10 answers

My 4 Year Old Wont Poop in a Toilet

My son just turned 4 and he still poops in a pull up. He has been "potty" trained for 2 years but when he has to poop he runs to the toilet, cheeks clenched and as soon as he sits it seem like he looses the sensation to go. He will sit on the toilet for 20+ minutes. As soon as he says he doesn't have to go any more and gets down he immediately get the sensation back. Back on the toilet and nothing. He has gotten to the point where he just goes and gets a pull up on and goes in that. we tried to force it and he held it for 7 days. He eats plenty of fiber and constipation is not the issue. We have tried bribery of every kind, and even against my better judgment we tried "giving" the pull ups away to force him and that's when he held it for a week. The doctor just said more fiber, but he really does eat a lot of fruit, oatmeal, and high fiber foods and very little junk.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all your advice. I just wanted to let everyone know my son and I had a "heart to heart" about giving all his pull ups to brother and we went to the store that day, and he picked out some special spider man underwear and we also got more Miralax. (we had tried it before but I don't think I believed it would work because nothing else had so we gave up to soon.) We were both very committed. With in 2 days he pooped his first ever poop on the toilet. Don't get me wrong he cried a lot about not wanting too and wanting his pull ups back, and I cried too because I felt mean and helpless but we hung in there and he has pooped a total of 4 times in the toilet since the first. He was so proud of himself. Thanks again. I think the support alone I received was enough to get me in the right mind set not to give up this time.

More Answers

My daughter did this because she was totally grossed out by the "splash" the poop made entering the water. (Why that is gross and sitting in a poopy diaper isn't, only a kid knows). She was also terrified of the flushing sound. We turned down the water level so there was no splash and we flushed after she left the room.

She knew we wanted her to use the toilet, so she'd try, but her anxiety once she got up there made her lose the sensation to go.

You can give a 4 year old an enema, but the only time to do that is when the child is impacted and can't go. Miralax will certainly make it difficult to hold in the stool and it makes it pass much more smoothly. Does your son stand when he poops in the pull up? The reason I ask is that it seemed my son was more comfortable standing up than sitting down and it actually came out easier. I have always wondered if it is the way he was shaped and now that he is older has grown out of it. Don't let him go more than a few days without going or his colon will begin to expand and accommodate more and more stool. Then you'll end up with painful, enormous stool that are difficult to pass and will actually end up creating constipation issues if they begin to with hold. Miralax has seriously been a wonderful tool as we've dealt with poop issues and constipation and behavioral with-holding for 6 years. Miralax once a week keeps it all going regularly.

My daughter did the same thing. Whenever she had to poop she's ask for a pull-up. At a doctor's appointment shortly before her 4th birthday, her doctor told her that when she turned 4 she would have to poop in the toilet because that's when it was supposed to happen. As her birthday approached we kept reminding her that when she turned 4 no more pull-ups. The big day came and you guessed it, she asked for a pull-up. We stood our ground and said no. She held it for 5 days. (A side note, she had been on daily miralax for the past 2 years because of constipation and holding before. I kept giving her the miralax and finally she couldn't hold it anymore and decided to try the toilet. SHe was surprised at how easy it was and we made such a big deal about it. They next day we took her to Toys R Us for a poop prize of her choosing. She's been going ever since. Not sure if any of this will help you, but just hang in there.


My son is 4 1/2 and we're still potty training him. After a conversation that I had with my son one day, it turned out that there are monsters living in our toilet that want to eat his poop, and that terrifies him. From some advice I got from other mothers here, I now let him squat on the toilet seat while he poops. This allows him to see what's happening beneath him, and if those monsters show up he can either yell for mom and/or dad to scare them away, or tell them to go away himself. It's working for us, he's pooping in the toilet now, where before he'd just poop in his pull-ups.

Hope this helps you as much as it has me,
M. :)

This worked for my 3 1/2 yr old son...put a pull up on him when he has to poop, but make him go in the bathroom to do it. Do this for one week. The next week make him sit on the toilet with the pull up on to poop. Then the next week secretly cut a hole in the pull up... when he has to go poop put the pull up on, sit on toilet, the poop will fall right through into he toilet...he will then realize that it is easy and doesn't hurt and not scary. It only took my son one time doing this and he has gone on the potty by himself ever since. I got this idea from an article in the tacoma news tribune.

My son also had a hard time with pooping in the toilet. I never did pull ups. We went from diapers to undies and yes the clean up was gross. We did time on the toilet. Before we did that though, I kept a chart as to when he was pooping. Then our poop time was set up to match his "regular" schedule. It took a week or more for him to have regular success, but now he is 7 and never has an accident.

Can a 4 year old have an enema? Nothing can stop that from coming out!

My son is three he went through a phase like that for a while. He would go hide and poop his pants or find a pull up to put on and poop in there. My husband would sit with him for hours on the toilet waiting. I think how he managed it was learning his body cues. He would note when he was acting like he had to go and would put him on the potty. He still did it defiantly for a while, and in those cases he would get a cold shower to clean off. I know it sounds cruel but it worked only three of those and he was on the potty.

I would Just let him wear the pull-ups. Do you poop in the toilet? It will come to him. I don't know why but most moms i know have the same issue with their boys and not many with the girls. My son would go behind chairs or hind in his room to poop. We bought him a seat for the big potty and it helped. The best thing is don't get mad. That will make it worse. Your son will get it on his time...MomWhoGetsIt

We had a very similar issue with our 3 1/2 year old. Some things we learned: get rid of the pull ups, set aside a time that he is "scheduled" to sit on the potty for 20 minutes every day (have it always be the same time), then maybe try a relaxing activity while he is on the potty like reading him stories or something. If he is pooping in his pants, then try taking things away, like toys and TV watching privliges. Don't give up, don't give the pull ups back, he'll get there. Oh and... if he refuses to go for a week give him some miralax, 1/2 a cap full (mixed in some juice)once a day and within a few days he will go! :)

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