My 3-year-old son won't poop on the potty: Advice?

My son is three years old. He can go potty by himself pretty good. He can take his stuff off and go open the door, turn the light on, pee. Wash his hands. But he refuses to poop… so I’m here asking for advice on what I can do to help him. To make him want to do it. He wears pullups at night and usually when we go out to town or wherever. The dad tends to keep putting pullups on him even in the day, and that makes me mad. I want him to be in undies at all times… also there was a point where he tried to poop in the potty, but he sat too far back and it got on the seat so he was upset but I was so happy because that was the first time he ever tried and he did pretty good, but ever since then it’s like he never wants to try again. He also held his poop inside for a week or so after this incident causing him a bellyache. There was nothing I could do except give him juice and encourage him to poop. I was about to take him to the doctor, but then he finally went on himself, which I was glad and didn’t care at the time if he went in a diaper as long as he let it out… He has stopped holding it in now, but I just need help. He’s going to be starting school next year, so I’m hoping I can get him potty trained by then. He pees fine it’s just the pooping part that we need to work on.


Following! My three year old son does this too!! He knows how but refuses.

I have the same issue with my 3 year old… fully day and night trained, but absolutely refuses to poop on the potty. He also went a week and I gave in unfortunately.

Mine was the same way. He would go by a tree outside. If he wasn’t able to get to this tree he simply wouldn’t go. About 2 days of no poop I watched him till he could hold it any more and held him on the toilet. Till he pooped in it. After that no more issues. It’s like he was scared to do it in there

I made my son clean out his underwear after pooping them after 3 times he went in potty.

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Never did the toddler thing, but what I have found with kids in general that the less important you make it to you, the better. Relax. Unless he has some developmental issue, he wont be in diapers long.

When you know he is pooping put him on the potty.

Undies. He needs to feel it after he goes. And rewards for when he does go potty or poop. My child quickly got the concept when I rewarded her with her favorite candy

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My daughter had the same issue as gross as it sounds mamas let them poop on themselves and leave it there for 5 mins they wont like the feeling and get the point and also no more pull ups or pampers at all thats what makes them think its ok to not go on the potty

Following. My 3 year old is the same exact way. I’m so tired of cleaning poop out of underwear.

My oldest was terrified to poo. He was no accidents in like 3 days during daytime. He would hold his poop(wouldnt poop in undies) and would go in his night pull up within 20mins of having it. One night, I got drinks, tablet and books and we sat in the bathroom before bed. I kid you not, we sat there for almost 50mins and he finally went. I had to do it the next night for about 20mins and then after that, he dis ok.

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We are going thru this with my son right now. We started a potty chart and bought stickers with his favorite characters on them. He gets one for pee and 3 for poop. He gets really proud of himself and we have noticed him going and sitting on the potty to try to poop more often to get stickers. We are currently on day 2 with no poop accidents.

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My boys were both afraid to sit on the toilet so we got one of those seats that goes on top so they didn’t feel like the toilet was going to swallow them. Maybe he’s afraid?

This is usually the last stage of potty training. Just keep encouraging him and make a big deal out of it. He will get it. It’s harder for them to hold #2 it’s the last one to develop.

Turn him around and give him markers to draw on the toilet lid. They wash off super easy. That’s what I did to help my son.

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Get rid of the diaper

Get him check my doc just to make sure there no issues my boy always peed fine from day one but couldn’t sit and poo I thought he was scared of every potty I bought ( we went through so many!) and the toilet even though I asked what was wrong he never said it hurt when actually it hurt
He’s 5-1/2 now takes medication and we still have issues as well as great weeks, always best just to have it checked out

My oldest was the same, peed on the potty no problem, would literally hide and poop in his pants. He even started school a couple months late because of it. I tried everything I could think of, reward systems, sticker systems, any and all advice from my family and friends. Then one day, he just did it, and was fine after that.

I got a small seat that my son puts on the toilet when he poos. He was having Trubble trying to hold himself up on the normal toilet seat, so it would take his consentration away from the task at hand… or even cause anxiety of falling in, so he wouldn’t use it for pooping until we got the smaller seat to hold him up.

