Problems with Older Daughter Not Pooping in the Bathroom Toilet.

Updated on April 02, 2008
J.W. asks from West Palm Beach, FL
14 answers

Ok, this may sound bad, my 5 year old daughter is haveing a problem going poo in the bathroom. I have taken her to the doctor to find out she has an anal retentive issue. I have done the fiber, the clear Kero syrup, taking away the majority of her sugars and everything. But Still she poops in her pants. I know that it is painful for her to go to the bathroom but I have seen her do it before. She does have a younger brother and I thought it could be regression. I am at a loss right now and am going nuts with this issue. We even have a star chart for everytime she goes poo in the bathroom she gets a star and at the end of a week she gets a toy. Still is not working. HELP Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Well I have given her all the things to make her stool soft and it works fine. I have been giving her benifiber everyday and it works great, BUT she is still pooing in her pants. I put pullups on her and have her poo next to the toilet. I have had her sit on the toilet facing the wall so she does not feel like she will fall in, I have even gotten another potty trining stool (needed one anyway for the youngest one) and I have had her try to use it too. She has gone a few times on the toilet but still like to go in her pants. So I am at that point now that I am not going to push it. She has a star chart and everytime she goes she gets a star and at the end of 7 stars she gets a little toy. so far she only had gotten 1 star.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

Many many many books and viewing things like Elmo goes to the potty. It works. Plus promise her pretty panties or something like that if she does it. Then when she gets the hang of things you will remind her of how big she is. Good luck Jen

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answers from Orlando on

sounds behavioral, not physiological. Don't hate me for saying this, but I would not punish. I would pray about it. Stars and toys become very old when the behavior is what is of importance. It may not be a big enough reward. Some children can satiate on external reward easily.Maybe tapping into an internal motivator or internal reward would be good. What does your pediatrician say, and has the pediatrician ruled out behavioral? When I say behavior...I am not referring to bad behavior, rather the psychological underlying reason. A play therapist could work wonders,, but I think prayer works best.

Also, I have read research on why some children (boys) like to keep their poo. They think of it as a possession. So when my youngest had trouble this year with pooping in his pants daily, I remembered that my oldest son liked to name his there is a whale, or wow I made a dolphin. I don't know if this would help, but I wanted to put it out there.


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answers from Boca Raton on

Hi J.,

Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth to the other good advice you've received. If your daughter poops in her pants and it is NOT a hard constipated poop that would have caused pain and this is what happens on a frequent basis, she may have something caused "Encopresis." My step-son pooped in his pants until he was 11 yrs old as an expression of anger regarding his was psychologically based and he was basically syaing "poop on you." Your little one may be very jealous and acting out for attention as Bonnie suggested in the last response. We addressed our situation in a family counseling environment but it wasn't until the bio-Mom removed herself (sad story) from his life that the pants pooping stopped and then it did so overnight! It's harder to talk about something like that (and it might not be recommended???)to a 5 year old but if it turns out to be your situation, just knowing what's going on can help you cope. I hope it is just a case of constipation that will be fixed with diet and stool softners (colace worked for one of my other kids---she was on it for 6 months!) Well, my wee one just woke up! Best of luck, A.



answers from Lakeland on

Hi , J.. :0)

She sounds constipated. Maybe something to soften the stools will help her with the pain when she poops. Sometimes fiber will make matters worse , especially if it's taken and not enough water is consumed afterwards , and I don't think Karo actually does anything , in my opinion.
No , I am not a doctor , but I do know quite a lot about constipation ; it's been a big problem for me in my life that I have overcome through trial and error.
Here is a link for a good children's laxative :
However , if you are skeptical about herbs , don't go to that site.
If you are skeptical about herbal treatments , maybe try the castoria or magnesium citrate or milk of magnesia ...
you may have already tried these things , though. Does she appear to be in pain when she poops her pants ?
I hope you find a solution.
~ A.



