Hi, my daughter is the most stubborn girl I've ever seen. Potty training has been the longest process with her. My problem is she refuses to have a bowel movement in the potty. She'll wait until after she goes to bed and do it in her pull-up. She'll also go days without having a bm, which makes it very hard and large, to the point that it hurts her. We've tried everything we can think of. I've taken her to the doctor, and nothing's wrong physically. I tried getting mad at her, then she just started asking Daddy to change her because Daddy doesn't get mad. I've told Daddy to get mad, but that didn't work. I've tried bribing, telling her she can't go to preschool if she doesn't go in the potty. I've told her Santa is watching and if she goes in the potty he'll be happy and bring her a special present. Her reply to everything is - "I don't want to go. I'll go when I'm big like you." And I believe her!! But I'm 30, and I don't want to change her pull-up for another 26 years! I've thought about making her change herself, which might work, but it seems so mean to do that, plus the mess that would make. Any advice would be great, but remember we're working with a very smart, very stubborn girl here. Thank you!
I don't think it's mean to make her change her own pull up. It seems that she has control over her bms and she is choosing to do it at night. I would try to find out why she doesn't want to go on the potty -she is at that age where something could be frightening her. Try to get her rationale. If you can't, then let her know she's a big girl and can change her own pull ups. Yes, she will make a mess, and yes, she will have to clean it up.
Hey S.! I have a 3 1/2 year old girl who is doing the exact same thing! My husband and I have tried everything too, and have had no success- so don't feel alone! I'm can"t wait to see the advice that someone may have. Good luck to you!!! K. C.
My 4yo son pulled the same thing! Even the "waiting until he's asleep" part. He would also wait for days, too. He's just past that phase and I'll tell you what helped:
1) Metamucil wafers. We started him out on half a wafer, to test them out, and it made it soooo much easier when he went. After a while, we went ahead and started giving him a whole one, once a day, and it's keeping him regular without going too far. (apple cinnamon is his favorite...they taste pretty good!)
I think this helped with the anxiety, because the reason he didn't want to go, I guess, is because those bm's were so large and painful.
2) Know the signs. My son has a definite walk when he's ready to go. Recognize signs and address it.
3) Breathe. I know it sounds silly, but when my son is sitting on the potty, screaming that he doesn't want to poop, I tell him calmly to take a deep breath. I'll do it with him saying, "take a deep breath through the nose, and out through the mouth". If anything, it will help you handle the situation in a lot calmer way.
I was shocked the first time I did it...first, that he listened and took direction in that state, but secondly, that after about 3 deep breaths, he pooped! Could be it got him to relax and thinking about something else, or could be he just couldn't hold it any more...
Please, I KNOW it's difficult, but don't get mad at the poor kid. Pooping is hard enough and adding stress on top of it makes it worse.
Miralax is over the counter and does the same thing as as the Rx stuff. In fact it use to be Rx. My daughter was almost 4 before she was completely potty trained and part of the problem was she was afraid to go cuz it hurt to poop sitting down. So try the laxative and see if that dosent help! I got lucky. Mine wanted to go to preschool so bad that she kind of forced herself! Good luck! Oh and remember, little girls like sparkly stickers. Or mine did at least! I kept a book of them in the bathroom drawer and a little chart on the back of the bathroom door! She seemed to like that too!
Feel your pain...my daughter just turned 4 and we only just went through this process for the past 3 mos. We occasionally still have accidents but it has gotten better.
Have you found out WHY she doesn't want to poop in the potty? Maybe Dad can get it out of her (the information that is)...I ultimately had to turn the potty training over to the preschool as she refused to do it for me. She would even come home and change out of her underwear and put the pull-ups on! No kidding!
