kept a bucket in the
bathroom and made him wash out his underwear each time. After
about 2 weeks of cleaning his own poopy underwear, the toilet
I have never directly dealt with the problem you're having with
your daughter, but I recently read an article about resolving it
that made total sense to me. You begin by explaining to the
child that pooping should occur in the bathroom, whether she
poops on the potty or in her diaper. The next time she needs to
go, suggest that she stand near the toilet (I think use of small
bribe would be fine here), the next time touching the toilet,
the next time sitting on the toilet in her diaper...etc, etc.
She should become desensitized to any toilet fears by this
process. The article stated that some kids even went so far as
to sit barebottomed on the toilet with a diaper on their
lap...in other words, whatever it takes. Good luck in the
process. You're a much more patient mom than I.
Definitely a power struggle going on. Tough love approach would be to tell your
daughter that they simply dont make diapers in her size and that she
must go on the potty. You could sympathize with her and support her in her
disappointment but ultimately you are forcing her hand. The other approach would
be to diffuse the power struggle by allowing her to continue to go in the diaper
albeit with some parameters. This is what we did with our daughter. We thought if
we did not pressure her it would just happen but turns out she needed a little more
support and encouragement than we initially thought. So we started this plan that
included some matter-of-fact guidance (no pressure!) We told her it was alright to
go in her diaper and that we respected her decision to do so but she needed to do it
in the bathroom - where everyone does ''poo poo'' and ''pee pee'' - this way she was
made part of the family (with a small exception). She resisted at first, but when I saw
her having a BM, I would just carry her in there and repeat ''this is where we go to
the bathroom honey'' - after a week, she went in there on her own. After another
week of this - we added another parameter. You can still go in your diaper, but we
need to sit on the potty (I gave her a few days warning for this one - starting
Monday we will be sitting down with your diaper on of course). The transition from
having a BM standing and having one sitting is big so give her time with this one.
And depending on child's temperament (ours at this point started to take off her
diaper and go in the potty) you may have to go one more step by cutting a hole in
the back of the diaper so that the BM falls into the potty. And then after that
-daiper's off!. In this way your daughter can take ''baby steps'' towards the potty
with you in a more supportive and encouraging role because she still maintains
some control and gets to keep the diaper on until the very end of the process when
she will probably feel good and ready to take it off herself. In this way she has space
and time but is moving toward a goal and both of you are working TOGETHER
through the steps.
We are in the same situation and my daughter is 5 1/2 years
old. It's been a tough one for us because she has many
different ''issues'' and this one seems to be the least of our
concerns--she won't poop in her pants and hasn't for over a
year, as well, she isn't constipated, she poops almost every
day in her pull-up. But my husband and I finally decided that
we need to try something so that she isn't uncomfortable at
school. We feel that if she's concentrating on holding it in at
school, then she's probably not always able to focus on
teachers, other kids, her work etc. Anyway, we called a
behavioral pediatrician named Joan Lovett. She works with kids
on a variety of issues using a method called EMDR. I don't
completely understand it yet but there's a ton of info on the
web. It addresses the child's anxieties about the issue. We're
going to try it out and we'll see how it goes but wanted to say
that after Joan observed our daughter and asked us a lot of
questions about her, said that she could probably help but even
if we did nothing about it, she thought that within the year or
so she would be doing it on her own. I'm very curious to hear
other people's responses and mainly wanted you to know you're
not the only one experiencing this, although it feels that way
Hi - This is probably going against the grain, but what about
just taking the diaper away? My son, 4+, was still asking for a
diaper to poop in. It was embarassing and he fully understood
what he was doing. We tried everything too including waiting
almost a year for him to do it himself. One day I just said, 'no
more diapers. you are a big boy and need to poo on the potty.
i'll help you.' It took 5 days with bouts of crying and
uncomfortableness, but he finally sat on the potty and pooped.
AFter the first poop, he's never looked back. We had a big poo
poo party and made a huge deal out of it and he's fine.
