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Is that a Poop on my Floor!? When Toddlers Won’t Poop on the Potty

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There are some people that won’t talk about certain when it comes to potty training.  I’m not one of those people.

My youngest son potty trained a few months ago and for the most part it was a very easy process.  Then, things started changing.  He started having frequent accidents, both pee and poop, and we were on the verge on considering diapers again.  I was so DONE with washing 5 pairs of underwear, shorts, and sheets a day.

The pee accidents stopped again and he started going on the potty for pees but the poops in the pants kept happening.  He would walk up to me, smile, and say “poop” while pointing to his pants.  That shit is NOT funny so it was a bit hard to keep my cool.   I wanted to scream at him “why the hell do you keep pooping in your pants” but I would breathe deeply and say “You had an accident?!  Poop goes in the potty, not your pants.  Let’s go clean you up.”

Part of me is thrilled he is pooping, pants, floor, diaper, whatever.  After almost a year of dealing with his withholding issues and being his “poop doula” whenever it comes easily and pain free I’m thrilled.  The other part, notsomuch.

So what do you do when your child prefers to poop anywhere but the toilet?  I’v heard of toddlers who demand diapers to poop in, or who go into a corner to secretly poop.  It seems to be a thing, right?

When Everett does poop on the potty, either by asking to get on and go, or when it just happens when he is on the toilet to go pee, it is like a straight up awards ceremony.  I’m clapping, screaming, dancing, and waving my arms like a mad woman.  It is like the potty dance on steroids.  He can’t get enough praise for doing his duty on the toilet.

We marvel at the size, the length, the smell…. yeah… it is gross…. but my little boy does take pride in his poops.  The bigger, the better.  Though he also marvels at the “baby” poops.  Even big brother comes in and makes a big deal of it, which Everett loves.

Making a child feel ashamed that they are having accidents is definitely not the way to go.  As hard as it can be not to me mad when you find a toddler running around with poops dropping out of his underwear and having to slowly retrace his steps to make sure all poops are found, it won’t help to yell or punish.

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This week we’ve had a good couple of days following last week and the many poop accidents, including the three on the floor on the carpet in his room.  I think we are getting through the accident phase and he is back to notifying me of when he has to poop and he seems to be looking forward to it.

I think we’ve had it easy compared to some kids I’ve heard about going through the same problem.  If you have an experience with it please share how you overcame it in the comments.  It may help others reading this!

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Kim Rosas began Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009 out of a desire to help more parents understand modern cloth diapers. She lives in Florida with her husband of 5 years and her two boys. Even though none of her boys wear diapers anymore she is still just as committed to promoting them. In her spare time Kim enjoys video editing, photography, and coffee.
  • http://mamabennie.tumblr.com/ MamaBennie

    The only problem we had, was when the big girl would push her sister out of the way, and jump on the toilet to prevent her little sister from going. It resulted in many accidents. She was doing it on purpose, and we nipped that one quickly.

    • Lynne Spence Schoepfle

      OOOH, we fought that one too. It ended at our house when biggest sister ended up slipping and falling into a big puddle of pee right outside the bathroom because she made her 2yo sister wait. The look on my 6yo face was priceless when she realized what she was sitting in. I have to admit, I pulled a horrible mom moment and about peed myself laughing while cleaning everyone up.

      • http://mamabennie.tumblr.com/ MamaBennie

        BWAHAHAHA PRICELESS!

  • Susan K

    As I read this, my two year old comes to me and says, “poop go!” As he points as his underwear… So we go and talk about how poop goes in the potty and not in his underwear, to which he replies “poop go in trains” (he is wear Thomas I underwear)
    Oh the joys of childhood!

    • kimrosas

      Poop go in trains! hahaha!

  • Idigia

    Usually it happens when travelling, only once the past couple of months. What I started doing was making him help me clean the mess and hand wash his underpants

  • Shalaina Simmons

    We are anti-poop-on-the-potty right now also. Well I’d say anti-poop in general. Even if she goes in a diaper she is refusing to be changed after poops, it always ends in a terribly gross wrestling match. Since there is no real pressure to potty anytime (she’ll just be turning 2 on the 22nd) I cheer whenever we poo and it’s not on the floor. My litttle one goes bottomless if we’re home for more than an hour.

