3yo pooping his pants intentionally - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 04-19-2012, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Help? My 3yo has been completely potty trained since he turned 3 in January (woke up the day after his birthday and decided he was a big boy and was going to wear underwear).

Now, he's pooping in his pants. On purpose. Once over this past weekend (could have been Friday?), yesterday, and he almost did today. Today, he went into the bathroom (he KNEW he had to go), and stood next to the toilet and started going. I realized what he was doing and went in and took his pants off and put him on the potty. Our conversation was something like this (only a million times longer - the child never stops talking):

DS - I was going to poop in my pants but you came just in time
Me - when you poop, you need to go on the potty
DS - yeah, I was going to go in my pants but you came just in time
Me - why didn't you sit on the potty? (he is capable of this - he's been doing it for MONTHS)
DS - because I couldn't (this is a theme recently. I hate it)
Me - if you need help you need to ask for it. Just say, "Mommy, can you help me?" and I will come help
DS - well, I was going to go in my pants but you came just in time.

So - I didn't get mad at him, but I'm super frustrated. I was thinking before that he might be constipated, or holding it in at school and then not being able to make it to the potty - but his poop today was huge, and I mean like adult sized, and formed (he's known for gigantic poops that stink up the entire apartment - happens at his dad's too), so there goes that theory.

What is a GD way to handle a 3yo who is pooping in their pants on purpose? This is going to drive.me.NUTS.

Help?
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#2 of 13 Old 04-20-2012, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, he pooped his pants TWICE tonight. Guess he's back in diapers.
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#3 of 13 Old 04-20-2012, 06:27 PM
 
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My daughter did something similar the other week with pee. She will be 3 in July. She peed on her nap mat at preschool (she goes for a total of 10 hours a week), and realized that because she did that, her mat was wet and she didn't have to take a nap. I don't know if that pee was intentional at all, because it is really unusual for her to pee at all when sleeping. It is possible the naptime aide forgot to take her to the potty pre-nap or something. She has held her pee while sleeping since she was a baby.

 

So anyway, she realized that she got out of sleeping at naptime b/c she peed, and so she tried it again, on purpose, that night at bedtime. We took one of her beloved toys away until the next day. She hasn't tried it again.


We don't spank and very, very rarely raise our voices. I don't think that kids this age have the selflessness to really care about how frustrating they can be to others, though we do tell her how her actions frustrate us when she does misbehave. The only thing that seems to bring results quickly is taking away toys. This has cut down misbehavior DRAMATICALLY for us. I'm not sure if that constitutes "gentle discipline" on MDC, but it works for us really well. We don't just take toys away though, we also tell her why we are frustrated and ask her what she'd do differently the next time. Toy removal is the last resort for purposefully manipulative behavior.


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#4 of 13 Old 04-20-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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I went through the same thing with my son!  He'd been potty-trained, as far as pee, forever.  He pooped in the potty every now and then - definitely knew how to do it.  But he kept pooping in his pants!  It was so frustrating!  As with your son, he clearly knew when he needed to go, because he would go somewhere private (under a table or in one of his older brothers' closest, usually).  I kept reasoning with him, "If you know you need to go, just go in the toilet instead of your brother's closet!"  I did everything.  I broke down into outlandish bribes, I got frustrated and gave consequences, took things away.  Nothing worked.  I started wondering if this was the first sign of some horrible mistake I'd made, parenting him?

 

Finally, a friend suggested to me that sometimes kids just prefer that feeling of pooping into their underwear, instead of having the poop fall into open space, in the toilet.  (Hard to imagine, I know!)  She had a theory about letting kids poop in their underwear while sitting on the toilet, as a transitional phase.  I'm not that patient.  Once the weather warmed up enough for this not to be cruel, I had my son run around naked from the waist down all the time.  There's a significant psychological difference between pooping in your pants in your brother's closet...and squatting down and pooping on the floor of your brother's closet.  My son wasn't about to do the latter.  He didn't poop at all for 2 days.  Then he quite proudly pooped on the potty.  The spell was broken.  He has not pooped in his pants again.

 

Best of luck! 


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#5 of 13 Old 04-21-2012, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, we can't to the naked thing right now. He would squat down and poop on the floor. And, he has been completely potty trained since January. Completely. He had like 3 pee accidents, and zero poop accidents, until this week.

Anyway. I told him that he has to wear diapers until he poops in the potty. He kept saying he would poop in the potty, and I told him to prove it to me.
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#6 of 13 Old 04-21-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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Just a brainstorming idea.... if you're putting him into diapers, could you treat him like a baby in other areas too? Like give him a bottle for dinner, make him go to bed early.... things like that. All with the reasoning of, "If you're not going to poop in the potty like a big boy, I guess you want to be a baby again. This is what it's like to be a baby.  When you want to be a big boy again, you can poop in the potty and be a big boy." 

