My three year old son refuses to poop in the toilet
Patient : My son turned 3 in November and we have been working on potty training since just after Christmas. In two days he learned how to pee on the toilet and hasnt had an accident since. He refuses to poop in the toilet. Washing out 3 poopy diapers a day for several weeks is beginning to get old. I know this isnt an unusual problem, but any advice is appreciated. Here is what we have done so far...
He has his own potty that he is proud of and can access easily
We gave a small candy reward for pee and promised a larger reward for poop. This worked great for pee, and now that he has mastered it he gets no more candy unless he poops. The special potty candy is on display where he can see it but not reach it.
We have let him watch us use the potty
When he poops in his underpants I have him watch me put it in the toilet and flush it so he knows where its supposed to go
He is not constipated and usually poops 2-3 times a day usually around mid morning and early afternoon. His poop is soft, so I dont believe its painful. I have had him sit on the potty at around the time he usually poops. We sit there for 10-30 minutes reading, watching video clips on my phone, etc. He will hold it and then less than 5 minutes after he gets up he will go somewhere and hide or go into another room and poop in his underpants. When we ask him if he pooped his pants he says yes and that he needs to go potty or that he needs new underpants.
I have suggested that he tell me when he has to poop and I will put a diaper or pull-ups on him so he can poop and then I will change him. He doesnt tell me.
We have talked about being scared to go poop on the potty, how mommy and daddy (and grandma and favorite cousins) all poop on the potty, and how big kids poop on the potty and babies (like his sister) poop in diapers.
We have talked about how poop is yucky and feels gross. He responds to this and talks about how gross poop feels and its yucky, but no results
We put him in pull-ups at naptime and bedtime. He usually wakes up dry after naptime and slightly wet in the morning
He loves his underpants and is proud to wear them since he helped pick them out.
We havent punished him for going in his underpants and have kept the dialogue as positive and reassuring as possible
He looooves trains so Ive promised to take him on a train ride when he learns to poop in the potty. He asks non-stop to go on the train ride and I respond by saying I'd love to take him on a train ride when he learns to poop in the potty.
He is not in daycare since I am a stay at home mom
I am at a loss for what to do next. Do I revert him back to diapers or pull ups full time (he refuses to pee in a pull-up, so I dont think that would backslide him)? Do I just wait it out with underpants? Is there something I havent tried?
These Q&A’s are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.