My child refuses to go number 2 on the potty: Advice?

My three almost 4-year-old son absolutely refuses to go number 2 on the potty, and I have tried everything from being rewarded with candy or going to the store and picking out whatever toy he wants if he will just go on the big boy potty, but he won’t. He is so excited to start school in the fall, and I have even explained to him that the teachers at school won’t let him come if he can’t go, and he still refuses to do so! Has anyone experienced this issue with their little boy, and if so, what tricks helped your little one get over the fear of pooing in the potty? I feel like I am failing, but I have used everything I can think of… HELP!


Same when my son was about 2 and half or 3. He peed just fine but needed a pull up to go poop. Finally i said no more. I showed him that there was no more pull ups in the closet so he said ok and pooped in the toilet. As for pooping in his underwear ( idk if your son is doing that or just wont go) he never did that. So I couldn’t tell you what to try with that. I’m sorry.


Does he still wear a pull up? Have you tried just taking that safety net away all together?

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Little potty in his room with coffee filter

My son turned 4 in November. He finally started going poop a couple weeks after that. I had the same issue. I explained to him he couldn’t start school if he doesn’t go to the bathroom. I kept telling him when I had 5 pull ups left when they are gone I wasn’t buying anymore so he better go to the bathroom and he started going. He hasn’t had any accidents or anything since. He doesn’t even wear pull ups to bed.
I also tried a potty watch, it worked a little for him. But might try it. I bought it off Amazon!
I stressed and stressed about it… he will do it when he’s ready momma

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My son didn’t like the feeling once he pooped in his underwear :woman_shrugging:t2: took a couple days, and the underwear either got tossed or scrubbed

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My son went through the same thing but I learned it was because he was having constipation and it hurt for him to go poop. He has a sensitive stomach. I changed up his foods and he started pooping everyday.

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My son is almost 4 and just recently FINALLY started #2 on the toilet. He’d been pottying by himself since he was 2. Took him a year, almost 1 1/2 to take the next step. I understand your frustration and honestly I wish I had more to tell you. But just stay on top of it :woman_shrugging:t2: My husband and I did the same thing with toys, candy, going places as a prize… nothing worked. Or he would do it to get the prize and then as soon as that was done, he’d stop again. We even took toys as a last resort. I would tell him “well buzz only plays with big boys who use the toilet.” And he just wouldn’t care. There were times I’d have a collection of 10-15 toys. Then one day, he just decided to do it. He was playing, got up and took off running. I followed after him to find him on the toilet and it’s been 3 months of him doing it on his own now. I know it’s frustrating and I hope you find something that works and motivates him. Don’t lose heart. Just know, if he’s stubborn like my son is, nothing but his own choice will make him do it I think.

My son was the same. Dont focus on it. They dont like the way it splashes their boy bits

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After dinner put him on the potty with his iPad!

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Gotta go flamingo :flamingo: it’s a toy flamingo that you feed waterproof sand to and it poops


My daughter was like that. She’d only pee in the potty and wouldn’t poop. Turns out she just didn’t like me watching her poop :woman_shrugging:t2:
After she went in by herself and closed the door she was good.


I had this problem with my son about the same age as yours. Nothing worked! He had an accident in his underwear one day because he was playing. I took the toy away and let him watch me throw it in the garbage can (I got it out after he went to bed). Never had another accident! I have him the toy back a couple of months later.

I made my son change his own poop. He didnt like it much. If he pooped in his pants, he had to dump it and put those clothes in the washer. I refused soon enough, he got the hint. When he realized he could just put it in the toilet, wipe and flush, he was all in.

