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Still refusing to poo on the toilet

(45 Posts)
WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 11:03:43

This is long, sorry ...

Three months ago I posted that my dd wouldn't poo on the toilet. I had stacks of advice, and I have tried everything that I could think of and all of the suggestions that were made - and we are still getting absolutely nowhere. She's 3.5 and she uses the toilet quite happily for a wee, so she's not frightened of the loo, she's not constipated, it doesn't hurt her - but she just will not use the toilet. She has a particular time and place for her poos, and we can tell that sometimes she's hanging on to one, but she won't do it until it's "poo time". She knows that the toilet is the place for poos but will only try under protest, and then to a chorus of screaming, shouting, crying and working herself up into a terrible state.

Her diet is good, with lots of fluid, fruit, vegetables and so on, so she has no difficulty pooing.

We have tried everything: getting cross, ignoring it, bribery, incentives, sticker charts, getting her to sit on the toilet with a nappy on, putting her in a pair of knickers to use as poo pants, deliberately running out of nappies, promises of a particular toy she wants, blowing a whistle to make her laugh and relax her, getting her to blow the whistle ... the list is endless. And still we get this downright refusal to use the toilet.

This has been going on for 11 months, and I'm at my wits end as to where to go next. I initially thought it was a control thing, but now I'm not so sure. She really does seem horribly distressed by the thought of pooing on a toilet, and has gone so far as to tell me that she doesn't think it's a nice or good thing to do. I don't know where this notion has come from, as we've never made any negative comments about poo, no matter where it's put.

I am at a loss as to where to go next. Can anyone make any further suggestions as to what this is all about and what I can do about it? I am completely stumped.

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 11:46:47


Gobbledigook Wed 17-Nov-04 12:15:24

WWB - sounds so frustrating! We've been through this with ds this year but it was prompted by an incidence of constipation which was horrific and frightened the life out of him. It was in about April and from then on, although he was dry and in his pants all the time, he would only do a poo when his pull ups went on at night.

He still won't sit on the loo to do it (3yrs 8m) but we've managed to get him to use the potty. In the end we just held him down on it - sounds terribly cruel and he did really cry but I hugged him and reassured him the whole time and once his poo was done and he saw it was OK he's done it on there ever since.

NO IDEA how to get him on the toilet though. I'm not even addressing it right now as have new baby and shortly moving house and I'm really not sure how I'll get him to do it actually. Will probably try the holding down again to be honest - if nothing else works of course.

Where does dd do the poo then? Does she hold till her night nappy like my ds did?

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 12:32:39

GDG - she has a nappy on after bathtime. We've tried hugging her tight onto the loo as a friend of ours needed to do the same for her ds at around the age of 3, but it hasn't worked for us. She won't even ask for a nappy at any other time of day either! We had put the potty away as she uses the toilet to wee now and have offered to bring it out for her to use for a poo, with the inevitable shrieking and screaming. The fuss she kicks up, anyone would think that I was asking her to cut her own arm off, and yes, it's very frustrating!

Gobbledigook Wed 17-Nov-04 12:39:26

WWB - I'm hopeless then, I really don't know what to suggest. It's bizarre that she'll sit on it for a wee though. Actually, it's not bizarre is it cos I think this is quite a common problem.

Hope someone else whose had a similar problem can think of something!

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 13:31:09

We've never had any problems with weeing at all, either on the potty or the toilet, and she's quite confident on the loo for wees, doesn't bother with a small seat anymore so I know she's not scared of the loo per se, just of pooing.


Roobie Wed 17-Nov-04 13:53:29

So does she poo in her nappy after her bath then? If so, have you tried dispensing with the nappy and seeing what happens - will she simply poo the floor rather than go to the toilet or potty?
I've still got the joys of potty training to come - dd is 2.6 and I haven't even started yet!

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 14:00:28

We've tried deliberately running out of nappies, but then she just won't poo. I don't want to run the risk of constipation exacerbating the problem so after a couple of days we give in and let her have a nappy.

Lonelymum Wed 17-Nov-04 14:05:53

Think I posted this before (possibly on your thread) but there is a problem some children have when they fear they are losing some part of their bodies when they have to poo in mid air, IYSWIM. (they don't like the feeling of something dropping off them). Also, some kids don't like the splash of water that a dropping poo creates. Sorry, I haven't got any ideas about what to do, but if I thought it was something psychological, I would take my child to the HV or GP for advice.

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 14:12:55

She's never done it, so I don't think it's the splash or the losing part of herself that's put her off - she has only ever pooed in a nappy. I asked the HV about it but she was most unhelpful; apparently they don't think this kind of thing is a problem until the child is 7! For me it is a problem, and if I have to leave it until she's 7 before I can get medical or behavioural help for her, we will both be off our rockers by then!