  • Julie

    Ugh, sorry you guys are having to struggle through this. My son was an extremely difficult child and I thought he would never learn to stop using his diaper. We had practiced part time EC when he was little but once he hit about 1 1/2 he was very much over it. We ended up switching to disposables when he was 2 1/2. I stumbled across Terri Crane’s book… something about potty training your child with a potty party and since MIL was applying the pressure to potty train I told my husband he *was GOING to help me* since it was his mother in our business and I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with baby sister. So we read the book, gathered the supplies and threw a full on potty party for him with a doll we named “Bob” and everything. My son took to peeing in the potty immediately. I was flabbergasted. This boy never did anything he was asked to do. Then on day two he began pooping in his pants and I thought we were derailing so I opened up the book, read the recommendations for that problem (apparently it’s quite common) and we staged a poop accident with his doll. We gently reprimanded the doll and took him to the potty just like we would a child and he helped clean up the “mess” (chocolate covered raisin.lol). It worked! He pooped in the potty from that day forward! I think it helped that we were telling the doll not to mess his pants rather than the boy. He never minded ordering other around but he didn’t take kindly to being told what to do. :/

    I wish you guys the best of luck and I hope your little guy is on his way to clean pants (floor, diaper etc.) soon.

    • carrissa

      Thanks Im so going to try this raisen idea with my daughter she is have pooping accidents

  • M. Tanner

    We have had so many issues with potty training my son. Thankfully he is completely potty trained now, day and night, but it was a very long process. Poop was the biggest problem. Until about a month and a half ago I could count on one hand the number of times he had pooped in the potty. I was cleaning soiled underwear every day. I admit I was not very patient with him because he was almost four years old and I was sick of his crap. At some point I decided that I would feel better if I felt like he was at least cleaning himself up, so I started having him take a shower to get himself clean. That made it so that I wasn’t wiping his bum and I didn’t even have to talk to him, which was good because I was always really mad at him. On his fourth birthday some kind of magic happened and he has only had one poop accident since then. I’m still not sure what his problem was. My guess is that he didn’t like how it feels to poop into open air, but maybe it was for attention, which was another reason that I liked making him take a shower.

    I have a friend whose son struggled with poop even when he was in kindergarten. He was learning about money and was very interested in saving up money to buy things, so she sat down with him and explained that every time he pooped in his underwear, it made it so she had to work. So she said that every day that he doesn’t poop in his underwear, he would get a dollar. But if he pooped in his underwear, he owed her a dollar. I think it worked out well for them.

  • caitlin

    I found this after googling “How to keep poop from falling out of underwear” :) My son is turning 2 next week, we began toilet learning about a month ago. We only started the process because he willingly went poop on the potty. We designated one weekend as our kick off, spent the weekend naked from the waste down and had ONE pee accident. That’s it, no poop accidents. I thought it was a miracle. We even went straight to night time big boy undies and haven’t had a single accident (knock on wood), he’s got this right? Not so fast. Since going back to school, poop has become a nightmare. He poops in his pants almost daily now. It has been falling out of his undies so his teacher said I have to figure out a solution…I’m at a loss. He’s not afraid of the toilet, he’s not constipated, and he understands the concept, afterall, he mastered pooping on the potty first. I think he just doesn’t give himself enough time. I try having him clean himself up, I explain that poop belongs in the potty every time, I don’t reprimand him, I feel like I’m doing everything textbook. I just ordered vinyl training pants to put over his undies for school. Hopefully that helps avoid the health issues of poop falling on the floor. But if anyone has any updates on things they tried that worked, I am all ears!

    • Danielle Lavoie

      Vinyl training pants are definitely NOT a good solution…My daughter wears them and when when pees or poops in her undies, and still, the stuff manages to escape. I would not recommend them…

  • disqus_bzNuPa4U9X

    my little man show all the signs of wanting to potty train he undresses himself and setts on the potty but then does nothing and then pees in his pants or wakes up in the morning drops his pjs and pull up and takes a major poop right next to the bed and then goes about getting dressed like that is what he is suppose to do and i dont know how to help him figure out that poop and pee goes in the potty

  • Philip Roche

    Please help me..my three year old is potty trained (during the day)for last three months but he keeps pooing in his pants…today is d worst day…he done it in playschool..d first time ever..and since noon today has went ten times…once in d potty and was fairly good poo nd i rewarded him for doin it in potty but ten mins later hes done in his pants…does anyone think der could b medical reason…iv actually sobbed today wid frustration…please help!!

  • Candee

    Give your power hungry toddler a choice and a treat. I would get so excited when my DD gave her que to pee, I would say”go pee pee on the potty! Yea! Then you can have a treat” orsomething similiar, then she would say NO and peepee on the floor. I changed it to nonchalant ly ” you can go on the potty and get a treat or have an accident either is ok” Presto just like magic she was peeing on the potty! Toddlers love choices and a fruit loop treat.

  • Leslie Brown

    We made a big deal when it came to my middle child pooping. He was a with holder for a while so we turned it into a game. When his poops would hit the water it would be so powerful that we would literally fall over. Usually into the tub or the wall and he would think it was so funny he soon wanted to do it every day so he no longer held in his poop.

  • Becky Wyatt

    my grandson is pretty much potty trained he pees in the pot on tripes tells u when to potty i am trying to figure out how to get him to stop pooping his self goes to his room poops then tells me sometimes he goes to pot we give him high fives an stuff hoew do i get him to stop pooping his self


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