18 answers

Need Toilet Traing Advice for an Almost 4 Year Old

My daughter is 3 years and 9 months old and will be 4 in July. We need some advice on potty training. She has been going pee in the potty for 3 months with minimal accidents but she has no interest in pooping in the potty. She tells me that it will hurt and that she doesn't want to go in the toilet. I am struggling to get her to comply with going poop in the potty because she has to be totally trained by September for full day preschool. We have tried stickers, toys, candy, you name and we've tried it. We have had discussions on the difference between babies wearing diapers and big girls wearing panties. She always seems to understand but yet she will poop in her pants and not tell us. She has even gone so far as to hold her poop for several days so we try to keep the pressure at a minumum. I am at my wit's end with this. I do not get angry we clean up the mess and try again but it doesn't seem to phase her one bit. Any advice would be so helpful. We switch between underwear and pull-ups with the same results so I don't think this is confusing her.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Aug second update - We are "diaper free" and have been for 2 months! Hurray!!

First update - Thank you all for your advice and tips or even to help me feel that I am not alone in this. We have been having story time on the potty to get her comfortable sitting there. She has been going pee for a few months and is very good about that it's just the other that makes her uncomfortable. She doesn't have painful bowel movements but she is smart and can be quite manipulative at times. She does this with meal time and going to bed. Yesterday she was with my mother who is in the fight with me and she was watching her afternoon cartoon when she decided that she would put her own diaper on and poop. She came to my mother and exclaimed, "I pooped in my diaper, Gramma." My mother was a bit taken aback since Amelia had underwear on before she went to watch cartoons. I actually take this as a giant leap for her because before she hid from us and did not want her pants changed when they were messy. I guess from now on though we are going to have to get the diapers out of reach or out of the house. We have instituted the incentive of a jar and colored stones as someone suggested when she goes poopy on the potty. I think at this point rewarding her for her pees are futile since she has already got that down. Her prize for filling the jar is a trip to the zoo and I have been acting really excited about it! I hope we make it to the zoo before her birthday in July.

Thank you all again for the advice and I will keep you posted on the "Battle for Poop!"

Featured Answers

I read somewhere that this works. Tell her that she can go poopie in her pants, but she has to do it in the bathroom. Once that works, she has to sit on the potty with her diaper on to poop. Then cut a hole in the diaper...then nothing. My son always told me that "Poopies hard". But eventually he got it. So it took a little longer, but try what I suggested.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 2 sons 7 and 5. It was really hard for my first son. He still had accidents at 5 and things were similar to what you describe. It wasn't until my second son sailed through potty training without even one poop accident, that I really developed a firm grasp on the idea that kids are different. My first son's body really was different. His normal bathroom habits are so unlike his brother and in retrospect I had to admit that his body just wasn't able to do what we all wanted it to back then. It took a long time and lots of dirty underwear but his body (that part) finally got on board. He really didn't have the control and he would get constipated and he never wanted to stop playing to take care of it. Hang in there and be supportive and trust that she wants it to work too.

Good luck.

J.

More Answers

I read somewhere that this works. Tell her that she can go poopie in her pants, but she has to do it in the bathroom. Once that works, she has to sit on the potty with her diaper on to poop. Then cut a hole in the diaper...then nothing. My son always told me that "Poopies hard". But eventually he got it. So it took a little longer, but try what I suggested.

1 mom found this helpful

S.,

I probably shouldn't be responding to this since I am sort of in the same boat right now with my 3 year old, only she refuses to do anything in the potty. You can't really reason with a 3 year old, but does it hurt her when she poops not on the potty? If she's like my daughter you know and she knows when she is pooping.

They usually poop standing up, so sitting on the potty is so weird. Their bodies aren't used to pooping in that position. When you catch her in the corner, help her to sit down, on a chair or something, to get her used to pooping in a sitting position. Of course she'll probably just put her hands up to make you go away and start screaming "leave me alone!", but it is worth a try to get her to see that if it doesn't hurt sitting with the pullup on, why would it hurt sitting on the potty.

Of course if there is a real issue with it hurting, there are lots of things to deal with that.

I would plan a really fun trip(the zoo or build a bear), something special that you can do anytime...and tell her once she's gone poop on the potty 5 times(whatever # you want) you'll take her...I would mark it on your calendar and act really excited about going(really play it up) and put a mark up everytime she goes, be disapointed if you can't go (not cruel but,Oh I really wanted to go, maybe next week and try again). She won't want to let you down so she will focus on how much you are excited about going and not on the actual pooping. when she goes be really happy and refer to the trip and if she has an accident say oh well, maybe next time but if the trip is the focus not the deed it's been easier for my kids that way...oh and I wouldn't tell her if she poops she can go to school because even a well adjusted child might refuse if they think if they don't go to school they can stay at home with mom or grandma...best luck!

