Lots of poop-related detail here in case it will be helpful.
The last few times Simon has pooped it has been a big and unpleasant experience for all of us, especially for him.
Today was the worst yet. He clearly had to poop early this afternoon. He wiggled around a bit and was able to distract himself from the urge until it left for awhile. Lately, he's been doing this whenever the urge returns until he can't hold it off any longer. By the time he finally pooped tonight, he was hopping around in circles, wandering aimlessly around the house -- dragging me along for comfort -- and trying to avoid the inevitable. He pooped in the toilet a couple of times last week but used a diaper for the last two. I don't care where he poops, I just don't want it to be a scary and horrible experience for him.
I don't think that he is in any physical pain while pooping. He doesn't say ow and he's far more upset in the period before he poops than while he's finally pooping -- when he just looks like he's pooping and unhappy about doing so.
Simon is still nursing a lot. He was late to get into solids and has been eating more than usual lately, but I think he still eats quite a bit less than a typical toddler, though I could be wrong about that. His recent poops might be his first really solid poops (they've been semi-solid, I guess, for awhile now, but recently have started to be more log-ish). He is not at all constipated. Once he finally starts pooping, he doesn't have trouble getting it out. I know that we should take care to ensure that his diet isn't too bulky (vegan parents should make sure their children aren't eating a tonne of food but not getting enough calories), but I can't see how this could be the case now since he eats very little, aside from breastmilk, and he does tend to get a lot of calories. Today he ate a small handful of cashews, a few crackers, a few bites of apple sauce, 1 or 2 pieces of sesame snap, a bit of soy beverage with flax oil in it, a small handful of raisin bran (minus the raisins), a sip of grape juice, and a few bites of jasmine rice. We offered additional healthy foods (including more veggies and fruits) but he turned them down. What he ate today is typical of his preferences. Getting fruits and fatty acids into him is not a problem thanks to the almighty soy shake, we can even get some veggies in there too, but we're working on finding appealing ways for him to eat more veggies. I'm not sure that success in that department will make much of a difference in the pooping department, but thought I'd mention it just in case.
Thoughts? Anyone else have a toddler with this fear? Any reason to think I'm wrong and that something else is going on, i.e., that he is not afraid but in physical pain (or more likely some combination of the two)? One thought I have is to see if I can find some Rescue Remedy (anyone know where I can get some?). If that helps to calm him down with his next urge comes, and we keep somewhat busy, that may help to reduce the stress of pooping for him until he gets used to having regular poops (i.e., of the log variety). Any other ideas?