Poo Strike.. HELP!! (not a debate)

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011 ( 49 moms have responded )

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So Milla turned 2 on Feb 9, and day potty trained the same week. It was completely child-led. In reality, she had been ready for a couple of months, but because she was so young I just took it very casually and slowly.

Anyway, she was still holding her poo to do it in her nappy right before bedtime during the first week. That was no issue as I was happy for her to take it gradually, and it's not like she was dropping logs all over the house. Then she started doing them on the potty during the second week, and did not like it one bit. At first, I thought it was the difference in sensation between doing it into an enclosed space while standing up, versus into the potty while sitting. I just reassured and encouraged her, and praised her when she did it. But then she started totally freaking out after she saw it in the potty.

Which led to the poo strike. It started about a week and a half ago. She will literally clench her cheeks, cross her legs, and hold it in. Until yesterday, she had only been twice in 9 days. She screams and cries because after holding it for so many days (3-4 days) it was dry, hard and huge. So then she was not only afraid of the poo itself, but remembering that the last couple hurt. She would tell me her bottom hurt, but that she didn't want to do a poo. She would scream for me to help her. It was highly traumatic for both of us!

I started her on a natural stool softener last Thursday and it did nothing to solve the problem. She already drinks lots of water and plenty of fruit. My Mum took her to see the children's health nurse and she suggested putting her back in pull ups until this issue resolved (which doesn't thrill me). I was starting to completely stress out yesterday (with visions of an impacted colon and trip to hospital) and after speaking with one of the nurses I work with, went ahead and gave her glycerine suppositories and a children's laxative.

The first suppository didn't work. But after the first dose of laxative, the second suppository and about 15mins of hysterical screaming, she did a poo in the Pull Up. It was large, but not hard and dry like the other ones. So I know it wasn't that she couldn't go, just that she didn't want to.
Later last night she did another poo, but this time in the potty. This one was formed but totally soft and didn't look like it required much effort to do. But again, once she saw it she flipped out saying to take it away.

On the pharmacist's advice, I have continued the laxatives today (no suppositories though). I have followed the directions to leave her in a Pull Up (and all that has happened is that she wees in them). She clearly needed to do a poo this morning, but started running around whinging and wriggling to hold it in.

Having the Pull Ups on is not helping! She doesn't want to wear them, and it's just confusing her. And I don't know what else to do! I am trying to reassure her that poos are good, that she'll feel better afterwards etc. But she is barely 2, and very stubborn. I have heard lots of stories of kids getting poo issues during or immediately after potty-training for various reasons, so I figured someone here had probably been through it and will have some words of wisdom. Help please :)

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Kate CP - posted on 03/01/2011

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This sounds crazy and a little gross...but have you shown her YOU pooping in the toilet? When she sees Mommy do it and not freak out (and then Mommy can get herself a treat for pooping in th potty) she may come around. Went through this with my kiddo...it daily laxatives and enemas and screaming fits for her to get over it. Hopefully your's will come out of it better. :/

Heather - posted on 03/07/2011

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I know that these suggestions might sound a little yucky but bare with me please. Humour in this situation helps. Firstly, if she is the sort of child who is very clean, teach her that being messy (as long as you clean up) is OK. Dirt is good for immune system development, spreading icing on cakes and baking can be messy but delicious, baths with that jelly stuff are fun. Get her to understand that dirt and mess are normal parts of life and work and that they go hand in hand with cleaning up after.

Secondly,show her the dogs in the park, the animals in the zoo all pooping etc. Start celebrating poops where ever you can. Not only will this give you and her something to laugh over when she is much older but will get her to understand that everyone does it, it's normal and natural and that the smell, look etc is just part of it.



Thirdly, start showing her that everyone poos. Score for poop sizes (1 jelly bean for small, 2 jelly beans for big) and award extras for smell. Maybe let her see you using the toilet if this is something that you can be comfortable with. (and don't forget that you get a clap and let her award you a jelly bean or two after she has inspected the results).



