Refuses to Poop in the Potty

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Did you know toddlers refusing to poop on the potty is pretty common? Here are how PSP members dealt with stubborn poopers.

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Original Poster:

"Anyone been through this?
I've recently heard this is somewhat common, but my daughter is only potty trained for peeing / she has been for many months. I was sure this resistance would pass naturally but wanted to check with others to see if there is something I could be doing.
She's actually done it twice in the past 4 months and - she was so proud and we did hugs and she told everyone:) so I was sure that was a breakthrough that would stick. She will ask/ scream for diapers when she needs to poop and I say "do you want to go In the potty "? She says "no! , diapers. I need diapers". If I try to encourage it more than this she gets frantic for a diaper - I always give in because I don't want to make it an issue but I'm wondering if I'm being an "enabler". Should I play a game of chicken and see if she gives in? I'm thinking that is sort of mean. I'm not really upset about this, but since she hates being changed I'm trying to explain the logic that she wouldn't need to be changed if she would do it - this concept too advanced :)
Anyhow, she's about 2.4 months  Maybe this is happening since potty training sort of happened by osmosis (ie. I didn't read any books or do any training techniques)."

 

Replies:

 

Be gentle, try setting a deadline:

FWIW we had minor resistance to poop on potty when we trained as well. I went with the "gosh we are out of diapers...you can do it...lets see how it goes and see if we can use the potty this weekend..." Etc. I tried to balance the holding out with letting him know that if he couldn't make it happen we'd go to the store on Monday to diapers. All that said, he did eventually go on Monday morning if I recall. I probably would not have pushed it if he were super stressed or if it went much longer. Might be good to try to wait it out a bit and check with pedi on what it too long to hold it..."

 

When your child is ready to take a poo, take them to the toilet with a diaper on:

"My younger son had a very similar experience to your daughter.
He basically potty trained  himself ( copied my daughter ) when peeing however completely resisted pooping in a potty and could only go in a diaper and was very adamant about this .
I was at my wits end until my husband had an ingenious idea. When my son was about to poo we would sit him on the toilet seat but still leave him in his diaper. This got him used to sitting on a toilet seat. We did this a few more times then once he was comfortable we gradually started to remove the diaper and one day he indeed went directly in the toilet . We made sure to line the toilet bowl well that day with toilet paper so that when he pooped there was no splash or anything that might make him uncomfortable. I knew it was crucial his first experience was a very positive one as it became clear that he had a deep fear/phobia or pooping in the toilet for whatever reason .
We also rewarded him with a jelly bean .
I feel like you  have to do this gradually and wait for your daughters cues... it may take her a week to get comfortable sitting on potty in diapers or less.
With potty training I notice the more anxiety the child has the less successful so I try not to force. Patience is key!
Good luck!"

 

Give your child a high fiber diet:

"We had the same situation and it lasted 8 months but it did end. We did a couple of things that helped. We loaded up her diet with fiber, water, and high water content foods-- corn on the cob, peas, raisins, watermelon, berries. We really did everything we could to make her poops soft. And then, here comes the gross part..."

 

Try a kid potty first, and tangible rewards:

"It took quite a while after he was potty trained for pee for my son to poop in the potty. (I.e., he was going to preschool and would wait until he came home to poop or even had a nighttime diaper on because he wouldn't poop in the potty.) There were a couple of things that finally got him over it. One was that he first did it in a kiddy potty rather than a regular toilet. I don't know if that was about feeling uncomfortable sitting on the big potty for a period of time even though we had a kiddy seat for it etc. or about having his feet on the floor firmly planted or what but the kiddy potty worked better for him. (A little icky for me cleaning it up but that was for a short period of time.) The other is that I started offering tangible rewards for pooping in a potty. Treats that he didn't usually get like M&Ms or even a small toy or book. 
I hope that helps. I never wanted to put too much pressure on it because my understanding was that if he started withholding poop he could get constipated. I'm also impressed that you have a child that's at all potty trained at 2.4 for what it's worth! I think that's on the early side so you have some time to wait her out."