One mom told me her Dr. prescribed some kind of laxative that you gave to the kiddo several times a day that kept them soft and MADE them go! That was next on my list...but eventually she just started going in the pot. I already had a baby doll in a closet for her on the day she decided to finally do it and I gave it to her right afterwards and told her how proud I was of her...I went on and on about it all day and told EVERYONE we knew...I think because of that and all the praise she decided it was a good thing to continue and has since gone on her own. In fact every time she goes to the bathroom she tells me and tells me how proud I am of her for doing it! LOL...
I would recommend either getting the RX from the Dr. or getting the children's laxative over the counter to try to keep her more regular. I tried the having to change the diaper herself and boy was that a mess...lots and lots of shower/baths. Persistance...I'll think on it some more and see if I can't write you more later.
I am just getting through this with my 3 yr old daughter too. She has always had issues with constipation and I know that she associates having a bm in the bathroom as a painful experience. She too will go days without one and then it hurts and is quite large. For the last two weeks now she has been pooping in potty chair or toilet! I finally started in stages. First I started adding Benefiber to her milk. A teaspoon in each glass of milk. I also give her a probiotic (good bacteria your gut needs for healthy digestion) powder for kids mixed in her yogurt, applesauce, or pudding two to three times a week. I get mine from our chiropracter but I think you can also get it at a health food/wellness store.
It took about a week to two weeks to get her having a bm once a day that was soft, easy to pass, and well-formed.
Next I started telling her that she needed to poop in the bathroom. She could still do it in her diaper/pull-up but she had to just stand in the bathroom. After a few days of that then she had to sit down for her bm (still wearing the diaper or pullup that she wears at bedtime). 2 days of sitting and she agreed to take the diaper off and sit on the potty chair. She prefers the potty chair because she can have both feet flat on the floor which makes it easier. When she goes in the potty chair she gets a sticker on a chart and with 20 stickers she gets a treat from Dairy Queen.
It's been 2 weeks now since she agreed to poop directly in the potty chair and she now tells me during the daytime when she feels that bm coming.
The key for my daughter is keeping her bm's soft and regular with the Benefiber and probiotics.
Good luck, I know just how frustrating it can be.
This is NOT a battle that you are going to win...you have to start with some positive enforcement...I like some of the other Mom's suggestions...sparkly stickers on a calendar there on the bathroom door...when she gets a certain number...she gets a treat. I would also talk to you doctor about some miralax or benefiber...something to make it easier for her to go potty...if that is a problem at all.
Forget fussing at her...it is just going to make her more stubborn. Try really BRAGGING on the other children in your daycare when THEY go potty in the potty chair...no comments about her not going...just really talk it up about them using the potty chair like big people. Ask the other parents if it would be alright to give a treat...or a "prize" for going potty...something small...a sticker...or a couple of m&ms....maybe that would convince her!!!
I can feel your pain (and frustration) as I had a very similar experience with my 3 yr old. She had pooped on the potty but then for several months refused to do so. She would only poop in a pullup. So what I did-realizing that punishing wasn't working and rewarding wasn't working either, was we set a date. Then I had her tell me when she had to poop and then we put on a pullup and then I made her stand in the bathroom while she pooped (so she couldn't play etc) then I even had her sit on the potty with the pullup on. We did do the miralax for a brief period. It did make it harder for her to hold it, but it kind of backfired because it just made her more determined not to poop and more traumatic. We also tried having her change herself, but it got messy. I don't think that is cruel. You might also try putting her in thicker underwear at night and hope that she might not want to have accidents (we also put our daughter in thick underwear during the process and now she is night trained too) I learned quickly that it is a total control issue and when I backed off and made it seem like I didn't care (sometimes difficult to hide how much I cared) then she was more interested. It took us several months. Maybe take a little break from it as well. I did that too and it helped me regroup and not spend so much time obsessing about it. Best of luck!!!
