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Pooping on Potty

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is having issues with pooping in the potty. She has been peeing in the potty since March/April of this year. She has pooped in the potty before and was given a reward. However, for the last 3-4 months she has been holding her poop for a few days and refuses to poop in the toilet. She will wait until bedtime and poop in her pullup or she will poop in her underwear and say "I pooped". I've tried to reward for good behavior, but she hasn't done it since the initial couple of times months ago. The triage nurses at the office told me I should punish her (timeout or taking away toys/favorite activities), but I always heard you weren't supposed to punish when potty training. To top it off my husband divorced me and now the children are spending 3 nights/week at their dad's house. I am sure this is the only thing in her life she has control over and I am trying to figure out the best way to help her.

During potty training, children often learn to control their bladder first. Many toddlers struggle to get their stool in the toilet. This is common and it will pass with time.

I agree that punishing a toddler for potty training accidents is not a good idea. Some experts feel that aggressive potty training can lead to long term constipation and other issues.

Continue to offer her a pull up when she wants to stool. Let her know it is “okay” to poop in a pull up, but do not reward this behavior.

I know of at least a couple toddlers that responded to a “big reward”. The if you poop on the potty you can play with your new firetruck or watch a favorite movie.

Change the focus from pooping on the potty to staying dry. Give her positive reinforcement for keeping her underwear dry. Periodically, check her underwear and give her praise or a treat for keeping dry.

The stress of your divorce will likely make potty training more difficult. It is more important that you provide consistent schedule, affection and disciple than worry about potty training.






Written August 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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