answers from Lakeland on

There are two things that I would try. Glycerin suppositories work really nicely. I have used them on both my girls when they had a hard time going. I also rec. a daily dose of flaxseed oil. I give our youngest, who has dietary issues, flaxseed oil everynight and it seems to have worked. 1 tsp. is all I give her. Good luck and may the poo be with you.....ok, with her!



answers from Miami on

First, you need to address the issue of it hurting when she poops. Until she has a length of time where she has no pain when she has a bm, you probably will continue to have a problem. My son is 4, and off and on I have the same problem with him.
I give him 1-2 tablespoons of mineral oil in a medicine cup, mixed with orange juice, daily. (1 tablespoon, 2 x per day) It's tasteless and odorless, and he doesn't complain about talking it. And, it's just mineral oil, not a laxative.
This makes his bm very slippery and easy to push out. It takes about 24 hours or so for it to have an effect, but it does work. This will make it very difficult for your daughter to retain her bm's. Tell her that you are giving her 'tummy medicine' (or whatever), that will make it so it doesn't hurt when she poops. If you need to put her in a pull-up temporarily, you might want to consider that. I had to do that for my son initially (he screamed when I put him on the toilet) He would go in the pull-up and we would dump it in the toilet. Then I would put him back in underpants...
Eventually he gave up the diaper and started going on the toilet. I gave him some big incentives at first to go on the toilet, and then smaller ones eventually...
I hope this helps; good luck!



answers from Boca Raton on

My daughter is only three but I had a heck of a time getting her to poop on the potty. She just didn't like to. I made sure I gave her lots of things to help her go, like cucumber sticks with ranch, raisins, grape juice(apple juice can be constipating), canned pears and pineapple, apple slices(maybe some caramel for dipping)-I would cut them up and eat some myself because she would say no if I asked her if she wanted some. Keep grapes washed and in a bowl on the table to encourage her to nibble.

Now this might have started out as a psychological thing, that she does didn't like to go poo. My oldest(now 15) did a similiar thing. She said she hated to go because it made her cry-I guess her eyes would tear up. Now for you, it's turning into a potential problem that she's getting herself constipated by holding out.

I would try and make things very low stress, hide your disappointment and concerns. It's hard for her as she knows she's making you mad in a way. I would offer her pullups if that would make her feel more comfortable. I've heard that kids ask for a diaper when they were potty training to go poo, and apparently it's more common than we think. Maybe if you get her comfortable with her body she may be able to get back on track.

Now, back to my 3 year old. After flushing her system out for weeks she would go number 2 on the potty and I would reward her with a treat-instant gratification. I always have a jolly rancher or lollipop from the bank or a hershey's kiss somewhere around when she would go. I kept it very simple: wow you did a great job with that, would you like a lollipop? She's only been potty trained a few months now but she'll still ask once in awhile and sometimes I have something but sometimes I don't-I kept it very low profilish. I was careful to keep it a reward and not a bribe,ie, "if you go on the potty you can have a lollipop" that can tend to backfire in my experiences. Maybe the charts are putting too much pressure on her? If you think so, just get her a little toy here and there after she's had some successes. Maybe even something from the grocery store machines once a week if that interests her.



answers from Boca Raton on

My oldest daughter did the same thing. She would make peepee in the bathroom but we could NOT get her to make number 2. The best advice I can give you is to stay patient. I learned from my experience that trying to punish and getting upset actually makes the problem worse. What I did was tell her that it was okay if she couldn't make it to the bathroom, the most important thing was that she went when she needed to but if she could make it to the potty that it was the best place for making number 2. Within a few days she was using the bathroom again like a big girl. If it's painful for her to go it means she's becoming constipated from holding it, so you definitely need to encourage her to go whenever she needs to to prevent a blockage from forming in her intestines (this happened to my daughter). I hope this helped!



answers from Boca Raton on


I had the exact same problem with my oldest who is now 7. What I did for her was the glycerin sappositories, the kyro syrup, the fruit, the prune juice. and NOTHING helped her at all. It was all because it hurt her to go poo. So what I did was watch her closely if it looked like she was trying to hold it back I would take her into the bathroom sit on a step stool and have her sit there and go with my support through the pain. I had her sit on the toilet with her legs open to open the anal passage a little more and cause a little less pain. I told her not to push (so she wouldn't get hemmoroids at a young age) and had her bend down and hug me. After a while of doing this and sitting with her while she was crying she finally got to where she would go with out holding it. Although without her holding it, it still does hurt her at times to go poo. and when it does I just go back in there and support her through the pain.

