When Your Child Won’t Poop in the Toilet

I can’t believe I’m writing a post about poop. But I am. Because this was something I needed to hear for a very long time, and now it’s my turn to pass my experience on to some other anxious, frustrated, worried mother or father. I’m “taking one for the team” here folks – I’m taking one for you, if you’re the one who Googled your way here.

Sometimes a potty-trained, even slightly older child just will not poop in the toilet.

When Your Child Won't Poop in the Toilet - Advice and Encouragement for Parents

It happens. Our oldest daughter was potty-trained day and night at 3, but refused to poop in the toilet until she was well into 4 years old. And even then, she only did it because a friend and her mom were over for a play date, and they took her to the bathroom with some positive peer pressure and showed her that the process was no big deal.

That was years ago, though. A parenting struggle you move through and look back at with a sage nod and say, “Ah yes, I remember that time.”

Well, that time – as history often does – has repeated itself ten years later with our youngest son, 5yo Eli.

Eli took a long time to potty-train for daytime – I think he was nearly 4 before he was even interested in it – but once he could do it, he never had an accident. I mean never. Not at home while he was playing, not at the store, not at a friend’s house. I carried extra pants and underwear everywhere, because I had always needed them with my other kids. But there was never even a close call with Eli.

But he held his ground on two things – he would absolutely freak out at the thought of wearing underwear at night, and he would not poop in the toilet.

Observing the kind of anxiety he had over possibly wetting his bed at night, I decided it was no harm/no foul on letting him wear a Pull-Up while he slept. I figured that was something we could work on over time.

But the whole poop thing? What should I do about that?

We sat him on the toilet for 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time until it felt like torture (to both him AND us). I had him blow bubbles while on the toilet (after hearing that blowing bubbles leads to a natural release of your sphincter muscles). We offered prizes for pooping. We watched potty-training videos and read books with him in an attempt to de-mystify the process. We even tried the “see!-your-friend-goes-poop!” trick that worked with our oldest daughter.


He would poop in a Pull-Up, but not on the toilet. And when we said “NO MORE PULL-UPS!”, he would keep from pooping for days. Like…five days at a time. That’s scary stuff!

We never did take him to the doctor about this, though I know many parents in our situation would have. I just never knew what a doctor could do for us. The issue seemed 100% behavioral, not physical. And we felt we had tried many reasonable means for eliciting better behavior, all without success.

The older Eli got, the more frustrating this was for my husband and I. And I was ashamed, embarrassed. Because what 5 year old doesn’t poop in the toilet?!! Well, judging by a search on the internet, a lot of them! And even 6 year olds and older. It happens.

Eli is now 5 1/2, and I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that his behavior has been shifting to one of greater independence. He has expressed more confidence in himself and the world. Would NOW be the time he’d finally get over his issues with pooping? I decided to jump in with both feet and kick two habits in one swoop – UNDERWEAR ONLY! I said, morning, noon, and night.

I bought him new Super Mario sheets and a blanket. I bought him new pj’s. I bought a “prize bag” and enough prizes to fill it every morning for a more than a week. If he wore underwear at night without making a scene, he’d get a prize. And – oh yeah – now that you have underwear, you’ll have to poop in the toilet, too. I just left it at that, very nonchalant.

The underwear at night thing went brilliantly. We’re waking him up to use the bathroom at around midnight, and he’s slowly learning to wake if he needs to go again.

But the poop? He held his ground, and once again, five days went by without a bowel movement, even AFTER slipping him a stool softener in his juice.

We gave up. My husband and I just sat down and said WE GIVE UP. We don’t care. The boy can wear a Pull-Up wherever and whenever he wants if he has to poop. We really just didn’t care anymore. It was more important that he be healthy than he fit any kind of pre-conceived notion of what was “ok” for him at his age. It was the lightest I had ever felt about the situation, and for once my husband and I weren’t frustrated or angry about the situation at all.

This was last week. Two days ago, my husband came home from work to find Eli sitting on the toilet, pooping. Just like that. No big deal. We were all really shocked! And of course, we danced and sang and generally celebrated Eli for doing it.

