How do I deal with poo problems?

Oct 09, 2020

As a potty training consultant, one of the questions I get asked the most from frustrated parents is "why can't I get my child to poo on the potty?'

I was in this position many years ago with my second child and it drove my husband and me to distraction.

We took a very long time to figure out our son Felix, the process was extremely stressful and took away a lot of the joy of parenting him. He was a challenging but adorable little boy and we approached it in the wrong way, blaming him and getting cross. Having found the way to unlock solutions to the problem, I've since had a mission to help other parents.

Firstly, you need to know that as a parent IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT - let's just get this straight and take the finger of blame out of the equation.

I get so many people coming to me wracked with guilt that they have failed as a parent because their child does one of these things. Do any sound familiar to you?

My child:

  • Is fine with wees but will hide in a corner or behind the sofa to poo
  • Withholds their poo- sometimes for days at a time and will double over in pain rather than let it out.
  • Lets out bits at a time in their pants
  • Poos when they are asleep
  • Will only poo in a nappy and asks for it
  • Is terrified of using a toilet or potty
  • Has suffered from constipation - missing one or two days of a proper poo classes as constipation in a child
  • Was fine till you started potty training and then started refusing to poo
  • Runs away or absolutely refuses to use the potty when you suggest it
  • Won't admit to an accident and would rather sit in smelly poo

So what can be done?
There is no one situation that is the same. 
Parents will feel like they've 'tried everything' and also often get well-meaning but unhelpful advice from people who don't understand - they say things like 'just try prune juice' or 'sit them on a potty and say 'big poo'. 

I've been researching this for years and work closely with clients to solve the problem but here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Children are extremely sensitive on our body language, our tone of voice and the words we use. Even if you put on an act to start with, draw on all your resources to stay calm and positive
  • Children want to please us. Holding onto their poo is NOT a nice experience for them so please don't blame them (or yourself) for the situation
  • Children have little control or choice in their life, the things they can control is when they sleep, what they eat and poo (even if they poo holding is at an unconscious level). 
  • If you are getting into control power-struggles, you will make the situation worse. 
  • Learn how to problem solve with your child instead of feeling like you have to solve it all
  • Engage them in an interest in what's going on in their body and use imaginative methods to help solve problems.
  • Lighten up - use humour, songs, dances, role-play, imaginative play to engage them in letting that poo out.
  • Their fears seem irrational to us but are very real to your child so don't dismiss them and tell your child 'don't worry'. 
  • Put on your thinking cap to understand what their fears are and have a step by step gradual process to alleviate the fears.

If you'd like tailored personal support from me, Camilla, find out about my Platinum Potty Training Programme book a free discovery call with me click here.

If you'd like to download a free booklet 'Why won't my child poo?' that gives extra tips and solutions click here




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