Now what my daughter did to hold it was clench her legs closed. That is why I made her relax and keep her legs open on the poddy. It is a habit that will be hard to break because she has linked the pain to going poo, and kids don't want to feel any pain so they try and hold it in. What you need to explain to her that yes it may hurt and you will be there to help her as much as you can, but the sooner she gets the poo out, the less it will hurt, and then eventually all the hardened backed up poo will be out of her system, so it won't hurt her anymore.

To give that extra help I did the glycerin sepasitories, and then after I gave it a little time to kick in I took my girl to the toilet and sat with her to make sure she kept her legs open and to give her the MOMMY support that she truly needed to get through the pain.

Good Luck with your daughter, and please try this because the one thing she needs is for you to be in there with her until the pain is gone for good.

B. C.


answers from Boca Raton on

There is a GREAT children's book called "It hurts when I poop" It sounds to me like the accidents occur because she is holding it in instead of going on the potty I highly recommend the book, it worked with my daughter............

It may not only be hurting her to poop, she may have other fears.... some children look at their poop as part of them and they don't want to see it flushed away...I know that may sound crazy but it's true! Good luck.............all the best..........



answers from Gainesville on

my 2 cents on the issue is to reward her with one on one time with you ....she is the middle child....well,know fact, the middle child longs for more attention. By giving in to this you will do may things ...mainly remind yourself to make time for each child her support that she may feel she lacks and remind the other kids of each other....and hopefully pulls Daddy into the kids day to day a little more. Time is the best reward for anyone of any age! Also, Mandrin orages help as a stool softener....

Best of luck!



answers from Miami on

J., my heart goes out to your 5 year old. Please read the amazing responses the moms gave on my post I finally have a resolution to this problem that my daughter has had since she was two! The moms on this board are so awesome, they gave us the insight we needed to fix in one month a problem that my husband and I had tried and failed to fix for 3 years. My daughter now has had no pain for over a month now!

Stars are great, but the pain she has may be a more powerful negative reinforcement than the positive that the star gives.



answers from Lakeland on

This may sound crazy, but my son used to have a terrible time sitting down and pooping. He would bleed sometimes it hurt so bad, I finally got him to stradle the potty and poop standing up over it. This worked great, slowly he progressed to sitting down and now he has no problems.



answers from Orlando on

Hi Jeanett, I have two children a girl who is 10 and very needed and not very independent and would love for me to do everything for her and I have a son who is 4 who has been so independent from the day he could walk he has to do everything for himself at times I have to convince him that I am hear to help him. My daughter would love to stay home with me and my son wants to go to school. I know this is normal for some with the second child. Anyway, at one time not too long ago my daughter was going through a stage that was taking up a lot of my time and my husbands time when he would get home from work, our son who seems to just naturally do things the right way was not getting as much attention from his dad and I in the evening because we were so busy trying to get our oldest behavior under control so we spent a lot of time talking to her and he and I would spend our time together talking about how to handle her new attitude and our son spent his evening. on his own a lot we found ourselves telling him a lot "mommy and daddy are busy", "mommy and daddy are talking go play", "we are busy with your sister" before we knew it he started peeing on the floor not in the potty anymore , now all of the attention was on him and his problem it took a couple of time for us to figure out that his new problem was because his needs weren't getting met so we would give him plenty of attention together when my husband would come home from work and them we would deal with my oldest, my son's peeing on the carpet stopped.
I myself was a middle child and do recall having to be more independent and did't get as much attention as my older sister and younger brother, my parents who I love were always busy with the oldest or youngest and I would act out to get them to give me some attention and it worked. Hope this helps.


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