Later that day, he pooped twice more. Yesterday, he went to the bathroom like he’s been doing it for years and pooped again.


It’s insane. It’s absolutely crazy how it happened. And the thing is, it only happened because Eli was ready for it to happen.

If you have or know a potty-trained (even slightly older) child who won’t poop in the toilet, there are a few things I want to say. First, gain some assurance or confidence that it’s not a physical challenge. Second, please know you are not alone. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed, do not be angry with your child. Don’t look at it as a failure either in your parenting or in the child’s general nature. These things just happen! And third, this situation WILL eventually be resolved. Your child will not go to college in a Pull-Up. However long it will take, there will be a resolution. Hang in there!

So…there’s my post about poop. Some may say that Eli will not be thanking me for this post when he’s 15, but if it helps any ONE parent who has dealt with the same stress I’ve felt for the past two years, theirs is the only bit of gratitude I will need.

What about you? Have you dealt with – or are you now dealing with – this issue? Do you have any questions, encouragement, advice, or commiseration you would like to add?


  • Jessica Barrus Morgan

    Lily was always constipated, from the time she started solids, and we had to coach her through pooping since she started walking. After she was pee-pee trained (2 years old) our dr told us to give her miralax every day until she “forgot” how difficult and painful pooping was. It took a full year of her having easy, soft poo before I lost my mind and made her sit on a potty until she pooped. It worked for us because it was soft, she couldn’t hold it, and we made such a huge deal about what a big girl she was with treats, toys, dance party – she’s never looked back. I think you have to do what is right for each child! I know making James sit on the potty until he goes would backfire so badly 🙂

  • If your kid is showing no interest in poo training and they are past four or five, it may be good to have an OT look at them, especially if there are no medical issues.  Occupational therapy focusing on motor planning did wonders for my son (6 years old) who refused to use the toilet for poop (but did it fine for pee) and ended up being very constipated, even after dietary changes and adding a daily laxative (under a doctor’s care).  We had to change insurance plans to a PPO because our doctor refused to give us a referral for an OT (although was fine giving us one for a gastero, but ruling out problems with that was really important).  It was about 6 months of weekly visits  that really made a huge difference.  Unfortunately, the “he’ll do it when he does it”  can be really frustrating to parents who are struggling with this, it’s not a helpful bit of advice when you’re picking your 6 year old up from school early because he wouldn’t use the toilet and is covered in poop, when your kid’s booster seat smells like poop no matter how many times you’ve washed the cover, when the other kids are making fun of your kid on the playground or when you and your kid are the subject of mommy gossip, or when you’re having to plead with the local camp to get a refund because your son is going through a phase again when he can’t go 8 hours without soiling himself and you’ve had to get a note from the doctor, or when your son looks at you and says he just doesn’t understand why it’s not working right, many schools WON’T work with you if there’s a problem…we almost had to withdraw him from half day 4 year old preschool at our local public school.  That said, I realize I have a bit of PTSD (for lack of a better term, but it seriously can induce panic) over toilet training, and I don’t mean to come off as anything other than “here, this might help if you’re at a dead end” Toilet training my older son was very traumatic for my family, and when our youngest trained himself essentially before he turned 3 with very little intervention…it was very very confusing for us, and made it really clear how some parents really just don’t GET how very very hard it can be and it’s not out of a lack of sensitivity, it is just so different. 

    • I appreciate you commenting here, Elly, because your story is a good example of when medical assistance IS necessary. Please don’t think I would reduce any of your struggle with the off-handed advice of “he’ll do it when he does it.” That was *my* experience, but I know it’s not for many, which is again why I’m glad you’ve shared your perspective. And, honestly, I didn’t know that would BE my experience – when you’re in it, it just feels so never-ending, and like you say, creates all sorts of awful situations and circumstances. I understand about pulling a child out of preschool. And while it’s been fine to have him home with me, he starts Kindergarten in the Fall and how this situation would play out during the school day has been on my mind NON-STOP. I know the panic of being out places and not knowing what’s going to happen with a bowel movement or when. I know about not even wanting to tell FAMILY what’s going on, and the frustration and embarrassment that comes with all of this. So while the ultimate resolution of this situation happened how it did for *my* family, more than anything what I hope you understand beyond “he’ll do it when he does it” is not that this post was meant to reduce anyone else’s experience, but to TALK ABOUT IT, and to give encouragement to anyone who is struggling towards a resolution.

