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5 yo Will NOT poo in potty

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

My dd just turned 5 and she has never poo'd in the potty.  She had no trouble pee-training at 2--we simply bought a potty seat and she used it from day 1.  She's never had an accident with either pee or poop ever.  She just won't sit and poop.  She knows when she needs to go and asks for me to put on a diaper and then change her.  I think the issues are 1) she doesn't like any sort of change at all and this is what she's used to, 2) she's used to pooping while standing.  Is this something I should worry about or do you think she'll just eventually start pooping on the potty on her own?  Anyone BTDT with a child this age? 

 

(I have never talked to a doctor about this because we don't do "well visits" and this also seems more behavioral to me than medical, and I've learned to not trust doctors when it isn't medical advice I need.  She's not constipated and has never had an issue with constipation.  She usually needs to poo once a day. I've considered some sort of bribery but I've never done bribes before and dislike it--we're very influenced by Alfie Kohn.  Also, there is the issue that my child really isn't bribable--there is nothing she wants, as she is the most easy-going, contented child.  She's not into toys or candy or anything.  I'm not really sure what I COULD bribe her with even if I did go that route.  I thought about using a trip to Disney World but since she doesn't really understand fully how fun that would be (we're totally media free) I don't think it would work.)

 

Help!

 

post #2 of 45

Do you homeschool or is she going to be starting school in the fall?  If she is going to be going to school you could explain that at school you need to be able to poop in the toilet (no one is available to change diapers), and ask if she'd like to start practicing with you to learn how.

 

I don't think this sounds like anything to worry about, and yes, I do think she probably will start using the toilet at some point of her own volition, but she needs some sort of motivation (be that internal "I've decided I'd like to learn how to poop in the toilet now", or by the way of bribes, etc).  Like I said above, if she will be going to school then maybe that would motivate her to try.  If not, and if you are ok with the dipe changes, then I don't see any need for bribes, etc, especially since they aren't really part of your parenting "toolbox", yk?  The older she gets the more she will be doing activities separate from you and at some point she will find not having learned to poop in the toilet to be a hinderance.  You can open the dialogue about that if you like and remain open to help her when she's ready.  If it reaches a point when it's becoming more critical that she learn (say you need to work and you need her to go to school) then you can become more proactive in your approach.

post #3 of 45

why are you posting this question?

if it is bothering you that your 5 yo won't poop in the potty, and that you are still changing diapers on her... then what i would do is simply force the issue. stop buying diapers. she can poop on the floor, or simply do it over the toilet. or she can poop in a diaper that is placed over the toilet. 

obviously she has some hang up about toilets or poop or else she would have used it already for pooping.

if this is strictly a behavioral issue, then she should get over it quickly with a little effort on your part.

i potty trained my daughter at age 3.5. i had to "force" her into it. it took about an hour of her having a fit, me not getting mad but also not giving in. she finally went on the diaper placed over the potty. once she saw that she could do that, then she pooped in the potty.

 

i'm all for going at the child's pace, and not forcing her to do things, but where do you draw the line on this issue?

5 years is a milestone birthday. next year when she's 6, it's all about losing the first tooth. they are really growing up fast.

it's not a physical problem (yet). but what happens if she's so attached to diapers when she's 6 or 7 or 8. and involved in some activities outside of your home, and has to go? she will hold it, right? holding it leads to constipation... and that can cause all sorts of physical issues.

 

IMHO, end this now for her own good. you can be extremely kind and compassionate in your approach to doing it.

 

ps; what finally did it for me was having a new baby. once i had newborn baby poop to "compare" with a 3 year old's poop... well, i just couldn't do the big kid's diapers anymore. i was too grossed out. so have a new baby and you'll see what i mean. just kidding. good luck.

post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 

Yes, we homeschool so there is no "peer pressure" or outward motivation for pooing in the potty at this time, it seems.  I've mentioned it to her over and over again and she says, "not yet but maybe another year."  I don't really mind changing her diaper still but it's more or less that it seems EVERYONE else's kid is doing this at age 5 and I don't know what else I can do to speed things along.

