13 answers

3 Year Old Will Not Poop in the Potty

My son turned 3 in January 08. He has been going pee on the potty for almost 8 months, but will not poop in it. I can sit him on the potty when he acts like he has to go, and he will sit there for 45 minutes. I will let him up and within 10 minutes, he has gone in his pants. I have tried, rewards, sticker charts, timeout, and I am lost at what to do next. Anyone have any ideas?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I'm facing the same thing, my son will be 3 on Sunday (the 2nd) and he's starting to potty train. He'll pee in the potty, but he won't poop ... my cousin has suggested to me that while he is in the home, I put regular undies on him instead of pull-ups because he'll feel more uncomfortable and he won't like that feeling. She said that's how she potty trained her son (her second child) because she did not want to go through the long drawn out process like she had with her daughter. Good luck and if you get some great advice, please let me know. :)

More Answers

I'm facing the same thing, my son will be 3 on Sunday (the 2nd) and he's starting to potty train. He'll pee in the potty, but he won't poop ... my cousin has suggested to me that while he is in the home, I put regular undies on him instead of pull-ups because he'll feel more uncomfortable and he won't like that feeling. She said that's how she potty trained her son (her second child) because she did not want to go through the long drawn out process like she had with her daughter. Good luck and if you get some great advice, please let me know. :)

R.,
No help here but a big thank you for asking the question!!! I am in exactly the same boat. Looking forward to reading the responses.
M.

R.,

my son had the same problem. What I did is I took a favorite stuffed animal of his and put it on the potty and secretly threw some raisins in the potty to make it look like it pooped. then I made a big deal out of it and gave the stuffed animal a sucker and we both jumped up and down ridiculously for the accomplishment. He was amazed that his bear went poop. It took a few times to do this to convince him to give it a whirl but he eventually did.

hope that helps

I recomed trying the candy system, my sister used it with her stubbern little one. One M&M for pee, and 2 for Poo. It worked Great!

Is there any way to "loosen" his resolve. Add more fiber to his diet. Sneak in some prune juice in recipies. Add grapes, plums, strawberries etc to make it more difficult for him to hold it. Add water (juice, milk etc) to every snack.

Also, ask him what's going on. Do the poops hurt? Is he afraid? Is he embarrassed? Does he want to go on the big toilet?

Definitely mention this to your ped. S/he will offer advice to make sure that constipation doesn't become a chronic issue.

The previous response was very good, and I agree about the timing, only have him sit for up to 15 mins, then let him get up... Often during the potty training period children can develop problems, my daughter developed the problem of holding and holding till she was fully constipated and of course would hurt her when she would poop which set off a chain reaction, the more it would hurt her the more reluctant she was to try... finally at age 5 I started making her wash out her own panties when she pottied in them and within three days she quit and started using the toliet lol... Now if I could just get her to quit wetting the bed on occasion.... sighhhh

R.,

I have been there... My son only is just now understanding the potty business and we only really became aggressive with it in May. He will be four in August, beginning preschool in September.

I have learned for myself that you have to have patience throughout the whole process. Our biggest reward is a Zoo trip as we have the family pass and it is not an extra cost to us. I will reward him further with a small toy at the gift shop. I found this worked the best for us (as we too did the stickers, books, etc.).

Many kids develop at their own pace. As is sounds like you have all boys, you are aware that they do learn this business the slowest compared to girls in most cases - but still at all different stages.

If your son has not eliminated within 10 - 15 minutes, then I would take him off the potty. Otherwise, he may be viewing it as 'punishment' and not a learning/ training experience (or very pleasant).

Something to keep in mind: many children FEAR that more than poop will come out of their body when they are on the potty. Sounds silly, I know... but they are new to this! :)

Patience, Love, Understanding, Talking... all of this will help your son. Plus, he may be bound (constipated) so it could be hurting him? This occurred with my SIL's son. I have the advantage as I know how rid this for my son and within 15 minutes he will expel on the potty and without too much discomfort.

However, he sounds as if he is 'on course' to me in learning.

I don't have any tips for you, just encouragement. My son was 3 1/2 when he was potty trained. He knew what to do but wouldn't. It was definitely a control issue with him. I would set him on the potty for 20 minutes or longer and he would do nothing. Within a few minutes after he got off, he would be soaking or poopy.

This was hard for me since he was my second and my daughter was potty trained in 2 weeks at 2 1/2. I finally just quit trying and soon after he did it on his own. I know it seems like it will never happen, but it will.

I'd leave him on only a short time and not make a big deal out of his actions. Sounds like a control thing that he'll stop doing when he feels ready. Praise him for a being a big boy in other areas. Sometimes boys do this well into their 4th year. The more it becomes a power struggle, the longer it will take. Get out of the power struggle yourself and it won't be so satisfying to him.

My son actually pooped on the potty before being consistant with peeing and I am sure it was because we bought a bunch of matchbox cars and he got a car everytime he pooped on the potty. If I knew he had to go I'd remind him if he wanted a car he had to go on the potty. NOw he plays with his cars while sitting on the potty so he loves to sit there (sometimes longer than necessary) Good Luck!

i finally was able to get my daughter to poop on the potty by upping the ante. we gave her the little dibs ice cream treats by edy's. good luck!

You got good answers already and I'd like to go farther : so far it seems that YOU decide for him when he has to go potty and make him stay on it hoping he will finally let go of his poop...
For a little one to be potty trained is a big step in growing up...it is NOT the parent's job to check whether the child has to go or not : it's the child's responsibility (I agree it's hard for a parent to trust his/her child especially at the beginning of the process or if the child is not ready/interested) !
At the beginning when a child is not very aware of his needs of going potty we sure help them noticing the telltale signs (for us !) but we have to restrain from checking all a time for the child if he has to go.

Why would your child go potty by himself since you are always here to remind him he HAS to poop ? His only way to say "hey I decide for my body not you !" is not to poop even if you make him stay on the potty.... it's not even conscious but the trouble is it could lead to constipation or more...

I would say to stop pushing him to go potty to poop (anyway he goes potty by himself to pee right ?), ask him what he would prefer for the poop (even a diaper is fine, the key is to let him decide). Explain calmly you are bothered by the poop in the pants and that you have to find a solution together whether it would be cleaning them together, pooping in a diaper or whatever (let him tell several solutions, not directing toward what you consider the best solution...that's hard but that's how he'll stick to what he decides and not just what you want)

Gook luck and come back to tell what happened !

My 4 yr old son is borderline autistic and didn't poop right away either. I'm still not sure why he was holding it back. Could be fear or control. Rewarding him did not work. I did several things to move it along, no pun intended :)

It took us a few days for him to familarize himself with his own plumbing. We stayed home as much as possible.

I gave him "mommy's breakfast cookies" (Fiber One bars). Each bar has about 9 grams of fiber and they taste really good. Took his pants and underpants off completely. He didn't have a "safety net". We played chase around the house.

We also have a Fisher Price Smart Cycle too, which I would have him ride it with his underpants on. It's hard to hold it while riding a bike.

Keep your cool and keep it positive. Good luck!

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