      • I know you weren’t reducing it to that, but so many people do…unintentionally.  It’s hard to understand from the other side how something that is supposed to be and meant to be reassuring can be really frustrating and increase the feeling of helplessness.  I’m hoping, like you are, more honest conversations can be had, whether your child potty trained at 15 months or your 6, 7 or 8 year old is still having struggles. 

        I generally DON’T comment on potty training posts/comments or anything
        because it is still a painful subject (and that’s why I posted the caveat of my intention…sometimes I come off more defensive than I mean to).  I hope by the time I have
        grandkids…I will have worked past it 😀 

        I suggested the OT because a lot of doctors won’t consider it as a solution to a potty training problem, so someone might have to specifically ask.  We had been bugging 2 separate doctors for almost 3 years before we made up our mind to set our own path.  When at 3 my son showed ZERO interest in anything to do with the potty (as in none, nada zilch), we became initially a little concerned and wanted some advice and guidance….by the time we sought out the OT 3 years later, we were better versed in the potty training literature than our doctor!  So, checking out an OT is just another tool in the tool bag, but one you might have to specifically suggest. 

        • Traci

          I’m finding your story on an evening when I’m insanely frustrated with my nearly 5 year old and want to say thank you. My son was nearly 4 before he cared to pee and now only has accidents when he’s trying not too poop. He’s never requested a pull up to poop but holds it for days as well until he poops several times in an evening with a raw bottom as a result. We’ve done every incentive, a year of OT and the GI work up- he just doesn’t want to poop. Tonight I need to hear I didn’t screw up and miss some magical window. My 2 year old son will likely be first to poop on the potty and that’s just the way it is.

        • Amy Tanner

          Hi Elly
          I would like to know what your experience with the OT was like and how you think it helped. I have a 6yo girl who refuses to poop in the potty. She wears a pullup and sits on the potty (so at least we’ve got that going for us). She’s in a much better place than she had been (at 3 and 4 not going for days, then the miralax regime for a year). For over a year now she’s been going daily, sometimes twice, but almost always with prompting, etc.

          Anyway, I’ve been thinking of looking into OT for other issues for her, too. But I hadn’t thought of it for this. Please share if you don’t mind.


        • Darahope

          Elly, I myself have been stuggling with my daughter for 4 years now ( she is 6) the Gastro doctor keeps putting her on medicine but still she either does it in her underwear or not at all.. I am interested in your comment regarding OT. Can you explain that to me and how that can help? Thank you!

  • Tamifish

    Courtney was the same way!!! She would bring us a diaper when she had to poop!!! It was very frustrating and embarrassing. When she was 3 1/2 we moved to Turlock and I told her diapers were not allowed in Turlock. Voila!!! Poop on the toilet. However, she was with me at Target 1 day and saw all the diapers. She looks at me, totally shocked, and says”hey, I thought Turlock didn’t allow diapers”!!!! Priceless.

  • Syrenalore

    Thank you for this! I have been struggling with potty training my 2.5 year old for the last few months. We start. She’s not ready. We stop. We start again. Now she’s telling me “I’m not ready.” so I think she is but is uncertain about the milestone.

    She has always been a very private pooper. I am concerned if pooping on the potty or in the toilet will be an issue.

    Do you think parents should skip the potty totally and use a toddler sized toilet seat atop a regular toilet?  Could this help alleviate pooping issues from the beginning?

    • In *my* experience (and this is just me talking), my kids got too confused with the small portable potties and the toddler toilet seats. I think it made them harder to transition, and with them, the little potties and toddler seats seemed more like toys than anything else. I’ve had many friends who just went straight to the regular toilets with their kids – helping to hold them and/or support them if needed at first – and they had more success than I did. I think I would have done the same thing I if I could do it all over! (ps: good luck to you!)