 

My main reason for posting was just to get a feel for if other moms would worry about this, and if there is a gentle way to help her want to go on the potty.  I'm not willing to risk frustration or a fit over it.  I think by the time she's older I'll be able to reason with her more and she'll be more accomodating.  She has one friend her age and dd knows that that friend goes on the potty and it doesn't seem to motivate her (she's very intrinsically motivated and external motivation never works it seems).  I'm not willing to be abrupt about this, as knowing her personality, it would be traumatic and I think that would cause worse issues.

 

I was also just wondering if there were any other moms out there facing the same issue with a 5 yo.

post #5 of 45

Mine wouldn't do it for what seemed like forever!  I think she was around 4 or 5 when she finally did. What did it?  She wanted to wear big girl panties...we went and bought nice ones that she picked out...after I think it was about the 3rd poop accident, she decided she needed to do it and finally went in the potty.  So perhaps take her shopping for them?  Then say you really need to start practicing now for the fall because it takes a few times to get used to not waiting too long to go.  For that was the issue really...she would wait too long to ask and then it happened before we could get her to the potty when we were out and about.

 

Good luck!

post #6 of 45

She sounds just like my ds.  He started using the toilet at 2 1/2 for urinating and never had more than 2 accidents.  But he liked to stand and wear a diaper for poo.  I was always a bit concerned about constipation.  He never had an actual problem but seemed borderline, not on a daily schedule.  Activities and such were never an issue because he would wait til we were home.  I literally ran out of diapers one day, a month after he turned 5.  I tried putting a cloth diaper on him but that didn't feel right to him and he took it off.  I told him he could use his underpants but that idea did not make him feel secure.  I told him we could put something down on the floor and he could go standing up.  But I think he was worried about feces getting on him.  He had mild sensory aversions to messy things.  He finally sat on the toilet after a fair amount of distress.  He was initially pretty proud of himself but wanted to go back to diapers after a few times.  I empathized but didn't buy more diapers.  It wasn't ideal but it wasn't coercive or manipulative or anything, either.    

 

post #7 of 45
I think there are some issues we just have to give a push... not too hard or you can make things worse. I would fear that accepting the situation would just support her notion that she isn't ready and you don't think she can do it. You know for a fact that she can. A 5 year old is absolutely old enough to reason with-- but not at the height of emotion. You have to talk about it when she doesn't have to go. The only way to face a fear is to just do it. My dd had the same fear at age 3, and it was tough-- I gave her tons of prunes, shredded wheat and other high fiber foods. I let her drink juice (more than our typical splash in a cup of water).

Here's what I would do. I'd sit her down and discuss this with her maybe an hour or so after she's already gone. Why do you feel that you need a diaper? What do you think would help you go on the toilet? Then think on what she says a bit. Tell her you've thought about it, or have a fake call to the doctor and get some advice. Hey honey, did you know that the doctor says 5 year-olds are definitely ready to give up diapers? So we're going to come up with a plan to help you do that. Then for a few days load her up with prunes, high fiber, extra fluids (not milk) and maybe even some probiotics. Tell her this is what is going to make it easy for her to go. Many times if they think there is a tried and true plan, they feel circumstances have changed enough to allow them to do it. It's what got my dd past the fear.

You could even let her go on the diaper on the potty first. Maybe even wearing the diaper at first, just sitting on the toilet. Then move from there. And tell her that you can't buy her diapers any more because you know she is old enough.


My dd did something similar with not wanting to sleep in her room. She stayed on a mattress on my floor for a year until i finally talked to her over and over and over. She did finally have to decide enough is enough. I just kept in her ear about it. Oh, and you never know about the doctor. Mikght have some good ideas-- and just because he/she gives advice doesn't mean you have to take it.
post #8 of 45

My dd loved to stand and poop! It took another person to actually train her. A fresh approach, I guess. It finally happened at my Irish friend's house. My friend offered dd a potty and an ice lolly (popsicle) if she pooped. THen we both went out to the porch and talked. Meanwhile, my dd sat and pooped in the little potty without anyone hovering over her (which is what I had been doin). She was 2.5 at the time.

