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4 year old still not poo trained - pls pls pls advise

(27 Posts)
Stangirl Sun 09-Aug-15 21:43:29

I have an older child who potty trained straight-forwardly without incident when she was ready around 2.9 yr.

My younger child was extremely potty resistant and after a couple of aborted attempts finally trained during the day for wee around 3.10months. He has now turned 4 but point blank refuses to poo on the loo. He just poos himself every day when he wants. He just says he "can't" do it.

He has actually managed it twice, once when he was next to a loo and we spotted what was happening and managed to stick him on just on time and once on his 4th birthday. He had said he would poo in the loo on his 4th birthday - so we kept the pressure off - and he did it! Then the next day just pooed himself again. When we said "but you said you'd poo on the loo when you were 4!" he replied. "I did. Yesterday."


Any advice gratefully appreciated. He starts school in 3 weeks and I have no idea what they'll do.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 09-Aug-15 21:48:48

Does he poo at a regular time of day? Keep a note for a couple of days to spot a pattern. We had a hideous journey with DS and he still will soil himself left to his own devices but we found sticking him on the loo mid afternoon and giving him something to watch or look at plus leaving him to it did the trick. DS is still in a nappy at night so he usually goes when he wakes up but that's OK.

Littlefish Sun 09-Aug-15 21:50:31

Does his class teacher know that he is not toilet trained? If not, it's a discussion you need to have on the first day of term.

Have you talked to him about going back into pull-ups until he is toilet trained? What do you think his reaction would be?

ruthsmumkath Sun 09-Aug-15 21:52:06

Sorry no advice here just wanted to let you know you are not alone. Dd2 same and is 4 years 9 months and starts school at the start of September.

carriebrody Sun 09-Aug-15 21:53:42

Can you compromise with him that he can poo in a pull-up, but he needs to tell you when. Ideally try to get him into a routine of pooing before or after school.

wildstrawberryplace Sun 09-Aug-15 21:57:49

Walked this long road with my DS although he was OK by the time he started school. What we did was get him to sit on the loo for 5 - 10 mins after breakfast , lunch and dinner - with his feet up on the little step thing he used to reach the sink (more comfy for them that way) and with a book. We just said "Loo Time now" and it didn't matter if he actually did a poo or not. Usually he would, at some point (having relaxed and forgotten about his ishoos with it) and then it became a habit. We still do Loo Time after breakfast and dinner now and he is nearly 8!

Good luck with it, I know how soul destroying it can be facing yet another pair of pooey pants.

cerealqueen Sun 09-Aug-15 22:01:17

Do you know any slightly older boys who he could watch going to the toilet? Sounds odd but my Dd was resistant for a long time, she held it in, it came out runny, it was nightmare then we went to see a family friend for the weekend whose daughter happily did poos on the loo and she got it. Worth trying.

jelly10 Sun 09-Aug-15 22:07:27

I've never posted on MN before but signed up to reply as been through something very similar with my DS who's also 4 and I was at my wits end. We asked the Dr in the end who said it was behavioural so we started sitting him on the toilet at the same every day, no pressure to do a poo, he just had to sit there. He got a sticker for sitting on the loo when we asked him to and a present for 10 stickers. And we read a story or let him listen to music while he was there - similar to Wildstrawberry really.
This was about 3 months ago, we still tell him to sit on the loo every night and he still makes a fuss sometimes but most of the time it works and is soooo much better than it was.
Good luck - he'll get there, hope it's soon smile

northerngoldilocks Sun 09-Aug-15 22:08:21

Is there any chance he could be constipated? I would see the GP to rule it out given school is around the corner. My DS has had poo issues for years and toilet trained for wees fully by the time he was 3 but was 4 more months by the time he was ok for poos. It's really common from talking to friends that constipation can delay toilet training fully

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 09-Aug-15 22:11:07

We had a sticker book, just for the loo. Works wonders.

NuzzleandScratch Sun 09-Aug-15 22:22:25

Another one to say you're not alone! We're only just starting to get past poo accidents now, with dd1 aged 5yrs 5 months! We eventually found out she was badly constipated, and she now has Movicol every day, together with a chocolate button for pooing on the loo! She didn't poo on the toilet at all until she was almost 4 (despite being wee-trained just after turning 2, and dry at night aged 2 and a half!). It's driven me nearly round the bend!

No real advice, but I think it helps to know others have been in a similar situation, I don't know anyone in real life who's gone through this!

teacher54321 Mon 10-Aug-15 18:00:24

Yes to everything that everyone else has said. Ds is 3.5 and we're in the middle of this at the moment, although we have seen some slight progress. When he first potty trained he would poo in the potty, but then got traumatised and started withholding. Then the constipation nightmares began and he was the saddest toddler in the world. So he went on movicol and ended up having daily accidents. This went on for about two months. He now hasn't had an accident for 4 weeks, as he's been doing his poos in his pull up straight after his bath. We then had another breakthrough as he now asks for pull ups if he needs a poo before bedtime (straight after tea) then on Saturday we had our first poo on the potty!!! This has hands down been the hardest thing we've had to as parents, he has been so resistant and we're still not there yet. He is now willing to sit on the potty which is huge progress. We used bribery on a massive scale (chocolate buttons just weren't cutting it so I bought a big box of kinder eggs!) and stickers. We have promised him a pet when he poos on the loo! Hang on in there, this is tough!