  • robinplemmons

    My goodness, potty training can be so frustrating! Way to go, Eli! You know what got my daughter to (finally) poop in the potty? I told her how COOL it is to watch your poop come out of your butt. Just like Play Doh! I was so (ridiculously, hilariously) enthusiastic about it. I sat on the floor in the bathroom with her & held her hand & she watched. It worked. Thank the Lord. 🙂

    • Robin! That is awesome!! And now that you mention it, I realize that I caught my son doing this yesterday – bending over and staring at his bum as he pooped. It really is quite mesmerizing. 😉

  • My sons were like this as well.  They went #1 in the toilet but would ask for a diaper to do #2 until they were about 4 1/2.  I don’t push my kids into doing anything they’re not ready for, regardless of what my in-laws or the pediatrician might think.  
    My daughter is 3 and not potty trained yet.  My in-laws keep making not-so-subtle remarks about it, but I’ve learned to ignore them.  

  • Kelley

    I am dealing with it now with my 6 year old daugter, youngest of 4 children. I am embarrased, ashamed and feeling like a failure. I trained 3 children why can’t i train this one? Well my life the past 4 years has been horrible. I filed for divorce from a narcissistic man who is currently serving time in jail. He was not a huge part of the children’s life but he is still their father. I feel she is maybe dealing with her emotions by controlling the only thing she can-pooping. Its horrible. I have had her tested by GI docs, I have done the system flush, the miralax, the exlax the metamucil, whol grains and fibers. I just literally give up. If there was a camp I could send her to that would fix her, I would do it in a heartbeat!!! I am so discouraged 🙁

    • Colleen

      Kelley I am in the same boat as you. My son will be 5 on Saturday and I will literally cry over this situation (not in front of him). He doesn’t care. We started to see a GI about 2 months ago and we thought we found the answer! We did a “clean out” day because he was constipated and was having small “accidents” 5-7 times a day and not even knowing he was having them. Thats because the constipation caused his insides to stretch out and some stool would still pass thru and he wouldnt know it. So we did this clean out day and every day after he gets a capful of miralax. For about 4-5 weeks we were doing great! We saw such great progress. Well now…..after that 4 week check up, since about the 5th week of starting this process, I’d have to say we are worse off than we were before we saw the GI. He can be sent to the bathroom every 20 minutes and he’ll get up, pull his pants up and poop in his underwear literally right after sitting down. His daycare offers a kindergarten program (thank god) so he can go to that, and they know his situation, but I am terrified of what will happen next year when he goes to public school for 1st grade. Will they even let him go? We’ve done all sorts of rewards, treats, “punishments” (Such as taking away toys or his favorite thing)….nothing works. When we think we are on to something with him, it fades after just a few weeks. We ask him why he won’t just sit on the potty and he either says “I dont know” or just stares at us and doesnt say a word. It is SO hard to not get upset or frustrated towards him, but we have gotten better at that, but no matter what we do, nothing will get him to go on the toilet. Can someone touch a little more on this OT subject that was brought up? As in what type of OT would I try to find? One that specializes in children? Or specializes in toilet issues? I am down to try anything and everything. I am almost to the point where I feel i need to take FMLA at work, stay home a few weeks with him and just let him go with no bottoms on and try to catch him. But even when doing that at night with him when we are home after work and school, he just holds it once we see he’s gotta go and get him on the potty. I also have a 3 year old, who trained herself in 3 days to poop and pee on the toilet when she was 26 mths old…..no problems with her what so ever. Please help me!
      -Mom who is at her wits end……for real.

      • Lana

        Hey Colleen, I’d love to know how things have progressed for you and your son. My youngest will be 6 in a month. I read your post to my husband. It’s as if one of us would have written it! We are in the same boat! The “clean out” worked for a few weeks, and now it’s worse than ever! We’re to the point that we even considered letting him just relax in a hot bath and get it all out (he poops every time we bathe him!). I just don’t know what to do any more.