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 14:14:29

Thinking about the fear of the splash thing - she won't poo in a nappy sitting on the loo either.

mykidsmum Wed 17-Nov-04 14:32:47

I was just about to suggest that, my friend places a nappy over the toilet and then gets her child to use it, as she will only poo in a nappy. Not sure how succesful this is I think they are having long term problems like yourself and feel very much like they don't know where else to go.I would be inclined to use a laxative to take away the choice in tandem with getting rid of the nappies,however I don't think this would necessarily cure the situation. Hope your situation improves soon xxx

Lonelymum Wed 17-Nov-04 14:49:14

If HV wasn't helpful, how about GP? They can't be serious when they say it isn't a problem until they are 7! It would be a problem for me if they even started like this once potty training had begun.

WigWamBam Wed 17-Nov-04 15:03:02

I might have to think about the GP. Certainly that's what the HV told me - they won't refer a child for this kind of problem as it's not considered unusual to still be needing nappies at this age.

Sounds strange to me too, but I didn't pursue it at the time as we were taking her advice to try easing off the pressure and use incentives at the time. That hasn't worked, so I think I need another word with the HV.

bunny2 Wed 17-Nov-04 20:46:56

WWB, ds is 4.5 and we still have this problem. When we have insisted on a potty/toilet he has got so constipated that we have reverted back to nappies. Occasionally he will sit on the potty to poo but the next day it is back to refusing point-blank. LAst week I saw my hv about it and she was very laid-back, told me not to worry and to see her if we hadnt cracked it by the time ds is 5. It made me feel alot better becasue until chatting to her I feared I was the most ineffectual mother in the world for failing to potty-train ds.

lulupop Mon 22-Nov-04 19:15:36

Not sure I am really qualified to express a view, since DS is nearly 3 and will only wee on the potty if constantly reminded (otherwise he just does it where he stands ), and will not poo other than in a nappy.

However, my fantastic mum is a reception teacher, key stage 1 coordinator, and all-round early years expert, and she tells me lots of children have "issues" with the sensation of releasing a poo into an "open space" like down the loo. Makes sense if you think about it - it must feel like part of them is disappearing. Have you tried sitting her on the potty in a nappy to do it? This might feel a bit less scary, and if it worked, after a few days you could try on the potty without the nappy.

WigWamBam Mon 22-Nov-04 19:27:26

We've tried that, lulupop, she still shrieks and screams and cries as if I've asked her to cut her own arm off. I've tried getting her to stand up in the toilet wearing a nappy but she won't go anywhere near.

MrsBigD Mon 22-Nov-04 19:30:58

I can't offer any advice either as I'm in a similar situation with dd going into histerics when I dare suggest that poos should be done on the potty/loo, but thought it might be slight consolation that you are not alone

Merlin Mon 22-Nov-04 19:39:03

Can't offer any 'magic' solution either I'm afraid - but at leat you know you are not alone in this. My ds was the same and we tried everything like you but he would only do it when he had his bedtime nappy on. I had resigned myself to this (despite my mother saying "he should be using the toilet by now"!) and then to our complete surprise when I picked him up from nursery one morning he announced that he had done a poo all by himself on the toilet!! None of his teachers had taken him he just went! From then on we haven't looked back - so I wouldn't worry about it, just try to be relaxed and not make a big issue of it (hard I know) and hopefully she will just go of her own accord one day - you've got a while until she starts school! Good luck.

Freddiecat Mon 22-Nov-04 21:56:28

Sympathies in how frustrating it is!

My DS is 2.7 and was toilet trained end of August (all of a sudden he was ready). Within a couple of weeks he was pooing quite happily on the toilet - I gave him a book to read and told him I was going to shut the door so he could be by himself. He always preferred to be alone even when pooing in a nappy). He would then rush out really excited to show me the poo in the toilet!

Then 4 weeks ago he just stopped pooing in the toilet. No reason at all. Now we generally know when he has one brewing but no amount of suggestion, coercion or bribary will get him to go to the loo. A couple of weeks ago he still hid under the table every single time but today he just stood infront of me playing with his cars visibly straining (but in complete denial). Then 4 hours later whilst having a wee on the loo he does a poo and gets all excited!

The boy makes no sense!

In the meantime I have to clean poo out of his pants twice a day!

WigWamBam Tue 23-Nov-04 13:54:34

Freddicat - you're right, it's just so frustrating. It is at least reassuring though to know that other people have the same problem - perhaps she's more normal than I thought! .

Merlin, we had hoped that being able to use the little toilets at nursery, and seeing that other children poo there, might have helped, but still no sign.

JoolsToo Tue 23-Nov-04 14:01:27

haven't read all the posts but have you tried sitting them on the potty with a comic or magazine and read it with them - it kind of distracts from the business at hand (if you'll pardon the pun!) it can help!

WigWamBam Tue 23-Nov-04 14:07:21

It's getting her onto the toilet in the first place that's the problem, Jools. She gets herself so wound up and upset at the thought of even having to sit on the loo for a poo, and no amount of distraction has helped. She hasn't used a potty for ages, perhaps it might be worth getting it back out again and seeing if she's less reluctant to try on there than on the loo (she's never pooed in either).

WigWamBam Thu 30-Dec-04 19:17:14

She has been screaming for over half an hour because we asked her to poo on the toilet instead of a nappy tonight. I am at my wits' end and would really, really value any further advice from anyone who has had experience of this.

I'm desperate!!!

Yorkiegirl Thu 30-Dec-04 19:23:59

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