MaximiseProductivity Mon 10-Aug-15 18:11:09

We went through this and if I'm honest I don't think anything we did helped and a lot of it might have made things worse by giving it loads of attention. In the end, it did resolve itself and although he still soiled himself after he started school, he never did it at school IYSWIM (so the little wotsit did have some control!)

He kept having lapses when his routine was off, especially when we were away on holiday, until his was about 8.

Sorry, not terribly helpful, all I would say is relax and try not to make this the biggest thing in his life. Buy lots of cheap pants so you can throw them away, especially if you're out. At one point if DH came home and asked how our day had been my response would be yes, Ds hasn't pooed himself blush

cls123 Mon 10-Aug-15 23:10:48

PLEASE PLEASE contact the school asap BEFORE school starts to discuss what plans will be put in place to deal with this once in the classroom - some schools/ teachers WILL NOT change a child who has had a poo accident & they may have a policy of calling the parent in to deal with it. Our school isnt that bad but having had a daughter with a long history of faecal incontinence due to a medical condition,I got frequently upset at seeing her come home in pooey clothing that shed obviously been sat in for a long time & even poo running down her legs.Luckily a very kind teaching assitant took her under her wing who would change her but you cant rely on all staff having the same willingness .Get a plan in writing so you know that they are on board with this.Being a new experience he may start witholding or he may (hopefully!) succumb to peer pressure if it is a purely"behavioural" problem!I dont like the word behavourial as it is never as simple as that but its worth going with him setting his own goals & choosing rewards for when he acheives it,even if its just sitting on the loo for 5 mins with no expectation to do anything! Otherwise contact GP if you havent already, try the charity eric ( u will find lots of tips/a forum/advice line,& remember you will be able to refer to the school nurse once he starts school.lots of luck, its often underestimated quite how stressful persistent incontinence in kids can be for all involved.

Stangirl Mon 17-Aug-15 15:00:28

Sorry I disappeared. Most ungracious when you had all taken time to reply. I was tied up with work.

He poos every day - so it seems unlikely to be constipation. He mostly waits to do a poo when he's in his pull-ups at night and gone to bed, or even when he's asleep.

Every night at bedtime he has a wee on the loo and we try and encourage him to poo as well but he just says he "can't". He've offered rewards but it's no go.

He watches his slightly older sister poo on the loo all the time.

Littlefish Mon 17-Aug-15 15:56:45

If he will poo in a pull-up, then I would thoroughly recommend looking at the ERIC website. They have an excellent page on moving a child on from pooing in a pull-up to pooing in the loo. It has many very small stages, but you might have time to get through some of them before he starts school.

BTW, even if he's pooing every day, he could still be constipated.

ellielj1234 Mon 31-Aug-15 16:12:55

hi there
could someone plz help me
i have a 4 year old boy that is out of nappys in the day but when it is time do a poo on the toilet he says that he dose not want to do it on the toilet so he asks for a nappy on
i have tryed sitting in the bathroom with him,reading books,playing a phone ,on a tablet and i have tryed sticker charts as well
i have told him if he dose a poo on the toilet i will getting him a little hifi for his bedroom and nothing is working
he can hold it four days by not doing a poo but wees fine on the toilet
plz plz help me thanks

Shonapat Mon 31-Aug-15 19:50:49

First time poster here but I had to respond to all these really helpful and supportive comments. I have a 3.5yr old boy who is struggling with pooing on the toilet. we moved to the USA 5 months ago and he was almost there before we left and now we have nearly 1 poo accident a day, generally in in pants whilst he's playing. yesterday he went upstairs by himself to 'play in his room' and low and behold he'd had another accident. we have a chart, prizes, praise and today a new Elmo book! Part of me thinks it's just the move and disruption to his routine but it's so upsetting and a I completely understand your frustration. I'm trying not to worry and make it the focus of my day but now I'm not working it's bloody hard! my friend is a health visitor and she's recommended trying a competion style thing with my oldest son, who will have his own non-poo related goal! Worth a try. Hope you find some solutions.

Claracluckmuck Wed 02-Sep-15 22:01:57

This thread is such a relief to me.....I've been having the exact same problem with my 3.6 year old and feeling so confused by other kids were so easy to potty train so this has come as a bit of a shock to's been three months now of scraping poo out of his pants almost EVERYDAY and I'm losing my mind!!! His weeing is fine, not a problem at all but he just won't poo on th Loo/potty... I fear it will become a psychological problem ( if not already!!) so am trying to not make an issue out of it but feel I have tried everything....bribery,praise,encouragement,anger,kindness.....he starts full time nursery tomorrow and is expected to be fully toilet trained...I really don't know what to do..... Any help would be greatly appreciated.....