 

 

Offer something fun to do only in the bathroom on the potty:

"My son did the same thing till he was 4. He had other specific requests when it came to pooping (like only pooping while hugging me). He just outright refused no reward system worked. The day after he turned 4 we handed him an iPad and said he could play on it if he pooped on the potty. He never pooped in a diaper again. Of course at some point we had to wean him off the iPad since he wanted to stay on the toilet for much longer than needed (or would say he had to go when he didn't) but we eventually worked out systems and limits for that and it was a relief to be done with poopy diapers. Though he's 8 now and still wears a pull up at night so I'm not out of diaper days yet! Ah well...
In short, I think it's quite common and it's pretty impressive to have a potty trained 2 year old for any part of the day so congrats on that! It'll happen at some point."

 

Give your child time:

"My son wouldn't poop in the potty for a very long time after he was solidly pee-trained. I think it's totally normal. We had him in pull-ups at night and every morning he had a diaper full of poop. We just waited it out and didn't pressure him and eventually he just did it. I can't remember exact time frames but two and a half is still young - I say just give her time!"

 

It will happen when it's meant to happen:

My older daughter waited many months to transition to pooping in the potty but it happened easily and naturally when she was ready! (I also have two osmosis trained daughters - the younger is at the same stage as yours! I just continued to offer the choice casually and then one day she switched! I was glad it was on her terms!

 

Don't worry:

"Our daughter is 3 and doing the same.  My brother has three great kids and his middle one did the same- he finally got over it after a year or so.  I am not worrying about it maybe because my daughter doesn't mind being changed. I don't want to stress her about it- I think that causes issues later.  But would love to hear any good advice. My doctor also said don't worry about it yet (pediatric associates).   And good luck!"

 

Be encouraging, and then one day it will just happen:

"We potty trained our twins when they were 3yo, and it took another 15mo before our son would poop in the potty. We talked to their pediatrician about it at their 4yr check up, and she said she wasn't worried about it at that time, and she'd rather us just keep encouraging while letting him have a pull up so other problems weren't created that would be harder to fix (holding and constipation, etc). For some reason, one night our babysitter was able to get him to go on the potty and that was that. No rhyme or reason, but he's never looked back! No real advice, just a story to say that it is probably fine and at some point she'll switch."

 

Read Oh Crap: potty training : everything modern parents need to know to do it once and do it right:

"We went through the exact same thing with our daughter. She was peeing in the potty all day no accidents from about 2 years 4 months on but would wait until we put her diaper on for bedtime and immediately poop.  I let this continue for a couple of months and then one week she started demanding a diaper earlier saying she needed to poop.  Sooooo we took the plunge and night trained at about 2.5 years.  If you haven't read Oh Crap that's what I'd recommend and what we used. I stressed and went back and forth about whether or not it was too soon but after a couple of months she makes it through the night with no accidents and we don't have to wake her up anymore (part of the night training process).  The downside is she is getting up earlier, sometimes saying she has to pee but could also be because of the light in the summer or who knows what else.  Good luck!  Don't worry they're still little there's lots of time for these things to work themselves out!

and:

"I'm facing a similar issue. According to google and our pediatrician, this is not un-common. I just read Oh Crap which is hard core and she is totally against allowing diapers to poop after training. However, My ped just told me this week, allow her to poop in the diaper/pull up. The few days we went commando, she would not poop and that ends up leading to an entire physical/psych problem around pooping/constipation according to doc. I read where you can allow the diaper, but only pooping in bathroom. Then pooping in diaper, but while sitting on toilet. Eventually, you ditch the diaper. We're not that far, but that was the overall advice..."

 

Try the balloon trick - you blow up a balloon on the toilet and it helps you get the poop out:

 "I want to say a BIG thank you to the person who posted about the trick of blowing up a balloon.  Since we started potty training about a month ago, we have been dealing with our almost 3 year old refusing and then crying/screaming when he had to poop on the potty.  We modified the balloon trick and bit and had him pretend to blow out birthday candles.  I found a YouTube video of candles being blown out and we watched while he sat on the potty when it was clear he needed to go.  It has made such a difference!  It seems to replicate the feeling of pushing in a fun way.  It may sound weird but we also started taking pictures of the poop.  It oddly seemed to normalize it for him. After three days after trying those two things, we had our first self-initiated poop on the potty with no crying.  Sharing in case it can help someone else."

 

More advice on PSP:

Scared to poop in the potty?

Potty Training Quickly