        • Colleen

          Hey Lana!! Well it’s been almost 9 months since I wrote that post and I am happy to say we’ve done a complete turn around. He isn’t cured by any means but I found a Facebook group “help! My child has encopresis” and my lord it saved my life!! We stayed on miralax with ups and downs until the end of January when I took the advice of the other parents in that group who said miralax was actually causing all of those issues that mimic the symptoms of encopresis! I immediately stopped miralax on a Saturday and started him on pedialax and a probiotic (that was only for 30 days to restore the good bacteria that the miralax stripped from his belly) and I’m not jokin when I tell you all accidents have stopped!!!! He even stopped wearing pull ups at night and no longer pees at night! We’ve also discovered that he has a sensitivity to dairy (not an allergy) so we cut dairy bc he kept getting backed up. Once we switched meds and cut diary we’ve been doing awesome. Now there have been a few times where he did get backed up (school was over with, summer camp wasn’t as structured and Easter weekend he had extra dairy) and we did a gentle clean out thru the week of giving one ex lax square after dinner for a few nights. He would mark or have a small accident at school when he was backed up but whenever he’s clear, he does great!

  • Winnie Caroll

    Thank you for sharing this story. My 6 year old daughter is still pooping in pull-ups. She will only poop when she knows I will be there to change her. Otherwise she’ll hold it in. About a month ago, she pooped on the toilet while I was away and her dad was outside. She really had to go and had no other choice. She was so proud, and we all made a big celebration. However, that was a one-off and she’s back to the security of pull-ups.

    My daughter is self-conscious about it, too. She’s terrified that others will find out. She has a complex about her dad and sister teasing her. My husband is less patient than I am, but I think that is because when she doesn’t go for a few days, her behavior is affected. So when she’s driving everyone crazy because she needs to poop (no lie; we KNOW when she needs to go!), he’ll make a comment like “go upstairs and put a pull-up on.” And that makes her feel worse about it.

    And I wonder about my 3.5 year old and how he’ll be. When he was interested in using the potty, it was pee only — diapers only for poop. Sheesh!

  • Rachel Brown

    Oh thank god someones got the same issues and mentality as me!
    Miss 4 has the same no poo issue on the loo!
    No constipation, no poo chute issues, just wont poo on a toilet!
    She brings me a nappy and tells me its poo time, goes and does it, then tips it in the toilet, cleans herself up, waves it good bye so it has a safe journey to the poo farm for the turtles to aparently play soccor with it.
    Ive tried treats, outings, reading books, toys, you name it. If she dosnt have a nappy to pop in she will hold it for days, untill i relieve her of her issues and put a nappy back on before she gets sick from constipation.
    Hell, ive even shown her the ‘poo farm’ where my poo and toilet water gets flushed to, and turned into a beautifull big lake / dam with everyone elses poo from our town, and how nice and green the grass is from our lovley healthy poo’s helping it all grow.
    She loved it! But still wouldnt back one out on the loo.
    This year shes in kinda (preschool) 2 full days a week.
    Next year is school.
    Im dredding being the talk of the town with ‘the kid that wont $h!t on a dunny’.
    Baiscally ive given up, she just cant break the mental cycle she has to be able to do it.
    Hopefully this year being around peers more she will understand her own growth, and devalopment and finally lay a cable on the toilet for me.
    And trust me, its going to be a day of celebration when she does!

  • Hannah Barry

    Thank you so much for this post! I have a 4 1/2 year old son who is still refusing to poop on the potty. He has held his poop for up to 2 weeks and yes, we had to go to the ER eventually because he was in so much pain. We now have a regimen of laxatives to keep his poop moving, but it’s not pretty! I’m going to listen to your advice and be patient. He’s my 4th kid, so I know all kids do it in their own time…but the entire family, including his siblings is ready for this stage to be behind us.

    • Mrs STL2ATL

      OMG. Im soo glad I found this. This is so comforting to know it’s not just us. My husband and I have been so frustrated with my now 4 year old. He has been going to the toilet to pee since 1.5 yrs old. Interestingly the first time he used the potty he pooped. That was the only time. I have no idea what happened that he now refuses to poop on the toilet or potty. You name it, we’ve tried it. He poops daily, but only in a pullup or underwear. He holds it all day at daycare and goes in the evenings at home. We took the pullups away and he goes in his underwear. He will now even take them off, drop the poop in the toilet, and flush it. He is a little grossed out by it though and doesnt like to wipe himself. We’ve literally showed him we all poop and it is ok. I asked him why he cant poop in the toilet he just says, I dont know. We sat him on there with books, musuc, etc. He will sit for hours and will not go. As soon as he has his underwear back on he goes in them. We’ve tried commando and he just holds it until he has the comfort of underwear or pullup. We just dont pressure him anymore. Im hoping he start going before pre-k in the fall. I can deal with it, but i would be crushed if he was ever made fun of at school over it. Will keep you all posted on his progress, but at this point I’m just leaving it up to him as the author did.

