View Full Version : Potty training and constipation problems

04-26-2004, 12:06 AM
Jack just turned 3 and has no interest in potty training. He's very verbal and knows exactly what the potty is for. When he starts to poop, he'll tell me, and when I ask if he wants to use the potty, he says "No, I want to poop in my diaper."

I am not a big fan of rushing kids into potty training. Especially kids like him who have shown almost zero interest. However, our situation is complicated by the fact that Jack has a pretty severe constipation problem (which has been going on for almost 2 years). We put mineral oil in almost anything we can hide it in (yogurt, macaroni, cottage cheese) and feed him as much fruit as he'll eat. He doesn't drink enough water or fluids in general (much of the problem) and won't touch juice. At any rate, he'll go 4 days with no poops (though he will strain and push and sometimes hold stool), and then all hell will break loose, and we'll be changing 5 poopy diapers in a day. He'll have a poor little red bottom from all of the pushing and will cry when we wipe him.

So, I can see from this why he doesn't want to use the potty. Has anyone had any experience with potty training a child with constipation problems? Just was hoping to hear some stories at this point.

04-26-2004, 10:58 AM
Well Jack's problems are much more serious, but when Amy was constipated I actually found it easier to train her because I could tell a poop was coming. If it was a soft poop she would barely make a face and it was out. But when she was slightly constipated she would push for awhile. So I would play with her at the time of day a poop was coming and the moment it did, scoop her up and put her on the potty. Because it was a little harder for her I had time to get there and have her poop on the potty. If it was hard for her to push I would hold her and sing songs to her while she did it.

Now of course your son doesn't want to go on, but when he does you will actually be happy that you can tell when it's coming.

Have you tried a reward? I had a small toy for Amy that I told her she could have when she pooped in the potty. I put it on a high shelf in her room where she could see it all the time but not have it. Every day she would ask for it and I would tell her that she could when she pooped in the potty. Well the day she did poop in the potty we did all the wiping/flushing/washing and then I brought her into her room, lifted her up and she picked the toy off the shelf herself. She was so proud! I did this a few more times (many many poops in between them went in the diaper) and then as she got better (with her pees too) I started making the rewards for 'clean diaper days' and then for 5 day stretches. It took awhile to figure out what rewards would work with my daughter but it was worth the effort.


04-26-2004, 03:34 PM
I don't have first-hand experience as my Jack is still in the thinking-about-it stages, but I do know that many toddlers are very particular about where, when and how they poop. A friend's son is three and a half and he frequently chooses to poop in his diaper rather than on the potty. I can't speak to the constipation in particular, but I'm thinking his preferring the diaper is just part of the process (and desire for control) and that you can just keep on doing what you're doing.


Working Mama to Jack, 6/4/02
EDD #2 12/25/02

04-27-2004, 10:23 AM
Just wanted to let you know it gets better, my daughter was pee trained for a long time but refused to poop any where but in her diaper until about 3 months ago.

I tried begging, I try bribery, I even got a soft toilet seat hoping that would help, I tried everything I could think of, finally just one day it clicked :/

I "think" it was a combo of just not making a big deal out of her using her diaper and telling her that the first few times she went poop on the potty she'd get something special. However it could have been anything else.

I know how frustrating it is, and especially when they're constipated you dont want to do anything that will make them poop even less.

Think Hannah was about 3 and 1/2 when she finally went poop on the potty. Once she realized it didn't hurt any more then going on the diaper, she started going all the time.

Since I work full time and my husband watches the kids while I work, we even went as far as her calling me at work when she went for me to tell her what a big girl and what a great job she did. For some reason daddy saying it wasn't the same. I still remember the one day I had to convince her "it" wouldn't hurt while at work. Got funny looks that day at work *Grin*.

Believe me, I thought my daughter was in danger of going to preschool in a diaper for poops, but like I said one day it just clicked. Until then, just keep your patience :) it does get better.

04-29-2004, 10:50 PM
So glad we're not alone in this!! Wade is 2 years and 10 months and will only poop in his pull-up. And he wants a clean pull-up for the poop!

He's been telling me "the poop hurts me" lately and he only goes every other day or so, but he WILL NOT poop in the potty. He will tee-tee in the potty all day long, but the poop is a whole different story.

From what I understand they just get it when they get it, but it is so frustrating to know that he is pooping in a diaper and that if I force him onto the potty, he'll just hold it in. Plus I'm trying to do this at his pace.

It's a little awkward in public when he starts talking abouthow the poo poo hurts him and so everyone knows he's getting ready to poop. Luckily everyone else has been there too!

05-08-2004, 05:12 AM
Same thing here...for months now. We tried everything short of suppositories/medication. We helped into different positions, sitting on his little potty with his diaper (all the while reading Everyone Poops and some Potty Learning books), diet changes, introduced juice which we were totally against before...you get the idea.

Finally, and this is SO hard for me to admit, just forced him to sit on the potty without his diaper. He was so scared, I felt terrible. He was in the bath one day and started to have to poop so I plucked him out (not quite in time...eck) and put him on the potty to finish. We are not the kind of parents to force him to do anything, but he was in so much pain, and suffering with it, it was so sad. The cycle was like you described, waiting for days, then a ton in one day but screaming in pain.

Anyway, now he poops in the potty. Little or no problems. And man, this kid poops a ton! Nothing compared to what he would do in a diaper even on a good day. I just figure, maybe once they get to be a certain age/size they just can't go in a diaper. I certainly couldn't poop in something that was offering resistance - KWIM?

I hope he's not going to have years of therapy over this some day. :( He doesn't pee in the potty, but he still announces poop or comes and gets us and "runs to the potty" (like one of his books) or if it's almost too late asks that we carry him. I think it is still a scary sensation for him...because he still seems to look in pain as he does, but it's all over with quickly now instead of for days. That makes me think, I wonder if I should research fissures to see if he could still have one even though we've eliminated all the foods the ped. suggested. Their guess was that when he started eating we gave him all the wrong foods (because we were so happy that at 20 months he was starting to be interested in food) - bananas, cheese, applesauce...DAILY! So, that caused constipation and possible a fissure so then he became scared of going and started holding it in.

So...that's enough poop talk! Good luck to you.