A Potty Training Dilemma


When you are pregnant, there are things that you prepare yourself for before the baby comes. You know that you will have sleepless nights, you know that there will be crying & you know that you will change dirty diapers. What you might not realize is that those sleepless nights can last for days, that the crying continues even in to the toddler years & that your child can produce an obscene amount of poop.

When my daughter was an infant, I barely fastened the straps on her diaper before she started pushing out her next poop. When we left the house, we were armed with a diaper bag filled with extra diapers & 3 changes of clothing. Many public poops ended with wet feces that shot up my daughter’s back & soaked through her clothing. As a new mommy, I would frantically try to remove her clothing without covering her hair & face with her own bowel movements, while wiping her butt & back clean and getting her in a new diaper before she went again. Let’s not even talk about bath time, which became dubbed as poop soup. As she got older, I was relieved that diaper changes got easier. Messy blow-outs were a thing of the past.

Enter the potty training era. We have had a very successful month with toilet training. Mai now strictly pees in the potty & takes great pride in wearing her big girl undies. The problem is that she is still afraid to do the dreaded number 2 in the potty. When a poop is brewing, she dives for her nearest hiding spot. Anywhere out of reach will do, under her tea table, in her cardboard playhouse, under her safety stool. Finding that unreachable spot is not enough though. She must barricade herself in by pulling toys, boxes, pillows and chairs around her to keep her safe. “Don’t look at me, mama.”


We have been trying to give her a gentle nudge to the toilet. We were successful in getting her to sit on her potty one day, but it ended in pooptastrophe as she had a change of heart halfway through & stood up and tried to diaper herself. I will spare you the messy details.

Since that day, I have backed off a bit. She didn’t poop for days after the incident, so we needed to take some of the anxiety off of her. When she is ready to poop, she asks for a diaper. I change her into one & then she heads to her favorite poop spot. Mai has accompanied me to many bathroom trips lately, so that she can see that it is no big deal. She is not quite convinced. Has anyone else encountered this & what did you find that was successful for you?

21 comments on “A Potty Training Dilemma

  1. I definitely encountered this with Emma and it was awful as she was so afraid to poop on the toilet that she would stiffen her whole back if we even tried to put her on there if we thought she had to go. Like you I backed off and tried two more times in the near future until she was finally ready. I thought for sure I would go through similar with Lily but she was potty trained so much easier and quicker too but still you aren’t alone on this and like I said went through it totally with Emma.

      1. She was potty trained fully in about 6 months time, but the two times we backed off pooping was about a month of so in between give or take. Trust me i thought the same that it would never happen here either and then miracuously it did. I have no explanation except it just seemed like she finally was just ready and conquered the fear of it. I feel your pain though and trust me I would have tried anything even stand on my head if it would have helped make her fears go away on this.

          1. Aww, believe me I truly recall feeling lower then low with Emma at this point in potty training as well. I honestly was so afraid she would be traumatized, too but as crazy as it sounds kids are more resilent then we apparently give them credit for as I did find out in time especially with potty training. Hang in there though like I said I do get it and admit I am glad my potty training days for my girls are over.

          2. Aww again anytime and seriously like I said know this feeling so well and was definitely nervous where this was concerned. So wish I could reach through the computer and give you some big old hugs!!

  2. The first time we potty trained was with my son and he had this issue! He would pee no problem, but pooping had to be done in a diaper and he had to hide. It ended up taking about 3 months and a lot of bribes to get him to poop on the potty, but once he did, he was fine. I think it’s a comfort/sensory issue for kids!

  3. We are in the EXACT same boat as you at the moment… except her favourite hiding spot is behind the Christmas tree. I’m not sure what she plans on doing next week when I take the tree down.

  4. Willow went through a phase like this. What worked for us was making farts funny. Sorry for the tmi but if one of us lets one rip we do the whole laughing out loud and making fart sounds and just generally making it ‘fun’. It was only a couple of weeks and willow was showing us what she had done in the potty, we’d then clap and cheer for her and give her a big sticker on her reward chart 🙂

    1. Not too much tmi at all. I just wrote a whole post on poop. She already thinks farts are pretty funny. Lol! She thinks poop is funny too, but not funny enough for the potty yet. I have not done the chart yet. I should try that. Thanks for the input.

      1. Ah true! Its horrible when it happening but you will look back one day and laugh. Reward charts have always been successfull in our house. Willows favourite was her ‘starry night sky’ its just a black pice of card and each time she was good she would get a star sticker and eventually have a starry night skye 🙂 xx

  5. My Wildling went through the same phase. She was fully pee trained at age two and wore panties full time, even at night for seven months before she was willing to poop in the toilet. We tried bribery, we tried denying her diapers, we tried everything, and nothing worked. After three months of her exclusively pooping in her ‘poop corner’ (behind a chair in the living room) we started requiring her to only poop in the bathroom. She did that in a diaper for months. Then one day, magically and spontaneously, she announced that she had to poop, went in, climbed onto the toilet and did it. She just overcame whatever block there was in her head.

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