Potty Training Poop Help!

Updated on April 30, 2019
L.S. asks from Morrisville, PA
13 answers

I am at my wit's end with ds#2 (almost 3) and potty training. He is pees just fine in the potty. No issues there. Only wears a pull up overnight and sometimes during nap.

But poop? It's such a struggle. I know he can go too which makes it that much more frustrating. A few weeks ago, he had a stomach bug and did diarrhea (for three whole days!) in the toilet. Once it was over, he stopped. I tried bribing him with a new toy. He pooped just to get the toy. We've talked about where poop goes, I've showed him by dumping his poop in the toilet but still nothing. I even tried making him sit till he went but he just jumps right off.

I don't know what else to do!

What can I do next?

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answers from Anchorage on

He isn't even 3 yet, he just isn't fully ready. I kept my sons in pull-ups until they were pooping on the potty most of the time, by doing so potty training only took 3 days for each of them once we went to undies. Pooping is usually harder for many toddlers to get down, it can be a strange feeling for them going and having it drop down and this feeling can be off-putting or even scary for some toddlers.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

He's not ready.

He's not interested.

It has become a battle of wills. He's picking up on your frustration.You cannot win this fight. So stop fighting.

He's not even 3.

Put the diapers or pull-ups back on, and stop talking about it. I promise he will not go to kindergarten in diapers.

I know you want him trained. But he's in charge of this, and it may be beyond his control developmentally. Let it go.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

mama - let him be. the more you push? the harder it will be. This has now become a control issue and your son is testing you. And guess what? He's winning.

Just be blasé about it and go about your business. If he poops in his pull up or diaper? then ask him if he wants to change it or what? act like it's nothing and just go about your day. When he realizes it's no longer a fight with you? It will just happen. Until then? BACK OFF!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Your son isn't even 3 yet. BACK OFF. Let him be.

You have made this a mountain to die on and guess what? Your 2 year old son is winning the war. You CANNOT force this. The more you force him to poop on the potty, the longer it will be. He is giving you a battle of wits. Instead of keeping this a mole hill and say "dude, got it, you're not ready. When you poop, here is a clean pull up for you and the wipes." then walk away. If he wants YOU to take care of it? Then tell him that you can help him in the bathroom.

Otherwise? shrug your shoulders, don't make a big deal of it. the more you push and demand he poop in the bathroom? The more he will fight you. This isn't worth the fight, mama. It's not.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

My son was like this...it was an on again off again struggle. At age 3.5 he suddenly was ready and just potty trained immediately...pretty much doing it himself. My guess is your little guy just is not quite ready yet. Hang in there!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

He's still only 2 years old. You may be comparing his potty training progress to your first child, and now is a great time to realize how different children can be, even if they have the same parents and are raised in the same home, the same way.

He's not ready, and you're struggling over a futile issue. Potty training involves more than just physical actions; the emotional development has to be there too. He can see with his eyes. Are you frustrated that he can't read yet? He can grab things with his little hands. Are you frustrated that he can't draw a portrait? Yes, he can poop. No, he can't comprehend the plumbing and septic tanks. I know changing diapers gets old after several years of having young kids, but that's no reason to force your child to sit on the toilet until he does what you want him to do.

And bribing a child with a toy is usually not the right answer, regardless of what you're trying to accomplish. You're offering a reward for a biological action. Children should not earn toys for eating, using the potty correctly, wearing a helmet while on anything with wheels, and following basic safety rules (looking twice and crossing a street at a crosswalk, holding a grownup's hand in a parking lot, etc). A toy is a gift. If you start using toys as rewards for basic stuff, you're in for a very bumpy ride, when they start demanding stuff for doing their homework or passing a test when they're older. Your child's reward should be your smile, your reasonable congratulations (not jumping up and down screaming like you won the lottery, but "good job, buddy!"), and your pleasant interaction.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I was like AKmom.

Mine all were kept in pull-ups until they just hit 3, and we had the potty out to see if they were interested, but I never once forced it. It was more like "oh this fun thing is a potty!".

Then when they showed signs they were fully ready (to do both), then I took off the pull ups entirely, within a long weekend (we waited till one came up), undies we went (and just wore undies around the house, on non-carpeted/rugged areas) - and they got it. No pants. Easy on/off.

We stayed close to home for a week or two (no long store trips/errands) and they learned to hold it until we could get to a washroom.

I did try way too early with my first. He went by chance once on the potty and I thought here we go! Then the daycare said put it away - and it was a full year later that we pulled it out again. Then it was the long weekend and done.

So my advice to you would be just to let it go. Otherwise this will be a battle. It will come :)

Sorry for the long winded answer. Other moms may read this and find it helpful. I know the daycare teachers really helped me. Follow your child's lead. They know when their body is ready. We can't force it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If you are getting frustrated then you are trying too hard
and engaging in a power struggle - and losing.
Give it a rest for a few months and then try again.
Repeat as needed.
Don't worry.
He won't be going off to college and still not be potty trained.
Our son was trained at 3 1/2 and I let day care take the lead on it.
Since he was ready he trained quickly.
He was in pullups at night till he woke up dry for 2 weeks in a row and he was 7 yrs old when that happened.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with everyone who is telling you to change course and stop making this a struggle. My anecdote: One of mine was refusing to potty train. Like yours, I knew he knew what do to and how to do, he just didn't want to. We struggled for most of a month, with me trying everything from bribes to sticking him in underpants and putting him on the potty on a schedule (and then cleaning up a lot of messes). Nothing worked. I was frustrated and he was being obstinate. Then we went on vacation, and I didn't want to deal with accidents and mutual frustration during the vacation, so I put him back into pull-ups completely (in my mind, going backwards and I thought I'd have to start over, but I didn't want to ruin vacation so I did it). Guess what? Once I took away the battle of wills, he decided on his own, during that vacation, to use the potty 100%. He asked to go when he needed to. By the time we got home from vacation, he was completely potty trained. But only because HE decided.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

You're ready but he isn't. He will do it when he is ready. I know it's frustrating but the more you try to force him the more he will resist. Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

so why not back off for a while?



2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Children control very little in their young lives. Big people tell them what to do about EVERYTHING. There are only 2 things they have real control over - pottying and eating.

If you are at your wit’s end with a 3 year old, you are not paying any attention to children development. Stop expecting your child to bend to your will. If you don’t believe us, ask your ped.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am currently with the same situation with my twins aged two years old. They pee in the potty but poo very rarely. Most of the time they poo in their pants, even during nap time. They fear pooping and it is normal for many kids. It is hard but i advice you to not give up, they can do it. When an accident happens i just clean and change them and tell them that this is very bad and they are clean girls who should not poo in their pants. This happened again but it is becoming fewer times and i am noticing that they are trying to understand the concept. Now they are better, fear is less, one of them is now a great pooper hahaha. When she poops i hive her chocolate and kiss her and throw her high in the air and she laughs and feel proud.The other still but i am trying. Please be patient, dont put back diapers you will lose the efforts you already did and you will start from zero instead of progressing.

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