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I give up. 3.5yo constantly pooing pants

(23 Posts)
justhavingamoan Tue 20-May-08 19:14:36

Ok, here it is:

My 3.5yo was mostly potty trained around 2.75yo. However he pretty much won't go and do a poo - it isn;t regression, this has always been an issue. 90% of the time its in his pants. 10% he will say he needs a poo or just go and do it.

We have tried:

1-Saying nothing, just cleaning him up
2-Telling him off, reasons why etc
3-Leaving him sitting in it
4-Taking pants/trousers off
5-Bribery! (sweets or toys) Even my sister/mum have tried with promise of toys
6-Sticker Charts
7-Time Out

So please HELP ME. I am at the end of my tether. My elder child was all done by 2.5yo and i know my DS does understand - he just doesnt seem to care.

Anyone been through similar? Any Ideas?


justhavingamoan Tue 20-May-08 19:22:09


nell12 Tue 20-May-08 19:23:50

Boys will be boys...sorry but in my experience, they do it when they are good and ready and mot a moment before (and they dont give a damn about our sanity!)

Things you could look into...

Does he dislike the sensation of the poo falling out? some children dont like the feeling of it falling once it has come out (sorry if TMI wink) some are scared of getting splashed.

Are his poos the right consistency? If they are too solid it may be painful for him, too runny then he will not get much of a sensation that he needs to go.

Does he go regularly (ie at about he same time every day? Can you pre-empt a poo and get him to sit on the toilet?

Have you tried the blowing bubbles trick? Blowing bubbles relaxes the bottom (really!) so some mums have found that sitting dc on the toilet at about the right time of day with a pot of bubbles cna encourage him to poo and begin to get him into the right habit.

Does he like the toilet? Is it a nice place for him to be? Perhaps you could let him choose a nice toilet seat or pictures to go up on the wall.

Hope this helps x

ELR Tue 20-May-08 19:25:00

its just best to say oh dear what a shame. clean it up and say, maybe next time you could try to do it in toilet, then say nothing else.
If he manages toilet say well done make big fuss

neolara Tue 20-May-08 19:32:48

I've posted this before, so you may have already seen this, but if not, this is I dealt with my DD (3 1/2) who would only poo in her pants.

I had tried rewards, reminding, books on the loo - nothing worked. I went to have a chat to the deputy head of my DD's nursery and we hatched a plan. It worked so well that that the problem resolved itself almost instantaneously.

OK, this is what we did. It might not work for you because your circumstances might be different. I admit I was sceptical of it working for us, but it really did. Incidentally, DD wasn't constipated at all and the issues hadn't started around a period of constipation. I think this would make a difference in how the issue should be approached.

1) I stopped giving any reminders about going to the loo. Absolutely none - very difficult to do! I completely left it up to DD to make her own decision.
2) I started saying, in a very casual and relaxed way, "Mummy and Daddy do poos in the loo, all the children at nursery do poos in the loo and you need to do poos in the loo to".

After a day of this, she did her first poo in the loo for four months. I fell over backwards. There were one or two accidents over the next few days.

3) If she pooed in her pants, I waited for her to come and tell me. (Previously I had pointed it out to her.) I then said "Let me know when you want to come and get changed" and walked away. This was to get rid of the usual game where DD ran away while I try to get her changed.
4) She had to help to clean herself up i.e. she helped to pull pooey pants and trousers off, and cleaned herself with wipes. I ignored her as much as possible and got on with cleaning yucky pants. I didn't comment at all, although did help a bit to get her clean at the end. I didn't give her any praise for wiping herself but was not nasty at all. It was all just very matter of fact.
5) I gave her new pants and trousers and let her get dressed by herself. Again no praise but no nastiness.

Throughout I tried to maintain a zen like calm!

It was only while dealing with pooey pants in the method I described above, that I realised how much attention she had been getting from me previously when she pooed in her pants. Previously I really thought I was giving her lots of praise for doing the right thing and ignoring when things were going wrong, but I just wasn't. I was cleaning her up through gritted teeth and making lots of cross, annoyed comments. Also, reminding her lots and lots, which of course meant she know exactly which buttons to press when she wanted my attention.

