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4yr old dd will only poo in nappies

(52 Posts)
mystified76 Mon 07-Jan-08 10:28:47

My dd1 is 4 in january, she has been dry in the day for a year, but still refuses to do a poo on the toilet.
She doesn't have any accidents at all in her pants, she can hold onto a poo for up to a week (i think 8 days is her record) and will then ask for a nappy and do an absolute huge poo. She totally refuses to go on the toilet for a poo but is fine for wees.
We have tried every bribe you can think of...chocolate, sticker charts etc etc... the latest bribe is a trip to euro disney but even that isn't working! Any ideas? i have said to dh,mil etc for ages that it will resolve itself in time but keep getting comments and now even my mum who is usually sooo supportive has made remarks sad
What should i do next?

God knows

My 5yo STILL poos in nappies sad
The dr says not to worry that she will do it when she is ready

We have tried everything too

Jackstini Mon 07-Jan-08 10:31:14

Does she watch you and dh doing one on the toilet? Apparantly that's what my Mum did with me and my little sister blush

pigleto Mon 07-Jan-08 10:34:26

ds had the exact same problem. He eventually caved in after he saw his beloved older cousin poo in the loo. When I tried to force him into it he didn't go for a week and made himself quite sore.

I would advise that you back off for a couple of weeks and let her set the pace.

mystified76 Mon 07-Jan-08 10:36:13

Yes she does, she is quite interested and has even seen my mumshockand some of her little friends when they come over but still won't herself, her latest line is.. when i'm six mummyhmm

Jackstini Mon 07-Jan-08 12:38:54

Well at least you have a target Myst! grin

mystified76 Mon 07-Jan-08 14:22:38

True...i'll just have to ignore the 'make her sit on the toilet until she goes' comments from the they make really big nappies for children who refuse to go on the loo...silly question but just in case dd really means what she says!!

tkband3 Mon 07-Jan-08 14:31:07

I had this problem with DD1. She finally gave in completely unexpectedly when she was 3.6 - just said one morning, I'm going to do a poo in the potty mummy and that was it. She'd been dry for ages at this point. We made a huge fuss and bought her a present and it's not been a problem since. But every time until then that I'd tried to force it, either with bribery or with anger born of sheer frustration, she got hysterical and it just wasn't worth the bother. Apparently it's a really common problem.

She had obviously trained her bowels so she wouldn't need to go at pre-school or anywhere where I wasn't around, but I think the final incentive was her desire to go on play-dates on her own. I told her that she couldn't do that unless she would poo in the loo as no-one else's mummy would want to change her nappy. We didn't mention it again, but it wasn't long afterwards that she started going on the loo.

Jackstini Mon 07-Jan-08 16:14:07

Myst - yes they do - nappies go all the way up to adult sizes so don't worry on that score.

jeanybeeny Mon 07-Jan-08 17:33:08

I think the best thing to do is back off and let the child do it in her own time. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting on my potty, and my mum laying down the law, saying I would have to sit there until I did something, just like Myst's MIL. I did'nt, but as soon as my mum put my nappy back on I filled it, much to my her annoyance. I can remember it as if it was yesterday, and so does my mum, who laughs and jokes about it now, but would be upset if I treated my kids like it! Does anyone else have such childhood memories?

evelynrose Mon 07-Jan-08 22:29:39

This sounds exactly like my ds aged 3 and a half. We tried every bribe under the sun and then went for the mean approach, giving treats to his brother in front of him and saying he could only have them once he'd done a poo. A few sulks, but all poos in the loo for the past week.

mystified76 Tue 08-Jan-08 08:29:28

Thanx everyone for your advice - cheers Jacks for your reassurance! Was discussing issue with dh last night and he told me he had 'poo' issues when he was younger and ended up in hospital severely constipated and i admitted that when i was younger i could hold on for a week as well - so poor dd it looks like she can quite legitimately blame it on the genes!!

Nicolette1 Thu 10-Jan-08 19:28:03

I knew I couldn't be the only one with a child with 'poo issues' but it is such a relief to log on and find a current discussion on the topic. I tried forcing the issue with my 4yr old son 1 week before Xmas by putting him in pants during the day but he continued to pee in the potty and poo in his pants (thank god the poos were 'firm'). He claimed on Monday this week that he would ensure no more poo accidents as of Thursday (today) and amazingly took himself off to the potty this evening claiming a poo was imminent - nothing came. But he's clearly trying - why he chose today I have no idea but if he sticks to his word, I'll just be grateful. So while I have no solutions to offer (we tried everything listed in this discussion w/out success) I can say 'hang in there' - you may be just as 'mystified' at the end but I'm confident that it will be a happy ending.