 

Five year olds will learn to deal. Stop buying the diapers. Give her the options and don't lose your temper. Don't hover. Offer a bribe. She's too old to be using a diaper.

post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts.

 

One thing I've become certain of is that bribery is out of the question (not that dd can be bribed anyway, cf. OP).  I think we're going to start in baby steps--try and get her to sit while pooing in a diaper (I've already told her that soon she's going to outgrow them anyway) and then gradually introduce the idea of going on a potty.  I think the real issue here is having to sit while pooing, as she's never done that.  She's not afraid of the potty (she uses it for pee without issue), she knows when she needs to go and never has accidents with either pee or poo, she's been in undies since age 3 (although PL'd at age 2 she refused to wear undies until one day she just woke up and wanted them at age 3), she's not constipated.  I think the 2 issues that I have to work around are sitting while going and then just "change".  She hates change of any kind, so I'm thinking a gradual process will seem less stressful. 

 

Any ideas on how to encourage her to sit while pooing? (I like the ice lolly suggestion above)  Maybe have a sucker or something? (Anyone know of any non-HFCS suckers to buy online?) 

post #10 of 45

You can definitely find natural lollipops online.  Try Googling "organic lollipops."  My ds was completely unbribable, too.  I have a suspicion that some people don't understand that those sorts of kids exist, but bribe attempts just didn't work on ds.  Either he didn't want the offering as much as he wanted to do things his way, or he'd simply get increasingly indignant and less cooperative.  But something to do while sitting there is a good idea, including eating a lollipop or popsicle.  I tried blowing bubbles for ds while he sat, once or twice.  Would it help to have two step stools, one on each side of the toilet so she could hover or switch back and forth between standing and sitting?  I suppose there would be a splash factor if she actually was standing but it might make her feel better to have the option.  I always figured it would have been easier with a girl because they at least get used to sitting for urinating.  Ds stood for both.

post #11 of 45

We went thru this when my daughter was four.  I feel for ya!!  She was OK w/peeing on the potty, but had to have diaper.  I will say that at preschool she was resistant to using their toilet to pee -- so she had to work thru that too.  Fortunately the school stood by her as she had tantrums and accidents in doing so.

 

We tried all the gradual approaches -- diapers in the potty, etc.   It was a total no-go.  Then we took away the diapers.  So she just pooped in her underpants once a day.  That went on for a good six months.  There was really nothing we could do.  

 

We had a potty fairy who left a pile of huge wrapped gifts (from the thrift store) waiting for her when she used the potty to poop.  This was not effective, even for my very "thing" oriented daughter.

 

There were so many tears.  And what my daughter tended to do was get constipation.  So, as this was going on we gave her lots of fruit and some fiber vitamins.  A few times we had to use miralax -- because we were on the verge of five days and worries about permanently changing the structure of her colon.  The moms here recommended it and the few times (I'm going to say five) we had to use it, it was a lifesaver.  But that does not seem to be something your daughter needs to worry about.

 

It's tough because it's hard to know what the truly effective, compassionate route is -- how much "force", how much gentle understanding.  We had moments when we lost our patience with her and told her she had to do this.  

 

What finally pushed her thru?  Honestly, I think it was just one day she was ready.  She had her own timetable (just as she has with everything).  She had to take this one slow.  The only reason we got so focused on this one was a) we had to clean up her poop b) kindergarten was around the corner and they weren't going to be dealing w/ this for us ...

 

So my advice is simply -- keep trying.  Keep shaking it up and trying different methods.  Keep applying pressure while allowing space.  But IMHO you are dealing with a psychological readiness issue that just has to work itself out.   You can influence it, but it's her internal timetable.

 

I would immediately get rid of the diapers.  By some sweet underpants with her.  Whether you say "oh, there are no more diapers at the store" or "we are not buying them any more " is up to you and what you think might be more helpful for her and you.

