my 4 year old will not poop!

Shannon - posted on 05/13/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old has no problem going pee, but hides under his sisters bed when he has to poop. He goes in his pants every other day. I am now forcing him on the potty evey hour..screaming. I put fiber in most of his food and he drinks a ton of water. I know he is just afraid to go but he starts pre-k next year and I would like some moreadvice on what I can do do ease his fears and/or to at least tell me he has to go.
Thank you!

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Terri - posted on 09/13/2012

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Jenn I have the same thing. My daughter will hold her poop for a week before she goes. She isn't scared of the potty because she will sit on it for a half hour. She is 4 and had a hard time pooping when she was little and now holds it so that it hurts her to poop. I can't get her to go everyday or even every other. She pees on her own but holds her poop. She will have marks in her panties for days before she will poop. And It drives me crazy. I've tried everything tons of water fresh fruit and laxatives and nothing.

Ronelle - posted on 09/15/2012

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I am in the same situation. My daughter is 4 1/2 and everyone is pressuring me. She screams and and it causes her trauma to use the toilet. I tried toilet seats, stickers, everything... my other 2 kids were fine , This one will start school and I am in a panic . She hides and poops and will tell me to change her. She knows how to control herself a she will tell me she is going to poop. We have long conversations but she just wont do it. Today I went cold turkey and hid all the pull ups. Kicking and screaming , kicking and " I dont like you" I managed to put underwear on her. 20 times to the toilet but at last she did a wee. The second time was traumatic and she screamed until she wet herself on the bathroom floor. Help. I put a pull up on her to sleep as she was so stressed at night. I am glad I am not alone. I thoight something was wrong withmy kid,

Teresa - posted on 05/14/2011

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my kids were like that too. I had to watch them and when they would hide or start pushing into their diaper i would quickly run them up to the bathroom where they would just make it on time to poop in the toilet with me sitting them down on it. I would then praise them and get all excited for them using the toilet. I only had to do it 3-4 times then they started to go on their own. I really relied on the positive reinforcement...stickers, suckers, popsicle anything that would make them want to go poop in the toilet again cause they know if they do they will get the good stuff. If you know your childs bowel habits too helps. Record if he goes daily, every other day, and around what time of day. The body is amazing on having routine :) This is an advantage for us moms. If you can figure his pattern out then you don't have to watch him every second of the day hoping you don't miss his moment. Hope this helps :)

Elizabeth - posted on 05/14/2011

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Goodness, that must be frustrating. If my daughter was screaming every hour, I'd be losing my mind... anyway, I hope this will help...

Respectfully, some of the fear and angst around this issue is probably related to the screaming and forcing him on the potty. It's become an issue, so now he has a stance to defend.

He doesn't have to go potty every hour, so putting him on the toilet every hour isn't addressing the problem. The fear is the problem. To get him over the fear, I'd try a reward and enabling approach - can you give him a special toy or something that when he holds it, it makes it okay/safe to poo? For example, when my daughter started waking in the night afraid of things, we gave her a stuffed animal we told her would guard her whilst she slept. Following up on that, there's an aspect of giving him a reason to want to overcome the fear himself - a reward. Stickers maybe? A stamp?

My daughter had similar issues, but we're in the midst of potty training now. It hasn't been smooth - she started with a few screaming fits just like your son's, and she's not there yet either, but it seems to be going okay. I just wish it was done with!

Good luck!

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Megan - posted on 01/21/2013