WezzleWoo Thu 10-Jan-08 19:44:51

haven't read all of this thread so apologies if this has already been suggested. I had the same problem with dd and i mentioned it to the nurse at her 2.5 year check. she sent me a short story about a little boy who has to help his poo get home to poo land by pushing him out. Poo has to go and see his mammy and daddy brothers & sisters. I wasn't convinced when she told me about it but it actually worked straight away by making her think she had to help poo get home. it's definitley worth a try.

mystified76 Mon 14-Jan-08 10:39:42

Thanks wezzlewoo, do you know where i could hold of a copy?

mystified76 Mon 14-Jan-08 10:40:11

get hold!

Cathpot Mon 14-Jan-08 10:51:01

have posted about this before as 3 year old dd1 with exactly same problem. Advice from HV is: remember this is about fear of pooing in the toilet, so pressure likely to make it worse. In very very gentle steps edge her towards pooing on the toilet with rewards for each step - (ie only pooing in bathroom/ pooing in nappy but next to loo etc) we have got her to pooing in nappy on toilet this way - but still to get the nappy off! Most useful advice was instigating a 5 minute 'practise sitting' time where there is no pressure for her to do anything at all, just to practise sitting on loo (can give a colouring book or something). If they are very anxious to start doing this at non pooing time of day and move it over time so she is doing her practise sitting before you give her the nappy to poo in. We moved to 'practise pushing' this week and actually got a little poo out! ridiculous amounts of excitement from me at this point as soo fed up with it. HV suggested getting them to do blowing bubbles or blowing up balloons during practise sitting as this causes them to push same muscles. I also pretend I am the poo in her bum and need pushing to the light. Very glad no one but dh witnesses this. Good luck.

ThreeBluecubs Mon 14-Jan-08 22:09:21

Not sure I recommend it really, but we waited until DS had a bad tummy and stuck him on the loo when he asked for a nappy. Once they have done it once or twice it breaks the psychological barrier.

mystified76 Wed 16-Jan-08 08:39:05

Thanks cathpot, that is really useful, am definitely going to try your way, your last comment really made me laugh, have funny mental image in my head as can imagine myself doing the same thing!!!!

WezzleWoo Sat 19-Jan-08 23:16:15

Sorry mystified have only just checked this thread. I would have sent you my copy but it's been scribbled on by DD - although you're welcome to have it if you're still struggling.

Let me know how you're getting on.

PrincessButtercup Sat 19-Jan-08 23:59:39

I would echo Cathpot's HV's advice and add that we found for ds that after a warm bath in the evening is the best time to "practice sit". The child is probably at his/her most relaxed physically (warmth of the bath helps relax muscles) and mentally (no mad rush to be anywhere).

I feel for you having been through this with my ds (now 4.5) and can only urge you to keep trying and to stay as positive as possible. With hindsight I can see that we were quite slack about helping ds (didn't want to force the issue, thought he'd grow out of it etc. etc) but this did not help him as he started to withhold totally (coincided with starting school). Thankfully, he never had to be hospitalised as a result of the self imposed constipation but he was suffering from seepage (result of long term withholding) on an almost daily basis which was really unpleasant for him and upsetting for dh and me. The practice sitting method worked for him in that it helped him to go without any fuss and regulated him to the extent that 2 days out of 3 he can be sure of emptying his bowels in the evening so it is unusual for him now to feel caught short at school.

Best of luck. I'm sure that your dd will be fine.

mystified76 Mon 21-Jan-08 12:36:41

Hello everyone, have so far got dd to do a poo (in nappies of course!) but in the bathroom and my aim is to get her to sit on the toilet over the next few weeks... the only problem i can forsee is that sometimes she can go for days without going so i really must remember to do the practise sitting everyday, i need to adjust as much as her! been so used to "she'll do it in her own time" mentality that i really need to take the initiative myself and instigate small changes daily.

moppymoppy Wed 30-Jan-08 22:03:54

Hello everyone

I'm very interested in this topic as my dd (3.5 yrs) will only do poos in pull-ups despite weeing in the loo with no problem for 18 months.

We've tried everything and find that if we persuade her too much to use the loo she holds it in for up to a week and then we have terrible constipation problems.

