My DD is 27 months and doing very well with potty learning -- we're very nearly accident-free! However, lately she's been having increasingly more intense anxiety about pooping on the potty, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about how to handle it.
For about an hour (or more) before she poops, she starts whining in a distressed tone and walking around on tiptoes, saying "I pooping! I pooping!" But then I get her to the potty and she backs away from it, saying "No! No!" in a really anxious, fearful tone. It totally seems to me like she's afraid to poop.
This has coincided with an ongoing pattern of constipation for her, so I wouldn't be surprised if she was afraid to poop because it hurts, and is holding it in, thereby worsening the constipation. This isn't altogether uncommon for a toddler of her age. But she does not seem to 'hold it in' quite so much when she's wearing a diaper -- it's the pooping on the potty that increases her anxiety. What might be causing this? How do I help calm it?
I've actually been putting diapers on her at certain times of the day to try and encourage her to poop, because if I don't it can be two days or more in between bowel movements, which I'm sure is uncomfortable and difficult for her. And when she does finally go, it's usually in her underwear or the diaper rather than the potty.
It got so bad this morning that she started begging for a diaper, and I finally gave in and put one on her because she seemed so anxious and frightened. A few minutes later, she pulled it off, then a few minutes after that, yelped, terrified, "I poop!" She was pooping on the floor. I grabbed her and put her on the potty, where she managed to get a bit of it, after which I praised her elaborately. Then I had to calm her distress over the poop on the floor -- she was really upset about it.
An hour later, she pooped on the potty with no trouble at all, didn't even know she was doing it until she was done. Again, elaborate praise and treats. But I don't get what the difference is between the two events. Why such distress over the first, and so matter-of-fact about the second? I'm totally mystified. Is the constipation causing the anxiety, or the anxiety causing the constipation? Is it the potty that is the issue, and what can I try to reduce her fear about it? Anyone BTDT and have any advice?