My 3 1/2 year old keeps going back and forth. Some days she does awesome, stays dry and pees in the potty everytime. Other days…not so much. She had horrible constipation when she was 1 1/2 and we tried sitting her on the potty and it freaked her out. She knows when she has to go potty and will tell me and can do it herself but refuses to most days. I figure one day she’ll just decide that she’s going to go potty in the toilet all the time and that’ll be it (I was the same way when I was little).

Get white board markers and turn him facing the seat
Let him draw on the seat while he is going. Do away with the pull ups as they only confuse them

My oldest did this too, until he was just over 4. He would scream in pain, until I put a diaper on him, poop and immediately want to be changed. It was almost like it scared him to poop on the toilet, or something. He did a couple of times, in the beginning, and then refused. He peed just fine. Nothing I tried worked for me, just time. He will come around. Some kids just take a little longer than others. :slight_smile:

My health visitor told me to do this When my son is pooing in his nappy/pull up put him on the toilet with it on when he’s finished empty the poo out down the toilet so he could see where it goes. He used the toilet/ptty after that no bother

We had the same issues with our 3 year old but he just got the concept to poo on the toilet 1 day I refused to put him in nappies and left him in undies and it all just clicked 1 day

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My grandson was almost five wearing his big boys pants and still would not poop in the pottie. He would urinate in it would not wet the bed but wouldn’t poop. We tried and did it all. Talk to doctor tried everything. Nothing worked until he was ready.

Someone told me that once the kid was able to have their feet planted on the ground they’ll feel safe and will start pooping by themselves so we bought this small plastic stool so our daughter could step on it and it ended my potty training nightmare.

Have you tried letting him use the toilet. My granddaughter is 3 and stopped using her potty and was soiling her underwear. We sat her down and talked to her and realized she wanted to use the “big toilet” because she is a big girl and not a baby. So we bought her a potty seat to place on the toilet and she hasn’t had a problem going since.

I tried everything and the only thing that worked was the three day method!!! No more pull ups!! Put him in underwear and don’t look back. Potty every 20 30 minutes and leave him on it. Please do not make your child clean his own feces :woman_facepalming:t2: he doesn’t understand that poop is gross and he doesn’t know what he is doing is “wrong” it’s a hard enough transition for him as is! Boys are lazy they don’t want to sit and wait or sit and push! YOU have to be on top of it until he one day goes in there by himself! We started potty training in March he’s been pull up free since October! Don’t give up momma!! :heartbeat:


I agree no pull ups!! Just be vigilant…soiled underwear can be washed…maybe tell him that his poop is being saved for him under the house…dont laugh…my kid was anxious about a “part of him” leaving—you really never know what kids are feeling…maybe try to sit down with him and ask questions about the situation without scolding

I am having the same issue. My son turned 3 in oct and has been using the potty since before summer. He has been in shorts since then and is using the potty just fine. We are still working on nighttime training but we arent pushing it. We have a training seat for the toilet but he doesnt like to go poop in the potty. He has done it maybe 3 times but doesnt like to. And I sure as heck aint going to force it. But I really would love the advice as well

Get one of these…we got one at walmart for $15

GEt him a potty chair & he will feel more secure with going.

Okay for 2 things helped me potty train my brothers. 1 he was scared his penis would fall off if he went poop like no joke he knew how to go pee just fine but pooping was a nope. So what I did was went and got our father and had him go in the bathroom with our father when he went poop took 3 times and my father had to tell him his penis was just fine and didn’t fall off for him to go poop in the toilet finally. 2nd thing is we had a treasure box just for him so after he went pee he got 1 thing but when he went poop he got 3 things out of it. It helped a lot.

I havent went through potty training yet with my little one but I remember when my mom was training my brother she had to bribe him with chocolate/candy everytime he would go he got a peice it was the only thing that worked

Kids are all different and pick up things at different ages. Just be patient and kind while working with him and he’ll eventually pick it up.

My son use to to pee in the toilet but he wouldn’t poop on it he would go to my closest pull his pants down and poop lol idk y but he eventually started to go on the potty

But I had to do is keep a really close eye on my three year old and when I seen her starting to poop I would hurry and take her in to the bathroom and put her on the toilet when she realized it was okay she goes fine now

I used school as motivation for my oldest. He had the same issue, peed in the potty fine but would not poop in it for the life of him. I showed him a bunch of videos of kids having fun at preschool and he wanted to go so bad. Also we promised a puppy but he cared way more about the school thing and it was really me who wanted the puppy anyways so it worked out :rofl: now hes 3 months into preschool and our great pyrenees puppy turned into a giant


When he poops in his pants… make him hand wash them. (Accountability… your actions have consequences)

Dont buy pull ups… to a toddler they feel like a diaper so theyre gonna use it as such… if he can (as you said) pull his pants on and off he does not need pull up.

Let him know if he poops in potty he gets a special treat… a lollipop… dessert before ice dinner. An extra thirty minutes on tv, tablet or computer. (Only for one month or he will want the extras for ever)

Ive potty trained all four of mine by age two and several other peoples kids before age three. (They are NOT potty trained until they pee, poop in potty AND wipe on their own.)

Be advised… mos daycares, preschools etc even kindergarten (age 5 ) wont take them at that age unless they are fully potty trained

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Take him about 30 minutes after each meal it helps him get used to going on the potty and maybe get him one of the potty seat inserts for the toilet so he sits in the right spot just work on making him comfortable and as far as the underwear situation get rid of all the pullups during the day so his dad has no other option

Try getting steps they help my daughter just started going in the potty and it gives her better leverage to inch off the toilet and go poo without getting the seat dirty

The anal muscle is the last one to gain developmental control over. His brain to nerve to muscle must cooperate together for the control. Be patient as he learns.

My son was the same. Pee-no problem. Poo-would go in his underpants. Tried everything, nothing was wrong physically. Definitely did not use pull ups! And definitely did not make him wash them himself-but I did let him know I didn’t like to do it. Just kept putting him on the toilet (with a child seat attached) and finally he got it. He was around 3 1/2. Have patience & keep trying!! It will happen.
Oh and turning around on the toilet & writing on lid? Wow might just work!!

The potty can be intimidating for small children. Maybe get him his own small potty and just give him time.

My poop wouldn’t come out! My poop won’t come out!!! Jamie jones

Offer him candy but only if he poops in the potty! Only give him like 2-3 m&ms!

Put him in “big boy” undies…no more of that pull up diapers, cuz that’s what they are…no spanking with mess ups …you as parents have to deal with it…wont take long for the child to figure it out…and use Madison Mindalas suggestion about bribing him with candy or veggies , your choice !!!

My son hated it too, would pee in the toilet from about 2, but couldn’t get him to poo. He would wear jocks all day and ask for a nappy every night, do a poo and come back for me to change. So one day I told him they stopped making his nappies. Did this for 5 days, and he didn’t poo for 5 days. We ended up having to give him an enema and when I refused to give him a nappy he pooed his jocks. I went and bought more nappies the next day. His comfort was more important than my inconvenience.
Your son won’t graduate high school still wearing nappies, don’t rush he will work it out in His own time.

Take him to the store … let him pick out his underwear… when you put them on him tell him he cant poop in these other wise you will have to throw them away … and if he does have him watch you throwing them away when his not looking take them back out and clean them but hide them for a few days and then surprise him with them and say look what you found and try again

My daughter was losing her mind when my grandson wouldn’t poop. I kept telling her to have patience and keep trying but that he would poop when he was ready. She tried everything. Santa finally came and brought him spiderman big boy underwear. She called me about a week later crying cuz she told him that Santa wouldn’t like it that he pooped in his underwear. So my grandson walked over and picked up all of his underwear and walked them over to the garbage and was going to throw them away. I told her to stop talking about it all the time. He knew he was getting yo her and he had the control. She stopped talking about poop. About 3 weeks later he came running out of the bathroom yelling that he had pooped in the toilet. And he’s been trained since then. No grown men still wear pull ups… hopefully not… unless they have a fetish. I know it’s hard but I promise he will do it when he’s ready.

Be patient. He will get it. My son would pee but not poop on potty until 3.5. He would go hide to poop and then not want to get his butt changed afterwards. I used to try so hard with him until my husbands grandma told me that every kid develops differently and to just give him time. Good luck. Try a sticker chart, prizes or a treat for when he does potty in the toilet. Also a small toilet or potty chair may help.