 

very best of luck, i know it is very hard -- another mama in my girls' school dealt w/this with her sons -- i remember her utter frustration!

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 45

oh - we tried to encourage sitting while pooping by:

 

reading stories while in that position

 

even a portable dvd video ...

 

Dora (yes, yuck, yuck) toilet seat she chose

 

but it didn't help since humans generally need to have the "urge" before they can poop ... you can't just sit and wait ... (unless your daughter has a specific time she goes...)

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 

Oh, she's been in undies full-time since age 3 (she PL'd at age 2 but refused to wear undies so I just let her go with a naked bum under her pants for that year).  I'm wondering if this will be like her undie situation--one day she just woke up and asked for them.  Right now I'm giving her a lifesaver to suck on while she sits and poops.  She refuses to sit on her potty to do this but will sit on her sit-and-spin.  She assures me that she sits in such a way on the top of it that she can poop without it squishing (she does this privately).  I'm thinking this is probably going to be a waste and not helpful.  I should probably just wait it out.  I can't stop buying diapers because honestly that would really upset her if she had no option.  We've talked about it extensively and she just keeps saying "not yet," so maybe I should just trust her.  I'm always shocked, though, how judgmental other parents are about this--I am so tired of hearing, "well, she's just too old for diapers."  It reminds me of extended bf-ing and the weirdness that goes with that--"Isn't she too old for THAT???".  But again, we did nurse until dd was 4.5 so maybe I'm okay following a slower time frame than most people.  As I said, she knows when she has to go so she never has accidents with poop, she just hands me a diaper to change out with her undies for that time.  I think it really is all about her resistance to change.

post #14 of 45

Maybe you are right.  If you feel OK waiting and she "takes care of business" in her own fashion ... perhaps you should trust her.  I mean, if you look it at abstractly, what's the difference where she poops ... diapers and toilets are both poop collectors.  And I guess being on the sit and spin is just one step closer.

 

However, one sentence that popped out of me in your last post is the following:

 

QUOTE

  I can't stop buying diapers because honestly that would really upset her if she had no option.

 

END QUOTE.

 

What would be so bad about her being upset?  Fearing upsetting someone as you guide them to a freer state of being (as not having to use diapers anymore would be) can lock them into that state.   There are times when we as parents have to upset our kids because we know it is best for them.


I guess only you can decide whether or not getting her out of diapers is important enough for her and you at this point.  If your decision is to let her pace herself in this regard, then I would not mention it to other people.  You are going to get a lot of social opprobrium. 

 

Again, good luck.

 

post #15 of 45

Would you be willing to let her poop on the floor, in the bathroom? It is the same position, but breaks the diaper connection and reinforces the bathroom connection. It is something she could do in public, if she needed to. I would personally see this as a big improvment/ leap over pooping into a diaper. Over time, you might be able to have her poop into a shallow dish to make cleanup easier and then transition to the toilet.

 

At five she could probably handle cleaning up the poop and placing it in the potty and either wiping herself or needing assistance with it. Pooping on the floor isn't very messy generally and it is much easier to clean off her bottom. I don't mention this in a punishment or shaming way. I think it might help her gain control over the situation in the same way that DS needs to take responsibility for his spills etc.

 

Personally, I would seek help at this point. You might not be interested in "well child" visits but what about not-totally-well child help? There might be strategies and methods that really help her break free from her current limitations. If this has been her pattern for upwards of three years then I think she needs help to change it.

post #16 of 45

Pooping on the floor is unsanitary and disrespectful to other members of the family.  I definitely would not go with that suggestion. 

 

Personally I think she will continue to do what she is doing until you tell her otherwise.  You are enabling her behaviour by continuing to allow it.  She is 5 years old, she is more than old enough to go in a toilet and IMO is much too old for diapers.  My youngest is 5 and in kindergarten and she has a whole class full of classmates who are all 5 years old and all go to the bathroom as they should at that age. 