Well, it sounds like you may need to use some tough love here. You could shower her in cold water afterward, and tell her this is how we clean a big girl after dirtying her pants. Do everything matter of factly. Or, you could have her wash herself. If she won't do it, physically put the wipes in her hand and have her wash herself, run her own water, etc. Tell her that she is big enough to poop in the potty, and it is her responsibility. The Potty Whisperer makes the children clean up all messes made, and makes it their job to go. Don't remind, bribe, or nag. Tell her what she needs to do, if that means telling you when she went so you can wipe her behind. Although, at the 4th birthday, I let the child take care of that, so you may need to skip that part. Maybe that is her issue though, maybe she is scared of wiping her own behind. My friend's son was. HTH
You'll have to find something that she really wants or enjoys that is only for 'big girls'. With my son it was a trip to Chuck E Cheese. We didn't get mad, we were just very matter of fact. When he pooped in his pants we had to clean him up, which included washing off his bottom with water that was just slightly cooler than comfortable (not cold). And we were very sympathetic. ("I know it's cold, but we have to get the poop off. We'll be finished soon.") We'd also say "Oh, how sad. Now we can't go to Chuck E Cheese. Only big boys can go to Chuck E Cheese." (You have to act like you are personally very sad about missing the trip.) Daddy even took his sister once without him, because 'she was a big girl and went poopie on the potty.' Yes, there were a couple times we ate Chuck E Cheese twice in one week, but it was worth it to get him using the potty. And in less than a month, he was using the potty consistently and we were able to drop the Chuck E Cheese trips. We also used cloth training pants and, although we would clean him up and take care of the worst of the mess, we would have him wash out his pants. (As best a preschooler can. Obviously you will have to finish the job after she leaves the room, but at least have her go through the motions, while you stay very matter of fact.) You'll just have to find whatever it is that motivates her. A certain toy, ice cream cone, popsicle, trip to McDonald's, whatever. Then make sure you follow through EVERY time she is successful. And you might get big brother involved so that he gets a Happy Meal (or whatever you choose) for being a big boy, but she doesn't. Luckily our older daughter was willing to play along and help us out. This is one thing that your daughter has complete control over, not anyone else. She will use that control as long as it works to her advantage, even if you can't see what that advantage is. Good Luck!
Hi S.. My 3 year old son was the same way. We tried everything. I finally decided that he would go when he was ready. As soon as I stopped getting him to try, he did it. It was that simple! When he would go in his diaper, I would not comment; I would just change him. I quit making comments to him about being a big boy and going in the big-boy potty. I just quit making it a topic of discussion. After 5 days of this, he went in the bathroom, took off his diaper, climbed up on the potty by himself, and went. That's all it took.
Your Daughter is a twin to my granddaughter. She is doing the same thing and is very stubborn. She hides to dump in her pull up. One thing is working and thats putting a jar in the bathroom and every time she goes, give her a quarter. For the first time dont let the jar get very full and tell her we are going to the store so you can spend your money from being a big girl.Let her put the quarter in and praise her! Have plenty on hand. Good luck!
Suggestion: spend the weekend dedicated to just her and going to the bathroom. Put her in big girl pants and take her to the bathroom every 45 mins so she understands she has to use the potty. I would sing ABC's while she sits. This could relax her and get her mind off going in the potty, plus she is learning. If she doesn't go by the time you are both done singing, then just wipe, wash hands, and tell her good job. Then keep up the routine. My daughter is not yet three and hasn't had a BM in her pants for a long time, but she did have a time when she would hold it too long too and it would hurt her. I would keep track of her BMs and if she did not go by the second day on her own I used a suppository. Lucky for me she is also a very smart little girl, we would talk about it each time and I explained to her how she needed to go on the potty so it wouldn't hurt. Also lucky for me (and her) it did not last very long. She now has not problems and very few wet pants and like I said she hasn't had a BM in her pants for a very long time. Hope this helps a little and remind yourself it will be okay, I am sure you won't be changing her until 30. :)
Potty training the very stubborn can be so hard. Our middle son was very stubborn and smart like your daughter. I would recommend totally changing your response to your daughter. Instead of making a big deal out of the accident, I would recommend focusing on how wonderful and special she is throughout the day. Then when she uses the toilet like she should, really praise her! We started having our son clean himself up--and it was sometimes a big mess--he had to throw his pull up away, take a bath, clean up the tub and the bathroom if needed. But by taking the focus off punishment and focusing instead on how much we loved him and we were proud of him, it made everything go so much better. The stage does finally end!! Hang in there!
