11 answers

How to Get 4 Yr Old to Poop on Potty?

My 4 year old boy is half way potty trained, he will wear underwear all day and go pee in the toilet with no troubles; He is GREAT. However, when it comes to poop, he refuses, he will wait until you put a pull-up on him just before bedtime and then go. My son will come to me at night and say, "Mommy, I need a pull up." and I will tell him, "let's go sit on the potty." We will try 15-30 minutes then he starts crying so I give up and we put on the pull-up and then he goes POOP.....Someone please HELP this has been going on for over 6 months. Isn't 4 getting to old?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi J. H,

I have a 4 year old boy. It will come. I have worked at several pre-schools-parents thinking there sons were ready but not. Every child really is different. My son for what ever reason didnt like to poop-except at night,maybe because he didnt like to take time or was afraid of the feeling .
I would talk to him about how uncomfortable it must be. I would sit and read while he sat on the potty , I was desperate, We told him when he pooped in the toilet we would buy him a toy..
keep trying good luck.

More Answers

J. (and everyone else responding)

I was a nanny for 9 years and I potty trained 6 kids in that time. The first two were torture. Then I discovered the videos "once upon a potty.” There is one for boys and one for girls. I have used these 4 times and every kid has had the same experience. As soon as the DVD ends they run to the bathroom and try to go potty. It is the most amazing thing!

I love all the new inventions for kid care, but these videos are by far the best!

F. G

2 moms found this helpful

We had the same issue with our daughter, though at a younger age. She was potty trained at a little over 2.5 but wouldn't poop in the potty for anything! She would never really articulate "why" and I think it was some fear, but also some stubbornness. One of the big issues was that she always pooped standing up and really wasn't comfortable sitting. We tried major and minor bribes and nothing seemed to work. She would cry and scream and have such a fit!

We did similar things as Teresa C mentioned below. First, we said she had to go into the bathroom - that's where people poop. We would let her use the pull-up and then gradually worked on sitting on the potty (in the pull-up.) We didn't want to get rid of the pull-ups completely because then she'd just hold it for days and days which just made life worse for everyone!

We wrapped up about 20 small presents (playdoh, markers, little toys, etc) and every time she went sitting on the potty with the pull-up, she got to pick out a package. She knew that when the presents ran out, it was time to go without the pull-up. She really wanted a "real" camera, so we said she could get one the day she pooped in the potty. When that day came, she was very upset and cried and didn't want to, but I really pushed her and stuck to my guns. After she did it ONE time, that was it. We bought the camera and never had another problem. I kind of wish that I got tougher, sooner.

I've also heard of people using this tactic and then cutting holes in the pull-ups, so they'd wear it and sit on the potty and end up going IN the potty, kind of like what Teresa did with the toilet paper. I have known and heard of lots of kids with this pooping issue!

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem with my son - i landed up "bribing" him with hot wheels cars. I told him that every time he went poop in the big boys potty he would get a new car. That is how he got his enourmous hot wheels collection. :)You might want to try and "bribe" him with something that he likes or collects. Good luck to you.

Exact same problem at age 4 with a boy. This is what I did. We told him all the diapers were gone. (We only put diapers on to poop. He was dry at night.) I said I only had one more and it was part broken. I told him he could have it on BUT he had to sit on the little potty to poop because it might come off. (I had determined that part of his fear was he wanted to stand to poop and he liked the security of the diaper.) I then put a ripped up diaper on him but made him sit on the potty. He didn't like it much but he was willing to part sit. It worked. The next time I said I'm still out of diapers but I will wrap toilet paper around you like a diaper and then he could sit and go. It worked again. Then we just used less and less toilet paper. It ended with putting the paper in the potty before he pooped. Now he's a senior in high school and graduating next month. WOW! The second child (boy) was potty trained before 2. He couldn't wait to sit on the potty.

T. C.

The real question is why. Why is he unwilling to go on the potty? Is it because to him poop is a part of his body and he's afraid to flush it? Does he like the feeling of pooping in a pull-up? If you can figure out the why, the way to handle it will come easily. Yes, he's only 4 but he can try to explain why.

I had the same problem with my daughter. She always used the toilet to go pee but would wait until bedtime and poop in her pull up. Once she even got a pull up out of her room, put it on herself and then pooped in it!! I just got rid of the pull ups completely so they were not even an option. I used a water proof mattress pad and just put her to bed in her panties. Surprisingly, she didn't have accidents in bed at night and had no other choice but to use the toilet.

As the mother of 6 (5 boys)I can tell you that in his mind, two things are happening: 1: It's his poop! Especially for boys, this is his personal property, so he doesn't want to part with it. And 2: He realizes that this is a stepping stone to being a big boy... He's not sure if he wants to be a big boy. Does this mean he doesn't get babied anymore? no more nightlight? what other changes will he be expected to make as a big boy?
The videos are awesome! They really help with both of these issues! You might want to baby him a little more than usual for a while. more hugging and craddling. That way he's only losing his poop... not his status.
Be forwarned!!! If you have another child, he may revert back to this even at the age of 6! Just remember to make him feel special and loved, and not displaced, and it will pass quickly.

I know this might sound bad, but have you used bribery? ha ha You might get some m&m's and put them in a jar and tell him if he'll go, he can have some. Or perhaps even a cheap toy like Hotwheels! I had to do it with my son. He started off where he'd poop in the toilet and not pee. Then he completely went backwards, so I gave up for like a month or so. Then I started the "potty rewards" and it worked! He is only 3 and is fully potty trained, even at night!

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