I would definately say keep her in panties all the time. The next time she poops make her help you clean it up and make sure she knows how gross cleaning poopy is. I did this with my boy and it did the trick.

One of my boys was 3 1/2 and had pretty much the same issue. He wouldn't "go" on the potty but had no problem "going" in his pants. Finally I said that was enough. I put him on the potty and told him to sit there until he either "went" or got married! Whichever came first! At that point he knew I was not messing around anymore! After about a half hour, he finally "went" and was trained from that day on.

Get rid of the diapers and pull ups and let her know you mean business. She's 4 years old now.....not a baby anymore!

gloria...

A friend of mine wrote a book about this and she recommends not using pull ups. I personally never used pull ups with my kids. Every 15-20 minutes, I would have my child sit on the toilet. After some time, my child would get into a routine with going on the toilet and stopped hiding in the corner to poop!!

Good luck!

Dear S.,
I understand very well your pooping problem as I went through the same thing with my son at the same age. It was my mother who came up with the solution - give credit when due. At the same time every afternoon, she would sit him on the little portable potty seat in front of the coffee table where he could play with his matchbox cars, and put cartoons on the TV. After about 10 - 15 minutes, he would announce that he had gone, at which time we praised him profusely. It was then that he could have his afternoon snack.
I was amazed, but it worked. What we came to realize was that we had used a seat that fit over the toilet for his older sister. As a boy, he used a step stool at the toilet and used his stream to sink a square of toilet paper I would float in there. (It helped direct his stream.) Come to find out, he was afraid of this toilet seat when it came time to poop. So we bought him his own little potty seat, and before long he graduated to the toilet. It's hard to guess what goes through their little minds.
I hope this helps.
W.

Hi S.,

My daughter had the same problem with my grandson. This may seem cruel but it isn't and it helped him. She started making him help clean the poop out of his undies and help wash them out in the sink. It didn't take him long to figure it out. Good luck. J.

I am the mother of two boys and I found letting them run around naked for a weekend when you are home works. I have a sister with girls and she did the same thing and it worked for her too. So I don't think gender matters, it is just the naked thing - the feel it more and won't go without anything on.

Oh boy!! I am going through the exact same thing right now with my daughter, Kayla, who will turn 4 in October. She'll pee just fine in the potty but won't poop. I keep asking her why she doesn't want to poop in the potty. She tells me: "But I did poop in the potty." Yes, that was just one time, a year ago!

We also are switching between underwear and pull ups. She is not confused about that. She'll poop in either one. Rarely has a pee accident. Lately, she's been wearing underwear every day, and most nights.

Kayla sounds just like your daughter. She's a very independent, stubborn, head strong little girl. She never cries when she gets hurt. She'll insist very stubbornly on something for 4 or 5 minutes ("I want daddy to get my snack, not you!") and then just when you're at your wits end, she'll turn on her smile and change her mind, as if it was her idea in the first place.

I wish I could offer advice, but it sounds like I need it too!

Kayla goes to our local YMCA full time for pre-school. They are just as vexed with Kayla as I am. They say she's one of the more stubborn ones they've seen.

We keep telling her that she won't be able to go swimming at camp this summer in the pool with the froggy slide. (Kids who aren't potty trained can only go in the blow up, splash pool at the Y.) She wants to go in the play room at Wegmans (grocery store) like her big brother but they won't take her until she's trained...so I've been trying to offer that up as incentive. Stickers, potty charts, candy (yes, I've tried sugar-free lollipops!!), cake, ice cream, nothing works.

I am not being pushy though and never get upset when she has an accident. "That's okay, it's just an accident." I wonder if I should get a little firmer?

I am at such a loss with this kid. My firstborn, a son, woke up one day when he was 2 yrs, 3 mos, and was completely trained. Just like that. Not one accident. We never even did pull ups with him. I guess this is my payback for having such an easy time the first time around.

I used a reward jar with my daughter. We bought colorful shiny stones for her and a large mason jar. She got one stone for peeing in the potty and two for pooping. When she filled the jar she could trade it in for anything she wanted. By the time she had the jar full she was completely trained. It worked so fast too. We started it and she had the jar full in about 4 weeks. She traded it in for a large stuffed Dora Toy at the toy store. It cost us about $20 with the tax. Well worth the money!!!