hello, my daughter did the same thing! she would have pain when she tried a bm because it was so large and she would cry. i tried suppositories and they didn't work. she would go in her ____@____.com'll be 5 in feb. and she hasn't gone in her pull up for about 6 months. You could ask your doctor if miralax is an option. my son has to take that for his bm's and it does the job. good luck with this, hang in there it will eventually end!
I have a very up front way of giving advice on this subject.
You need to put your daughter in underwear or let her be naked at home. If she actually sees what happens when you don't use the bathroom and listen to your body, it will make a lot more sense to her that she needs to tell you she needs to go.
I did this with my son. I had another mom tell me the first couple of days were hell and a lot of laundry but kids learn fast when they don't have a choice of going in a pull-up. The first couple of times we changed him right away. Then we let him be uncomfortable in his wet underwear for a few minutes after he had an accident and it only took those two times and he was done wetting his pants. I only had one poopie accident and he has been great ever since.
He also has only wet the bed two times and that is because he fell asleep on the couch and we didn't get him to go to the bathroom before bed so that is another thing you need to make sure and do.
If kids know they can just go in a pull-up, they won't learn. I really wish they were never invented.
PS.... I have a friend who knows someone who's 8 year old son still wears a pull-up to bed and actually poops his pants at the breakfast table.... that is just crazy isn't it?!?!?
Maybe you could put big girl panties on her and see if maybe she will feel funny about pooping in them? I have 4 kids, all past potty training but my grandbaby is stillllll not doing that great either. She is 2 1/2. She is taken so many houses and has no real routine and that hurts the process for sure. That is wonderful you can be home with her and the others! I did that for years and was so happy being with my kids. I still do before school for neighbor kids and they are my kids (9 and 7) age and they love the company. Good luck!
I can relate. My son was very very hard too, but he wouldn't pee either. I simply took away the diapers. That worked for the pee because he didn't like being wet. And then I found he was in love with gummy worms so I bribed him with those. But the BM is more difficult. I sat in there with him and reminded him he would get 2 gummy worms if he pooped and read books so he didn't think about it. Took a LONG time. Sounds like your little girl may give in if she doesn't have the diapers to poop in. Put a water poof liner on the bed and let her poop in her undies. I doubt she will do that more than once. Maybe you could try a different reward system too. My son earns Catepillar feet for good behavior (I just put colored circles together for the body and pin feet below when he is good) then he gets a prize for 10. I have heard the same with lady bugs and they earn the spots for the lady bugs.
The one thing I noticed is that there are other kids around a lot of the time. Not going potty is her way of asserting herself and getting extra attention from you. Yeah, it's negative, but it's still attention.
Be sure she gets lots of raw fruit and veggies, whatever she likes the best. Juice and yogurt are good, too. When you go, put her on the potty and tell her its "practice" to be a big girl just like Mommy. If she goes, praise, praise, praise!! If she doesn't, tell her it's OK and she can try again next time. Then, everytime you go, take her in with you. Pretty soon she'll think going potty is all her idea.
I bought my granddaughter a potty that played music when she tinkled. Total waste of good money!! She'd push the button to play the music and then go in her diaper. One day, after watching me, she climbed up on the potty and hasn't looked back since.
