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Trouble Toilet Training?

December 9th, 2014 | By: Elizabeth Pantley
What to do when your child won’t poop on the potty.

In This Article

Trouble Toilet Training?

One of the most common and frustrating toilet training roadblocks is when a child willingly pees on the potty but demands a diaper, or uses his pants, for bowel movements. Some children will actually hold their bowel movements and create severe constipation, which further complicates the issue.

Why Kids Won’t Poop on the Potty

Children typically resist having a bowel movement on the toilet, or hold back from going, for one or more of these reasons:

  • Bowel movements take too long to wait for and an active child dislikes having to sit on the potty for the extended length of time.
  • After being used to the squashed sensation of stool coming out into a diaper, the feeling of letting it loose into the air is unsettling and strange.
  • A child is used to standing or moving during BMs and sitting still on the potty is an uncomfortable change of routine.
  • Your child thinks the stool is part of him and doesn’t understand why he should flush it away.
  • A bad experience, such as being splashed on the bottom with urine or water during a movement, or having a messy accident, causes a child to avoid having it happen again.
  • Pain from a previously difficult or hard stool makes a child afraid to poop on the potty.
  • A current case of constipation is preventing usual elimination.


Don’t try to solve the problem without understanding why it exists. Once you identify your child’s impetus for avoiding bowel movements you can create the best plan for helping him to have regular and natural elimination.