I had this problem with my oldest. She was very stubborn and just plain refused to go #2 in the potty. I finally got fed up and had her scrub her nasty panties by herself. She never went in her pants again

I’m in the same boat. I’ve started taking toys and such away and every time he poops in his underwear he says whatever toy “goes in the trash”. I don’t know what else to try. I have three older kids and I never had this issue with them :woman_shrugging:

Watch for signs of when he goes, and before he actually goes put him on the potty, and give him a stool. My son can’t go unless he’s in the squatting position, I also use a sticker chart and a toy reward system. Now he goes almost every time on the potty. He has an occasional accident

My son did the same thing. One night I told him we were put of pullups & the store was out. He tried to hold it but he had to go so bad he couldn’t. So I sat him on the potty. It took over an hour but he finally went. He asked for pullups but I told him no. My 3yr old daughter tho, she’s another story on potty training :woman_facepalming::woman_facepalming::woman_facepalming::roll_eyes:

It was time for my little boy. We tried everything then one day he just started going on the toilet. Took him till 4 and a half.

My daughter was a little toilet shy. Maybe he needs privacy. She would always say “I need privacy” and then go :joy:

My 2 year old son is opposite… he goes poop on the toilet faithfully with 0 accidents but still wets his pants at least once a day. Idk what to do. But I wish you the best of luck because it is so frustrating.

Yeo, my son is 4 next week and still does poo in his jocks.
My oldest son didn’t to poo on the toliet till he was 4 1/2

My son, the last of 4 and only boy, was the exact same. Seemed to me he was quite happy to poop his pants and then get a nice warm bath by mom who cleaned allllll the nasty poop off for him. He’d sit right in front of the tv and poop and not bat an eye at 4 years old … when I started making the bath water cooler and cooler and made him clean himself mostly first and dispose of the clothes after washing them out he totally got on board with the poop in the potty idea. Please understand if I child can swim in a non heated swimming pool that tepid bath water is not abuse. The girls were potty trained by 2. And he was potty trained within a week of the less luxurious baths. Sorry not sorry :tipping_hand_woman:t2:


My son did this, he got constipated, had to take him to his Dr. the Dr gave him children’s chocolate Sinakot, must have tasted awful, so when he wouldn’t go, all I had to do was say, well I guess we’re going to have to give you that medicine, no no no I’ll go mommy…lol

My son was like this but because he got conspated and was afraid it would always hurt. He wouldn’t poop until his body would force him to, we got prune juice to keep him regular and after 2 days of prune juice he started using the potty to :poop:

Elmo’s potty time. Look it up. And get a reward jar. Fill a mason jar with stickers and small toys. Once my little figured out peeing on the potty, we took pull ups away. Let them pick out their own underwear and make a big deal of it. Lots of clapping and encouragement!

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I got a tip from a pediatric speech therapist (my son has to go to feeding therapy) and she suggested having my son face the back of the toilet and give him dry erase markers to write on the back of the toilet with. :woman_shrugging:


My 2 yr old did this too, seems to be common with boys. I just kept a good eye on him and one day when I caught him starting to push it out (lil buggar would hide when he’d poop) I put him straight on his little potty.
He had no choice but to go because it was already coming out, I gave him a lollie afterwards and he’s been going ever since

Is he just using underwear?

Get rid of the potty. Let him use the toilet like everybody else.

Take him to pick out some undies that he loves. Pass him the money and let him buy his new undies. Let him bring the bag home and unpack them. Make them 100% his, not something mommy bought him. And when he poops in them, make a big deal about how now they are garbage. Not shame the kid, but let your disappointment show. Make him clean himself. And then make him dispose of the soiled undies into the trash. Then a really quick, no playtime, wash only shower. Kids hate it when they aren’t allowed to play in the water, almost as much as they hate throwing away those super hero undies that they just bought.