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Chances are your child had an experience when it hurt to go poo while sitting on the toilet. So now she fears it. So first I would say take her to the doctor and explain in detail the problem with your child there. To get your child to regularly sit on the toilet to go poo, the doctor will probably recommend a stool softener -Miralax and a nightly sit on the toilet.
The miralax will ensure that the bowel movements won't hurt. So now you have to help your daughter learn that sitting on the pot to poo will not hurt. Use positive reinforcement. Go to the store together and choose a chapter book together that your child will enjoy. Talk up how much fun it will be to read together every night! Make a big deal about it. So that she is excited to spend some time each night with you reading to her at bedtime. That night begin a bedtime routine that includes bath then prayers and book time. Really make it special and fun. After one or two nights let her know that beginning tomorrow sitting on the toilet to go poo will be part of the bedtime routine. First a bath, then sit on the toilet to poo, then prayers and book time. If she resists the toilet time after bath, stay calm DO NOT GET UPSET, just state that the doctor says she needs to sit on the pot to poo each night...as soon as you go poo, then we will start book time! You might even entice her by offering to read one page of book while she sits on the pot. Hopefully she will so want her book time that she will sit. If she has a full blown fit.. tell her you love her so much and you really want to have book time with her, but she has to sit on the pot first. Tell her you will come back in five minutes to see if she is ready then just walk away. She is going to want the book time, so just patiently wait until she relents and sits on the pot. Give her lots of praise and make book time as special as possible. Then stick to this bedtime routine EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Soon it will be second nature...bath, potty, book, bedtime.
Be sure its a really good book. Some suggestions for 4 year olds would be David, In Trouble or any of the David Books, Where's my Teddy, or Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0439050...
Good luck and God Bless!

Cheena - posted on 09/21/2012

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I've met my sistrens! My son is a wiz at whizzing but a major slacker bee in the poop department. Like many of you I have done all kinds of bribery... The boy is un-bribe-able. I've tried to wait him out. I've tried timing his movements. And I know he's not afraid of the bathroom. He's in there checking himself out in the full length mirror and flushing toilets like he's Posseidon. He's even stopping me in the store to take him to the potty, but nothing. Me and grandma are at our wit's end (and she had potty trained my sister and I at a year and a half). Desperate!!!

Charlee - posted on 05/19/2011

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Try having him clean it out of his under wear himself I had that problem with my oldest he is now 8. He would go pee just fine in the toilet but when it came to pooping he refused but as soon as I had him clean out his own under wear he soon realized!!!!

Suzanne - posted on 05/19/2011

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we had the same problem with my now 10 year old, he would hole it to the point of constapation, nothing we did worked we eventuly tried making him sit on the toilet for 1/2 an hour reading when we caught the sign he had to go ( hiding under the dinning room table) it started to work but really it took him not being able to hold it at school and doing it there for him to stop and start using the toilet, thank god his class had a wonderful helper that did help him clean up without anyone finding out. and he never did it again. but he still has problems today so honestly even though it is frustrating yelling and fighting and punishing does make the problem worst

Anne-Marie - posted on 05/17/2011

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Try the reward system every time he use's the potty he gets a treat of some sort. A toy from the dollar store. Or something he loves to eat but is only for desert. And also start him on a star chat and at the end of the week or end of the month he gets a big prize. Like dinner at McDonalds or something from Toys r us! That should get him if he can work towards something! Good Luck!

Julie - posted on 05/17/2011

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The problem you now have is that it as become a battle field which is increasing his fear, You need to change his way of thinking make it fun praise him if he succeeds to use the tiolet don't scald him when he does not just relax and say oh well never mind I'm sure you will do better next time do a little reward chart so if he succeeds he gets a star and so many star means he chooses a small prize you will find once he relax's things will improve remember your son is just one of many children going through this stage some children do it early others are late but most succeed in the end,
good Luck'regards Julie /evans

Donna - posted on 05/17/2011

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Forcing him on the potty will just add to his fear or he could think that your trying to hurt him by making him sit on the potty, I had trouble getting my 2nd son clean so I left the potty out, also I had friends that had children the same age that were being potty trained so I let him see them go on the potty, after a while he was getting on the potty himself.

I hope that you get this potty problem sorted x

KAREN - posted on 05/16/2011

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try gano-excel hot chocolate packs at night... you'll be surprised to see what you find in the morning! :-)

Karen - posted on 05/16/2011

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I had that problem when i was 6. I claimed it hurt to go in the toilet. It was easier to pass it in my pants. I have heard of a lot of other little ones who have this prob. i think it may have something to do with their bum being too dry. there is a lubricant he may not be producing enough of. I heard vasaline works (gross but helps). But you have to get him to go in the toilet to prove it to him. My cousin who had the problem till he was 11! My aunt awarded a quarter everytime he would do a bm. That worked for him. avoid punishing him though because i had to go to the E.R. and have the doctor do something gross because it only made me want to hold it in. Very sever side pains too, for hours.

