A summary of responses from the Advice Group
Thanks so much to everyone who responded. There were way too many responses for me to post them all, but below are some of them. Most people recommended just giving him more time; some people set a date or some other limit and held their ground; others had more creative ideas, like snipping a tiny piece off the pull-up every time he poops until there's nothing left but the waist band! See below:
"Do you have the book "Once Upon a Potty"? It's adorable, and has a positive picture of a little boy pooping."
"There’s a Sesame Street website story where Elmo goes potty."
"We bought the book It Hurts When I Poop. That helped as did some diet changes."
"Our perdiatrician recommened Miralax In our son's drink in the am. He also complained that it hurt. It seems to be getting better, now if we could just make it to the toilet."
"Our daughter went through the same thing when she was first potty trained--my impression is that it's pretty common. In the end, nothing we did really worked. She just eventually decided she could handle the potty. Just wanted to let you know our experience."
"My daughter (age 15) was the same way. I kept waiting for her to be "ready" to poop in the toilet - finally- I just sat her on the toilet when I knew she had to poop - (I refused the pull up) - and sang a song or whatever to her so she would not freak out - she pooped and that was the end of that - after that day she pooped in the toilet."
"My son went through the exact same thing. in fact, he didn't start going #2 in the toilet bowl until the fall of his Kindergarten year! it turned out that he needed a stool softener, Miralax is great, but for now i would continue to give him his pull up and not make a big deal of it at all. it is very normal at that age, especially for boys. other things that helped was getting the insert that fits over the toilet bowl so that he could see there was no way he was going to fall in. choosing, do you want to flush yourself and not flush at all. showing him us go to the bathroom to show that it is okay, no one will go down the drain. but definitely, all the bribing and everything else we did didn't work, it will happen in time and it does need encouragement, but i do think you have to lay off for a few months, then try again."
"What would he do if you told him you ran out of pull-ups and the store didn't have any either? Would he just hold it in indefinitely? I mean - don't you think he would eventually have to face his fear? And how big of a bribe did you offer? Are we talking 2 M&Ms or a razor scooter? I might call his bluff and tell him no more pull-ups. (they don't make them anymore or something like that) I have a 4 year old and it is all about control. And bodily functions are about the biggest card they can throw down.
And then take a trip to the toy store and have a huge potty party."
"My daughter was the same way. We eventually got her to go in her pull-up in the bathroom as a means of solidifying that pooping happens in the bathroom. Then I asked her older friends, age 4 and up (she is 3) where they poop and they said the bathroom. Next thing I knew she was going in the potty and saying, "I poop like Ella." She realized to be a big girl like her friends she had to poop in the potty too. I don't know if this will work with boys."
"I would ask him about his fear. "Are you scared it will hurt? Has it hurt before? When was that? What was it like? Are you scared it is going to hurt everytime?" And let him explore it a little. You cay say things like "I can understand why you won't go in the potty if you think it will hurt--sometimes kids worry about that--some kids won't pee in the potty because they think it will hurt--even though you and I both know it really doesn't".
I would also let him know when you are going to poop and wonder aloud if it will hurt but demonstrate that it doesn't and your subsequent relief. I would also do a role-play with some of his favorite animals/figures about being scared and in the role play, really validate the feelings but then have the animal go with no problems and have then have a party to celebrate. Let him know that when he IS READY to have his first potty poop, you'll also have a poopy party. In general, I am a fan of empathize,
empathize, empathize with his FEELINGS and then demonstrate that it doesn't have to be that way through various personal and role-playing examples. This is a good site that seems to have some interesting posts.
Further Recommended Reading: