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Poop fears: When your child won’t poo on the toilet!

my child won't poo | child won't poo on the potty | child won't poo on the toilet

Toilet training can start anywhere between 2-4 years old, sometimes younger, sometimes older – it’s really a child thing and not an age thing, so go by your own child. For my top toilet training tips head on over to this page.

Toilet training can be a stressy, messy business, but it really doesn’t have to be. In the 23 years that I’ve been working with little ones, I have to say the not pooping on the loo thing, is totally normal! So don’t worry. It is easily resolved with a little time and effort.

Instead of thinking of it as a worry – think of it as a normal part of toilet training, because it really is!

What should I do when my child won’t poo on the toilet?

It’s a problem I get asked to help with a lot. Infant, it’s so common I’d say at least once a day a parent is in contact asking me about poo! I have a great life hey? Joking aside, it can be super stressful for both parent and child, so here are my magic tips to becoming poo happy!

my child won't poo | child won't poo on the potty | child won't poo on the toiletDon’t stress! I know, I know, it’s easy for me to say – I’m not there. But I have been and I do understand what you are going through. In all honesty – stress makes everything worse. If you get upset or angry with your little one for holding in their poo, it’ll just turn it into an even bigger problem than it is. And lets face it – it’s not that big a deal. The poo will come out eventually. The less stress – the less mess. Think on that little ditty the next time you feel like you may lose your cool. Instead, take a deep breath and pop on your best reassuring voice to encourage your little one to try going to the toilet.

Talk about poo! Kids love talking about poo – so invest in some fun books about poo and chat about it! Let your child see you go to the toilet, talk about how you need to go, and let them see you flush the poo away. (Totally gross I know, but it’s a head in the right direction when it comes to getting over poop fears! Make poo a normal part of life. They’ve bee so used to doing it in their nappy, that letting it drop into the potty or toilet is a totally new and different thing. To normalise it (by letting them see you go) helps them to understand there is nothing scary about it.

Pop a nappy on! Sounds daft – but honestly, this method has helped so many children to drop their poo fears and go to the toilet for a number two! It’s such a simple solution and one I discovered back in the 90’s with a little charge of mine who flatly refused to go anywhere near the toilet for a poo.

This little boy was totally dry – no accidents, but poo worried him. He would hold onto it and get terrible tummy ache so we needed a solution fast.

I decided to go back to basics and offer him a nappy to poop in.

When he needed a poo, we’d pop a nappy on and the deal was, he would stand in the bathroom to go. The aim was to lessen the fear of going to the toilet for a poo by making him feel safe (the nappy was reassuring) while being in the bathroom.

Eventually we moved closer to the toilet itself – still wearing the nappy. We moved closer each time until he was eventually sitting on the toilet, in the nappy doing his business.

Finally, after a week repeatedly doing this every time for poops, the nappy was taken off and hooray! The poo fears vanished and he pooed freely in the toilet.

This method that takes time and patience and lot’s of calming effort, but it’s a solution that has helped hundreds of families that have come to me over the years with this issue.

Please note: The nappies were only for poo – he knew that, and that was our ‘deal’. It’s important if you do choose this method, that you strike that deal with your little one and they understand clearly that the nappy is only for posing times.

We always emptied the poo from the nappy into the loo and he’d watch it flush away. This was great for him to understand that this is where poo goes!

Keep things moving! Constipation can make poo fears even worse because it actually hurts to go, or makes bottoms very sore. Ensure your child is getting plenty of fruit and fibre and has a well balanced diet. If things are a little blocked up have a read of my constipation tips here.


I hope these tips help you and your little one ditch the poo fears and towards happy pooping days!