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Pooping Refusal: What To Do About This Potty Training Issue

Most parents look forward to the day that they get to potty train their children because it means no more dirty diapers – well, at least when they get their children potty trained. Usually, getting the child to pee isn't the problem. Getting the child to poop is when the issues really set in and your child decides to stop sprinting around the track. For some children, it is fear and anxiety. For others, it is pain that is often brought on by constipation. As a parent, you will need to try to use your knowledge of your child's behavior to help decipher which one it is so that you can help your child move forward with the potty training process and move on from poopy diapers. Here's what you can do:

If Your Child Isn't Pooping Because of Fear:

  • Simply Talk to Your Child. Find out what's causing the fear and anxiety. In some cases, it is the sound of the flushing of the toilet. In others, it is the fact that your child feels like he or she is going to "fall into" the toilet. Some children are too cold in the bathroom, are scared of the big, adult toilet, or don't want to be left alone in the bathroom when trying to have a bowel movement.
  • Make It More Comfortable. Once you can identify the issue, you can make adjustments to the environment so that your child feels more relaxed when he or she sits down to use the potty. More than likely, you will see a significant improvement in your child's pooping behavior.

If Your Child Isn't Pooping Because of Pain:

  • Offer a Stool Softener. As an adult, you know it can hurt to have a bowel movement sometimes. Think about how it must feel for a child who has never experienced constipation before. Luckily, a stool softener can help, although you should consult with pediatricians first. If you aren't comfortable with offering a stool softener, you could consider offering more fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, yogurt and trail mix, according to WebMD.

For more help on getting your child to poop in the potty, consider reaching out to your child's pediatrician. This is particularly true if you don't see any progress on your own or if you believe there is an underlying condition that may be impacting your child's ability to move forward with the potty training process.