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Toddler Won’t Poop On Potty—8 Easy Ways To Get Them On The Potty

toddler won't poop on potty

Potty training is an adventure for everyone involved. 

A potty-trained toddler is always the goal, but people don’t talk about how difficult it can be to control a small child’s bowel movements. 

Potty training problems tend to center more around urine issues than poop accidents.

This article is about what you can do to help your child master the successful potty-trained bowel movement and help your child overcome issues that come up along the way.

So if your toddler won’t poop on potty, this is the article for you. 

Grab your pull-up, prepare the stool softener, and let’s talk about toddler poop.

Toddler won’t poop on potty

Pooping regularly is vital to everyone’s health. 

We don’t often think about it as adults because when we have to go, well, we make it happen.

Withholding poop during potty training is a regular occurrence for toddlers, though. It can lead to all sorts of issues, including stomach pain, constipation, and a very unpleasant experience for you and your child.

You may think you need to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible because something must be wrong, causing this refusal to poop in the potty.

Before you start dialing the phone, you should take a minute and investigate what’s happening with your child that’s making those bowel movements lock up instead of having regular bowel movements on the potty.

toddler won't poop on potty

Why isn’t my child pooping in the potty?

Parents tend to worry if their child isn’t doing something we consider “normal.” However, there are many reasons your child may refuse to poop, even if the rest of the potty training is going perfectly.

If your child will poop in their pull-up or never had many issues pooping in their diapers before potty training started, there’s likely an issue you can address at home before you run to the doctor for answers.

Many toddlers buckle down and refuse to defecate in the space you give them to do so, outside of the pull-up or diaper.

The following are some common reasons for that stubbornness.

1. Power struggle

Power struggles are common in toddlers. Most toddlers engage in them with their parents, siblings, or caregivers at certain points.

Basically, it’s your child deciding that they simply are not going to do what you’re asking them to do. “I’m peeing on the potty like you want. You want me to poop there, too. You’re not getting both, Mom and Dad!”

2. Constipation

When your child goes number two in pull-ups, you have no real indication of how long it’s taking them to do so.

When you expect them to poop on the potty, however, it sometimes becomes clear that it’s taking much longer than you realize.

Parents bring a constipated kid to the doctor all of the time. It’s not an unusual issue; your doctor can help by providing tips, a stool-softening agent, and more.

About one in 20 appointments with a child’s doctor is poop and constipation related.

When a child is constipated, they’re uncomfortable. Sometimes even in pain. 

When pooping is painful, most toddlers will do anything to avoid it. 

Pooping in a diaper means that kids can work on it and allow it to work itself out over time. They aren’t pressured to do it on your time.

So if your child grunts and strains and then refuses to poop in the potty, it may be constipation to blame.

toddler won't poop on potty

3. Anxiety

As adults, we don’t always realize how much pressure we put on our kids to perform. Asking a child to poop on the potty when they’ve been doing it in a diaper or a pull-up for so long is asking a lot.

Sometimes, we don’t make it out to be a positive thing when they try. We only show them praise when they complete the task.

This can build up anxiety and fears that they can start associating with pooping where we want them to.

Tricks to get toddler to poop on potty

If potty training is going okay with peeing, but it’s a struggle to get your toddler to poop on the potty, the following tips and tricks may help you get the end result you’re looking for.

Trips to the toilet may change after you try a few of these tricks.

  1. Let them practice flushing with toilet paper – When you flush a toilet, it makes a noise, and it can leave your child scared to poop in the potty because that flushing noise will occur. Let them practice first and get comfortable with the noise by giving them squares of toilet paper they can send through the toilet first. This may help to alleviate some fears.
  2. Get your child a step stool – If your child’s feet dangle from the toilet or don’t reach the floor, it can be challenging for your toddler to feel comfortable or secure and may prevent them from being able to bear down to poop in the potty. Let them sit on the toilet with their feet on a stool. This will help them to feel comfortable and more confident and may even help prevent constipation.
  3. Don’t force it – Forcing a child to sit in the bathroom and wait until they’re able to go can scare children and instill a fear of the bathroom, toilet, or pooping. Pooping takes longer than peeing, so while you may need to spend a little extra time with it, don’t force them to put their body on the toilet for a long time.
  4. Get rid of the diapers – Kids sometimes see a diaper as an option to go to the bathroom, so long as it’s available. If you take away the chance to wear a diaper and put them in charge of their own body, they may feel more comfortable complying with potty training. Let them wear underwear, pull-ups, or nothing at all.
  5. Let them choose their underwear – When you offer rewards encouraging them to go potty where you want, children are more likely to work with you than against you. Take your child to the store and allow them to choose their underwear. Then tell them not to poop in them. This might help them to see themselves as big kids who are no longer in need of diapers.
  6. Don’t threaten them with a visit to the pediatrician – “If you don’t go on the potty, we’re going to have to go to the doctor, and you won’t like that.” Your child’s pediatrician isn’t someone who should ever induce stress or be a scary threat or sight to your child. If sitting on the toilet isn’t getting things moving, making them afraid of their doctor isn’t going to make things any easier.
  7. Bring toys and books into the bathroom – Make a routine of things that a kid won’t associate with a scary routine. Sitting on a toilet is boring. So after you’ve allowed your time to eat and digest a bit, head to the potty and read a book. Let them hold a toy. Your little one may associate eating food with going potty and having story time, which isn’t bad.
  8. Get help when needed – If it seems like a painful experience every time your child poops, you may need professional help. A constipated little one will not want to comply when you want them to go on the potty. Start thinking about dietary changes you can make, be patient, and contact a doctor if your child seems consistently pained when they poop.

Bye-bye diapers, hello potty training

Eliminating the need for a diaper is the goal.

The goal is for your toddler to poop in the designated place and control their bowel movements. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to.

Fear, painful poop, anxiety, and accidents happen. Sometimes intervention is needed, but you must be patient with your little one. 

Hopefully, the information provided in this article helps you move forward positively and positively.

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