Ashley - posted on 05/15/2011

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Btw, i didnt think my son was constipated either, his poop was normal consistancy and color, but the doctor said what he was eliminating today is what he should have been eliminating yesterday, so he was pooping daily, just behind schedule if that makes sence. Lol but the miralax really helped , i.would talk to your pediatrician.

Ashley - posted on 05/15/2011

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I had this same problem with my four year old. I also tried correcting it with his diet and water intake, didnt help. He would hold it untill he couldnt anymore and then end up going in his pants. I happened to mention it to his pediatrician during one of his normal check ups and she felt around om his belly and she said she could feel that he was backed up. She said its common for kids to maybe have one painful bowel movement then they are scared that it will hurt again so they hold it, and then it does hurt when they go again and the cycle goes downward from there. But its actually important that you get them regular again, because they can risk getting an impacted bowel which sometimes can need surgery to clear. My sons pediatrician prescribed him 1/4 tsp of mirilax once a day for a month. I thought that was a bit much for a problem so simple, but i stuck witj it anyway. I mixed it in his milk in the morning, he couldnt even taste it. He had accidents in his pants pretty much every day for the first week, but since then, none. Hes back to using the potty and every thing comes out easily :)

Ruth - posted on 05/15/2011

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Sorry I have nothing too offer as in Advice but I feel for you I am going threw the same thing my Son turns 4 next month and HATES the potty!!!

Candyce - posted on 05/14/2011

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LOL! I'm so sorry to hear that, although it's funny since I don't have to deal with it, lol. If it's any consolation, it will pass (literally and figuratively). And it'll make a great story for his future wife and kids :D. Or if you're like my mother, it'll make a great story for his friends and girlfriend in highschool

Jenn - posted on 05/14/2011

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He wheres underwear during the day and he is actually quite happy being naked as well, I only stick a pull up on him when he is about to poo because i got sick of cleaning it out of his pants and my floor. It isn't the potty either because he will gladly pee in the potty all by himself without me telling him to, as well as the big toilet. As far as letting him go commando and just go my thing is i have a baby in the house who is crawling and i have learned that it is not a good idea to let them just go where ever because nuggets of poo tend to roll around under furniture and the next thing i know my daughter is trying to eat it. He will poo and not tell me and honestly i cannot be behind him waiting for him to poop 24/7 so it would just equal a lot of messes that didn't get cleaned up right away and i am not gonna have my baby crawling around in that!! I get what your saying though with the shame thing but he has four older cousins whom he hangs out with a lot and looks up to and they all poop in the toilet and try to encourage him to but the kid just has no shame lol.It isn't fear of the unknown i don't think because he HAS pooped in the potty before, this all stemmed from and incident of him getting really constipated for about a week and it hurting him to poop and it was downhill since then. He is scared to just relax and let it come out, he gets all tense and will not let anyone touch him, he just stands in a corner all tense and will sometimes squeeze his cheeks to try to stop the poop. But it is frusterating because if he would just poop on the damn potty he would see that it doesn't always hurt!!!!! But no-freaking-way he puts up a hell of a fight if i try to force him to sit on the potty, which i don't do because i don't want it to be a negative experience for him...I am out of tricks to try and at a loss but i have four mths to figure this out!

Candyce - posted on 05/14/2011

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@ Jenn - I know this sounds gross, but have you thought of letting him go commando for a couple of weeks, so he either has the option on pooping on himself (literally) or going to the toilet? It only works if he's on hard floors, not carpet, lol. There's going to be a lot of cleaning until he gets it (keep the spray bottle, disinfectant, paper towels and grocery bags ready!). Poop is difficult to clean from carpets, I found out! This sounds horrible, but sometimes peer shame works in areas like this. If he has any friends who poop on the potty, maybe they could come over after a fiber-laden meal and poop in your toilet. Once he figures his friend is fine, he might try it himself. A lot of it is simply fear of the unknown.