This is how my 4 year old was, one day I told him that this was the last pack of pull ups we’re getting after he finished it, he’s gotta go in the big boy potty and he got to the last one and told me it was his last one and I told him well after this you’ve gotta go in the big boy potty and the next day he needed to go and I told him to go sit and if he needed help to let me know and he went in there and sat down and he went potty! He was so happy after I said good job and I allowed him to have 10 more minutes for tv time since he did it! I never thought I was gonna get him to so I was shocked when he did it but I was so proud of him. It takes time and patience.:heart:

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My dad likes to talk about how I was scared to go #2 on the potty. He sacrificed some chocolate and showed me I “did it” and was good after that. We’re looking for potty training signs in the little guy. Hoping to get him started in the next few months


You have to use what they love the most. With my son it was video games. He got it in like two days once we enforced 2 new rules. 1. No video games until you go poop in the potty 2. If you poop your pants, no more video games for the day

And that was that, lol.

Give him a book and a stool for resting his feet onn. May come naturally

My daughter was the same way. She knew when she had to go at age 4, I bought a potty seat to go on the regular toilet and a potty watch! That’s all it took. Oh and no pull-ups in the house. Only underwear. Good luck!

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It took my oldest almost a year to poop on the toilet. He would pee no problem on the toilet but refused to poop. We put diapers on at night so he would either poop right before or right after waking up. We were out for breakfast one morning he turned to his dad and said ‘daddy I have to poop!’ They went into the restroom and he pooped on the toilet. :woman_shrugging: It’s all on their time.

I washed my son with cold water. He didnt like it at all.

No advice but I’m in the same boat. He will be 4 next month and has been peeing on the potty since he was 2 but no matter how much we reward, or talk about it, or sit on the potty, he just will not poop!!! I’m out of options as well, but hopefully one of these suggestions can help us!!! Good luck to you:)

I talked to my doctor and they suggested mirlax. She would either go next to the potty or somewhere else then tell us.

My daughter is like this and now sje hates going poop because it hurts. Had to cut out milk from her diet and it helped

With my son, I just made him run around the house without pants. When it looked like he needed to go, I rushed him to the toilet and sat him down. A little odd but it worked.


My oldest was like that. He really wanted to go to preschool and we told him he couldn’t go if he wouldn’t use the toilet. A couple weeks after that we stopped having problems with it.

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We were prescribed miralax from the pediatrician.

My son was the same way… he wanted no part of pooping in the potty… until… I let him sit on a toddler potty and put the lid down on the big potty and he could play with his cars while he was pooping…

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Is he in pull ups or underwear? Sounds harsh but when he goes in his pants make him clean himself up. This worked for a friend of mine.


No pants! I am doing it for the 2nd time with my son bc the first time I gave in Anderson him wear pull ups for poop but we are done with pull ups. We are going on day 6 with using the potty and he is rocking it. I just make it so the potty is the only option. He will sit there and play on his tablet…sometimes he dosnt poop even after 30 min but he does at some point during the day…takes time but that worked foe him

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Take him with you and sit on the toilet with him

Sit and read to him while he is on the potty. It really worked for my granddaughter

My daughter is 2 and has peeing in the potty down but she refuses to poop

For my sons it was wanting to be like dad…so he showed them how it works. Oy, those poor noses :nauseated_face::rofl:

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On a normal toilet with his feet on a stool to be comfy

Don’t use pull ups just underwear

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My son was like this. Come to find out it hurt him to go. He still suffers from severe constipation and he is 9. Talk to your doctor he will probably prescribed miralax. Once he starts having normal stools and realizes it doesn’t hurt anymore he will go.

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With my son when we were potty training him he was around 2. He learned he could pee outside from his cousins. Yet using the potty was a whole different ball game. We tried the candy, he just would give the candy to an adult and said “here I went pottt.” He was and still isnt a candy kid. We tried money. He lost interest. But we were able to get him to pee in the potty(only during the day) but never poop. We then tried the temporary tattoos. And bam, we finally had success. He loved those temporary tattoos and wanted one. So he was potty trained during the day from then on. Then one day he seen the bus drive by and was amazed by the school bus and wanted to ride on the school bus. So I simply said “only way you can ride the bus is if you wear your big boy pants to bed and not have any accidents. The bus driver wont let you on if you still wear diapers/pull ups to bed and have accidents.” So that night he wanted to wear his big boy pants to bed and from then on we were good to go. Only had maybe a few accidents if any at all overnights.

