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My daughter is a little over 3 years old. She has no problems using the potty to urinate. When it comes to doing #2, she refuses to go to the potty. When it's time for her to go, she will ask for a pull-up and go to a corner. After she's done, she will tell me that she needs to be cleaned and will put on her underwear. How can I help her progress?


Penny Warner Replied: This is very typical behavior. Some young children are very self aware and feel embarrassment at defecating. For other kids, expelling a bowel movement can be painful. Check with your doctor to make sure there are no obstructions. Provide a diet high in fiber, such as cereal and fruit, to help soften the stools. Read a book on the potty to help her relax. And, of course, praise her when she does go potty!
Posted On 2009-09-24 16:18:59
Trish Booth, MA Replied: I would start with trying to see if there is a physical reason why your daughter doesn't want to have a bowel movement on the potty. Events that an adult barely sees and quickly forgets can make a big impression on a child. Ask her "What is scary about going #2 on the potty?" and "What hurts when you go #2 on the potty?" If she is using an adult toilet, the sound of her bm hitting the water might be disturbing. Also, it is better for children to have their feet on a solid surface when they are using the toilet. Putting a stepstool in front of the toilet so she can put her feet on it may make her feel more comfortable. If she has hard stools, a bowel movement might hurt. This would make her prefer the comfort of a pull-up. If this is the case, talk with your daughter's medical provider about ways to soften her stools. If there doesn't seem to be a specific cause, the situation will likely take longer to resolve. Eventually your daughter, on her own, will decide to use the potty. Nagging doesn't make it happen any sooner. So, until then, try for a compromise that makes things easier for you. If managing a soiled pull-up is exasperating, tell your daughter she doesn't have to use the potty, but she can't have a pull-up because things are too messy. She will need to do #2 in a disposable diaper. Or, she may be willing to sit on a child's potty in a corner and have her bm into a disposable diaper positioned right under the seat so she can still feel it. A camping potty (a small portable toilet-like seat with a disposable liner) might also be an option. If your daughter finds transitions difficult, you might try a ceremonial deadline. After a week or so of not making comments about how she has her #2, brightly announce that a day a week or so in the future is "poop in the potty day." This day can be set around an event such as needing to use the potty in order to go to a class or on an outing. Or choose a day when nothing else is scheduled for that day. Show her on a calendar when that day is and remind her each day, "X number of days until the big day." Then, the day before that day, after she has had her bowel movement, pack up the pull-ups and put them away. Positively but gently remind her on the day that she will be using the potty for #2. There may be a few days of accidents as she adjusts to the new routine. Stay positive and reassure her she is a big girl and can use the potty.
Posted On 2009-07-28 22:17:00
Pamela Waterman Replied: You're taking the right approach - calm and helpful. I can tell you all three of my girls were over four before the training was complete, but I know it's frustrating. You may try telling her you're a little busy to help her with clean-up and she can try it herself. This could be messy but may also make her decide it's not worth the effort. Or, you can wait - in another month or two she may decide on her own she doesn't like the way it feels, even in the pull-ups. Third, an incentive such as going to pre-school, which can't happen if she can't use the toilet fully, will take care of it. Something will have to convince her of the benefit of progressing, and it may not work coming from you. Patience wins out in the long run - it just seems long to you!
Posted On 2009-07-27 23:53:47
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