Try an incentive star chart. One star for sitting on the toilet and one star for pooping. When he has 4 stars he gets a reward. He must know upfront what the rewards are for every level of achievement. And you must make a fuss everytime he gets a star. Give him the star to put on the chart himself.

Reason with him, tell him that if he doesn’t potty for poppies, then he’s got to wear baby diapers, if you let him choose, it’ll be easier.

He is not ready. Do his feet touch the floor? If they Do Not get him a little stool to put his feet on. He needs to be grounded. Time toilet him every 15-30 minutes let him sit there and practice gunting and lightly pushing. It he goes dance sing celebrate. If not dance sing celebrate So sad we didn’t go Next time we wil go. Good try I am proud something for him going and sitting there. Give him a poop cookie after meals or aa a snack you make them all kinds of chopped dried fruits if not allergic to nuts roll them in nut. Give them after meals and take him to bathroom after finished. It finally worked for my child she potty trained herself this summer at 19 years. It is what doctors and behaviorist have told us for years about foster children we have had all ages who had trouble for what ever reason they could not master that skill. Do not ever use negative words or punishments. If you use potty chair take it every where with you so he has his own chair. I am not saying he is like my child who has Serve Autism but if it worked for her with practice patience it will work for you. I think his body is just not developed to complete everything you asked right now. No worry you and him got this. Be blessed and have a grest holiday season.

My daughter was doing this at 4. Pee in the potty was easy but the pooping part was a task. I finally gave in and took her to the doctor as I felt by 4 she should have gotten the concept already. But the doctor said that I should give her probiotic gummy bears from the store and I did for a week. It has something to do with the part of the brain that registers that u have to poop and not let it out whenever or to not hold it in. They still have to poop but actually have to work at it and have time to get to a toilet. Just a idea. My daughter was telling me she didnt know she pooped when she did it and I didnt believe her. But it is indeed true. It happens. I pray for the best for u. Potty training isn’t for the faint hearted. Lol

I used plastic coins from Dollar tree. And when he went poop he got 2 coins. I allowed him to cash them in for things he wanted (value of coin is up to you) This was the only way to get my son to use the potty. Just remember to stay positive even if he has an accident. Disciplining negatively for an accident will only make him not want to use the potty. Patience is a virtue!

Just finished this with my grandson. He has a little seat that fit on the toilet so he doesn’t fall in. Get one of those. He goes all by himself now all the time took 5 days n he had it down. He just still needs to be wiped off but that’s ok . Good luck be patient like u are and it will happen. But the dad has to do exactly the same thing cuz hes getting mixed up with 2 different things.

They copy cat other children…and learn fast…let another boy lead him it really works

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Very, very common! I thought I was going to have to send my youngest to school in a pull up, but that didn’t happen. We read the book “Everyone Poops” over and over for a week and then it just happened.

My son was 5 before he would go. I seen counselors at the recommendation of his dr. Complete waste of time and money. Eventually took him to a children’s gastrologist. He was holding bowl movements causing constipation. Stomach aches and pains. She diagnosed him with encopresis. Very common in little boys. She had him on two caps of Miralax for two weeks. I put it in a tall Gatorade and he sipped on it all day. Needless to say it was messy at first but it worked wonders. Look up encopresis. It may be something that alot of parents are unaware of.

Sit there with him and read books and give rewards. Hang in there momma!

Just a few ideas…
Get one of those toddler seats that can go on and off the toilet.
This sounds funny but it worked for my boy…let him sit on the toddler seat backwards and draw on the cover with a dry erase marker.
Give him something he likes for an award…M&M’s, gummies something he doesn’t get all the time, put it in the bathroom where he can see it (in a clear jar) but not where he can reach it.


He may be afraid he will fall in. I had this problem with one of my kids. I found a potty chair that would also convert to a step stool with a potty seat, it was one peice and would go over the split seat. She was afraid that she would fall in and get flushed.

Some kids are afraid of falling in. Get a tot toilet seat that goes over the regular one if you don’t have one. He may feel a bit more comfortable sitting on the toilet. I put my son on it backwards until he felt comfortable enough to sit on it facing forward. They didn’t have tot seats when he was little.