We skipped the potty all together and used one of those seats that fit on the toilet. Try that...



She sounds like a strong willed and delightful child. What potential she sound like she has in her future. Congratulations!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/02/2011

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What did help my son, was him sitting on the toilet, me in front of him with his arms around my neck, and gently rubbing his back telling him "it is ok..I am right here" or singing a song..telling him to take a deep breath and on the count of 3 PUSH! Yes he was giving birth to poopoo.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/02/2011

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Oh man i remember those days with my son. He went through a phase of pretty much the same thing. I would have to put a diaper on him just to poop. Then he finally was completely potty trained, and he all of a sudden after 3 month of pooping on the toilet, didn't want to anymore and started in his pants...gross. He is now almost 5 and is beyond all this, but the child gets 3 prunes daily to keep him soft and regular. That would be my best suggestion....give prunes to make them soft and regular so she CAN"T hold it in.

This is truly one of the MOST trying things to get past...pooping on the potty. It sounds like you are doing everything right....talk with her, get her videos and follow your instincts. All of us can tell you what works for us, but it really is just about your little girl getting used to poop in the toilet. Maybe don't let her see it? Start her on the regular toilet with one of the cusion seats on it that is removable? flush as soon as she is done? IDK. Good luck Erin...this is the difficult part.

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Krissy - posted on 03/08/2011

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Get lots of very detailed potty books at her level. My daughter has one that shows the part of the body even "A tiny hole in our bottom for the poopy to come out"... we read it a bunch of time and talked about how everyone pees and everyone poops... we also got a very child-friendly picture book of the human body and talked in very simple terms about how we eat our food and it digests and we poop it out...

I wonder if her fear is more fear of the unknown. Maybe she is just super smart and worries about things that other kids don't.

My heart goes out to you, we had something similar happen recently. My daughter (just turned 3) potty trained about 7 months ago completely. We had no issues... well, the other day a "magic potty" flushed really hard while she was sitting on it. She didn't over react so I just reassured her and moved on. This began a three day fear of potties.. every potty except the one at home... and we had lots of running to do that weekend... it was crazy... she would freak out in hysterics... and also, she REFUSES to pee outside in the grass, too... so we were really stuck.

I just kept telling her, "This one is not a magic potty, it won't flush while you are sitting on it."... finally she tried one, but still struggled a few times after that and then got over it.

Tracy - posted on 03/08/2011

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have u tried letting her poop on the "big toilet" I found that my kids were thrilled by the "plopping" noise that goes along with said actions. Also make it a game....when she is on the potty/toilet make her pull funny faces while she pushes it out and make a big deal about it.

Mel - posted on 03/08/2011

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I dont have advice on potty training but use fibresure for constipation it can be used for any age and its brilliant just add it to a cup of water or some food whenever its needed

Ez - posted on 03/07/2011

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I just wanted to thank everyone again for your input and advice. The situation is greatly improved in that she is no longer witholding and screaming in pain. But she still doesn't like poo! She tells me it scares her and makes her sad :(

I have shown her my poo, the dog's poo, her own poo and talked about how poo is fun and everyone does it and it makes you feel better etc. She is gradually getting better, but definitely understands that pooing gets praise because she claps me and tells me I'm a good girl after I go lol.

This thread has helped with providing both suggestions and reassurance that this is not uncommon. I think it's just going to take a bit of time. Right now she is still choosing to poo in a Pull Up (she asks for one when she needs to go) and for now I'm ok with that (she only turned 2 in Feb). Really, I'm willing to do just about anything to avoid a repeat of what happened last week. I was well aware that what starts out as a behavioural problem can quickly turn into a physical issue, and it terrified me because I couldn't fix it!