REading what I've wrote it may sound cruel, but, like you, after
a year, I knew he was not going to do it. After 3 years, it
sounds like your daughter won't either. My son was ecstatic
immediately after the poop came out and never has talked about
the week of holding it. He doesn't appear to even remember so I'm
pretty sure there is no lasting mental damage.
Not a PC answer
Sorry, I don't have any suggestions but wanted to let you know
that I am anxiously awaiting other parents' responses as we are
in the exact same boat with my 4 year old daughter. We have
debated over the past year to just let her be or to ''highly
encourage'' her to use the potty by just not buying diapers
anymore (so far, we have opted for the former). We have also
tried the promise of a trip to Disneyland. Then it occurred to
me that Disneyland may be too abstract of a reward so we bought
her a Snow White doll but we still didn't get anywhere. I spoke
to two pediatricians about it and they both said to leave it
alone (but it's oh so hard!).
Our friends went through the same thing with their son. I think he was younger, but
same issue. Their pediatrician advised having him sit on the potty while pooping in
the diaper, to get used to the feeling of pooping sitting down on the toilet without the
fear that goes along with having the poop go in there. They did that for awhile and it
did work. Try it out.
-Wish I could hear the results...
My sympathies are with you! Six months ago, my 4 1/2 year old reverted to pooping
in his underpants. This development worried his preschool teachers - it's unusual
for his age. He wanted a diaper, too. The best advice, though difficult, came from
one of his teachers. When this happens, he cleans it up COMPLETELY. My husband is
fastidious and I was frustrated as well, but over about three weeks, this process
really worked. The hardest part is to remain calm like it is no big deal. I spread
newspapers on the floor of the bathroom, put out wipes, a plastic garbage bag for
trash and one for dirty clothes and left him to it. We directed some of the action the
first time but left him to work independently after that. Lots of praise. Calm
reminders when we'd go out for the day. Gradually, it worked. I say, have an
underpants ''party'' and just clean up any accidents that happen. If you can convince
her it's no big deal to you, perhaps the battle of wills will end.
My son also doesn't want to take the time to sit long enough on the toilet. We
shopped for some special comic type books that he can ONLY read on the toilet.
This helped a lot. Good luck to you all!
Clear weather ahead
I am at the beginning of this process and was really interested to see your
nearly 3 year old just potty trained, but will only poop in a diaper about
days with much cajoling and a treat. She also isn't struggling a great deal
constipation, but more of a mental block to the potty and to pooping in
am worried about this going on for years! I got some advice from BPN last
am not sure if you saw my post) that I can forward to you about doing a little
playing to find out what the issues are, but I also talked with someone I know
a child development specialist this morning and she suggested that I ask my
daughter when she will be ready to poop on the potty: like, after her birthday
year, or after easter, or some other clearly defined time. The idea is that
she will be
somewhat on board if I ask her to choose a time nonchalantly. I have yet to
and am afraid I will just hear, ''never.'' At the moment if you ask her where
poops she will tell you ''nowhere.'' I would love to hear about any progress
make on this issue - please email me with successes and ideas. I find it a
stressful. The main thing people seem to focus on is constipation, and I
think that is our issue.
I didn't see this exact strategy in the advice you received so I thought I'd
Friends had this same problem with their son. What they did was similar to the
about first making sure that the child goes into the bathroom, then they need
to sit on
the toilet in their diaper. Then what these friends did was they cut a little
hole in the
diaper for him to put on before sitting on the toilet. Each day they cut a
bigger hole in the diaper until eventually the diaper was just a belt-like
one day the kid forgot to put the diaper/belt thing on first and he just pooped
potty and that was it. I know it sounds strange but it is just about gradually
the comfort level, and removing the security of the diaper gradually.
