There’s a very common problem that you may encounter when your toddler is potty training: you may get to the point where your child won’t poop on the potty. I know, I know, you thought the worst of the diaper dilemmas were over, but often, potty training brings about new and challenging issues.
First of all, you need to know that it is not unusual for a child to refuse to poop on the potty when toilet training. Just like everything, this is likely a phase that your child is going through. As long as the possibility of a medical issue (i.e. signs of a blockage, irregular bowel movements, etc.) has been eliminated, you can safely assume that this stage will pass, and try out some of the following solutions to see if you can get your child pooping in the toilet.
Remember to acknowledge your child’s fear of pooping on the potty, and proceed with patience and empathy. You don’t want to force your child when it comes to potty training issues because it can stress your child out to the point that they become seriously constipated or impacted, which will have extremely uncomfortable and upsetting, and sometimes, long-lasting results.
I recently asked my Facebook followers to share their advice for a child who refuses to do number two in the loo, and they had some terrific suggestions. Thanks to all of the parents who shared their solutions with the HH community!
Hopefully, if your child is having issues when it comes to poop-training, these suggestions will be helpful.
Here are 10 ways that you can help when your child won’t poop on the potty:
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1. Teach him to tell you when he needs to go so you can put a diaper on him. Many kids will poop at rest time or bedtime because they feel safer doing it with a diaper on, so if you give him this option, then he doesn’t have to wait until nap or bedtime. Withholding can cause constipation, which can make the situation worse (because constipation is often associated with painful bowel movements, causing them to withhold it even more).
Read # 2 to take this step further…
2. Allow your learn how to poop on the toilet with a DIAPER ON. Once they master this successfully, let him watch you cut a large hole in the diaper when before sitting him on the toilet in the diaper. This time, when they poop, it will go right into the potty, however, having the diaper on will still offer that sense of security.
3. When they poop in their diaper/underwear, tell them it’s yucky, and together, go and dump it in the potty. Talk about how poop should be in the potty because that keeps our homes and bodies clean.
4. Build him a “potty castle“. Get a big cardboard box from a local hardware store (many times they will have these left over from refrigerators, etc.) and cut a door that opens and closes. Decorate it with your child and make it look fun! Put a potty in the box and call it his “Potty Castle”. Let him know it’s only to be used when pooping on the potty.
5. Provide a step stool, or, instead of using the big toilet, consider using a potty that sits on the floor. Many kids need their feet planted firmly on the ground in order to brace themselves while “pushing” during a bowel movement. My followers love this Potty Training Ladder Step Up Seat.
6. Sing a silly song! My friend sings a song to the tune of “Winnie The Pooh” that says: “He wants to go home. He wants to go home. Send Mr. Poopy to his home, oh please… Cause he wants to go in. And he wants to swim. Let him go in the potty today- yay!” Her daughter LOVED this!
potty image via Shutterstock
7. Many people suggest that you have your child clean up the poop. If you feel your child is intentionally pooping their pants, and if they’re old enough, you might have them go and get a pair of new undies and clean up AFTER YOU have cleaned up (to avoid germs and contamination). Example: you could clean the area and then give them a baby wipe and ask them to clean it more. They’ll still be doing the work, but you won’t run the risk of them getting anything on their hands.”
8. It could be dietary. Many kids refuse to poop because of constipation or because they associate it with an unpleasant feeling. Ask your pediatrician for suggestions on what you can do at home. They may suggest eating more fiber, taking oils, drinking more water, using Miralax, corn/karo syrup etc. Be sure to ask BEFORE trying anything new like this. You do not want to make the problem worse.
9. Read books and role play about using the potty! Several books about pooping on the toilet are listed below. You can click on them to view or purchase. After reading, you can act out the scenarios with baby dolls. Have your child put their baby doll on the potty. When baby poops, mommy/daddy wipes the baby. Then wash baby’s hands and give the baby a sticker or special treat for going poop.
10. Keep a chart or even use a calendar. Every time your child poops on the potty, give her a sticker to put on the chart. In the meantime, buy about 10 toys at the dollar store and keep them in a basket. When your child fills up their chart (start small- maybe two stickers?) they get to pick a toy out of the basket. This is immediate gratification for your child.
Hopefully these solutions will help your child overcome his or her fear of pooping on the toilet, and your potty training days will be behind you in no time.
For more help with potty training, many of my readers have had success with the book, Potty Train in a Weekend. There’s a chapter devoted to the poop and potty challenges you might be facing.