I wasn't too worried for the first few months but now worry that this is going on too long. Has anyone else been in this situation for this long?


shrooms Mon 04-Feb-08 09:24:52

ROFL about the helping poo get home grin did you also name it Mr hanky?

amazonianwoman Mon 04-Feb-08 10:41:40

I'm relieved I'm not the only one! DD 3.7 has been dry day & night for over a year but has only ever done one poo on the potty (before she was potty trained)

She's had an immature/compacted bowel for almost 2yrs but this seems to be improving - she isn't so constipated and now poos virtually every day but still refuses to use potty/toilet. I'm getting concerned that she'll start holding it in again when she starts all day school in Sept. Have offered every bribe under the sun!

Will try some of your suggestions...

curlywurlywee Mon 04-Feb-08 10:53:11

My dd, now aged 5, had terrible constipation problems for about 2 years between age 2 and 4. She also would not poo on the loo but in her pull-ups. She was actually withholding her poo because she was frightened of letting it go in the toilet or potty.

We took her to see a Consultant who suggested that we encourage her to go on the toilet by making it fun??? We bought one of those TV dinner fold up wooden tables and put it in the loo, together with a stool that was high enough to support her legs. We then put her cars on the table and she sat there and played for sometimes up to half an hour. We never pressurised her to sit there but she was pleased to do it because of the novelty value of sitting on the loo and playing. By the way, we also put a soft seat on for her because she complained that her legs hurt. This worked a treat.

Bribery worked aswell. If she saw something in a shop that she really wanted, we told her we would buy it for her but she couldn't have it until she pooed on the loo. This sounds a bit harsh but the draw of the toy actually in the house was too much for her and she pooed on the loo for the first time. This worked the very first time we tried it.

We also bought a book from Amazon called "constipation, withholding and your child" or something like that and it had a story in it about Mr Poo coming out to play with Little Miss Wee in the toilet. This seemed to work really well too.

I think the main thing is not to punish them for not sitting on the loo, but gentle encouragement and reward. After a while, the rewards bit died off and she just went to the toilet normally. Hope this helps.

katie5004 Mon 04-Feb-08 13:47:07

Glad i am not alone,im getting so frustrated tho.Trying not to get mad at him when he poos in his pants but cant help him sometimes coz he knows he is doing it.Its making me not want to leave the house coz it can be three times a day and very embarrasing.Iv tried everthing,realy dont want this to go on much longer

curlywurlywee Mon 04-Feb-08 13:58:06

Katie, it's really horrible living with a constipated child. I used to get angry sometimes - we are only human after all. How old is your lo? There is light at the end of the tunnel but I know this doesn't mean much to you at the moment. I remember that feeling of being trapped in the house because I couldn't cope with another embarrassing 'poo incident'.

hifi Mon 04-Feb-08 14:36:11

took dd to paediatrician last week for something unrelated to poo, she asked to poo while we were in his office, she will only do it in a nappy. he got very angry with me for still letting her do it, shes 3.5. he has advised me to always make sure she does it in the bathroom,then eventually hold the nappy over the loo for her to do it on then take the nappy away.

i did mention we knew older children who still pooed in nappys and he said as soon as they are dry they should be pooing in the toilet, i got a rught telling off "shes running rings around you".

amazonianwoman Mon 04-Feb-08 14:40:37

He sounds a bit harsh - I've tried EVERYTHING with DD for over a year. She'd just hold it in for ages if I don't give her a nappy, which becomes a vicious circle cos then it hurts when she eventually poos hmm

amazonianwoman Mon 04-Feb-08 14:40:39

He sounds a bit harsh - I've tried EVERYTHING with DD for over a year. She'd just hold it in for ages if I don't give her a nappy, which becomes a vicious circle cos then it hurts when she eventually poos hmm

amazonianwoman Mon 04-Feb-08 14:41:00

oops blush

katie5004 Mon 04-Feb-08 14:48:34

curlywurlywee- he is almost3.I dont want this to go on for years cant handle it,already had3 pooey pants today. I am under so much pressure to get him potty trained.just dont understand why he is doing this when he can wee on the toilet fine.sad

curlywurlywee Mon 04-Feb-08 19:31:49

Katie, these problems around pooing on the toilet are very common and I promise you, it will sort itself out in time. Maybe you could try some of the stuff that I've posted above - it sorted out the problem for us although dd was a little bit older. I totally understand how you feel - for two years our lives centred around the pooing thing. I've just reread your thread above and am I right in saying that your ds is not actually constipated, just refusing to poo on the loo?

Try making the toilet a fun place to be and make a big fuss if he poos on the loo - buy him something aswell. Bribery really worked for us.

It's a form of control that they can exercise over us mothers. They know it drives us crazy and that's part of the reason why they do it. Also, they can have a genuine fear of 'letting go' of their poo and so they withhold and only poo in a safe environment, ie the nappy/pull-up.

I promise you it will sort in time but I know that's not much help to you at the mo.

Thinking of you.

abigaillockhart Mon 04-Feb-08 19:43:56

Like you, I thought DS would NEVER manage to poo on the loo. I was upset as he was getting upset..

The main thing that worked for us was the 'big boy' card. I was annoyed about the poo thing one day when he happened to ask for a big boy bike - I very casually told him that you weren't allowed one until you did poos on the loo. I never brought it up with him but he mentioned it a couple of times. From then on we did a real 'oh it really doesn't matter' approach to the nappies but he never forgot about the bike. About two weeks later we had success.

(A very young bloke served us in the bike shop and REALLY didn't understand why DS kept telling him that he poos in the loo!!)

Very similar approach worked with getting him out of nappies at night. (Aged 3.4 - soon after the poo debarcle)

katie5004 Tue 05-Feb-08 10:28:48

thanks! just bought him a toy which i know he will realy like,he knows where it is and what he has to do to get it.realy hope this will work.

BettySpaghetti Tue 05-Feb-08 10:40:31

First of all sorry I haven't read whole thread as I'm just on my way out the door but wanted to pass this on.

A good friend's little boy (age 4) was like you described in your OP.

Friend was beside herself as she tried all sorts. I did a search here on MN for tips and came across recommendations for this book. Its a funny childrens story that involves poo. I think it just helps in that it makes poo seem funny/normal/nothing to be scared of.

I bought the book for my friends DS and he absolutely loved it. My friend swears blind that it was the start of his getting over his problem.

curlywurlywee Tue 05-Feb-08 13:02:02

Betty, that book looks great. We bought one for our dd called "Everyone Poops" by Taro Gomi - got if off Amazon. She loved it and it made her realise that everyone and every animal eats and so has to poo. She found it very entertaining looking at all the different shapes of poo!!

Betty, on a different note, how do you link a website page to your thread? I can't figure out how to do it.

BettySpaghetti Tue 05-Feb-08 18:24:49

curlywurlywee -if you have a look at the bottom of this page (next to the box you type your message in) it explains how to do links under the smileys and emoticons.

Maenad Tue 05-Feb-08 18:40:21

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but my friend's little boy had a similar issue. She cracked it very gradually by having him sit on the potty in his nappy to do a poo, then when he was happy with that he would sit on an open nappy on the potty, and finally he would just poo in the potty. It seemed like a sensible approach I thought.

amazonianwoman Wed 06-Feb-08 14:12:53


DD just did a poo on the potty rather than in a nappy, over a year after potty training grin smile grin

All it took in the end was the promise of a Stephanie (Lazytown) costume hmm Her friend was wearing one yesterday (present for giving up dummy) and I told her she could have one too if she did a poo on potty/toilet. Came into the living room after lunch to find her sitting on potty, saying she was pooing for Stephanie hmm grin

mystified76 Wed 13-Feb-08 15:43:39

Hi everyone
sorry i havn't returned to this thread for ages.
Last few weeks have been a nightmare - just got dd to the doing poo in nappy but in the bathroon stage, was edging her towards the idea of doing poo in nappy but on the toilet stage when WHAM! she gets poxy chicken pox! Not only did she not have a poo for a whopping 10 days, she also had nasty spots down there so we actually reverted to letting her do wees in her nappy because she was crying in agony when doing wees on the loo! Maybe she is a master of manipulation but i couldn't bare to see her suffer!!!!
Back to normal now as in doing wees on loo and poos in nappy but in bathroom!! I'm glad so many more people have joined this thread it has made me fell better to know i'm not alone. smile

mystified76 Wed 13-Feb-08 15:44:40

feel better!

callan Sun 24-Feb-08 18:06:17

My 3.5 yr old son has been toilet trained for 6 mths for wees but still poos in a pull up. Full time school starts in 6 wks and he simply MUST be able to poo in the toilet! He is so scared of pooing in the toilet and I don't know why. We've had crying and hysteria when he's been pleading and begging for a nappy over the last few days because we've taken the "no more nappies" approach. Last evening he pooed on the hall floor and today in his pants, despite sitting on the toilet and "trying" for half an hour this morning and last night. He'll sit and try, no problem at all but get off and do it anywhere else... HELP!