Sounds like he traumatized himself

My 3 year old still wore diapers. My doctor told me she will go when she is,ready. One day she,asked me for pretty pants. I bought her some and that was it. They surprise you sometimes.

My stepson was TERRIFIED to poop. I’m talking about crying, screaming every time he tried. If I remember correctly it takes boys longer to potty train especially for pooping. But you can train the body to poop at certain times. For example our therapist told us to have him try to poop first thing in the morning and the body will adapt to that. When he would try for a long time sitting on the potty I would give him a break and just hug him. And then insist he try again and set a timer for 2 mins. He would usually go. It was really hard potty training him. Patience was the key

This is actually a very common occurrence. Our grandson had trouble with this also and for him it was a cleanliness issue. The idea of poop getting anywhere on him made him not want to even do it. Took him to the doctor and the doctor said to give him a 1/4 dose of Myralax daily till he got back on track. didn’t take long. Also throw the pull ups and diapers away. It sends a mixed message and you want him to know it is never OK to go in his pants. I think if he feels the poop in there more than diapers or pull ups allow he may hate the feeling so much he quits. We switched from diapers to underwear at 3 and never used pull ups. Even at night our routine is to not let him drink after 6PM and he goes to bed at 7:30. We put a waterproof mattress pad under the sheet and put undies on him. He has maybe had 3 accidents in the past 1 1/2. Good luck I know it’s stressful but it’s a phase.

My son learned from his little friend he was afraid to own his own so his little friend said ill show you how and it worked

When my daughter was lil she kinda had the same problem except she was so tiny and didn’t have the strength to hold on without falling in it scared her She refused to go
So I had her turn around so she faced the back of the bowl eventually she grew and one day just turned around on her own
Maybe give that a try

I started taking my sons favorite toys, dvds etc and setting them on the back of the toilet. He could have one back for each time he went. It worked. I even went as far as taking my son to the dr. Like, what can I do!??? Dr told me not to worry myself and he would do it when he was ready. All i was doing was causing stress for myself and for him. Luckily my next two were easy peezy to train. Each kid is different.

I got a potty seat that actually went on top of the big toilet. one he could put on and take off as needed. It really helped. mine refused to use the little potty chair. but would use the seat on the big toilet. It only took him a couple of days to use it.

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Jillian Schwab Nantz it’s Jax

Don’t worry hun when my boy was toilet training he never did poos on his potty only a wee. I just let him poo in his nappy untill he was ready too and he was fully toilet trained and out of nappies when he was 4. My girl was abit different she was ready 3 cause she wanted to be like mummy

This one is going to stir up the parental pot but i encouraged my child with 3 skittles per poop. And to those that may judge, i tried every tactic just to get him to poop. Since skittles got me that far, i took it the rest of the way. And now hes totally potty trained.


Lots of patience Mama! Lots of encouragement, praise, and reassurance. He will get there. Just do what needs done for now, so his stomach won’t hurt/won’t get backed up. :blush::heart:

I’m having the same problem my son will b 3 on the 30th and he goes pee in the potty just fine but he refuses to poop in the toilet he will actually hold it and ask for a diaper when he has to poop the dr said some kids take longer to potty train to go poo but he assured me when he is ready he will do it so hopefully soon hope u have luck soon as well

I feel you I have the same problem with my boy he has a toilet sheet but rather go in is pullup me and my husband also tried everything even bought him a bike which he wanted we now hide it and tell him if he go poop in the toilet he can ride the whole day on his bike but still no luck

My son will not go on tbe potty at home but will go for a wee on the toilet at pre school so confusing tried everything

Its scarier for them to poop because they have to sit down, my son didnt do it till age 4 but soon after that he had no accidents even at night, they will do it when they are ready just keep encouraging him to do so :slight_smile:

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Took my son til he was a little over 5. It was very difficult. The only thing that finally worked for me was taking all his toys and dvd player/tv until he decided he was gonna finally do it.

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What if he picked out a potty seat for the potty?

My son was completely potty trained at 5yrs old don’t worry

Thats what i did with my son and hes 3 yrs old

Get him a stronger backed potty chair and show him that the back of it wont fall back when he sits on it and that should give him his conventence back that its ok to sit back on the potty chair too poop