Sit him on it facing the lid give him chalk an let him draw on it

Following having same issue

still use pull ups? try reg underwear only :thinking:


Both of my boys were like that. I really don’t have alot of advice other than they finally started pooping in the potty on their own. Hang in there I know it sucks.

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Sometimes it best to just let them go on their own and when they are ready. The more you push/talk about it and try to reward it only make it worse. I’m not saying you are but putting pressure on a child can make them backtrack. Put underwear on and he will eventually get the picture… try cheerios in the toilet, make up a bathroom song, anything fun.

My 4 yr old boy was the exact same absolutely hated it I started bribing him with a hotwheels car every time he was able to do one on the toilet an that finally worked. I was starting to wonder if he was ever going to! He will go when he’s ready though. Good luck

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My pediatrician told me the greatest thing ever. Find what is most important to kiddo. What the kid places the most value in. A tv show, a certain food, an activity, etc. Then TAKE IT AWAY. The only way they get that item is when they do what you want. I was fairly certain my son was never going to poop on the toilet :joy: I took away bubble gum and within a week we were done!


It’s mean - but it worked🤷‍♀️
My BFF had that issue. So she put regular underwear on for the days they would be home all day. If he pooped in his underwear- she didn’t change his underwear.
Took 2 poops to learn to poop in the “big boy potty”.
Apparently the feel of the poop physically on him was enough to make him change his mind.
Adding: she did not leave it on him for hours and hours. About 2 hours was long enough to get the point across.


Mine did this forever too! Tried everything. He didn’t wear pull-ups, except for nap and bed time because his bladder wasn’t developed enough to hold it while sleeping. But he would just wait until those times to poop. I finally gave up caring, and he just decided one day on his own. So no advice, but just hang in there, he’ll do it eventually! (Easier said than done to not worry about it or get frustrated, but it will happen!)

My sons preschool teacher said to use undies 100% of the time and many many bathroom breaks only time my son had on a pull up was at night

Use regular underwear only. Kids hate the feeling of pee or poop in reg underwear. We teach our kids from birth that diapers are their bathroom so they’re comfortable…using a new place to poop or pee is strange.

I literally went through the exact thing. My 4 almost 5 yr old at the time last year was like this. Until one chaotic day when I was on the phone with my doctor he just strolled into the bathroom and went all by himself. I about shit myself :joy: believe me miracles happen, he’ll go.

I sat it out with my last. I knew when he liked to poop during the day and when it got close we would sit on the potty. He refused and we sat for a hour. But he did finally go and realized it wasn’t that bad and clean up was easier. He got a toy of his choice for doing it. The first few times we had to do the sit and wait, but after a week he finally would let us know it was time. Been that way for almost a year. We did undies also no pull up unless we were out and about

My son was like this too. Just keep at it. I know how frustrating it is.

My son was the same way
So on the days we were going to be home. I didn’t
Put any type of pull ups or diaper. Plain naked bottom
So when he needed to go he had to use the big boy potty. I rewarded him with candy
Took one long day

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Letting him walk around in regular underwear did it for my grandson

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Give him some mirlax and put him in underwear. He will have to go then. Stay strong!


Try regular underwear and make him clean them when he goes in them. Stay strong momma my girls were the same till I made them clean up after themselves

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My daughter is going to be 3 in a couple of days and she just started going on her own when she knew she didn’t have a diaper on. I leave her in her underwear throughout the day and I keep asking her every 20-30 minutes if she needs to potty & I also tell her that the toilet is hungry and that’s it’s food :rofl::rofl:


Yea I don’t suggest taking away their favorite things because they won’t poop. You don’t want to create a negative around a natural thing such as pooping. Have you asked him why he won’t ? My 4 year old has had bowl issues since a baby. It took her a little extra longer to get on the potty to pee but mostly poop. So now it’s like a game. When she poops - she comes and gets me , counts down from 3 , does a little dance and lifts the lid to show me her “ snake” like a big girl. Positive reinforcement not negative. Please don’t take something away from your child because he won’t poop on the potty yet. He’s simply not ready !