 

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#7 of 13 Old 04-21-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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My son turned 3 in Jan too.  He does still wear a diaper but has just started taking it off on his own and wanting underwear.  We tried earlier but there were too many accidents.  He is doing really well...except the poop.  He will go pee on his own.  He will hide and try and poop in his underwear (he did once and I flipped and felt horrible after.)  He almost went in his underwear today standing in the washroom but I saw it for what it was.  He gets nervous for some reason to go poop on the toilet.  I am not sure why but I have to listen to that.  Sometimes he cries for me to put a diaper on him so he can go and I do.  My 6yo son used to hide behind the drapes to go in his diaper.  He had the same issue.  We actually took the potty and placed it behind the drapes and it worked.  Now my 3yo son has the same "fears" so I am just going to allow him to feel the way he needs to feel and go accordingly.  Yelling, frustration, telling him he is a baby I don't think will help him.  It isn't like he is doing this to make you upset.  It may be a bit harder for you since he is in school, not sure.  For me, I am trying not to take out my frustrations on him because it is just me being cranky and tired.  Look at him and maybe try and figure out what the issue is.  You seem to be a patient mama that cares.  This phase shall pass, this phase shall pass, this phase shall pass.  I am telling myself this too. lol

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#8 of 13 Old 04-22-2012, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks blessingscome, I might try that. He's at his dads for a week, do we'll see what happens when he comes home.

Homeschoolingmama - my ds has not worn a daytime diaper since his birthday, jan 10 (he woke up on the 11 and decided that he was a big boy and going to wear underwear - it was his choice). Pee accidents I can count on one hand, and were because he forgot to stop playing to go potty. Poop accidents were completely unheard of, and simply didn't happen (there were none until this week). He's been getting onto the potty, and taking himself to the potty for months now, with no reminders. This is not an issue of him not being ready to potty train.
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#9 of 13 Old 04-23-2012, 08:17 AM
 
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Fill a clear jar with some sort of small candy. When he goes poop on the potty he gets one. If he doesn't, just ignore and move on.
 


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#10 of 13 Old 04-24-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I saw something twice that nobody else has responded to, so here's my input - you said "his dad's house" twice. Is it possible you and his dad are not on the same page about toileting, and this is causing your son some confusion about when/how/if to use the toilet? If your kiddo is in Pull-Ups at dad's, but in underpants at your place, it may be hard for him to differentiate when it is and isn't okay for him to poo in his pants. At his age, he may not be able to articulate the difference to you, and your posts don't say if you've asked him (either "him") about it.

 

Does dad offer the same level of assistance you offer your son? More, less? Make him clean up his own poop? Some sort of punishment, or maybe ignoring your son's needs for toileting? I know if I was that young and told my dad I had to go, but he didn't take it seriously, I'd just give up. Maybe he's looking at your help as, "Aaah, someone gets it and is helping me poo!"

 

Might be worth looking at, just to be sure everyone is consistent. I doubt dad likes cleaning up the poops any more than you do!


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#11 of 13 Old 04-24-2012, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SquidMommy View Post

I saw something twice that nobody else has responded to, so here's my input - you said "his dad's house" twice. Is it possible you and his dad are not on the same page about toileting, and this is causing your son some confusion about when/how/if to use the toilet? If your kiddo is in Pull-Ups at dad's, but in underpants at your place, it may be hard for him to differentiate when it is and isn't okay for him to poo in his pants. At his age, he may not be able to articulate the difference to you, and your posts don't say if you've asked him (either "him") about it.

 

Does dad offer the same level of assistance you offer your son? More, less? Make him clean up his own poop? Some sort of punishment, or maybe ignoring your son's needs for toileting? I know if I was that young and told my dad I had to go, but he didn't take it seriously, I'd just give up. Maybe he's looking at your help as, "Aaah, someone gets it and is helping me poo!"

 

Might be worth looking at, just to be sure everyone is consistent. I doubt dad likes cleaning up the poops any more than you do!

 


Until last week, my son didn't need assistance pottying, only wiping after. He would tear through the house yelling, "I HAVE TO POOP!!!" "Do you need help?" "NO!!!" and then I would help him wipe when he was done. So I don't think its that.

 

Underwear in both places during the day, pull ups at night (only because he sometimes wets - I've been wanting to do an experiment to see if he could stay dry overnight).

 

I don't know. We are going to the Dr. when he gets back from his dads (he's there for a week every month, because dad lives in another state)

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#12 of 13 Old 09-04-2012, 01:59 PM
 
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I assume you've figured this whole thing out already, because the thread is several months old, but I wonder if his behavior was related to knowing that he would be going to his dad's soon.  I wonder if he thought that you wouldn't send him there if he did something he wasn't supposed to, like poop in his pants, specifically because he could see that it got you really upset.  Has it stopped?  I would love an update.  I only just found this board because of my own 3-year-old's poop issues.  Believe me, going in his underwear would be cake compared to what my son is doing (underwear off, poop all over the bedrooms).

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#13 of 13 Old 10-04-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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I have to agree with squidmommy, something is different between your house and his dads house. I'm not blami.g you for anything, but I have to say this, no matter how much it may look like it, no child your sons age is fully doing that on purpose. No child for that matter. Something psychological is going on. Trust me, I've got two boys 10 and 11 years old. I've dealt with this from my 10 year old and my 11 year old....well let's just say I still have to wipe him even though he knows how because he has a fear or off about his poop getting on his hands. Talk to someone first before belittling your child and treating him as if he was a baby again with the bottles and all that. That is only going to traumatize and possibly make him regress. My ex sister in law did this to her three year old daughter, and it was not good. The look on the child's face was so sad.
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