Pooping in the Potty Fear?

Updated on October 10, 2011
L.L. asks from Sandy, UT
7 answers

My two and a half year old son has been wearing his big boy underwear for a week now; only wearing diapers at nap time and nighttime. I ask him every so often about whether or not he has to "go" and sometimes he will tell me on his own. He is doing quite well; only one accident. However, he seems to have an issue with pooping on the potty. He's "gone" in his underwear twice but not at all on the potty. I can't figure out if he is afraid to poop on the big boy potty.... Since we are in the "training process" and the beginning, at that, I've enticed him with stickers for pee and a piece of candy for poop. The candy part hasn't worked yet.

Have your little ones had the same poop issue? Any tricks or secrets?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your advice. He finally pooped yesterday in his potty chair. I think the problem was partly because of the BIG potty and the water in it. Fingers crossed for today!

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

first off congrats! boys are harder to train so getting a 2 1/2 y old this far is major!

this is a typical problem. I think it has to do with that they are afraid of the poop falling. When they have a diaper on they feel the diaper on their bottoms and then when they are sitting down and poop in it they can feel the poop. does that make sense?

One key thing that starts happening is that they will actually get quiet and or go hide in a corner so you can't see them pooping their pants.

Some things that helped us
- a small training potty with a squishy seat.
- whenever they pooped their pants (at home) they'd get showers.
if they'd say, I don't want a shower, well then stop pooping your pants.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Los Angeles on

I have had this issue with 4 sons so far. For some reason, they are more comfortable pooping in underwear than sitting over a giant gaping hole. It just seems to make them very nervous. What I do is I will take my son (currently 3.5 years old) to the potty at times when I know he usually poops and have him sit on the potty for a minute or so. If he does not go right away, I let him get down. If you can catch your son when he has that glassy-eyed look and is grunting, rush him to the potty and sit him down. After he goes in the potty enough times, it will start to feel natural.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think that boys can think that poop (as opposed to pee--which is visible for them--not so 'mysterious') is "part of them" and need to know what it is, how it comes out, etc. Let him take a look at his--a-hem--working parts.
The book Once Upon a Potty (boy version) is really good too.

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answers from Houston on

My son had issues pooping b/c he was scared of the pain. I didn't blame him...he wouldn't poop for a week and then when he had to go he would scream and cry in pain b/c his poop was so much. So I put him on baby food for a few days. It softened him up and made him regular. Once he started pooping w/o crying for a few days, I slowly eased him back on real people food.


answers from Orlando on

Both of my girls had this problem as well. What worked for daughter #1 was to have her poop in the little potty (potty chair) because there was no water involved. Then we'd dump that into the toilet. It was messy but not as messy as poopy underwear!! Daughter #2 was much more stubborn... she pooped in her panties every day for weeks before I finally convinced her to ask for a diaper when she had to poop. I knew she knew when she had to go but she just didn't want anything to do with the potty. After a couple weeks of wearing panties all day and asking for a diaper to poop, I started asking her if she'd like to try the potty first. She said no sometimes, and I'd put the diaper on right away. But sometimes she'd say yes, she was willing to try, and she'd use the potty. We just slowly transitioned those diapers to potty trips. It took about 6 months longer to get her fully trained than it did with her sister. Good luck--potty training is tough work!!


answers from New York on

This is very common and I am having the same issue with my son who is 2 yrs 10 mo. I've noticed he likes to be alone when he goes to the bathroom, one or two. I have written longer posts about this but in the beginning of potty training, we did alot of time with bare bums and no pants in the house. That was when he was starting to make poops in the potty... sometimes but not much. Now that he's in preschool a few times a week and in underwear most of the time, he just holds it until bed or nap time when we put the diaper on. I'm trying to decide if we should stop the diapers at nap time? Hope to read some more advice on here.

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