Amanda - posted on 03/07/2011

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My daughter went through the same thing and became ao backed up she required childrens enemas a couple of times. It helped to put her on the "big" potty instead of her little one because we could immediately flush it away. Also I got to the point where I resorted to bribery. I got a few toys from the dollar store amd everytime she pooped I simply let her puck which toy she wanted. When I would see her holding it in I would sit her on the potty and endure the tantrum while reminding her she did not want to get sick from holding it in and that she had a toy waiting. Also, because she was backed up she didn't have much of an appetite so when she would finally go I would let her pick what dinner I would make that night. And I made sure to praise her overmuch after every poopie. I don't know that it was exactly what "experts" would recommend but I was at my wits end and it worked. After two weeks she was fine and regular again.

Amanda - posted on 03/07/2011

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My daughter went through the same thing and became ao backed up she required childrens enemas a couple of times. It helped to put her on the "big" potty instead of her little one because we could immediately flush it away. Also I got to the point where I resorted to bribery. I got a few toys from the dollar store amd everytime she pooped I simply let her puck which toy she wanted. When I would see her holding it in I would sit her on the potty and endure the tantrum while reminding her she did not want to get sick from holding it in and that she had a toy waiting. Also, because she was backed up she didn't have much of an appetite so when she would finally go I would let her pick what dinner I would make that night. And I made sure to praise her overmuch after every poopie. I don't know that it was exactly what "experts" would recommend but I was at my wits end and it worked. After two weeks she was fine and regular again.

Shawna - posted on 03/06/2011

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I have not read all the comments but if I were you I would try to flush the toilet before she sees it and maybe that would help. If she doesn't see then maybe she won't freak out.

Nadia - posted on 03/04/2011

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My daughter went through the same thing... and i hate to say but she's almost 5 and we have finally resolved the issue! i know how frustrating this stage is and a lot of kids are afraid of the poop. all i can say is perserverence. just keep praising her when she poops and let her know its a good thing! one thing we did was prizes... kind of like briberey i guess. I went to the dollar store and bought a whole bunch age-appropriate goodies (hair ties, crayons, jewelerry, etc) and every time she pooped on the potty she got to pick a prize. it really helped her and one day she actually forgot to ask for the prize and so i just stopped offering them to her. Some parents use candies, but i figured she didn't need an more sugar, so i opted for dollar store crap lol. anyway, i hope this helps :)

Amber - posted on 03/04/2011

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well, that's good that she's going again. at least she was only not pooping because she didn't want to and not because she actually couldn't, because my son went through that once and it was NOT a fun time...my body is on poo strike right now and i can tell you i would change it if i could :( le sigh. the joys of pregnancy.

Bexterwhite - posted on 03/04/2011

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Thats fantastic I'm sure you have got on top of it early enough and dealt with it quick enough that in a few weeks neither of you will even remember this, until some other mum comes to you in a panic. [the things us mums have to deal with!]

Ez - posted on 03/04/2011

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Thanks everyone for your input. Things have been much better in the last day or so. She will now look at it and say hello and goodbye when I flush. She went twice today (thanks to the laxatives) and neither time was the ordeal they were earlier in the week. Familiarising her with what it looks like in the toilet seems to be working. So I will continue doing that (whether she does it in a Pull Up or the potty) and hopefully the fear will disappear and she can go back to doing them all in the potty or toilet.

Bexterwhite - posted on 03/03/2011

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my neighbor who is very private about pooing has a son who was just like this, so we all pooed at her house me and my four boy's [who all poo in succession at five p.m. every night] would all go to kaths for a cup of tea at 4.30 and at five on the dot the boys would all loudly go and poo they talked about it sang about it and there was a lot of "horrid boy's talk" in kaths bathroom instead of mine. Her son who was very good friend with the boys hung out in the bathroom with them after a few days and after a spectacular blue poo from Barnie [who had eaten a crayon] oliver stated pooing [and singing vulgar song about it]

[deleted account]

I was so worried while my son was going through it too. I read that if we made too big of a matter of it, he would only resist more. So we just kept relaxed, encouraging and rewarding use of the toilet with success with treats and he got a couple Hotwheels for being more willing to go there. Time seems like it flew by since then! Now he's 100% independent. You will be there before you know it too! It was helpful for him to be in preschool with other children perfecting his skills too.