Now if I could only get her to stop whining and crying all morning long!!!!

Good luck!!

Dianna has a very interesting approach and i could see how having them stand in the bathroom to poo might work.

I think the best thing to do for your daughter is to try and plan her poo's.

Offer her stimulants in the morning such as, a sip of coffee.
prune juice, oatmeal, fruits, or aloe juice.

All make you go, and soften you up.

Make sure she is drinking plenty of water.

Set the timer for About 20 minutes after the Coffee, she will feel like she needs to go potty, And ask her to sit on the bowl, have prepared in advance, books to read, toys to play, a portable video player, a hand held video game, and a coloring book with crayons.

And make it as comfortable as possible, prepare to sit there a while, atleast 30 minutes.

If she still refuses to go,

set the timer for every 20 minutes, and sit there for 20 minutes each time.

Obviously if she really resists, you let her up, as we don't want to traumatize her. But you need to encourage her to poo.

What I have noticed, is that sitting on a potty ( not the toilet) is easier for them to relax, even after they are pee trained.

Good luck let us know friday how things are working out.

M

I had exactly the same with my 3 year old and was at my wits end. In the end (mainly because I was getting worked up about it - I know you're not meant to but I did find it hard!) I just stopped potty training completely and put her back in diapers for about 6 weeks to give us both a rest. Then we went back to it - always in big girl pants, no pull ups, and she just did it perfectly straight away, no accidents at all, peeing and pooing in the potty. I don't know what was different but that break was all it took. Good luck - it's a tricky one!

Throw away the pull-ups. Get them out of the house.
There is no choice now. Just keep at it. Pull-ups
are like diapers and I think confusing her. Good luck.

Hi S.,

Let her know that pooping is pooping, if it doesnt' hurt to poop in a diaper, it doesn't hurt to poop in the toilet. My suggestion for now would be to let her know you'll allow her to poop in a diaper, but only when sitting on the toilet. She can have her diaper and pants on, but on the toilet. And at almost 4, she doesn't need a potty, that's just another step to get past, go right to the toilet. Once she's comfortable with the pants and diaper on the toilet, go to diaper only. Then you can either go to a diaper with hole cut out or diaper free.

Good luck

i also have a kayla (3 years, 3 months) who has a similar issue. she's been peeing on the potty for 4 months, but WILL NOT POOP THERE!! we have a unique system tho -- she very much knows when she has to go, and she goes upstairs, puts on her own pullup, poops, then brings me the wipes asking me to change her. then she puts her underwear back on. she goes to preschool now, and will be going to camp. i told the director the situation (and that she's very much a first thing in the morning pooper, and has never needed to go during school hours) and they were fine with it. everyone (including kayla) knows that i have diapers for her at school, and if she needs to poop she'd just ask for one. strange system, i know (if you know you have to go, put on own pull up, why not just go on the potty?) but i'm a firm believer that she will when she's ready. also very headstrong kid. she weaned herself from nursing, then bottle, and has always given me cues as to when she was ready to do other things, like use a regular cup, and stay out of a shopping cart. good luck!

I have 2 sons 7 and 5. It was really hard for my first son. He still had accidents at 5 and things were similar to what you describe. It wasn't until my second son sailed through potty training without even one poop accident, that I really developed a firm grasp on the idea that kids are different. My first son's body really was different. His normal bathroom habits are so unlike his brother and in retrospect I had to admit that his body just wasn't able to do what we all wanted it to back then. It took a long time and lots of dirty underwear but his body (that part) finally got on board. He really didn't have the control and he would get constipated and he never wanted to stop playing to take care of it. Hang in there and be supportive and trust that she wants it to work too.

Good luck.

J.

My son was not toilet trained until he was 3 1/2, and I think I was the last person I knew to have my child potty trained. He knew how to do it, but was not that interested once he figured it out. As the summer was coming, we just took his diapers off and let him run around with no bottoms on, or just cotton shorts or pants with no diaper. We never said much about it to him, just kind of ignored it and let it happen in his own time. It ended up happening fairly organically, and relatively fast, once it was warm enough for him to be without clothes. It was his decision, and it worked well to let him find his way to it. Remember, the time will come when she will just be ready, although it seems like forever now, it won't be. Just try to be patient and not push her. I would tell my son that he could wear his diapers as long as he wanted to, and that it didn't matter, it would be ok whenever he was ready. But, I did stop talking to him about it all the time, so that he got there in his own time. Good luck!

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