S., You have a great deal of good advice. I think Sherrie G. really hit the mark though on how we all should relate to these "problems." One thing I am learning from my 5-year-old daughter is that I must allow her to make choices for herself. I must not get emotionally wrapped-up in her decisions. I am her guide to better decision making skills that will serve her later when she is on her own. I can enforce rules with consequences, but I can not control her. She must decide, I must accept and move past her decision, and then administer consequences. Especially when she is "acting-out" I try to redirect her attention to how her body feels while acting that way, change her focus to something outside of herself next, and then only give attention to her productive or "good" choices.
As others here have said, it is definitely time to take away the pull-ups. She may indeed have problems with her colon size, but she will learn to listen to her body better if she is having to clean up her messes- even at night. Get a waterproof mattress protector if you haven't already. But if she has problems with nighttime wetting, that may be an issue with her bladder being immature. If you already make sure she pees before bedtime, then her bladder my not be ready yet to do panties at night. That's okay. BMs are not.
If you do add more fiber to her diet with 5+ servings of fruits & vegies/day, and that is still not helping with the constipation, I may be able to help. I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant and we do have an Orange Fiber Shake that I use in Smoothies for us. We call it a "shake" and my daughters love them. They use no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors, completely vegan, no cholesterol, uses Stevia in place of sugar, and it has vitamins and minerals added. I would urge you to consider a natural product before using pharmaceuticals as new information comes out almost daily on the effects they are having on our bodies in the long-term. Just reply back if it is something you would like more information about.
Its not good for her to go days without a bm. If increasing her fiber doesn't help, which it didn't help my almost 3 yr old daughter, our pediatrician recommended one vitamin a day and one whole Fiber Choice chewable tablet(orange)-my daughter loves it i tell her its candy so she gets all excited but personally it tastes kinda nasty. You can even let her pick out her own cartoon character vitamins at the store. I also make sure she has 1 cup of juice, 1 serving of fruit and 1 searving of veggie every day.
Far as the potty training i found that rewards worked best for us. We started out with peeing on the potty-2 m&m's and stickers for her sticker chart, pooping on the potty-4 m&m's and a small toy from the store. I dont believe forcing or getting angry with a child is going to help its just going to set you back even further, she will go when shes ready. Good luck.
You have already gotten a lot of good advice. I just want to add my two cents as well. My daughter is also VERY stubborn and we have had lots of issues as well with potty training. It has always been a matter of choosing to go, not whether or not she knew how. I did the getting mad thing and everything else I could think of to try to get her to go and nothing worked until I just dropped it. If she wet herself, she had to go find new clothes and put the dirty ones in the laundry. I didn't make an issue of it. Sometimes I would say something about how she would have that problem if she went in the potty but more as a suggestion and a reminder then anything else. We had days where we would go through 5-6 pairs of pants a day but she eventually figured out that it was easier to pay attention to her body then it was to have to take the time to clean up. We are still working on the nighttime thing but during the day she has done great. These stubborn, strong willed kids sometimes just need to be able to figure it things out on their own and the more you try to push them, the more they will fight it.
What worked for me was getting the Potty training video from the library. I think it was the "Big Kid" song that did it for my daughter. That finally got her potty trained. We did that in September and she turns 4 next month. She kept saying that she wanted to be a "Big Kid".
Can you give her something that will make her go more often so it won't hurt so bad? Just don't tell her what you are doing. My son was stubborn also until I took him on a tour of the preschool and the teacher told him that kids that are potty trained could come there. That was the last day of it, I was shocked and so happy.
I am in nursing school and just wanted to say that every person has different bowel patterns. We are taught that people can have bowel movements 2-3 times a day and that is normal for them, or 2-3 times a week, and that is normal for them. I have two children, and one is on each side of the spectum, but so are my hubbie and I. Encreasing fiber and such will help increase the stool size, but maybe not the frequency. Every body is different. Do NOT use any laxitives ect. with this age of children.
I have a strong-willed child and a compliant child. I have learned to pick my battles. I would just drop the whole thing for a few weeks. Keep things just as they are, except when she does go in the pull up-change it just like you would any other. No shame, or punishment just change it. When she no longer gets attention (even negative attention) for the behavoir maybe it will stop. Meanwhile, give positive attention when she does use the toilet. I do not think she will be graduating from grade school with this problem.