My middle child, a girl, potty trained herself at about a year and half,
but would go
get a diaper every few days for pooping. Eventually, she began to
longer periods of time, until pooping became painful. Her pediatrician
advised us to
use dolls, brown play dough and play toilets (can be simple and home made)
just play with her about using the toilet. We did, both she and her older
to play ''potty''; and after much potty humor and certain dolls who were
afraid to go,
but did anyway and then felt much better, the problem resolved. I don't
know if it
will work for every child, but she had a good time and I got to learn a
about what she was thinking about in terms of potty training.
We had a similar problem when we were toilet
training: my son would be placed on the toilet without result but then as soon as
underwear was on, he'd poop in his pants. It was driving me crazy. Then I read
about some great advice that came from a grandmother: ''Maybe she needs some
privacy, just like you do.'' It occurred to me that the only time we'd had
poops in the toilet was when I'd run off to take care of something while I was
waiting for him to go. So the next time I thought he needed to poop I put him on
the toilet and asked him, ''Do you think you need some privacy?'' And I stepped
outside the door, leaving it open a crack so he could call me if he needed help. We
NEVER had a problem after that.
My 5 1/2 year old son refuses to poop on the toilet. He spends
half the week with his dad and grandparents, and the other half
with me. The problem is that they don't encourage him to poop on
the toilet. They just put a diaper on him. Now when he comes to
my house, he won't poop at all. He holds it until he gets to his
dads house. I spoke to his father about it, and he says not to
force him, and that he will poop when he is ready. But how will
he ever be ready if nobody encourages him. He is starting
We had the same issue with our son...no problem with pee, but
wanting a diaper for poop. We had a deal that on his 4th
birthday he'd start pooping in the potty. Along comes his 4th
bday, and he didn't poop for 4 days! Here's what I ended up
doing...while his dad (who was more sympathetic than me) was out
of town. I KNEW he had to poop (4 days is a long time) and told
him I wouldn't give him a diaper. There was lots of crying and
misery. Finally I gave in...but...I had him squat, in his
diaper, on some newspaper...then....once he started pooping, I
whipped off the diaper so that the poop went onto the paper.
Much of his aversion to the potty was that he always squated to
poop. Well, he continued to poop on newspaper (this is a true
story) for a week or so...then moved to squatting over the potty
bowl, then sitting on the potty...and then to the big toilet.
anon, for my son
I had to laugh when I read your email. I had the same problem
with my daughter but was able to resolve the pooping in the
toilet problem a little earlier. She was four. I didn't really
push it until she was approaching four and she and I decided the
the pull-ups would be put away on her fourth birthday. It
really was her decision. So on her fourth birthday, I put the
pull-ups away and she didn't poop for four days. I finally put
a suppository in her rear and she ran as fast as she could to
the toilet because she didn't have any other options (well, she
did, but fortunately she decided not to leave her mark somewhere
in the house). It just took that one time for her to realize
that life was a little better (and cleaner) now. I hope this
Hi - I missed your original post, so I hope this response is on-
point. My daughter was completely potty trained for pee and she
knew she was supposed to also poop on the potty, but she
invariably hid and pooped in her panties (in hindsight, I wish
we'd used pullups!) We tried all kinds of things, praise,
rewards, threats, punishments, etc. and were the model of
inconsistent parenting. Finally a grandmother we know
said, ''Maybe she just needs her privacy.''
Sure enough, next time I saw her go off to hide, I picked her
up and put her in the bathroom BY HERSELF, and said, ''I'm sure
you need your privacy. Let me know if you need help wiping.'' It
worked perfectly, and I am telling you the truth - there was
not one single accident from that moment on.
I have read that something about pooping is very personal to
many children. For my daughter, it was & is a privacy thing. So
now, two years later, when she heads for the bathroom to do #2,
she says ''Mom, I need my privacy,'' and shuts the door. This
little lesson has really worked well for us in other areas too,
because sometimes daddy or I need a little privacy and she
Hope this helps.