I have 4 boys my first was late for every milestone! The best advice was they will do it on their own time and not to push them! It was like a light switch a day he just did it!


Flip his seat the wrong way give him some washable markers or dry erase ones. To draw on the back of the toilet seat to help distract him. Tricks him to relax. It helped my son a lot. Good luck to you hope something helps.


My 3 year old started to do this in her pullup after nap. I made her clean it up herself (ie. Change from her pull-up to her underwear, clean herself and any mess she made while changing). It took a few times but she doesn’t really do it anymore. Now she’ll be playing and just run to the bathroom herself and tell me she went potty lol

try catching him as he starts going in his pants or pull up!! works for mine and she won’t go any other way

We just went through this and I resorted to rewards. Filled a paper gift bag w little toys I knew he would like and showed them to him. Then I put the bag on the hook up high behind the door. He only got a poop toy from the poop bag when he went in the potty. Worked like a charm for us. I also had him close his eyes or look away or blocked his line of vision into the bag when choosing, and counted down from 5. Good luck!

Keep strong! My son just turned four and finally it clicked right before Christmas. We switched to big boy undies 100% of the time and cleaned up accidents when they happened. I tried not to be mad or upset just take him to the potty tell him this is where big boys poop. Not in your pants and clean it up and move on. I also started catching him hiding to poop and taking him directly to the potty and making him sit. Even if he said he was done. I’d say no you were hiding behind the rocking chair and staring to poop. We don’t do that. Big boys go on the big boy potty, you need to try. Then dance like crazy when it happens. Called his grandmas and his pre k teacher and we all went ballistic! :laughing: his teacher even sent me a picture of him in front of the white board with “I pooped on the potty!!!:poop:” when he went at school. Keep it up your doing great!!

Stop stressing. He will figure it out pretty soon.

I came across this same problem with my 3 yr old, but it stemmed from it actually hurting her bc her stools were hard, I started giving her a little fiber powder that you mix with water and then I would sit in front of her and we would both push together, sort of like how we would when we give birth. She’s now comfortable with taking a #2 all on her own. Hope this works, stay strong you got this momma!!:raised_hands:t2:

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Does he have a poop schedule?

My 4y did this and I just started making him sit on the potty and read or hold a toy around his “poop time” every day… if he said he didnt need to and got up, I only let him play (in my sight) for a few mins then we would go back to try again.

Time consuming some days but after going 2 or 3 times he figured out it wasnt scary

Sometimes kids are scared to poop in the toilet because it disappears when you flush it. They may see it as part of themselves because it is a solid. Seems consistent with the hiding if it is a new behavior. So when they have gone in their pants make a celebration of flushing it and waving ‘bye’ together. Sounds weird, but if that is the underlying issue it works.

My daughter didn’t go #2 in the potty until she was 4. I ended up convincing her that a medicine cup with kool-aid would magically take away her fears about the potty she miraculously never went in her pants again! My mom convinced my other daughter that her poo was going to go swimming with the fishies if she went in the potty because she didnt want a part of her thrown away and that worked for her. Every kid is different. Be imaginative and good luck!!

Can his feet touch the floor? Has he got a stool he can put his feet on?

Put him regular underwear and have a playdate with a child his age that is already potty trained. My son saw a friend go to the restroom and then started going on his own.

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Assuming that his pediatrician is aware of this and there isn’t a physical problem , right . My son liked to have a book to look at . There are many good ideas here .