Check out encopresis in children. my daughter used fiber to make my grandsons stools softer so he didn't hurt to go. but I know that some kids have a stool attachment and don't want it to be flushed away. Maybe sugest not flushing that you will do it later it might help,until she is more comfortable with going on the toilet.
My daughter was very stubborn too. Aside from checking with your pediatrician for any problems that may be causing her pain, what helped us was a two-fold approach. First, show her that she can turn off the light and even shut the bathroom door and use the potty all alone. Then she calls me to help with cleanup. My daughter still does it this way--relaxes her to not have me breathing down her neck, I'm sure. Second, get a calendar and fun stickers. Once she has two BM's in the potty, and she gets to place the stickers on those days, she gets a prize (small). After 5, she gets a bigger treat or new movie. After 8, (or whatever) she gets a trip to Chucky Cheese, or something she loves. It is not without its setbacks, but I hope one or both of these help you. Also, reminding my daughter that she had to be potty trained to go to day-school or pre-school was a big motivator. Use peer pressure is a good way. Good luck, and don't worry. She will get it! I feel your pain! S.
I have to agree with Rachel. Try to not make a big deal out of it when she goes in her pull-ups. Just clean it up, with no comment. Believe me, I know this is incredibly hard! Especially when you've done it several days in a row! I can't tell you how many pairs of cotton underwear I cleaned poop off of and let soak in clorox water when I was training my son, who was 3 and 4 at the time. (Sometimes I would treat myself and just conveniently throw the cotton underwear in the trash!).
But I do agree, as Dr. Brazelton writes, that the child must own this achievement. Try not to make a huge deal out of it even when she does go poop in the potty...just a nice "well done" or "awesome job." It really should be her victory. One thing we did do, which seemed to help, was a little chart that we made with our son, and whenever he did go in the potty, he would get to put a sticker on it. After he had 10 or 15 stickers on there, we would do something fun as a family, like go to Paradise Park (in Kansas City) or the zoo or wherever he wanted to go, within reason.
Eventually he started using the potty consistently! However, and he's almost 6 now, he still often wets the bed, so he wears pull-ups at night. We need to work on this...he's fine if he doesn't drink anything after 7 or so, but this is easier said than done!
Good luck to you. Potty training was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but I look back on it as an achievement (even though it was really his achievement, hey, I'm going to take some credit!!)
My best friend just went through this with her four yr old daughter - she turned 4 in August. She did the same thing - would pee in the toilet but put on a pull-up and go behind the couch and poop. She was so frustrated and they tried everything - and then just one day she went to the bathroom and pooped in the toilet. Just like that... I know this isn't much help but maybe it will give you a little hope. I've also heard of giving them a little Miralax (not a whole dose) in their drink which would make them have to go more often (daily) and that might help - just a thought and you might want to check w/ her Dr before doing that as well. Good luck.
potty training is tough. my advice first is don't get angry. she's not trying to bother you personally, she just doesn't like to go on the potty. some kids are afraid. to have a bm on the potty they think they're losing a part of themselves. i've read about a person who had a problem with potty training and they told their child that he couldn't have a certain special treat that they only had once a week. it worked but the key to that is being consistent. make it counterproductive to her (not meanly). is there some "big girl" activity or treat you could deny? anyway that's my 2 cents worth. be consistent, don't get angry. just smile and be smarter and more stubborn! i would recommend you look up the website nogreaterjoy it's a christian sight and they teach a lot about raising children. just google that and i think you'll find it.
