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?

potty training


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Morbi... MorbidFraggle

I am dying to read what moms have to say about this. I am experiencing the same problem with my 3 yr old son. He WILL NOT poop on the potty but pees in it just fine!


my son actually didn't bowel train for 6 months after he was urine trained. He went at the same time everday, in the evening right before bed. He was still wetting the bed at night, so we were already putting a pull up on him and he would go in the pull up every night. If I didn't put the pull up on him, he wont still poop in his underwear. It was definately easier and more pleasant for me to just let him wear the pull up to do his thing! So, we just waited until he was ready. It didn't disrupt our day any, cause like I said, he only went at night.

Eventually one day he sat down on his little sisters potty chair and pooped in it! We were very excited. I asked him to go on the big potty, but he was scared. So I just took what I got and was satisfied. About 3 months after going on the little potty seat he one day just sat on the big potty all by himself. No prompting from us at all! Now he is 5 and we have no accidents, not even in the middle of the night!

So, my adivce is to just wait it out if you can. Your child will definately do it when ready. Continue to mention it and encourage it, but don't force it.

sodapple sodapple

my friend 3 year old boy has that problem he just won't go in the potty #2 only in the diaper i'll give this page to her =-D

brown... brownskinmomma

my son 2 1/2 was doing it to pooping in his pull up after a while he started to poop in his potty pot he been potty training for 2 mon. now he will still pee-pee on him self once in a while.

blogg... blogginmomma

Ugh my DS just turned 3 and has been pee trained on his potty for months now but he refuses to go poop. Unfortunately he doesn't have a set time every day when he does it. I'll take any advice I can get to get over the hump. We have a million potty books including Everyone poops but they aren't helping :(

ducky... ducky72587

My son did the same thing... the way we got thru it was with bribes.  Get his/her favorite candy/snack and everytime he/she goes poop in the potty reward him.  Then gradually ween off... until eventually TA-DA!  no more bribes and no more pooping in the pants.  I know a lot of moms frown on bribing but sometimes you just have to stoop to that level.

JCTsM... JCTsMommy53007

oh my goodness help l0l

my 2yr old son loves to go pee in the big potty but refuses to have a bowl movement in the big potty that is !!!!! i dont mind changing a pee diaper but the stinky ones are a no go !!!

Andre... AndreaMeyers

My 3 yo son is in that phase. We've been working on it all summer to get him ready for preschool, but he still won't poop on the toilet. His new thing is to go in his pullup, take it off whereever he is at, and carry it to me. I'll be so glad when this phase has passed!

nonmember avatar Matt

The advice here on having patience and offering rewards is spot on. The only other thing I could recommend is using a potty training seat instead of the toilet to start. A smaller seat (with a smaller opening) where their feet can touch the floor can help reduce the apprehension a child may have about going poop on the potty. Also, when their feet can touch the floor, it gives them more leverage for pushing.

CLH72481 CLH72481

Isn't Cafemom only for moms? Did that change, because I have ben seeing men comment on posts in here a lot.

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