I'm feeling a little desperate after a full year dealing with my DD pooping in her pants. Her potty training history was rocky but every day that goes by without getting any better seems just out of control. She is extremely smart, this seems to be the only thing she just can't "get". We potty trained her at 2 1/4 right before her baby brother came, bad timing. She was almost 100% there when he was born and regressed fully back into diapers. Understandable. When she hit 3 we started potty training again, didn't take took long, never had night time accidents, did GREAT with always pooping in the potty. A couple months after we started, with weeks of no accidents she just started pooping. She turned 4 in July and still poops multiple times a day in her pants. Just enough to stink and make a small mess, not really a full on poop. She never tells me, I always just smell it and then ask her to go to the bathroom and she goes and poops (sometimes small, sometimes a lot) on the toilet and we start again.
I don't know what to try. I don't want potty to become a discipline issue but rewards seem to have no hold on her. So basically I do nothing about it except constantly live in a state of frustration about it. We have tried many many different types of reward systems and they only work for a day or two, then she's back to accidents.
Has she had any issues with constipation? Sometimes even just one hard, painful bowel movement is enough to make kids scared to poop in the potty. Then the child just tries to hold it in until she can't anymore and then she has an accident. You might try just talking to her and see if she is worried about it hurting. For my five year old who had chronic constipation issues, she ended up needing to take Miralax to soften her stools.
Our daughter also had "poop issues." She had a hard time potty training. We had a lot of problems with constipation. She was also put on Miralax like the pp's daughter. That helped, but sometimes she would still do it. We now think that she has sensory issues down there. I don't think she feels it like most people. (She also had enuresis issues.)
She's still pretty young, but you might keep track of how hard/soft her poop is and adjust diet first. Then maybe a trip to the Dr.
Even now that DD is almost 8 and we've been doing awesome for quite a while, I still get nervous sometimes when we go out, so I hear your worry and frustration!
Her stools are always soft and she hasn't ever had any constipation issue. I have wondered if there is such thing as sensory issues down there but don't know how to look into that. It really just seems like she doesn't feel it happening like she should. Is there anyway to train her to feel it more or just let nature run it's course? With a 20 month old and a baby due in feb. I feel like I'm going to be dealing with poop every minute of the day!
I just went through this with my son who is 3.5. He was pretty much fully potty trained since a month before his third birthday, and we had been sort of trying it out sporadically since he had just turned 2. It really felt like it had been a very long road, but he was finally there. About two or three months ago, he started pooping in his pants multiple times a day. When I would ask him about it, he would simply say "I don't know why I poop in my underwear". It was so frustrating. I tried natural consequences "we need to go home and can't do x,y,z because we need to clean you up" but he really didn't care. I tried tossing beloved underwear away "we are going to have to throw these away because they are too poopy to wash" and again, a little bit of upset, but he really didn't seem to care all that much. Finally I just bought a pack of pull-ups and put him in them and said that if he could keep them clean for a week we could go buy a new pack of underwear of whatever kind he wanted and he could ditch the pull-ups. There were definitely a few tears when I put the first pull-up on him, but we talked about how the poop really needed to go in the potty and not in underwear and the pull-ups would help make cleaning up easier and keep the poop from going anywhere that it shouldn't. He seemed ok with it and never had another accident from that point on. He had his week in pull-ups and was super excited at the end to go buy new undies. He will now not only not miss any poops, he will actually tell me when he has to go, or even go on his own, although he calls me to help him wipe.
I know pull-ups are not always looked upon favorably here, but it worked for us and DS never had an accident again. I was so at the end of my rope and they were a life saver.