18 answers

2 Yr Old Daughter Holding Poop In... What Can I Do?

Hi Everyone! My 2.5-yr-old daughter has been having constipation issues since September. Our pediatrician told us NOT to potty train her b/c it might make the constipation worse, so we haven't. In October, we were in the ER b/c she was having SEVERE abdominal pain and after an x-ray, they saw that her bowels were COMPLETELY full of stool. She won't go b/c it hurts her. So, now we are on 2 Tsp of Milk of Magnesia EVERY day. She usually goes poo every other day or so and it is very loose stool when she does go. She does these "poopy dances" where she is trying to get it NOT to come out. How can we convince her that this is the right thing to let it out? It's been almost 6 months now and we are at our wits end. She is now also scared of the toilet. She thinks she will fall into the big potty and she is not interested at all in panties or her little potty... Any ideas? Will potty training her help? Just wondering what other moms have done in this situation!
Thank you So much!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you SO much to everyone for your wonderful advice! To hear that others are going through the same thing is helpful in and of itself. We have already been limiting her diet (no bananas, apples, or cheese and VERY little milk/yogurt) since October and that hasn't helped much since it is mostly psychological. She started preschool in January 3 mornings a week and I think the potty may have scared her there. This week was her spring break from preschool so we took the plunge and decided to potty train her this week. And guess what? She is pooping on the potty TWO times a day but she WILL NOT pee! Isn't that weird? I heard that pooping on the potty is the hard part and that the peeing will come easily soon. So far, I'm just thrilled that the potty might be helping her "psychological constipation!" Thank you all again SO much for your support, thoughts, suggestions, and accounts of what has happened with you and your children! You are all great Moms and Grandmoms!

Featured Answers

Poor baby. I suffered from chronic constipation for many, many years, so I know how this little one feels. Two things, 2oz of prune juice a night, up it to three if you do not see results in 3 days. Also, water, water, water. Cut out ALL bananas, raisins, nuts, chocolate and cheese. Some people are very sensetive to cheese and milk. She could be constipated because of a lactose intolerance. Cut back on all milk products. Lastly, plenty of exercise. Run, run, run. Good luck, sweetie.

More Answers


I have to say that alot of what Fanny says is right on. Just letting her see that it is not a bad thing is the right thing. My son is 6 and has had bowel issues since he was 10 months old. He still has bowel issues and he currently takes miralax everyday to help eleviate the problem. What this does is help to make the stool very loose so that it doesn't hurt at all when he goes. He actually sees a gastroenterologist every 3-4 months to ensure that everything is going okay. He actually just had bloodwork to ensure that there is not an underlying problem. I would ask your doctor to recomment a GI doctor to see if there might be a deeper lying issue with your little one.

I wish you the best of luck. In the mean time just let her know that it is not a bad thing to go poopies, it is a good thing and that everyone does it.

Good luck.

36 y/o SAHM of 3 boys
14, 6 and 3

I would suggest you consult with some alternative/holistic oriented physician who would get to the bottom of why she's been having constipation issues (no pun intended). Those regular doses of magnesium shouldn't be needed for so long. There may be something she's eating that her body doesn't handle properly and causes constipation (milk products are one possibility), and probiotic supplements might also help her regularize (Garden of Life has nice banana flavored probiotics for kids). Normalizing this bowel issue would be good before putting effort into potty-training and will make it easier for your child to potty-train. One thing I'd encourage is to completely avoid any vaccinations while this issue is present since they can disturb GI functioning.