The potty training books are a good thing for the time being, but might not "work" right away. They really serve as a good communication aide in talking lightly about the subject, or getting your child comfortable with it.

Vegemite - posted on 03/03/2011

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Arg my son used to run away from me saying my nappy my poo so i told him he isn't allowed nappies during the day anymore and if he did poos in his pants then it would be stuck on his bum he didn't like the thought of that. He would say poos yukky and wouldn't want to do them and wouldn't do them on the toilet because its yukky. So after breakfast he would sit on the toilet with his car and some books and that's where he stayed until he couldn't hold on anymore and had to go. Then we made it great fun to flush the toilet he got to stand on the lid and flush jumping up and down yelling bye bye yukky poo then he got a cadbury button. haha worked for him.

Nikki - posted on 03/02/2011

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That's awesome Erin, I much prefer the toilet seats with the steps, I hope she goes for you tonight.

Ez - posted on 03/02/2011

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The more I look into this, the more I realise how common it is. Which helps in a way. But then I read stories of kids having long term bowel problems from witholding at this toddler stage. Ugh.

Today has been a much better day. No poo despite the laxative, but no screaming either. I've decided to put her back in undies because wearing the Pull Up was not helping and I don't want to have her regress on me with her wees. I asked her this morning if she wanted a Pull Up on for if she does a poo, and she said no. So I'm happy to follow her lead with that.

And this afternoon she was sitting on the new toilet seat (with the ladder and handles) saying she wanted to poo. She said it would come out of her bottom and into the water, but it would hurt :( I reassured her that it wouldn't hurt because she was talking her special medicine to make it soft, and that remember she watched Mummy go this morning and it didn't hurt me. So I'm trying everything here, and feeling much more positive than yesterday.

Sorry you're dealing with this too Kate :(

Jenn - posted on 03/02/2011

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We have that book Nikki - my son LOVED it! I like the idea of letting her watch you and the picture idea. I didn't have this issue as my son would just poop in his underwear for a long time, but I did have a friend whose little girl did the same thing your daughter is doing. I think it just took some time for her to get over the issue and now she's fine to go on the toilet.

Isobel - posted on 03/02/2011

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I used to "help" Eve push it out...we held hands and made funny pushing faces together.

That's all I got, sorry. Good Luck

Kate CP - posted on 03/02/2011

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Forgot to mention that my nearly 5 year old is still on a pooping strike. She is currently stuck in the bathroom because she is refusing to poop because she's afraid it will hurt. This is after she fell asleep on the sofa and pooped a little IN HER SLEEP.

This is rather infuriating and I feel your pain, Erin. And it sucks that there's nothing I can do, either. *sigh*

Mary - posted on 03/02/2011

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(((hugs)))

The book Nikki mentioned is awesome (and pretty funny as well).

Molly also really liked Elmo's Potty Time dvd...although she enjoyed the part about all the different names for poop a little too much!

Ez - posted on 03/02/2011

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Thank you so much everyone. I was having a 'moment' yesterday and felt very overwhelmed by this ordeal. I have read of children taking a year to get over this issue, and I totally freaked out! It is literally consuming both of our lives right now, and imagining many more months of this just about did me in :(

Anyway, I feel much better after a good sleep (she let me sleep til 7am which is unheard of in this house lol). I have realised I need to approach this on a day to day basis or I will lose my mind.

I think it is going to be a trial and error thing as to what gets her over this fear. I will try taking her with me again today and hopefully she won't resist. If that goes well, I am going to try the photo thing.

Nikki, I haven't heard of that book but I will be ordering it today!

Marina, that's pretty much what she wants me to do when she eventually does go. She screams for me to cuddle her. It's super stressful.