TheRealGracePoole Thu 03-Sep-15 14:38:45

I am with you all. I started potty training DS2 at the beginning of the summer when he was 2.9. I thought he was going to be easy as I had been sticking him on the toilet before baths for ages and he just did a wee.

Wees are fine but he just can't get poos. In a nappy he goes just after breakfast every day but out if it there is no rythmn. I out him on the potty constantly but he won't poo even though he has really smelly wind and it is obvious he needs to. He holds it until he can't hold it any more then goes in his pants. I can out on the potty and he does a wee. Then 2 mins after pulling up his pants he poos in them

If he held it but went in his nappy I wouldn't be bothered. But like you clara I have just about had enough of dealing with poo in pants everyday. I stink of shit as does my house.

I feel like a failure to be honest.

Shonapat Fri 04-Sep-15 14:58:29

First of all you are not a failure, no way, this is bloody hard and when they can't quite be bothered to tell when they need to go you have to be on the watch all the time, it's draining. Plus you still have all your other shit to do well as this. I know this sounds callous, and I love my husband dearly,but would men worry as much as we do if it was left to them? I know lots of dads that take equal responsibility in child care, but as a mum I feel there is that sense of duty that turns into guilt if we can't solve it in an instant and I don't think blokes feel that way, they are more matter of fact about it and maybe we should be too? Nursery should be fine, they are in the business of CHILD CARE and that means everything that comes with it. I'm trying to stay cool, generally with wine!

Cheesewithbread Mon 14-Sep-15 14:29:46

My 2.10 DD has been potty training all fine for wees since August bank hol but we have had no poo on the toilet. She does it while playing. She doesn't hide to do it or anything. Will try quiet time in the loo for her with some books. It's always rabbit droppings. Does this indicate constipation could be an issue? Don't want to start movocol if we don't need it and still quite early days for the potty training. How do you know for sure if they're constipated if they are still doing daily poos? She doesn't seem to overly strain and has always done rabbit droppings. Thanks.

YouBastardSockBalls Mon 14-Sep-15 14:36:41

Mine did this, just laziness. I started making it a massive faff every time he did it, and washed him with cold water in the shower, not as a punishment, but because 'cold water is the only way together off once you're old enough for the toilet.' Then made him take the old pants to the wash, clean the bathroom floor, find new pants, dress himself, etc etc. Very nice to him throughout, but just made it unpleasant and faffy and he soon stopped.

BunnyW Tue 22-Sep-15 13:53:15

Oh the relief at knowing others have this too. Mine is 4.1 and has been learning to use the toilet for about 2.5 years now! He was almost done by 2.1 (early starter but nursery assured us he was ready) then we moved house, then his baby sister arrived, then he moved rooms in nursery, then his key worker left, now he's started big school. At every new event/change he had a regression, and sometimes in between.

Most recently, at preschool, he'd have to five wee accidents some days, none on others, most accidents days were when he was with younger children in a classroom where he used to be in nappies IYSWIM. Since starting school he hasn't had a single wee accident (yet - I'm a realist). This is a huge relief.

HOWEVER, he's come home almost every day with poo welded to his bottom. Just skid marks often but sometimes a bit of a covering. He absolutely will not tell anyone that it has happened so its only if they're changing for PE that they notice. Or he tells me when I collect him.

He does this at home also, I know exactly when he's doing it and he will flatly deny it to my face even though we both know what is happening. Then screams because his bottom is sore he doesn't want me to clean it. Liking the idea of cold shower for sore bottoms plus making it faffy for him so he gets bored - if it is indeed behavioural.

I echo other posters - its SO frustrating. And SO difficult to contain that frustration (trying not to give him psychological issues). DH in particular struggles with this. My only consolation is that it must end at some point and that several months ago it would have been whole poos.

I'm wondering if it might be worth a trip to the GP to check for constipation again, having read the above and other threads which talk about distension of the colon from long term constipation meaning they can't tell when they need to go etc.

Otherwise, perhaps a regular dose of prune juice! grin Seriously though, thank you for making me feel better. MN rocks!

Jen36A Thu 24-Sep-15 20:24:08

I'm new to this and I have joined because I'm desperate to know I'm not alone. My 4 year old daughter is not toilet trained at night and will only poo in a pull up. She uses the toilet perfectly during the day for wees but saves her poo until she has pull up on. I have tried getting rid of the pull ups but she held it in so much she suffered from pains in her tummy, constipation and leakage. I had to let her have the pull up as she has just started school and I didn't want her suffering constipation etc whilst settling into a new environment. I am so worried about it all as I have tried everything, will she grow out of it? I have tried every trick in the book. Please tell me I am not alone.

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