Well, I'll tell you what I do with my ULTRA-constipated-never- wants-to-go-hold-it-all-in-forever daughter. We just give her everything that will make her go... Prunes, or prune juice, fiber in every meal, cut the milk, we have this natural syrup called Califig, it works wonders.I got it from a friend in Jamaica, but it is a US natural product. Just give her anything that will make her feel the need to go.
Now, when she gets the urge is the tricky part.What you need to do is "demystify" poo. Let her observe or be around when you go. If she has accidents, it's no big deal, praise her for the poo, but tell her she did it in the wrong spot. Let her flush. Do not in any case look disgusted when you have to pick it up the floor or from where ever and offer lots of praise when she does it.
It will take some time, but soon enough, if you do it right, she'll stop being afraid. The thing is she figures, if she holds it in, it won't hurt. But the more she keeps it in, the worse it gets. So you need to get rid of the "backlog" so to speak. Ask your doctor to show you how to feel her belly to make sure her bowels are empty. I have spent countless hours with her on the potty waiting for "IT"...
If you need more advise, don't hesitate to message me personnaly, I'll be glad to answer more specific questions if you have any

Good luck!

When my son was potty training, he would constipate himself as well. His pediatrician recommended Miralax. It's a powder, has no taste, and you can use as often as needed. Just put it any drink. It won't make her go, it will only make it easier for her to go. It will probably make her stop hurting when she goes. Good Luck!

Do the treat thing, a sticker chart, some fun songs playing while in the bathroom, anything that gets to "her level", not yours, so she can get through this most annoying phase for you. Wait til she's going through puberty, you'll be back on this site...
Blessings, S.

we went thru generally the same thing with my son now 14. I found a support group on the web that was very helpful. Instead of Milk of magnesia he was put on dulcolax I think it was called. We had him on medicine for 1 year. But we also had to do some behaviorally modification all very slowly. he too was afraid of the potty so we left him in diapers but we did start making him "practice" potty sitting - totaly clothed we read him a book /blew bubbles and we did it 2x a day for up 2 ten minutes. Sometimes I had to bribe him - he got a stick of gum ONLy while he was sitting on potty! Also we started making go poop in his diaper in the bathroom- because bathrooms are where we poop. eventually we made him sit on the potty in his diaper to poop- that was a huge transition! and then we started to potty training which was quick because he was now almost 4 he still asked to poop in diapers so we let him. I sent him to preschool saying he was potty trained because believe me I knew he would never poop in his underwear he was a master of holding it in (longest was 7 days!) Anyway we did dietary changes too and I also used senekot on top of the stool softener if he didn't go every other day. because the longer you wait the more it hurts. After he was weaned off the medicine I still had to watch him closely . Look up encopresis under google I sure you will find loads of information and I know how tough this can be but it will get better!

My son was having some constipation issues for about a week when we were potty training him... The doctor suggested giving him Miralax. It worked! Once he was able to let everything go, he realized he felt much better. For a couple days after he would panic a little bit before going on the toilet as well, but I just reminded him it would feel so much better to let it out. He has been great ever since. If you decide to Potty train her now, I would suggest going cold turkey... Its the best and fastest... Bye bye diapers, hello underwear... Maybe take her to the store and let her choose a potty seat she loves so it will make her more comfortable... Also, maybe give her an incentive, like little surprises if she goes potty. Good luck!

Hi K., my name is K. :) and my 2 yr old son does the same thing. He's been doing it for a year now. I have upped his fiber intake. My ped told me to use miralax, one tsp per day for a month or two, it softens the stool by pulling water fom the bowels rather than a real laxative that forces the bowels to move. SHe said once the fear of pooping is gone to wean him off the miralax. I also offer him raisins everyday, as well as fruit juices. He LOVES milk, one of the main things I was told to cut down on... I put the miralax in it to try to balance out the backing up issue. When he does the potty dance we offer him the big boy potty and most everytime he wants to sit on it. Not that he goes on each time, but it seems to make him feel more comfy. Me and my husband clap and say "woo hoo, its poopy time!, go potty buddy". We tell him a few times that if he goes poopy his belly will feel much better.I think its helped a lot, letting him know that its a good thing to poop, that he shouldn't be scared of it. He use to run around for 30 minutes crying - scared to poop, now it only takes him a few minutes, much better than it was. At least you have hope!!!

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