 

I don't think extended nursing has anything to do with the discussion.  My middle daughter nursed until 5 and was fully potty trained at 2 yrs 10 mths and my youngest daughter nursed until 4 and she was fully potty trained at 2 yrs 6 mths.  There is no way I would have been changing the poopy diaper of a child old enough to go to the bathroom in the proper place.

post #17 of 45

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuxPerpetua View Post
I should probably just wait it out.  I can't stop buying diapers because honestly that would really upset her if she had no option.  We've talked about it extensively and she just keeps saying "not yet," so maybe I should just trust her.  I'm always shocked, though, how judgmental other parents are about this--I am so tired of hearing, "well, she's just too old for diapers."  It reminds me of extended bf-ing and the weirdness that goes with that--"Isn't she too old for THAT???".  But again, we did nurse until dd was 4.5 so maybe I'm okay following a slower time frame than most people.  As I said, she knows when she has to go so she never has accidents with poop, she just hands me a diaper to change out with her undies for that time.  I think it really is all about her resistance to change.


I'm going to have to disagree here. It sounds like you have waited it out way beyond what most people are comfortable with and that doesn't seem to be working out. I don't think this is anything like extended bf. When we choose to bf for years, it is because we (parents and children) are specifically benefitting from it. We know that bm has health benefits for our children and consciously choose to do it. But what is the benefit to letting this continue? Not rocking the boat? That alone is not a good enough reason. She is 5. She is independent and resilient and can communicate clearly. She can handle her mother lovingly teaching her how to manage her body functions in an age-appropriate way. She can handle change. I know this is what you are both used to, but you can do this. So you say no more diapers? Then what? She poops in the pants? She realizes poop really DOES belong in the toilet and tries it out?

 

Maybe this song would help: winky.gif

 

 

So if she starts using the toilet, great! And if the poops in her pants, I bet she'll learn soon that the toilet is preferable. (Dammit, now I have that song stuck in my head!)

 

post #18 of 45

My DD was younger, but to break the diaper association for pooping we did let her poop in the tub a few times. 

 

I think this really is one of those things that you need to want - it seems like you do want to, but not really.  If you really want to make it happen, it will.  Your DD is old enough, understands, and you can work with her to get her more comfortable with pooping on the toilet. 

 

Things I have heard of that might work if you do want to pursue it - starting with wearing diaper on toilet while pooping, then wear diaper with hole cut out of bottom, then wear diaper with only the waistband part, then done with diapers.  Reading books on toilet (my kids loved reading books on the toilet - still do).  Make a routine of trying on the toilet - she doesn't have to poop there but she does have to try every day around her BM time for a fair amount of time.  Read potty books.  Elmo's potty time is actually a very positive video (checked a few out of the library and this one was by far the best).  Explain to her that diapers are made for younger kids and it is time for her to work towards being done with them.  Figure out a plan with her on how you will do it and then stick to it.  Let her squat on the toilet instead of sitting... 

 

There are all sorts of potty training/learning books at the library.  I checked a bunch of them and EC books out when DD was learning and when DS was a baby.  They could be a good resource for you as far as ideas go.  Oh, and maybe the book "Everybody Poops" - and point out where and how everyone does...

 

Tjej

post #19 of 45

Oh, I forgot one thing that helped us when my DD was 4 and (after we took away all diapers) would just poop in her underpants ... we actually introduced the camping novelty of pooping in the woods.  We would go to a remote piece of land to hang out and swim ... and I taught my kids to dig catholes and poop in the woods.  I remember this was so hysterical and such a novelty to them that it sort of freed my reluctant pooper a bit.  

 

You just have to keep trying, you never know what little thing can free them.

 

I will say that when my daughter got to the other side of this, she was a much happier person.   What was at the heart of her reluctance was fear, according to her.  I never could understand that fear or really help her with it, but when she overcame it, she felt wonderful.

 

 

post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subhuti View Post

I will say that when my daughter got to the other side of this, she was a much happier person.   What was at the heart of her reluctance was fear, according to her.  I never could understand that fear or really help her with it, but when she overcame it, she felt wonderful.

 

 



Op, I think this is a good point to consider.

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