Some advice I have is start putting her to bed in regular underwear. I know it sounds messy, but the mess is what is going to make her stop. She does not feel the mess as much in a pull up. You will have to use plastic sheets of course. Or at night just before bed spend an hour in the bathroom with her, and make her sit on the toilet, you can read to her while in there. I know this is going to take up your time, but it might work. Look up on google how to potty train in 24 hours and read this. I work with a lady who says her son was trained in 24 hours. She had to spend a whole day in the bathroom with her son, but it worked. My husband swears by the regular underwear trick, kids don't like the wet and messy feel. He potty trained both of his daughters (My step-daughters) this way. Or also when you are at home with her and see her grunting or looking uncomfortable, run her to the bathroom and make her sit on the toilet, from M..
I know your feelings of frustration all too well. My son began having problems with "constipation" at about a year old, after I quit nursing him. Our doctor also did several tests to determine that nothing physically was wrong. I even consulted with a dietitian and learned what foods were best to increase his fiber intake, etc. In the meantime, the doctor put him on a low dose of Miralax, which helped with the constipation, but did not eliminate his resistance to sitting on the potty (as he got older), and the accidents in between.
Finally, a new doctor diagnosed him with Encopresis and he began to see a child psychologist for about a year, while we gradually "weaned" him off of the Miralax. Part of the strategy was to set up a reward system. We made a small poster with pictures of activities, games, or a small toy, etc. that he could choose from when he "made one" in the toilet. I was also instructed not to make a big deal about the soiling, but to provide encouragement and praise when he did do it in the toilet. The accidents stopped for about 3-4 months as soon as he was off of the Miralax, but it seemed that the constipation gradually became an issue again, with the little accidents in between. It got to the point where he would go for days without a normal BM, but when he would have one it would be very large and uncomfortable.
At my wits end, and out of extreme frustration, I took him to a Gastroenterologist at Children's Mercy, and he is finally, at 8 years old, having normal stools without accidents. He was put back on Miralax, but at a very controlled dosage, and I actually began to understand what was going on with my little guy. It probably began as a result of a painful BM at some point, causing him to hold it, but ultimately resulting in stretching out his colon over time to the point of not being able to sense when he had to go anymore. The idea of going back on a strict regimen of Miralax, was to get him to have at least 2 BM's a day, preventing the colon from stretching out, and to eventually resume a normal size, at which point his ability to sense the need to use the toilet returned.
It sounds as though your daughter's intestines may be getting too full in between BM's, and she is therefore losing the sensation that she has to go. The doctor explained that it can take at least 3 months for the colon to resume a normal size and I urge you to go to a specialist as soon as possible, so that you don't end up going through the long drawn out and agonizing process that we did. I know this is a long response, but I sincerely hope it helps!
Hi, I know you've had lots of advice but wanted to put in my 2 cents. About making her clean herself up: I don't think my 4 yo has the coordination to wipe herself clean, so if she pooped in a pullup and I didn't help her, she would certainly end up with old poop smeared all over her bottom and a bad rash. I would call this kind of parenting neglect.
What helped me greatly was reading Terry Brazelton's book on potty training. He emphasizes that learning to potty properly needs to belong to the child, not to the parent. Children are self-motivated, so best use NEITHER rewards nor punishments. When you attach your own expectation and/or desire to the experience, your child no longer owns it, you do. Just clean her up, and go on to the next thing. If she does it right, you might notice her achievement with a simple "Oh, good job." Getting really excited places pressure on her to do your thing, not to learn for herself.
Another thing that made a big difference was when a friend came over to go out with me, and right before we left, my daughter needed a change. My friend said, "Oh, my daughter was just like that. She didn't poop in the potty until she was almost 4." That was all we said on the subject, but suddenly my daughter started doing better. I think she had some anxiety about it, and the reassurance that she wasn't alone was enough for her to relax and get better.
I had a friend who, indeed, did make her daughter change herself and she only had to do it once. The mom told the child did not want to keep changing poopie "diapers"; the child found out why by having to clean herself up and did not poop in her pants again.
I love Carolyn M's response. She probably does associate having a BM with a painful experience and going in her pull-up while laying in her bed is more relaxing to her.