mystified76 Wed 27-Feb-08 12:26:56

Hi this is what is helping for me, if you look further back on the thread, someone suggested letting them have a nappy on but they must do it in the toilet/bathroom, then edge them slowly nearer to the toilet. Last week I got my 4yo dd1 to do a poo on the toilet with a nappy on which was a huge breakthrough for us, now we have to get over the last hurdle which is to take the nappy off and finally do a poo normally! Just not sure how we will get to do this last bit!!

mystified76 Wed 05-Mar-08 08:23:58

Hello i know this thread has gone silent but as i started it, it seems fitting that i possibly post the last comment even if nobody reads it!!!!!!! Problem solved!!! dd1 last night did her first poo on the toilet sans nappy yahoo!, she sat on the toilet with her nappy on, we loosened it a bit, she was fine with that and as the poo started to come, she said we could take the nappy off and that was it!!
Such a relief!grin

JakeyboyLucylou Tue 26-May-09 15:24:25

Its such a relief to see so many people with same probs I have with my 4 yr old son! For the last year or so we have had a big constipation issue which he is seeing a specialist for - basically regardless of diet etc he got to point where he was crossing his legs and holding poos in - he went nealy 10 days at one point which resulted in an enema (now thinks all docs put things up your bottom!). He is on medication which is helping and its great to see him going even if it is always in his pants. Though now it is the fear of the poos still hurting and fear of the toilet. Wees are no probs and is dry during the night. I have been recommended a book "pooh goes to poo land" but am having trouble sourcing it... any suggestions? Am going to attempt the next stage with any luck of transition of pants to toilet... x

purplesal Tue 26-May-09 19:57:25

We solved the poo problem by getting DD to sit on her potty with her nappy on to do a poo. Then we moved onto nappy undone. Then we laid the nappy in the potty. Then we put a nappy liner in the bottom of the potty (we used cloth nappies) and then finally just one square of toilet paper. It sounds long winded but it was little steps and it worked a treat - a couple of days at each stage.

jazzyjenz Fri 24-Sep-10 20:19:00

I am so pleased I found this site! My little one is 2.10 and has been dry since Feb but pooing is still a big issue. She has done 3 poos on the toilet but each time cries, and now will not go unless a nappy on. I am soooo frustrated!

A1980 Sun 26-Sep-10 21:28:13

My friends DD had this same problem. She had a nappy on at night in case she wet the bed and she would wait until she had the nappy on to do a poo or she'd ask for one during the day and her mum let her do it.

Finally when she was 4, she no longer needed a night nappy as she was always dry at night and her mum stopped her having nappies at all. So she started holding it in until she soiled herself. Her mum just cleaned up after her for a long while. her mum tried everything, bribery, new toys, sweets, you name it she tried it.

In the end her mum just got frustrated with her and said to her I'm not cleaning up after you anymore and she just threw her soiled clothes in the bin every time she did it. She eventually stopped doing it but she developed constipation as a result of holding it in too often.

With her next child, a DS, he developed the same problem. When he was 2.6 he was fine with weeing but would only poo in his nappy or even in his pants. One thing she noticed was that he wouldn't do it if he didn't have pants on and he couldn't hold it that long. So she was tougher this time and when she knew he needed to go, she'd leave him with no pants on and a bare bottom. He had two choices: on the floor or in the potty. When he got to the point when he couldn't hold it any longer and started to go she take him straight to the potty. He got nervous but he seemed quite happy afterwards and said I did a poo in the potty.

So being tougher on her second child in refusing to allow him to do it when he was 2.6 and knowing he couldn't hold it that long and so had no choice but to use the potty worked. But every child is different and it may not work for every child.

I would say nip it in the bud. She gave into her elder child for years and she had problems with constipation for a long while. Her younger one was over it by about 3.

Ariela Mon 27-Sep-10 00:29:44

My friend had this with her son, and progressed from pooing in nappies behind the sofa to pooing in nappies only in the toilet, to pooing in a nappy laid on the potty, before going sitting on the toilet seat with a child seat on. Wa a fear of falling in (he was small for his age)

silvijamck Thu 10-Jan-13 13:50:10

My son just turned 4. He had no problems peeing in a toilet, but still only poops in a nappy! I am so glad I came across this forum - makes me feel better, at least I'm not on my own lol
That's not it - my son refuses to pee anywhere but home, and will always take his trousers off when he needs to pee (and pants and socks).
Anyone came across that?

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