What should I do if my child refuses to poop in the potty?

Q: My child pees in the potty but refuses to poop there. What should I do?

A: There could be a few things going on. Could she be constipated? If she had a painful pooping experience on the potty, she may think that sitting there is what caused it. Consult with your pediatrician. Does she have unrealistic fears? Some kids view poop as a part of themselves and watching it get flushed can be disturbing. In this case, take a gradual approach. When she needs to poop, keep her in her diaper but have her go into the bathroom. Next, have her sit on the potty in a diaper. Finally, cut a hole in the diaper before she sits on the potty. Is she more comfortable standing to poop, like she did in diapers? Encourage her to sit on the potty, explaining that it makes pooping easier. --Nancy Rones

Copyright 2007. Used with permission from the November 2007 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009


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