I think doing it in stages would be great like Carolyn said--with the help of some miralax or other fiber, and also probiotics. Probiotics are great! I drink Kefir every morning, it has 10 probiotics and have noticed a big difference in how my tummy area feels. I stopped drinking it for a couple of weeks and my stomach felt crampy and full. Felt much better after I started drinking it again.
Anyway, get her on those things slowly, and then I say follow Carolyn's advice. I would even add one more step maybe--After she has had BM's while standing in the bathroom, after she has had BM's while sitting down somewhere in the bathroom, maybe try having her sit on the potty chair to go while her pull-up is still on. Then eventually see if she'll try without the pull-up.
If none of those things work, I would just stand back for a while and let her get over it herself. She ultimately has control over this and she knows it. Letting her do her own thing will end the power struggle and one day she will just decide she is old enough and start going.
S., there are so many things that go on in the head of a 4 year old. I dont think this is something you should back off of though. She is 4 years old and she is making a decision that goes against what is good for her health. To be so retentive with her bowel movements is not healthy at all.
First of all I would add something to her diet, daily that gets her moving, at least once a day, preferably more than once a day. At some point it has become an issue due to pain and she has made it worse by retaining. You have to lessen that pain for her.
On the other side, she is well aware of the urge and the need to go, so she is making a deicision, not to. You can not change her mind on that but you can make her responsible for it, encouraging her to change her own mind.
There are several things that should be considered. First of all if you are cleaning her evertime, it is easier for her to make this decision. I would go to her first thing in the morning and explain that things have changed. She is a big girl now and she has to have bowel movements the way big girls have them, in the pot. Let her know that you are helping her by giving her something that will take away the pain she may be having. She should know that you are helping in this way, and then add the laxative or what ever you decide to her diet until it is no longer needed. If she knows that the pain will lessen it should allow her to relax a little more.
Tell her that if she does not go in the pot, you will not clean her like used to. Take her to bathroom and give her the wet wipes, make sure clean up takes place in the bathroom, that is where elimination should be handled. Let her clean herself the best she can. When she is done she may need to put in the tub and washed down again, but it will become an ordeal that she will not want to deal with.
As long as you make it easy for her she has no incentive to change her habit. You have to create a situation that makes using the pot easier than going in her pullup. She has decided that going in the pull up is easier than using the pot.
This is no longer a physical issue, it has become a power struggle and she is winning the struggle. Right now you are losing that struggle. She not only does what you ask her not to do but then you clean it up. She has no reason to capitulate, you have to give her one. For you the struggle has to be over. You have to remove yourself from it. This means you can not show her that you are upset, or that you are disappointed. You can not get mad or make her feel bad about it. All of those things put you on the losing end of the struggle. In the morning you announce the new rules, because you are the mommy and you make the rules. She will test you on it. The rule is you use the pot, if you dont use the pot you clean it up, mommy is done. She is to be taken to the bathroom and monitored until she has done the best she can do and then you can take care of the rest. Let her know that you are only helping because you dont want your bathroom to be a mess. This can not be about you losing the battle. You can show no emotion, just matter of fact. She will realize that her decision becomes her problem.
I have had to use this same procedure on my kids many times. Any time you find yourself in that power struggle, you have to remove yourself from it and let them deal with the consequences of their own decisions. It does not take long before they realize there is a better way. Good luck.
S., it is time to take the pull up away. She is a big girl. I Never thought it was fair or right but at La Petite in the 3 year old room if a child had an accident we were not allowed to help clean them up, the children had to do it themselves. Not sure if that is the answer, but you did say she is 4? Hope other moms have some sage advice for you wish I had something more to offer up.
She is four.... set a date when you will stop doing it. She is old enough to wipe and pull up her pants. Strike up a deal, mommy will wipe if you go in the big girl potty if not here is a change of pull ups.(of course you check and make sure she has got it all) She is going to have to make a choice.