Our 5-1/2 year old daughter absolutely refuses to use the toilet
for pooping. She has been toilet trained for peeing since she was
not quite 3. We have tried everything -- bribery (including a
trip to Disneyland when she can use the toilet), ignoring,
reading books to her while she sits on the toilet, taking toys
away, withholding diapers (which she still needs for nighttime --
a whole different topic). She takes care of the whole process
herself -- from putting on the pullup to taking it off and
putting the poop in the toilet to wiping. What else can we do?
At wit's end
Oh I so clearly remember that battle with my then 4.5 year old
daughter! We tried giving her privacy, we tried plenty of
bribes and rewards (including a trip to Disneyland) and nothing
worked. Two pediatricians I talked to said to leave it alone.
Well it all came to a head when for about 2 weeks after pooping
in a diaper, she didn't want to be cleaned for whatever reason.
So I did what my doctors and other professionals said not to --
refused to give her a diaper to poop in. She held it for 2 or 3
days and finally she just had to go. She cried and screamed the
first time she had a bowel movement on the toilet but we really
fussed over her a lot when she was done and she realized it
wasn't that bad. She struggled a couple more times but after
that, the battle was over and there were no negative effects
(regular bowel movements, no constipation or anything). So I
don't necessarily recommend this method but it was what worked
for us. I wish you and your daughter all the best and luck in
Another Battle Won
We had the same problem with our daughter and I posted our
solution here before but can't find it so I will tell the story
again. After all the frustrations you well know, all the
promises of Disneyland etc., I just lost patience one night and
put her in the bathroom when I knew it was about time. I
removed her pull-ups and held the bathroom door closed. For
awhile she raised a tantrum screaming for her ''pants'' but
finally it got quiet. She had to either go on the floor or
climb up on the child seat we had tried so hard to get her to
use. I took a chance and after the silence I heard music to my
ears in ''dad I did it''. That was the end of the problem as from
then on she was eager to show she was all growd up. The next
problem was her refusal to use the bathrooms at school and
becoming severally constipated requiring enemas--another dad's
Today she took her first driving lesson 10 years later.
pooped out dad
Stop using pull ups. A few days of smelly poop and washing out her own panties in the
toilet ought to cure the problem.
Hi, we had a similar problem with my daughter at the same age. She is 6 1/2 now,
but I was very worried the Spring before kindergarten about her refusing to poop in
the toilet, she too insisted on a diaper. In desperation we took her to Meg
Zweiback. Basically, Meg concluded after a couple visits that there was nothing
physically or emotionally wrong. So you might want to try Meg first for help and
reassurance. Meg really wasn't able to help us in our situation, so I turned to BPN
and read posts about having the child sit on the toilet to poop, while wearing the
diaper, and not walking around, reading or playing etc. while pooping. Once they
get the hang of pooping while sitting on the toilet, start cutting holes in the
with the child's permission, that get progressively larger until the poop falls into
toilet. It sounds so funny having a kid wear a diaper that has essentially become a
belt while sitting on the toilet to poop, but it worked! The weekend I was sick in
bed, and Dad was in charge of the pooping procedure, was the weekend she finally
did it. Seems like the whole process took 3 weeks, so be patient. We also did bribe
her with small toys and candy for sitting on potty with the diaper on. I really
that the ''tough love'' approach of simply refusing to have diapers available sets
up for another set of problems with constipation and blockages. That is something
Meg can definitely help you with . Good Luck!
You have to go cold turkey with the pull-ups. My son was doing
the same thing. Our pre-school teacher suggested this and it
worked. Buy one last package of pullups (the smallest you can
find) and tell your daughter when the package is gone no more.
For my son I started giving him a stool softener in his juice
for a couple of days before the last pull up. I encouraged him
to sit on the toilet and try, but nothing happened. He did cry
and ask for a pull-up, but I held my ground this time (I had
given in at other times when we had tried and we wound up right
back to the pull-up routine). He managed to hold it for 3 days
and then on the third day, I heard him from the bathroom
shouting, ''It's Coming!!'' That's all it took. He was so proud
of himself that he never looked back. Good Luck!