Really hope this helps.

tweetyfish Tue 20-May-08 19:34:05

I've had this with my DD who's 3.5.

In the end I took her doctors and she was referred to a paed. I had an inkling there was something a bit off as nothing I did helped (cross/ignore etc, like you) and she seemed to be getting more and more blase about it. She had also started to pee in her pants just a little bit.

Anyway, it turned out she had constipation and was becoming impacted. I would never have guessed that as every day she had (at least) one poo in her knickers. However, after 2 weeks on Movicol to get things moving the accidents stopped. We got her a puzzle and everytime she went in the toilet she got a piece, and we've not had any accidents since. Could your DS be constipated too?

I can truly sympathise though, it is maddening. I felt like crying when she had many accidents in a day with teh shy "why???" ness of it. Plus it gets very tedious trying to get poo out of knickers!

jellyforbrains Tue 20-May-08 19:38:37

My DS was like this. He is 3.8 now and stopped pooing in his pants at about 3.5. Like your DS was also mostly potty trained a couple of months before his b'day (and that was a struggle!).

I tried every approach. Not commenting, telling him to try not to do it etc. Tried not to tell him off, but did once or twice whne he had been asked several times if he needed a poo and then would do it a minute later. mostly I just cleaned it up and didn't make much fuss. Sticker charts worked with the initial potty training (a bit) but not with this.

Then suddenly he just stopped doing it and started using the toilet. I honestly don't know what triggered it. He still leaks small amounts of wee in between toilet visits though so I am washing as many trousers/pants a day as I was when he was doing the poos!

It is v frustrating, but I do know a couple of boys in RL who are the same. Can't see my DS being dry at nights for quite some time though!

tweetyfish Tue 20-May-08 19:40:51

that should read : the sheer "why???"ness of it all.....

Sunbonnetsusie Tue 20-May-08 19:49:34

I am in exactly the same position with my daughter. She was 3 in february and I have been trying to potty train her on and off for well over a year. It has been truely disasterous! I am at the end of my tether and like you have tried everything - each one for a long time consistently! I just don't know what to do. She doesn't go at a regular time - I know she can do it because 10% of the time she does go off to the potty by herself and does it! I sort of know when she is doing one in her pants because of a look on her face - it's really subtle but she'll be sitting still on the floor which is unusual for her for a start! I'll ask her - are you doing a poo? - and she'll say - No, I'm not - a barefaced lie - I thought they couldn't lie until they were at least 4! HELP! I can't just go on clearing up the mess - I feel like I can't go anywhere and I also have an 8 month old boy too! She just doesn't seem to get it! She starts nursery class at school in september - how can I send her if she's not potty trained?

justhavingamoan Tue 20-May-08 19:51:59


I am not alone in this.

I am going to try Neolaras method for 2wks, and then go to the dr's to see if he is constipated.

Mostly when he does it, it is little bits - hardly ever a full poo. Could this be constipation? He eats lots - but at least his 5 of fruit and veg everyday.

Fridayfeeling Tue 20-May-08 19:55:24

Neolaras method - absolutely agree - this should be first port of call ! smile

Sunbonnetsusie Tue 20-May-08 20:02:42

We are going to try Neolaras method too - talk to you again in 2 weeks justhavingamoan! Let me know if it works for you! I'm going to print out her instructions!

tweetyfish Tue 20-May-08 20:17:29

DD had a rather large skid mark in her knickers - not hard, but not watery either... Like erm... chocolate mousse perhaps (sorry about the TMI!) which is why I thought that she couldn't be constipated. She also never did whole poos in the toilet - looking back that was probably an indicator!