      • Emily Sugarman

        What ended up happening with your son? Our son is 5.5 and refuses to go in the potty. He will hold it all day until he gets home from school and then ask for a pull up. He has never had one pee accident or poop accident. We started OT and that has seemed to help him in his confidence in other areas. We also started seeing a therapist, but have since stopped. I felt like we were all obsessing and focusing on it too much. I want to take the pressure completely off and see if it resolves. When I found this mom’s story about her son Eli I was overjoyed at the idea that you could let it go and it will just happen, but somedays I have my doubts….

        • Winnie Caroll

          esugar, I see your post is older. How is your son doing? My 7 year old’s therapist advised backing off completely, which my husband has yet to fully do, so not much has changed here. I’m wondering if you’ve had success.

          • esugar

            It completely resolved on its own once we let it go and paid no attention to it. Everyone always says it has to be when they are ready. For some kids who have sensory issues (which mine does) the time table is super slow. My husband was like yours and had a hard time with truly letting it go. After I posted it happened pretty soon after so he was not yet 6. Can I ask how your son goes through his day at school? Does he hold it the way mine did and then ask for a pull
            Up? My son is still not going at school so he is still controlling where it happens but he is able to go in the toilet at least now.

  • Adriana

    Thank you for your post I’m frustrated at the moment with my 3 and a half year old, he was doing great and suddenly he doesn’t want to sit in the toilet anymore, he stopped telling me when he wants to pee or poop, he just goes on his pants. I don’t know what to do…

  • Niamh Dragneel

    My 5 ,nearly 6, year old sister refuses to because she is scared. This helps a lot, thanks.

  • Ruth

    I am having this problem with my 8 year old son. It has gotten to the point that the school nurse called me. I don’t know what to do.

  • FV

    Hi stacey, thank u so much for this post. whenever im feeling down and feel like a mom who has failed, i come back to this post and start feeling better. my 4 plus daughter is perfectly pee pee trained. She is trained day and night but she struggles with poop.she can hold it in for days if she doesnt get a diaper. ive tried everything but nothing works. she’s a very bright girl but now people r saying she is delayed in potty training. it hurts so much as a mom

  • Xochilt Perez

    My eldest will be 5 in October and I want to get him into school but he will NOT poop in the toilet he only goes in his pull up I don’t know what to do! I am at my wits end I am not sure what else I can do he pees standing up and he goes when he needs to but he will just not poop! Also I noticed if he is too busy playing or watching TV we have to remind him to go to the bathroom maybe he doesn’t want to miss anything and won’t go to the bathroom because of this or what but I am desperately hoping he starts going poop in the potty soon I have an 18 month old who I hope we won’t have this problem with and another baby on the way! I don’t want to be buying diapers/pull-ups for 3 kids.

    • FV

      i totally understand what you are going through. the important point over here is just let it go for a while. i have the same problem with my 4.5 year old daughter. hopefully this is a phase and we will all get over with it soon. cuz if we get frustrated they can hold it in for days which can end up into a nightmare

  • Akshat

    Reading your blog, helped me calm a bit. I always felt that my son would not do it coz i insist him to it. He sits and poops but we have to take him befor he does standing. If given a choice to him, he would prefer doing it standing. Not sure what exactly is the problem in letting us know. could this be some medical thing where in he doesnt realize that he is getting poop ?

  • Laura Iacobelli

    My son is 5 in october and will not poo in the toilet, i have tried everything but he holds it in. I have used up all the pull ups and i refuse to buy anymore but hes holding it then does a very small amount in his pants and then cries when i say you need to go to the toilet. I wouldnt be in such a rush if he wasnt starting school next month, im running out of time and i dont know what else to do! He must be fully trained for school!!! He has been peeing since he was 2 but refuses point blank to use the potty or toilet for poo. Helppp!!!!! X

  • Jennessa Shaw

    Omg! This is our situation exactly! I’m so glad we aren’t the only ones. My son will be 6 in September and starts kindergarten in August.

