10 answers

3 Year Old Pooping in Her Underwear, Months After Being Completed Trained.

Hi Moms!
My daughter is almost three. She has been potty trained since the beginning of the summer. We didn't have a great deal of difficulty with the process, pretty normal overall. All of the sudden she won't go poop on the toilet. She hides in a corner when she has to go and gets in a 'pooping' position on hands and knees on the floor. I don't know if she's trying to hold it in, at that moment, or actually trying to go. Regardless, she does go a bit in her underwear (although not all of it). When I put her on the potty then, she sits there a long time without going. She will eventually go in the potty, but not without much hollering about how she's 'all done!'. We've tried positive reinforcement (you'll get at treat and much praise when you go on the potty),we're now on to negative reinforcement (she loses her favorite sleep toy and her tv show if she goes at all in her undies). None of this really seems to be working. There has been no real dramatic change in our lives... she has started daycare in an unfamiliar environment two days a week, but that is it.

Any thoughts or suggestions?! I'm tired of cleaning up poop out of underwear!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I have gone through the same thing! My, almost 3 year old, went through this and I finally just told her she had a choice. If she needed to poop and did not want to go in the pottey she could wear a pull up to poop or a diaper. If she still went poop in her underwear (which I let her pick out at the store) she would have to start wearing a diaper because Ariel, or whatever princess was on the underwear, does not appreciate being pooped in. This has worked more often than not. I also bought her some princess jewlry and put it where she can see it. I told her that if she poops in the potty that day she can wear it, if not she can not. I have discovered this is very commmon. It is part of being able to control something. Give it time and be patient. She will not do it forever and if you have to put her in diapers again for a while - then so be it. It may be a way of her trying to get attention, any kind good or bad praise. Give it some time and patience. And...make a HUGE deal out of it when she does go potty. I mean sing and clap and tell her how wonderful she is. When she does not poop in the potty just calmly tell her that is too bad and you are sorry but big girls do not poop in their underwear so you are going to have to put her back in a diaper until she can learn to poop in the potty like a big girl. Do not demean her, just be matter of fact about it and do not make such a big deal about it.
Good luck!

More Answers

Hi R.,
My comment is that "completely potty trained" doesn't really exist until age 4+. All children regress, all children will have accidents, and many children will use refusal to toilet as a coping mechanism for some stressor in their lives. Starting a new daycare is a huge stressor for little ones. I agree with the other post you received. Don't resort to punishment. She is still so little. Keep guiding her gently and she will get it eventually.
Take care,
B.

1 mom found this helpful

Our daughter started doing that again when she started a new school ... we did a chart (we have done a couple ... originally when potty training her we called it a poop chart and she got a sticker on a chart and when she filled the chart she got a prize -- a tent she had wanted). Now she was almost 3 1/2 so we called it a clean and dry chart ... whenver she kept her pants clean and dry for the whole day she got a sticker ... after 2 weeks she again got to pick what she wanted to do, which was go the aquarium. Both seemed to work well for us.

K.

I had this problem with my son. I found out that he has some bowel problems. He would get constipated a lot and his tummy hurt and his doctor said that is common for kids to get into the "pooping Position" rather than sitting on the toilet because it does not hurt as much when they go. My son now takes Miralax once a day to help keep him regular and the only time he has accidents is if I forget to give him that medicine. Even if your little one eats really well (mine loves fruits and veggies and a wide variety of food) they can still have bowel problems or other stomach issues that can cause them to do that.

The daycare could be enough to trigger it. I would try to have her clean herself up.. maybe if she has to do it, it will stop.

Whatever you do DO NOT punish your child. This is a battle you won't win and in my opinion potty accidents should NEVER EVER be punished.

"There has been no real dramatic change in our lives... she has started daycare in an unfamiliar environment two days a week."

R., I'm so sorry, but I started laughing. Day Care is a huge big deal to children. Hell, I've seen children disturbed for several weeks even when starting Kind., first and second grade. Just use a pull-up for a while. It will blow over.

In the meantime, please remember that there's nothing "natural" for a child about spending hours away from mommy. Talk to her about it, and let her express the parts that concern her without dismissing it. Her concerns are real.

My first daughter was so distressed about not being with mommy and daddy during day care, that after a very long time, we finally woke up and realized that our "perfect daycare siutation" was perfect for everybody involved EXCEPT my daughter. That's when I finally quit my Big Deal Job, and never sent my next children to day care or pre-school. There were plenty of play groups and I taught all of them to read.

Good luck!

I think starting the daycare is the key. Those things are stressful on kiddos. My daughter regressed a bit when she started her preschool. It is like moving to a new country for us, and trying to find our way in totally foreign surroundings. Give her a lot of love, help her as much as you can with the daycare transition (maybe have some of the kids over for a playdate so she gets used to them/makes friends?), and keep up the positive reinforcement. The negative doesn't work in my experience, b/c it is giving our kids attention for negative behavior (not that I don't slip up and do it myself sometimes--this parenting this takes a lot of thought and energy!! LOL). She'll get it.
Good luck!
S.

Any life change throws a kid off everything (new daycare counts). It could take her several months to get back to where she was. I doubt she's doing it on purpose. Maybe they even made a comment (not neccessarily to her) to the idea of poop being icky and she understood it wrong (it's not that uncommon).

With that in mind, recognize that she's probably not trying to be naughty! She hates being poopy too, I'm sure. So put her back in pull-ups until things get settled. Still put her on the potty when you see she needs to poop. Lots of praise once she is all done and don't comment at all for the behaviors that you want to get rid of - pooping in pullups and saying that she's done before she is (except to calmly tell her to wait a bit more). You may have to sit in the bathroom with her. Tell/read a story while she sits there so she's not bored.

Make sure she eats lots of fiber (fruits and veggies, whole grains) and gets plenty to drink, so that it's easy for her to go (maybe it's painful!) Be patient, but if you still see she is withholding, contact the doctor to make sure there is nothing else going on and that she's not making herself sick.

I have gone through the same thing! My, almost 3 year old, went through this and I finally just told her she had a choice. If she needed to poop and did not want to go in the pottey she could wear a pull up to poop or a diaper. If she still went poop in her underwear (which I let her pick out at the store) she would have to start wearing a diaper because Ariel, or whatever princess was on the underwear, does not appreciate being pooped in. This has worked more often than not. I also bought her some princess jewlry and put it where she can see it. I told her that if she poops in the potty that day she can wear it, if not she can not. I have discovered this is very commmon. It is part of being able to control something. Give it time and be patient. She will not do it forever and if you have to put her in diapers again for a while - then so be it. It may be a way of her trying to get attention, any kind good or bad praise. Give it some time and patience. And...make a HUGE deal out of it when she does go potty. I mean sing and clap and tell her how wonderful she is. When she does not poop in the potty just calmly tell her that is too bad and you are sorry but big girls do not poop in their underwear so you are going to have to put her back in a diaper until she can learn to poop in the potty like a big girl. Do not demean her, just be matter of fact about it and do not make such a big deal about it.
Good luck!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.