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How can I get my son who is 5 years and 8 1/2 months old to use the toilet for pooping??

We have been dealing with this issue for what seems like forever. My son uses the toilet for pee but won't for poop unless he is prompted and even then he will rarely do much. Instead he poops in his underwear. We have tried rewards, potty charts, ignoring, punishment and I hate to say it but yelling. At this point we are so frustrated and in disbelief that we don't know what to do. The only thing we haven't tried is making him clean up after himself. Mainly because it sounds like an even larger mess - at this point it may be the only option left. I am concerned that there may be something physically or psychologically wrong. At his 5 year appointment his pediatrician suggested that he was just regressing and that we should reinstitute the reward chart. Needless to say this didn't work. I'm sure he is constipated because he will hold it for several days and then begin to leak a little bit. HELP!

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Asked by Mykidsmom333 at 12:01 AM on Apr. 18, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 2 (6 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • My son had this same problem!  At 4 he finally pooped in the toilet!  He was terrified of going in the toilet!  He had peeing down, no accidents but would rather hold it then to poop in a toilet.  I waited and watched.  When he said he had to poop I forced him to sit on the toilet.  If you think he's made himself constipated, I'd give him a little bit of medicine to help that.  And make him sit on the toilet. 


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 12:20 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • My son was 4 and had this problem. One night at dinner I asked him if there was ANYthing that scared him about pooping in the toilet. He shyly nodded yes and that started a conversation. I found out that we had monsters living in our toilet that would try to get him, or his poop, every time he would go potty and that really scared him. With advice from a different Mom's site I set up a step next to the toilet so he could squat on the seat to poop. We never had another problem with him pooping in his pants after that.

    The squatting on the seat will get his little butt up out of the splash zone and he can see where it all goes as it goes there.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 12:22 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • My son had a similar problem, but his issue was needing a diaper to poop. He wouldn't poop in his undies or even have accidents. He just couldn't get it going while sitting on the toilet. the other issue he had was not wanting to STOP what he was doing to do his business. He wanted to poop in the diaper while playing his games etc..... I made him go in the bathroom and close the door to poop in his diaper. After a while he accidently pooped while on the toilet and hasn't needed a diaper since. Your son sounds like he is having a little bit of a different issue. I would 1. Take away all his BIG BOY TOYS and 2. put him back in a DIAPER. Explain to him all the things he s doing is that of a BABY not a big boy and that he will be treated like a BABY til he acts like BIG BOY. I hope you resolve this issue soon <3

    Answer by WhiteTigerLily at 10:11 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • "put him back in a DIAPER. Explain to him all the things he s doing is that of a BABY not a big boy and that he will be treated like a BABY til he acts like BIG BOY. I hope you resolve this issue soon"

    This is what we had to do to our first son when he was a little over 3. He just refused to poop in the potty. He knew he should and everything because he would go HIDE to poop his pants and then come tell us he did. SO FRUSTRATING.

    Then we had one week where he was purposely having a lot of accidents after months of ZERO issues. (I think he sensed something was up because I was pregnant but we hadn't told him yet) So I put a potty jar in the bathroom and every time he had an accident he had to take money from his piggy bank and put it in the jar. $1 for pee $2 if he pooped. He peed his pants 1 more time after that and then once he realized he had to pay ZERO problems since.

    Answer by kfroz0415 at 11:59 AM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • He needs to be seen by a gastrointerologist before you make any decisions on what to do. He may have an underlying condition. It may be the constipation problem, and when he finally has to go, he can't hold it. Apple juice always makes my kids go, maybe you can give him a glass of apple juice, and 20 minutes later send him to sit on the toilet and push. Definitely try taking him to the GI dr first. Then move on with disciplinary actions if it is not a medical problem.

    Answer by Hartbrayka at 1:02 PM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • I agree you should make sure he hasn't an underlying condition first. Does he drink enough water? He might be constipated and it takes too long to sit and poop. Have you asked him if it hurts or if it takes too long? You may also try a training potty. He could be afraid to sit on potty. A training potty is not so scary. Put some books he can read next to potty as well.

    Answer by sunshinesunrise at 4:55 PM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • We have not had this problem so I have no suggestions

    Answer by iam4you2 at 11:46 PM on Apr. 18, 2011

  • I agree with the first poster. He is at an age that he knows exactly what he is doing. I am doubtful that he has anything physically wrong with him. If he is holding it until he has undies on, he knows what he is doing. It is time to just make him do it. He can sit on the potty until he poops. It may take 5 mins, it may take 5 hours but after a couple of days he should have it down that you mean business.

    Answer by kgsharber at 12:27 AM on Apr. 19, 2011

  • my son is 4 and only just starterd going on the toilet, he would only go the potty, but he started nursery an one day just went on the toilet, he said.."mum im a big boy i pood on the toilet" i just kept telling him he had to poo on the big boys toilet and not a baby toilet. i think most kids that age do it, its part of the change from being a baby to a big boy!!

    Answer by sharon35862 at 5:57 AM on Apr. 19, 2011

  • maybe get him a potty chair that is more his size or a ring that will fit on the toilet sometimes the child is afraid of "falling into the toilet" so the ring may help alot. Good luck

    Answer by Christmaslver68 at 1:26 PM on Apr. 22, 2011

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