@ Tami - LOL! I had completely forgotten until saw this, but I used to have to hold my son up on the toilet (when he was about three) while he pooped. It was HORRIBLE!!!! He's always crapped like a grown man - enough to burn off your eyebrows

Tami - posted on 05/14/2011

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You said he is afraid to go poop in the toilet. Has he fallen in? Maybe he needs to be shown how to hold himself so he won't fall in and not be flushed. I got one of those wooden seat covers that has a smaller hole to put on the seat, so the kids can actually sit and not have to worry about holding them selves and falling in. Just for a while until they get used to using the big toilet. One of my twins would not go on one of those automatic flush toilets because of fear of being flushed unless I held her. She out grew that but it was scary for her for a while.

Jenn - posted on 05/14/2011

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OMG FINALLY!! I have the exact same problem with y four year old son and it stresses me out to no end because he starts kindergarten in September and cannot attend if he wont poop in the toilet..He was doing well potty training at age three and then he got constipated one day and it hurt him to poop and it was downhill from there. Now he will go pee like a big boy in the potty/toilet no problem but when it comes to pooping no frigging way!! He gets all tensed up and stands pin straight and doesn't want anyone to touch him, he refuses to sit down period let alone on the potty. He stays like this hiding in a corner all tense until he is done pooping. I got tired of him going in his pants so i would just put a pull-up on him when he said he had to poop, but now i am worried he wont be able to start kindergarten. Seriously honey if you get any good advice PASS IT ON and please know your not alone. Actually I would like to join your circle if you like then maybe we can help each other figure this out. Kindergarten starts in September so i have like 4 mths to resolve this. Sorry i cant offer more help but please PLEASE know you are NOT alone. I have also tried putting fiber, drinking liquids etc. I know it isn't because he is constipated because for one it has been going on for almost 8 mths and number two when i check his poop in the pull up it is not hard or dry it is normal and soft. I am so relieved that i am not the only one suffering with this situation!



**My main concern is that if he cannot poop in the toilet/potty, then he cannot start kindergarten. And for the record i have tried everything i can think of, i gave him time figuring he would get over it, tried the seat covers for kids that go on the adult toilet, tried pottys, tried sticker charts/reward systems, tried reading stories while he sits on the potty, letting him play his DS on the potty, people say give him time hes not ready but he was doing fine pooping and peeing on the potty, then an incident where he got constipated and it hurt him almost a yr ago is where he regressed to being afraid to poop and i dont know how to assure him it is okay..I dont have time to give him because he has to be trained fully to attend school!

Candyce - posted on 05/14/2011

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If your kid's screaming and throwing a fit when it's time to use the potty, maybe (s)he's simply not ready. It's much easier to start when they're ready than to force the issue too soon. I didn't even do "potty training" with mine. i just showed him how it worked and allowed him to watch the grownups use. He got to flush to toilet after, so it didn't terrify him, and when he was ready, he plopped his little behind on the potty himself. Never even used the expensive potty-chair I bought (smdh). Though he was pissing on trees long before he used the big toilet.... My son was nearly four before he started to really use the potty himself, but once he did, he got it within a week, because he was READY! Throwing fits and screaming probably means they simply aren't ready yet. Never mind what everyone else says, you know when your kid is ready. I had everyone from my husband to my granny to my neighbors telling me he was ready, but he and I both knew he wasn't. Do what your mama gut tells you.

Candyce - posted on 05/13/2011

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Wow... never really had that problem. My kid *loves* to hear his poop in the toilet at every opportunity, lol. He'll run through the house, announcing his intention every time. Maybe if you stock the bathroom with interesting books, he'll be more inclined to have a go at it. Or drop a few pieces of TP in the toilet so no water splashes up on his behind (that part freaked my child out the first few times).



ETA: If all else fails, have Dad take him in the bathroom next time he needs to unload, lmao. For some reason, most kids find adults pooping to be hilarious. It'll get a few laughs out of the baby and might make him more comfortable with it if he knows Daddy does it too.

Tonya - posted on 05/13/2011

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This is a tough one... have you tried telling him that everyone & every living creature poops? does he have a pet to help visualize this for him? I don't know much else to say. My son had a problem in Kindergarten with accidents, mostly pee, & I thought it was from him being afraid to ask the teacher if he could go, but this is a little different.

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