Potty Training Problem: Not Pooping on the Potty

potty training

Photo by SnarkyLiterati

Last night my cousin was telling me about a problem she's having with potty training her 3-year-old son: He has quickly learned to use the potty when he has to pee; but when it comes to poop, he refuses to go in the potty.

Have you experienced this with your toddler?


When I asked him why he doesn't go #2 in the potty, he told me simply, "I can't. It's too big." (Translation: The hole in the training potty seat is too big, and he's scared.)

Whether it's due to fear, embarrassment, stubbornness or something else, refusing to poop in the potty is a common problem with many potty training toddlers (although I'm guessing the specific reasoning behind it will probably vary by child).

Here are some things you can do to help your child learn to poop in the potty:

  • Make sure your child isn't constipated. Increase the amount of fluid and fiber in his/her diet so that her bowel movements are softer and easier to pass.
  • If your child insists on only pooping in a diaper or pull-up, encourage him/her to do this in the bathroom just like you do (except they will be wearing the diaper/pull-up). Then, empty the diaper/pull-up into the potty to show your child where it goes.
  • Some experts recommend cutting a hole in the bottom of the diaper or pull-up and sitting on the potty; this way they can still have the security of the diaper/pull-up, but the poop will (hopefully!) fall into the potty.
  • Read children's story books about potty training to her, such as Everyone Poops or The Princess and the Potty.

Remember to always praise and/or reward your toddler if they make any improvements (no matter how small) in any of these areas.

How did you teach your toddler to poop in the potty?

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