How to Deal with My Son 3 Years Old Going Poop in the Toilet

Updated on August 08, 2009
S.V. asks from Buena Park, CA
14 answers

Please help mommy's out there
My son has no problems going pee in the toilet but when it comes to going poop he just will not do it...
I hope someone can help me
Thank you very much

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the advise

We will be working with our son and be patient with him I know we/he can do this!

Thank again

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answers from Las Vegas on

Welcome to my world! I have a son who will be 5 in November and still refuses to poop in the toilet, he wants a diaper on. I just asked my own question on here looking for success stories of this particular problem. I wish you good luck. Right now we are on the new big toy sitting in front of the toilet...he poops, he gets. It gets to be frustrating as a parent but just think how he's feeling.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had the same problem with my son. Prior to potty training, he pooped daily in the mornings. Once we started potty training, he started pooping every other day and in the evenings. I tried every incentive I could think of (sticker charts, treats, special toys) but nothing worked. My mother suggested I discipline him. I tried time outs first. After an accident, he would say to me “go sit in the corner?” so that didn’t work. I also tried to make him clean himself up to which he responded happily “I’m a big boy now. I get to clean myself” so that didn’t work. I tried making him stay on the potty until he went when I knew he had to go thinking if I did that a few times he would realize it was no big deal but he his fear remained. What finally did work is going to sound odd but I was at my wits end and felt I didn’t have anything to lose.

1. Offer him a pull-up when you notice he has to poop but tell him he has to poop in the bathroom because that’s where people poop.

2. After he does this easily, continue to offer him a pull-up but tell him he has to poop in the bathroom while sitting on the potty.

3. After he does this easily, offer him a pull-up that has a hole cut in the bottom (don’t let him see the hole). When he stands up, make a big deal about the poop in the potty.

My son was very confused the first time he saw the poop in the potty and said “but I pooped in my pull-up.” I told him that the pull-ups must not work for poop anymore. The important thing I realized is that he knew when he needed to go and he knew how to go. For whatever reason, he was just afraid to go.

If you haven't already done so, I would switch to underwear 100% of the time. My son's preschool teacher told us she sees the best results when parents fully commit to underwear. Only use pull-ups for naps and night time. I know this may seem like a hassle especially because of the poop issue but I think keeping him in diapers/pull-ups sends a mixed message. My son was in underwear for 3 full months before I tried cutting a hole in his pull-up. I wish I would have cut the hole in the pull-ups way sooner.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Do you know why he won't poop in the toilet?

Is he afraid he might fall in? Does he have the proper potty chair? Does he not like the splash that a poop might create?

Start with his reasons and then be patient. I do not recommend making him sit "forever" until he goes. Some kids hold their bowel movements, causing their intestines to enlarge and you don't want this either. So, be patient.

Still, be consistent. Every single time he poops NOT in the toilet, undress him, take him to the potty, make him sit and then explain to him why it's important to let it go. There are some books (Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi) or you can show Youtube videos of Elmo, etc. potty training.

When he DOES poop in the toilet, give a reward like a sticker or favorite item. With my oldest son, we bought a bunch of Tonka Trucks (the small size) and put them in a clear plastic container. Every time he used the potty, he got one! Then, when he did not go in the potty, we took a truck back. The plastic container has to be clear so he can see the trucks. You can also use a reward chart.

Really, the most important thing is for you to observe your son and find the REASON behind his apprehension and then for you to be CONSISTENT and PATIENT. Like my son's pediatrician told me "He won't be in diapers when he's 10 years old, so just give him time."

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm interested to see what responses you get on this issue. Just recently started the potty training thing and putting under wear on our son when home only. He's 2 1/2 yrs and seems like going pee in the potty is no issue but going poop he hates. The other night he saw some poop fall in the potty and it totally scared him...he jumped off the potty and refused to get back on so my poor guy con't to poop standing. We'll just have to continue being patient and hope time helps.



answers from Los Angeles on

That part of the potty training always takes longer. A bit of patience, and a possible reward for when he goes might help. Set up a sticker chart in the bathroom, and when he goes, or tries - he gets a sticker - with a larger reward at the end of the week if he goes the majority of the time in the toilet.



answers from Los Angeles on

have u dumped his poop from his diaper into the toilet in front of him? i did that and we would both say.."bye bye poo poo" i pooped a few times in front of my son and had him flush ..TMI but it helped..and i bought him a little seat for the toilet and he has a little potty ..lots of naked really helped him to hear his teacher and i talking about his potty to him..let him hear u talking about how he pees in the toilet but doesn't poop...maybe to one of your friends..
he'll soon be totally potty he in preschool? they all go to the bathroom together at my son's school and that has finalized potty training for us..he is potty trained fully now..he's 3.5 he was pretty much all the way potty trained 3 months ago but he wasn't telling me when he had to school helped w/ that.
so A. let him see u go.. B. naked time C. have him flush it D. talk about it ..even talk about the wow that was a big one..i know it's gross but they're proud of it
u can teach him manners after u get him to go in the toilet son orders me out of the bathroom and tries to wipe himself ..can be a mess..i tell him to call for me and he can do downward dog and i'll wipe.

good luck!



