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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Toddler › Life with a Toddler › 3.5 yr old pooping in pants... HELP! ( UTI/constipation??)
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3.5 yr old pooping in pants... HELP! ( UTI/constipation??)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

My almost 3.5 year old boy is having a really hard time with pooping in the potty. He is not afraid of the toilet. He holds his pee and will pee in the potty or toilet when we ask him to and sometimes on his own. But he seems to be pooping in his pants on purpose. I feel like we've been potty-training non-stop for 6 months!

background: we did part-time EC which did NOT naturally transition to potty-training early. We were in denial... did a full-on potty training a month before he turned 3, and 6 weeks before his baby sister was born. We used the "Oh Crap, Potty Training" book's method. He was doing great at home, did pretty good at school for a few months. Then he started getting lots of colds over the winter, and started backsliding. 

THEN he got a UTI. major problem! it hurt him to pee!

he recovered from that pretty well, and was back to the potty for the most part... then he started pooping in his pants, every day at school, between Noon and 1:30 pm ( he's at school from 9-2 3 days/week). And then he started having more accidents with us at home too. The teachers now want him back in pullups because they sometimes have to deal with his poop on surfaces etc.

We've started doing some "small, immediate" consequences at home when he has an accident, as suggested by the book. but the teachers can't always do that at school. and today he pooped twice in his pants and had a big tantrum about me changing him when I went to pick him up.

SO. rewards??? I am SO SO SO reluctant to go there. But he loves sweets, and we don't give him much of them at all. One M&M would be a big deal for him. Or I've been thinking about a more long-term reward - he loves music and we've been talking about doing a guitar lesson for him. I was thinking of telling him that he can't have guitar lessons until he's done pooping in his pants.

OR - has anyone out there had ANY experience with a chronic constipation problem that leads to potty issues? How do I know when/if to have him x-rayed for this? Apparently the UTI is a warning sign for this...Has anyone out there read this book?http://itsnoaccident.net/

AND - I am so concerned about putting him in (disposable) pull ups at school. Won't this just tell him he can "give up" and not worry about trying to poop in the potty?? He won't mind being in pullups at all, by the way.

Any advice or commiseration would be welcome!

post #2 of 4

This happened with my now 4yo dd.  I started down the various paths to averting it, but I found the the more I just let it go and was positive with her--barely even talking about the act itself and just getting to the matter of cleaning it up (without being angry), the quicker she got back to pooping on the potty.  For her, the whole thing absolutely was exacerbated by... well, she wasn't constipated, but she wasn't having the easiest time getting it out.  It was never a quick matter and still isn't, but even tonight--she went into the bathroom, was in there for a while until she was done, and called me in to see the evidence.


I'm not sure if this applies to yours or not, but I'm finding that my dd is a little more sensitive to the feelings of others and than most kids her age.  So in retro, I think my reaction--making it any kind of an ordeal one way or another--made it difficult for her.  When I first went on my "no real reaction" tangent, I found that SHE needed to talk a lot about it--I think trying to gauge my feelings on it.  I never told her that she was a baby because she didn't go in the potty.  I didn't tell her that "when she was big" it would happen in the potty.  I didn't frame anything in a way that said anything about HER.  I focused on getting her cleaned up without being angry/exasperated/annoyed (but not extra happy--just positive but matter-of-fact) and I would sometimes say that if she felt the poopy again, she could put it in the potty.


And I'll be honest: it took probably 6-ish weeks of this.  It was misery because there were a LOT of accidents and several underpants ruined (she was at home and I kept thinking it would be okay  eyesroll.gif ).


I'm not sure how you attack it with the daycare, but I think when the pressure is COMPLETELY off, they're able to focus on things a little better.  They want to be "big".  Sometimes we just need to give them the space to get there.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you SO much for this reply. I emailed our doctor and she said it sounds like his bowels are just fine - which I think they are too.... I think I was just hoping that there was some physical thing that I could DO something about! eyesroll.gif

So yes, I thing this is similar to what is going on for my guy. I think he was picking up a lot on how we were/are feeling about it... the consequences thing was going nowhere and he seemed to be getting scared of even telling us when he had a poop in his undies.

So, he's back to pullups at school, and we're still holding out the expectation that he goes in the potty. He's gone by himself a bunch of times this week so I think we're back on the upswing! Also, letting him be naked at home seems to really help. Slowly but surely... I hope!!

post #4 of 4

I'm there with my nearly 3-year-old.  He has been using the potty for peeing for literally months..close to a year even, and dry at night for as long, but close to zero success pooping on the potty.  I was worried it was a physical thing for a little while too because he was doing a bunch of really little poops all day long. I honestly think he was just nervous about using the potty and it stressed him out so he woudl go a little and then stop himself, over and over.  Recently, he started pooping on the potty really well and consistently and I was so excited-but I think I made such a big deal about it that it stressed him out again and now are back to same old, same old *sigh!*


I am trying really hard to be neutral about it, but at this point he hates getting cleaned up after an accident, so it is hard.  We'll see how it goes, but the PP's advice was really great, so thanks :)


FWIW, I hope this is not hte case for you, but we tried to switch back to pull-ups as well because I was tired of cleaning up poopy underwear, and it led to a terrible backslide in that he started peeing in them too, like all the time!  He totally knows the difference and needless to say we stopped that quickly.  Again, I hope that is not the case for you, but I would ask the daycare to be especially attentive to make sure he is still peeing on the potty :)


Good luck!

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