Brandi - posted on 03/02/2011

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maybe just try to not let her see what is in the potty. Tell her to get up and you wipe her, and never let her see what is in there. Then, after she gets comfortable doing it, she will be able to see that it is ok, and the stuff in the potty is just something that needs to come out.

Bonnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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Having her watch you poo is a good idea. My older son never had a fear of pooing in the potty and neither has my younger son yet, but he is still not all that interested in using the potty yet.

He certainly likes to wait until mommy is done and then see it in the toilet and flush for me so i'm hoping he will be okay with it soon when the time comes for him. Good luck!

Amanda - posted on 03/02/2011

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Go poo yourself with your daughter in the room. Tell her what you are doing, and then show her in the toilet. Explain to her that everyone poops and when we are done we flush it down the toilet while saying good bye!

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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The lengths we go through lol.



Edit to add: Not your situation Erin but some of the posts. I am hoping Alyce won't have a problem because every time Sydney poops she wants to see it and analyze it.

Tara - posted on 03/02/2011

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Show her your poo and her daddy's poo and anyone else who poops in the toilet. Show her how you do it, I know it seems weird using your own bodily function to teach, but if you take her in with you, show her how you poo on the toilet, stand up, say "Look at mommy's poo, I did it, give me a hug! I bet you can poo like mommy can poo."
I have a 11 year old who had horrid poo problems and still does, she takes "Lax a Day" every night and will until this time next year. During her toddler years, she had so many issues with a "sluggish" bowel that she ended up with "neurogenic bowel dysfunction" where the nerves in her colon are dead from all the years of trying different types of laxatives, stool softeners, diet changes, prune juice, massive water intake etc. etc. etc. that didn't work to get her moving her bowels every day. So now she has to use a lax for a year to allow those nerve endings to re-grow or she will never feel "the urge" to go poo.
Keep telling her that she is doing great. Make going poo a regular event (if she used to go after dinner, or before bed or in the morning start there)
Be patient. Also to avoid some of the initial discomfort of having poo exit her body, if you wipe a little vaseline on the inside of her anus, it will all slide out much easier.
Good Luck!
Don't let this go on for more than you can help it, this is a critical time for her to understand this whole process of elimination.

Mary - posted on 03/02/2011

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I think Kate's advice is great. Before we started potty training, I did make a big deal of showing her my poop, and we would sing this asinine "bye-bye poopies" song I made up as I let her flush it. I also made a point of effusively praising my dogs for pooping when she and I would walk them (I felt like a complete ass when people walked by, but Molly loved it!). It got to the point in our household where anyone's poop was cause for celebration. Although I feel like a fool (especially with the dogs), it did seem to impart the message into her little brain that pooping is something we all do, and it is "good" to do it in the right place. Of course, I also have the child that randomly told the librarian last week "I go poopie in the potty, but Sammie goes poopie in the grass. Mommy goes in the potty too!".

Ez - posted on 03/02/2011

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Ok I've just spent an hour googling and actually found an excellent (if gross) idea in an old COM thread. A grandmother said she had to transfer the poo from the Pull Up or potty into the toilet and take a photo! I had a total Oprah light bulb moment, because Milla loves the camera and looking at photos. I found a lot of stuff confirming what Katherine said about toddlers feeling like the poo is part of them etc, so if that is the case with Milla the photo should help.

I swear, I have never spent so much time thinking about poo in all my life.

Ez - posted on 03/02/2011

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Thanks Shannen. I do feel better that it's not unheard of. But it is stressing me out so badly. Milla is screaming like someone is murdering her every time she gets the urge to poo (which is often), and because I'm single I get no break. Seeing her distressed is hard, and having her ask for my help and be unable to fix it for her sux. This whole ordeal has totally changed Milla's personality, and not for the better. I am exhausted, frustrated, worried that she's going to actually do herself some damage by refusing to poo, and just generally want my normal Milla back :(

[deleted account]

I can't help but i have a friend whos 3 yr old went through the same thing although i'm not sure how she eventually got her out of it. As hard as it is to deal with at least it's kind of common.
I hope it is just a fase that passes sooner rather then later for you and you daughter.

