Rudey's Room

Potty Training Problem – Refusing to Poop

 Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.

– Sonia Ricotti

“How about you try going poopy in the potty?,” I ask for the upteempth time.

“I can’t,” she says. “I can’t, mama.”

I look at her, encouraging … convincing … urging.

“No.” She’s firm, standing her ground. Eyes wide, she admits, “I’m scared. I need a diaper.”

Seek first to understand her, so … “Why are you scared, boo?”

“There are spiders in there.”

Oh, right, those pesky spiders. My youngest is leery of spiders.

I consult the development checklist in Toddler 411 like the good nerd I am (mine is dogeared).

It’s touted from Day 1: Each baby is unique and meets physical milestones at his or her own pace.

Wiggles thumb – age achieved: 2.5 to 3.5 years.

Understands taking turns – age achieved: 3 years. Interesting … I know plenty of seven year olds still struggling with that milestone.

Let’s see what the experts have to say about pooping on the potty.

Nothing in the checklist. I’ll probe the index for a page number.

Per the author’s of Toddler 411, “know where your child’s mind is developmentally – fantasy and reality are one in the same.”

If she thinks there are spiders lurking in the toilet, then this will be tough habit to break.

Yet she is a champ at going potty on the toilet – not a word about creepy crawlies when she tinkles. Shorty after her second birthday, she was trained.

Chances are she’s just taking her own sweet time.

Is it my fault? Likely. I do chime “oooh, you’ve got a stinky poo,” sometimes when I change her. But I used the same singsong voice with older sister, and she peed and pooped without a hitch. (Well, after a one-off naptime poop flinging whereby a nauseous eight-week pregnant me cleaned feces off her pack ‘n play and the bedroom floor at my in-law’s house).

And I’m so over changing #2 diapers. In fact, I use gloves. (Ouch: Is this the problem? I’ve always used them.)

Did I miss something during the initial training? Absolutely! We’re on the go far more than with V. I was not afraid to hand Stella a diaper instead of finding the nearest potty, long after she was trained. It’s way easier to toss on a diaper.

So my youngest takes a diaper, no questions asked, when we are out and about.

Since I no longer carry a diaper bag, I bought a pretty pouch to keep in my purse:


Then I did due diligence and checked in with her ped. I was asked about the consistency (constipation?) of her poop. At the risk of being TMI, she is having a decent sausage.

My pediatrician said the trick is to get her on the potty at the point that she almost can’t hold it in and she experiences going on the potty. Up the fruit intake?

Stella and I chat.

I’m honest with my girls about their bodies. Frequent conversations are about go-foods and stop-foods, so what happens to their poo is casual talk. I say, “Everyone eats, so whatever the body does not need, comes out as poop.”

This didn’t change her stance.

I considered getting the book Everybody Poops, but then watched the Morgan Freeman impersonation of it on YouTube and thought better of it.

I would be nagging her with that book. I prefer to avoid a power struggle.

My solution: She has to try to go potty prior to getting a diaper.

She has exceptional control. She knows when she gots to go and asks for a diaper – Bravo! She often puts the diaper on herself.

Then she scurries under a table.

It warms my heart seeing her adorable self peeking out of a hiding spot.


Is it the first sign of wanting privacy?

What can I say? The girl likes to hide under tables to do her business.

Only rule: She can’t go poopy under the table at Panera (or any restaurant, for that matter).

Like most obstacles, this too shall pass. Before I know it, she’ll be fully trained. I am confident she will not be pooping in a diaper in Kindergarten. She’ll make whatever connection and go on her own, in her own time.

We’re one step closer this week (of course I snapped a picture). She’s on the potty with her diaper on and iPad on her lap. I’d share it, but I’d rather not reveal a nudey shot of my daughter. That’s her choice. Mommy request: Pleae choose wisely. Some actions are hard to undo.

According to Toddler 411, the next step is to remove the diaper and have her go in the fearsome potty. And if we need another bridge, cut a hole in the bottom of it.

Any advice from parents who’ve made it to the other side?



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