The Paed just felt her tummy and went around it saying " there's your milk... and some cereal.... and lots of poo!" cue hysterical laughter!


justhavingamoan Tue 20-May-08 20:55:45

thankss tweey, i hope this isn't the case, but i will definitely look into it xx

justhavingamoan Fri 23-May-08 16:42:44

ok, so on day 3 I have had enough. I have followed neolaras advice - but i think this needs more. today we have had 2 poos and now 2 wees in his trousers.

I admit i lost it a bit the last time when he took off his pants and trousers (at my mums) and poo went all over the floor. we left, he has had a shower and now in bed.

i cant face one more day. my elder child then skids his pants, even though i asked if he needed a poo as i saw him jigging and wont clean it/himself up. he is also showered and in bed.

i have made a dr appt for next week in the aim of getting this sorted with my youngest.

I am truly at the end of my tether.

seeker Fri 23-May-08 16:52:31

My ds would only do poos in a nappy until he was 4. Does he know when he's going to do a poo Could you say something like - "OK, when you need a poo, tell me and I'll put a nappy on you until you're ready to use the potty or the loo"

It would de stress the situation, and minimize the mess.

justhavingamoan Fri 23-May-08 16:57:30

I have tried that one. Thank you though. I cannot stand the thought of this going on for another 6 months - and not going to try that one again.

he does know - but seems not to care.

seeker Fri 23-May-08 17:45:19

You say that you've tried that one - but what I am suggesting is putting a nappy on for a poo until he's ready to use the loo or the potty. Maybe another 6 months - but surely 6 months of two or so nappies a day is better than unpredictable pooy pants?

Sunbonnetsusie Thu 29-May-08 20:00:17

I seem to be making progress with my DD on the poo front - all poos (since I stopped reminding her to go to the potty) have been on the potty - BUT we are now back to square one with wees as I am not reminding her to go she holds on to the wee until the very very last minute and then wets herself sometimes getting to the potty for the last dribble.

I've been very calm (Zen) and have noticed that now she is getting angry with herself - sort of substituting me getting angry with her. I'm hoping that in a few more weeks she'll get it that I'm not going to get angry and just go to the potty but she gets so absorbed in what she is doing at the time that she doesn't want to stop and go the boring old bathroom!

justhavingamoan Thu 29-May-08 22:14:41

We went to the Dr's today - and he has been prescribed Movicol. Had one sachet today - going up to 4 over the next few days.

fingers crossed it is working. We put nappies back on him completely and the Dr thinks we should leave him in them for the next month or so until things improve.

Thanks All

3redheads Sun 01-Jun-08 16:04:36

I am having a similar problem with my 3.5 DS. He is virtually there with his wees - after a year of potty training with no nappies at all during the day. But pooing is a nightmare. He has done two in a potty in a year! The problem is that he only goes once every 5 days so though not that often it is still very awkward. I do not believe he is constipated as he is on Lactulose to prevent it but so far all that has done it make the poos more frequent from once a week to every 5 days. His poos do not appear constipated either and the doctor did not seem to think this is a problem. His latest act is to do them on the floor by the toilet usually when weeing in the toilet - definately an improvement and less messy to clean up but still hard for me and shows no indication of control. I can't help wondering if there is something wrong physically. Next stage is to see a paed but it would help if anyone else has a similar issue.

justhavingamoan Wed 09-Jul-08 16:02:03

update. Dr gave my ds some sachets of movico laxative to put in his drink and he is now fine. he was severly constipated.

Fibrav Wed 16-Jul-08 13:39:15

Great to find we are not the only ones with this problem. DS 2.5 was wee perfect really quickly, but as per lots of others, does poo in his pants and doesnt seem too bothered. he does want to be changed quite quickly though. Bribery of chocolate and cars has failed too, stickers worked really well for wees though.

We have been trying to ask why he does poo in his pants - he just says "because i wanted mummy" even if i am right there! so infuriating, resorting back to pull ups as I am now 39 weeks pregnant!

I think from reading your threads we have been giving him too much attention and getting cross when he poos (it's SO hard!) so will try the zen method and maybe getting him to clean up himself.

Will keep you posted...

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