  • Kenzie Parkerson

    What about school? My non potty pooper starts school Monday and I’ve tried everything other him to poop on the potty before he starts kindergarten Monday and NOTHING has worked!! What do I do about him pooping in his pull up in school?

  • Jess

    My soon to be 4 year old rarely ever has a bowel movement on the toilet. However, he has no problem having one at daycare. Out in the playground, inside playing with toys. He just drops his pants and has a poo or has an accident in his pants. He has never done this at home or with family/sitters. And I am at a loss for what to do as daycare has given me notice that if this behaviour continues they will haven.choice but to dismiss/expel him from daycare.

    Any suggestions?

  • Kelly Stuart

    My 3.5 year old refuses to poop in the toilet. We’ve been trying for 6 months. She used to poop everyday at the same time, around nap at daycare. Then we start potty training and she started holding it. Now she waits until we put a pull-up on at night and either goes after we turn off the lights or in the morning. Sometimes I think it takes her so long because she is constipated that she poops and immediately falls asleep. We discover it when we check on her before we go to bed and change her while she’s 1/2 asleep.

    Sometimes she even says she wants to try and then proceeds to sit reading books for 30 minutes until we are so tired and it’s way past her bedtime. We put a pull-up on and she immediately poops. She doesn’t ask for a pull-up, she waits until bedtime. She only does it lying down.

    She has pooped once at daycare in the toilet. She was so proud and happy to tell us. But then never did it again. We’ve offered the world. At this point I’d buy her a car, but she refuses.

    She knows she needs to do it before she goes to pre-school next week. I’ve basically lied to the pre-school saying she’s trained. She now only does it at night or morning, so I lied. To be honest, I’m hoping if she is around a ton of kids doing it, she might be less intimidated and do it too. I’m near tears reading all of these posts. Was hoping to hear those who wrote about it a year or more ago, what eventually happened. So frustrating.

  • Elisheva Ettlinger

    I feel what you’re going through, my son is 6 and we have hit a complete dead end with him. NOTHING has worked. We just let him wear a pull up and have come to terms with it. Thanks for the insight! Hopefully before he graduates elementary school he will be fully toilet trained. I can only hope.

  • Mireya Monarrez

    Thank you for sharing this. My son is 4.7 years old, and he won’t go in the toilet for pooping. He doesn’t bed wet, and he pees standing up, but refuses to sit on toilet. I feel like I’ve failed him, and so worried about when it comes time to start for school! This has given me hope!

  • Suzanne Marie Kumar

    Great advice! So glad I found this 5 year old article. Lol. Thanks so much for putting yourself out there to help out those in the same boat. I relate 110% from the first word to the last. Amazing. I’m thinking of putting him back in pullups only for his poops. A break from the stress and frustration sounds pretty good right about now.

  • Jamie Bell

    OMG thank you so much for this post!!! My husband and I have been arguing over this issue for what feels like a year. Our son turned 4 in December. He poops in a pull-up while sitting on the potty. If we take the pull-ups away he holds it in. I don’t let him hold it in for more than a day. My husnand wants him to feel uncomfortable enough to force him into pooping on the potty. I think that’s cruel and when he’s ready, he’ll poop on the potty. I’ve tried cutting holes in the pull-up, bribery, taking things away, reading books, singing songs…he’s just not ready to do it and I’m ok with that. My husband is not.

  • gayathri Ramani

    Im going through this with my second. My first one was a breeze. Dont even remem ber how i got her to poop on the toilet but now my second one is almost 5 and still screams my ear off even to enter the bathroom for poop time. And surprising fact is her peepee is completely sorted out no pullups even during night or travel. But poop only in pullups. I have tried thrice now going without any pullups but each time i had to give in after 3 or 4 days cant stand to c the little one in pain clutching her tummy and asking for a pullup. Hoping soon i will be able to update that we are 100% poopie trained.