For Parents

Parenting Tips

Pooped-Out Potty Training

Dear Janie,

My son (3 and a half years old) is pee potty trained but will not poop in the potty. He will wait until bedtime, then poop in his pull up. Any tips? FYI, a few months ago we had a few instances where we would find him after bedtime playing with his poop – smearing it on walls, windows and such. We had a variety of reactions ranging from calmly cleaning it, to showering a crying boy in the middle of the night, and finally yelling when we really lost our tempers. Clearly this was a traumatic phase for him.

Signed,
Pooped-out Mom

Dear Mom,

Poop painting is never any fun and always traumatic for parents. I know faux painting is in, but usually an extra sense of smell is not included in the decorating. It sounds like you know about what time your son poops each night. If so, try setting him on the toilet at that same time each night for a few minutes to see if he will be successful. If you used some special treat to potty (pee) train your son, pull out the same or a little larger reward if he should poop in the toilet.
Be patient with this. Sometimes it is the last “hurrah” of control that a child hangs on to. Try not to yell or show your frustration if he has an accident. As a matter of fact do not talk at all to him when you are changing/cleaning up his mess. Be as silent as you possibly can. Do not tell him to even bend over when you are cleaning up his cute little hind end.

It’s important not to talk to him during the poop episodes so that he knows that you are unhappy. It is important to be silent so that he knows he cannot get one tiny turd of attention from Mom or Dad when he poops outside of the toilet. Hopefully, this silence and your patience will pay off and you will soon be happy he’s asking you to wipe his bottom after he deposits his paint supplies in the toilet, where they belong.