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I have the same problem and would love for it to change!!! My son will be 4 next month, he has been in undies for about 2months and nappies at night. He will tell you when he wants to pee and go to the toilet. I have noticed that he never crouches or anything like that when he wants to poop, he will want to stand and poop and has refused to have a normal size poop in a long time, his tummy is huge and hard! He keeps on having these tiny poops in his under pants, I was about 10 underpants a day and pants, he always has a habit of sticking his fingers in his but when he poops… I’m tired of washing sh*t constantly! He will sit on his potty for about an hour and nothing is in it

My daughter just turned 3 and I’m at a loss myself…I’m pretty sure she’s ready cause she takes her diaper off right after she pees or poops…most the day shell just take it off…we put her in panties too but every time I take her back she doesn’t go…then I bring her back out and before I can get something back on her shell pee or poo on floor…idk what to do either…just know momma, you’re not alone!!

Maybe he needs to get more comfortable with the toilet. I got so fed up , I set an alarm for every 15 minutes and no matter what we went to sit and try to go. Plus, it got my child used to being on the toilet. Of course, they get annoyed after awhile but i stuck with it and after one day it started working. I think they got so annoyed with me they decided it would be essier just to start going lol

I had this happen with my daughter. She was just a bit younger but I finally got it out of her that she didn’t want to use the big potty because ,“everyone else poops on it too”. She saw at her home daycare all these kids using the same potty and got grossed out by it.

It was a creative battle of a mixture of things we did to help her get over it. I don’t really have any advice but thought I’d throw that out there as an experience.

Good luck, mama! Sound like he’s got it down for the most part so hopefully if all else fails, he will go to school and love it. Then want to keep going so he will use the big boy potty. Best of luck! :heart:

Is he on a schedule if he is semi-regular to where he either poops in the morning or poops at night then it’ll be easier just put him in diapers at night or pull up and send him to school he’ll do great it’ll actually help with the potty training but if it’s more of a he’s going to hold it and hold it and hold it and not go that cannot be good sometimes well a lot of times it’s not good but my son wouldn’t go on the potty until he started school but he was very regular so it wasn’t a big deal and then as soon as he started school we didn’t have that problem we just had to start working on wiping because he was not good at it. Every kid is different maybe he’s scared of the potty that is something you know thinking something’s going to come out and bite you while you’re sitting on it or you know is it going to swallow me because you know darn well it flushes the poop done the toilet so it could be a couple different things just explain to him that he can’t start school until he poops in the potty if it is something that you can work around the school schedule then I would say do it he will get there

Try a cell phone with utube or tablet or book

It’s a boy thing. Think about it, they go from either laying or standing when they pooped to being forced to sit to poop.

I just bared with it. Underwear only. When he poops in them I would say “oh man you missed the potty, next time let’s try to make it!” Or things along that line but didn’t get mad even though I was. When he finally did go in the potty I didn’t make a big deal about it just said “yay, you made it to the potty!!” After he did great for several days I then took him to get a prize.

Potty poo is very smelly. Maybe ask if he’d like to use the toilet with a special seat he gets to choose and a step. We did the only sweets and treats potty training where you don’t get anything if you don’t but get them if you do. It worked for a while but pressure about pooing will cause accidents.

When my daughter was small she wouldn’t go poop in the potty either. Dr told us it’s because they don’t understand why that is coming out of their body. When they pee, they can’t see it, poop they can. He will get through this, just have to be patient and give him time.

My boy was the same way. With my girls, they were all fully potty trained by the age of 2. I started my boy around the same time and had zero success. I finally got him to stop peeing his pants by letting him pee outside. He would pee off the porch into the bushes. Pooping was different. He would run and hide and poop, then come tell me that he did. I took him to WalMart and left him pick out a potty seat… not a potty, the potty seat that goes on the actual toilet seat and I let him pick his own big boy underwear. That worked for us. The first time he put his potty seat on the toilet and got up on it, he said “now I won’t fall in”. Turned out, he was afraid that he was going to fall into the toilet.

Try a fitted potty seat so he doesn’t fall in, and a stool to lift his knees, it’s unnatural to poop in a sitting position so a lot of people have a hard time with it.

Suggestions for help with a similar situation but with a 4 year old girl