3 1/2 year old son is accident-free.....except he is pooping in a diaper....WTD? - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > 3 1/2 year old son is accident-free.....except he is pooping in a diaper....WTD?
peaceful_mama's Avatar peaceful_mama 08:48 PM 04-21-2012

My son turned 3 in November.  My two older children were completely PL by around 2 1/2---well, for days in the case of my dd who is 5.


3 yr old DS FINALLY started to pee in the potty when I pretended to just not care anymore.  He literally went from diapers to accident-free for pee in a matter of a couple days.


Then there's poop.  He does not have accidents in his pants anymore.  He knows full well what he is doing.  He waits until we put the bedtime diaper on, or he will ask for a diaper.


One day, when he asked, I said "Let's go sit on the potty." and he did, for a minute.  Then he got off and ran around for awhile, then asked to try again.  Still nothing.

Then the phone rang, and while I was on the phone, he put a diaper on himself and proceeded to poop in it!


I have tried just casually taking him to the potty, which he was open to, asked me to read to him.  I have tried the "I don't care" approach along with "I know you can do it and you will someday."  I have tried outright bribery.  I have tried telling him that he can't ride the school bus till he starts doing it--which he *says* he wants to do, but I don't know, maybe that is part of the problem?  I just overheard him telling his dad tonight that he is a little boy, so he needs a diaper.


WHAT am I going to do?  I have never had this problem before.

TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 11:42 AM 04-23-2012

This is a pretty common issue, so first thing--- don't worry!


My first thought would be that it is an actual physical issue of pooping on the potty.  Does he usually use the regular toilet?  Some people reallly need to squat (or, at the very least, have their feet on the ground) to poop.  With peeing, it's not such a big deal, but this can be a big issue.  You can either provide a stool or have him use a little potty if this is an issue.  He might actually even be having a tiny bit of constipation  making this problem worse.


For some kids it's more of a boredom issue.  Peeing takes so little time, they don't realize that you may actually have to *sit* for a while to poo.  Does he have books or something special to look at while he's just sitting there?


Other kids just plain don't like the feeling.  Now, I am very anti-rewards, but from everything I have read the issue with rewards it replacing instrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation.  The thing about using the toilet is that we, as people, just don't *need* to have a lot of intrinsic motivation for it (it's not like with reading or excercise where you want your children to *love* the activity, you just need them to *do* it if they love it or don't).  You might consider smaller, immediate rewards (small candies, stickers, etc...) that build up into a bigger reward.  A couple weeks will do it for many kids and once they have the habit ingrained, it's just not an issue.  You could also time this with running out of diapers/pull-ups if you use disposable products.


Good luck!  I know it's frustrating.  When it's a low pressure/stress time if your DS is adequately verbal you should also definatley ask him why he doesn't want to poop in the potty.  It's amazing what ideas kids get stuck in their heads!

rinap's Avatar rinap 12:17 PM 04-23-2012

If he puts a diaper on himself and poops in it, then it sounds like he's very aware of what's going on, and it's either positional, as the previous poster suggests, or situational. I would concur on the offering a little potty so he can squat (what position does he poop in with the diaper?). Or maybe let him poop on a diaper in the bathroom (and perhaps only in the bathroom) as a step toward the potty?

indigosky's Avatar indigosky 07:23 PM 04-24-2012
We had a similar issue with DD, who only wanted to poop in a diaper for a LONG time, well after age 3. She had a particular way she liked to squat, in a particular place.

What ended up working very well for us was making a series of rules, one at a time, presented days in advance. The first rule was that she could still squat and poop in a diaper, but she had to do it in the bathroom. Once she was good at that and uncomplaining about it, the next rule was that she could **** squat and poop in her diaper, but it had to happen in a particular corner of the bathroom, closer to the toilet. Then when she was good at that, the next rule was that she could squat and poop onto a prefold (flat cloth) diaper, but she wasn't allowed to WEAR a diaper. Then finally she had to poop into the toilet, but she could squat on the seat (I would help her climb up if needed and hold hands for balance -- she thought this was fun). After a day or two of squatting on the seat, she said it would be easier to just sit on it. And she did, and that was that -- project successful.

She would never have been able to go straight to the "squat on the toilet" step without the intermediate ones, as she was very attached to her original "pooping place" and needed the diaper for security. But for her, making one small change at a time, over a series of many weeks, worked very well, without being particularly traumatic for either of us. (And no bribes or punishments, either!)
peaceful_mama's Avatar peaceful_mama 12:21 AM 04-25-2012

Well, we are using disposables. I used cloth on him all the way up to the point that he outgrew what I had.  We had a traumatic fall--the season!--last year with baby brother in the hospital for 6 weeks.  He only pee-learned after I'd been home for awhile consistently.  He squats, but doesn't seem attached to a place. (or that is my assumption, I have yet to catch him in the act, I find him standing and done.)  We did have a little potty, I got rid of it after he wanted nothing to do with it.  My first was the only one to actually use one, and not often.  Knowing his general personality and ideas, getting another one would do nothing but create clutter in the house--he would very likely tell me he is a big boy and refuse it. 


I might ask him about it.  I also would not be surprised if part of the problem is that we've connected going to school to potty-usage.  I actually have no real plans to send him to preschool till at least 2013 fall, the year he will turn 5 in Nov.  I'm going to lay off that line.  He also figures out quickly what will 'get to you' and uses it.  (things like he got mad at me the other day, I don't remember why, but right before whatever it was, I had told him he needed to wear shoes outside.  So he throws his jacket off too and storms out the door saying "I'm goin out without my 'tuff on!"  lol, it's funnier now than it was then!)

indigosky's Avatar indigosky 08:44 AM 04-25-2012
I think the same approach could work fine with disposable diapers -- step one would be that he can still poop in a diaper but he has to do it in the bathroom, because "that's where people poop."

Backing off linking it to going to school makes a lot of sense, too. smile.gif
Halfasianmomma's Avatar Halfasianmomma 10:16 AM 04-26-2012

Just wanted to chime in and say that my DD will be 4 in July and she still waits until the end of the day to poop in her nighttime diaper or if she wants to go before, she demands a diaper to poop in.


For her, it used to be about constipation, but now it's clear that she is refusing to poop on the toilet because she plain doesn't want to. She's a stubborn girl and she does things HER way when SHE is ready. I have no answer to this conundrum, seeing as DD is almost out of nighttime diapers. Her ped suggested with impose twice daily potty sits for 10 to 15 minutes in length, but I haven't implemented those yet.

Tags: Toddlers