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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Nikki she just holds it. She's been in undies (except bedtimes) for the last 3 weeks with no accidents, but then I put her in a Pull Up this morning on the child health nurse's advice (and because she had had the laxative I didn't know if she would make it to the potty).

Whether she's in undies, Pull Ups or bare bottom, she does NOT want that poo to come out. I have spent literally all afternoon dealing with this. I followed Kate's advice (TMI I know lol) and she didn't want to look. I wish I could just ignore it, but she screams and cries and asks me to help her. She is totally freaked out. It's not that she doesn't understand or has an issue with the potty. It's the idea that the poo came from her I think. And because she's still so young I can't reason with her. I will continue trying Kate's suggestion, and keep giving her the laxative to make sure it is soft. Gaaaaawd my kid is traumatised by poo!

Stifler's - posted on 03/01/2011

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I agree with Kate to let her watch you go to the toilet then flush and not freak out. All my friends that have toilet trained their kids already did that.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/01/2011

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I don't have any advice...

BUT I almost choked on my chai tea at the visual of Milla dropping logs all over the house :P

Nikki - posted on 03/01/2011

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I like Kate's idea too. Maybe after a few times watching you, you could look at getting one of those toddler toilet contraption things and see if she will copy you?

Is she wearing undies? will she poo in them or will she hold on?

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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Kate I think I might have to do that. Gross doesn't bother me at this point lol.

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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Yeah see I could understand this being a control issue if I potty-training had been a big battle. But it wasn't. She was very ready. But if this issue causes her to go back to only pooing in her bedtime nappy, then I'm ok with that too. The other day I refused to even utter the 'p' word. She just doesn't want to do it at all. Not in the potty, in the big toilet, or in a nappy.

Rosie - posted on 03/01/2011

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lucas always gets a kick out of saying goodbye to his poo's and flushing the toilet. he waves and says "bye poo, or bye pee!!" as it goes down. he thinks it's the neatest thing, lol. maybe you guys can say bye to millas poo?? lol!

Katherine - posted on 03/01/2011

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They say fear, embarrassment and stubbornness are the three biggest things.

It says: f he's getting upset, back off; otherwise, he'll start holding his poop in. That will create a vicious cycle: His stool will become bigger and harder and more painful to get out, and that, in turn, will make him more reluctant to move his bowels on the potty. Keep reading the potty books, and try again in a month or so. If nothing is working, or if his stools are very hard, call your doctor for advice.


Also to give them a stool to rest their feet on. Hell make it a shrine lol!!!

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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Oh haha.. no I didn't. But yes I have tried giving her a book. I've tried singing her favourite song. I've made promises of finger painting and Play Doh. I'm trying to get her to make a connection to something positive, but for now everything is overshadowed by the fact she just does not want to do the poo.

Katherine - posted on 03/01/2011

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I don't know if you saw my edit, but maybe giving her a book to read might help?

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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So can I expect she will naturally move past it with a bit of time, or is there something I can do to help her? It's doing my head in because I'm worried she's going to make herself sick over it!

Ez - posted on 03/01/2011

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Forgot to add, I have also tried massage, warm baths, rewards, and foods like dates, dried apricots etc. She doesn't drink juice so that isn't an option. She has also gone off cereal, so that's out. I am going to switch her from white to brown bread, pasta and rice. But I really think this is a behavioural thing, rather than a physical one. The only reason it got so hard for her is because she consciously held it in, not because she couldn't push it out.

Katherine - posted on 03/01/2011

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They think a part of them has fallen out. That's what the issue is. So when they see it in the toilet they freak out just like you said. They don't have the differentiability between the two yet.





Edit to add: Do you give her a book?

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