Get the book ''It Hurts When I Poop, A Story for Children Who are Scared to Use the
Potty'' by Howard J. Bennett, MD. Even if this is not the case it lets her know she
not alone, that other kids have similar issues.
my 6yr old son is not completely potty trained. He pees in the
toilet fine, stays dry at night but will not sit on the toilet
for a bowel movement. He only goes in a pull-up. I've tried
every incentive under the sun - from gifts, candy or just
sitting with him reading a book but still he won't. A few
times he did sit but nothing came until he had a pull-up. It
has not been a problem at school because his time of day for
going is usually the afternoon when he's home. I haven't
pushed him lately but I'm beginning to wonder if it'll even
waiting to get past this stage
Here is what I think you should do, and right away. Make an appointment with the
pediatric gastroenterologist in San Francisco, Dr. Linn, whose practice employs a
person who specializes in children's biofeedback. This is their specialty. They work
with your child and get them to relax on the seat, etc. You don't have to go through
this any more. Call them.
My son had the same problem, although he was younger (3 years).
He had been potty trained since he was two except that he asked
for a diaper every time he needed to poop. We indulged him,
hoping he would express an interest in his own, like he did with
pee, but that didn't work. Nor did refusing the diaper--one
weekend he just didn't go poop all weekend, even when he was in
a lot of pain. Our doctor recommended getting a box of prizes,
for each poop on the potty. After all our struggles I was
really skeptical, but it did work. I got a clear container so
he could see what he would get and know that it would be there
ASAP. There was one terrible candy (a bottle pop) that I would
never let him have normally, but that he had been asking for for
a long time and it was the motivation for the first potty
poop. Once he had one that wasn't stressful, he was pretty
happy with the potty (with a couple short regressions). I'm not
sure if this would work for your son. If not, you might also
talk to your doctor for other suggestions.
I am going through this as well. Our son is 5 yr 7mos. He has
refused to toilet train for b.m.s and wouldn't even switch to a
diaper/pull-up for it; he just went in his underpants. He
finally toilet trained for urine at 4.5 yrs. We tested him to
make sure there were no physical problem at Children's; we had
him go to Meg Zweibeck when he was 4 but he refused to talk
with her. He went to a child psychologist who finally got him
through the urine toilet training but couldn't get him further.
Then we saw Dr Brad Berman, a developmental pediatrician.
Bless the man. He calmed us down, told us how common this is,
but that nobody talks about it. Because our son had
constipation problems since he was 2 months old, he told us how
important it was to get the stool softener correct and that it
would take 6 months for his colon to get back in shape.We could
call him throughout the 6 month period to keep us calm. After 6
months, we saw Dr. Berman again. He figured out in that one
session that our son was terrified of going down the toilet. He
told us to get a commode and let our son decorate it, We were
to get a bag of little goodies for rewards of any stool in the
commode even though rewards never worked before. Well within
one week he started on the commode and within four weeks our
son was pooping on the commode without us reminding him or
taking him. He is absolutely thrilled with the little rewards.
He is still using the commode (it's been 6 weeks all together).
We are giving it another month or two and then we will wean him
off of that somehow if he hasn't switched on his own.
We never thought it would happen and we aren't all the way
there, but it is way better than where we were.
Please e-mail me if you want any more info.
I had the same issue with my 4.5 year old (potty trained since
3). I was becoming very frustrated. I mentioned this issue to
a few friends and apparently they had the same issue and
discovered their children (ages 5 & 6) were constipated. Since
this was an ongoing issue the children were not aware of when
they had to go - they didn't understand the sensation. I took
my daughter to the doctor and found out that she too has
constipation issues. I now give her prune juice daily and, if
necessary, mineral oil. I had to retrain her on how to have a
bowel movement in the toilet - which was a struggle. Now she
is very proud of herself. Good luck.
this page was last updated: Dec 7, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network