answers from San Diego on

Hi S., Discipline, Discipline, Discipline, put him on the potty and don't let him up, if you know he has to poop. Most kids bowl movements are around the same time each day, my kids were and my daycare kids are. If he poops in the potty reward him, if he poops in his pants, discipline him, I had my kids pooping in the potty at 19-20 months old. Be firm don't give in. J. L.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

I went through the same thing & if it helps you any, I hear from all my Mom friends of boys that this is VERY common. For some reason, it seems girls don't have the same issue nearly as much. My son,although #1 potty trained by 2 1/2, wouldn't go #2 in the potty until he was 4. We went to the doctor, tried bribes, bought several different pottys and training potty seats, tried the poop books, everything. Nothing worked until He was ready. He would beg for a diaper when he had to go and would hold it until he became constipated. He would end up going in his sleep @ night once he was relaxed. After he became awfully constipated, it was much worse. He then was afraid to poop altogether, that it would hurt to go. My Ped doc perscribed him a very mild stool softener (powder to mix w/ water or juice) to give him every morning. I backed off about the potty and after a week or so we spent alot of time in the backyard where he could be naked.I didn't say anything about poop but the potty was there on the patio ( in case he had to pee). He would play with the hose, paint, whatever. After about 2 months he ended up doing it all on his own but asked me to hold his hands when he started going. Once he did it, that was it. Hasn't had any hesitation since that day. I know this is a loooong story but wanted you to know your not alone. This is all to common for boys.

A friend of mine suggested to have him pee while sitting down instead of standing. It seemed to work for her son. Then there was no difference between the two. It did help my son also, he started sitting to pee about 1 week before he went poop in the potty. I think he sat down to pee and it was just time for him to go. Tell Dad not to worry, he won't pee that way forever. lol, My husband and my friends husband both freaked out a bit, (why are they peeing like a girl?)
Anyway, hope this helps you. Patience is the most important part,I learned if they feel pressured then they just won't do it. Good luck to you and your little guy and have a great day. :^) S.



answers from Los Angeles on

I had this problem recently with my 3year old son. I tried evrything from rewards to getting angry, telling him only babies poop in their pants. It finally just happened one day. He said he had to poop and he went to the toilet himself. One thing people suggessted to me was, if your son popps around the same time everyday, take him every 15 minutes at that time and have him sit while you read a quick book and try. My son has to sit on the toilet rim, I know yuck, but it helps hime be in the right "position" to get the poop out. Luckily we haven't encountered having to poop in a public restroom yet. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son was like this. I didn't pressure him. I let him go in his diaper (I think he would ask for one) and he'd hide behind the couch (for privacy) to go. This went on for months. As they get older, they mature...

One day (when he was 3.5, closer to 4, I * knew * this phase wasn't going to last forever, I just knew to be patient and help HIM by not pressuring him so much) we were at a store, there was a nice clean bathroom toilet there and I * forgot * to bring a diaper. He had to use the toilet.

He did. Slowly he got the hang of it. And he eventually realized he didn't like having to feel that in his diaper.

If you turn this into a power struggle, he'll resist more. It takes awhile for children to feel comfortable doing this.

Same deal with my daughter....

Though also understand public bathrooms typically bad. No wonder they don't want to go. And sit on THAT dirty thing...



answers from Los Angeles on

I think this is harder for kids because 1) they tend not to eat enough fiber, 2) depending on if they're using the regular toilet or a potty chair, it might be hard to get "leverage" (i.e., if they are using the regular toilet and their legs are dangling, they have no "push" haha!).

Things that worked for my son:

1) Making sure he gets enough food with fiber and not too many dairy products.

2) Giving him a stool for his feet until his legs were long enough to be comfortable on the ground on his potty chair.

3) Giving him a magazine to read each time. He especially loves magazines with guitars, cars or toys.

4) Sticker rewards.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

My 27 month old daughter was doing the same thing. Just this week, we figured out how to get her to go in the potty chair. She wanted some kind of privacy!!

Lots of kids this age will hide behind a sofa or the drapes to poop in their diaper. So, I put her potty chair close to the shower and let her drape the shower curtain around her. I walked out of the bathroom and let her know she'd have her privacy. Within a couple of minutes, she'd gone in the potty chair.

Just this morning, on her own, she told me she had to go. She sat down by herself, covered up with the shower curtain and took care of business.

Hope this helps! Good luck!!



answers from Honolulu on

My daughter was the same way. She "pee-pee trained" in one day, but she just could NOT poop. She would ask me for a diaper and poop in the diaper, then immediately ask to be changed. This went on for A SOLID YEAR!!!! She wanted to poop in the potty, but she just had some fear or something that she needed to work through. I did not push it or force her because she was prone to constipation since infancy and I thought she would withhold and make more problems for herself. I tried rewards, sticker charts, etc, but I just gave up on those, because she was getting sad about NOT earning the rewards. One day, she just did it, and then we got rid of those diapers once and for all! Only your son has control of his poop. Just make it as comfortable and as motivating as you can. He WILL eventually do it. You will see.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 4 and still won't poop in the toilet. Have you tried stickers, stamps, candy, toys...have you tried everything to bribe him? If so and he still hasn't gone... let it go. He'll poop in the potty when ready. I have tried pushing my guy a little and all he ended up doing is getting constipated and that created HUGE problems. HE even has a younger brother who poops in the potty and still doesn't care. He won't be pooping in his pull up when he's 15... try not to worry too much!!

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