Top 10 tips for when your child refuses to poo on the loo


One of the most common questions we get asked about is what to do when children won’t use the toilet or potty to poo in. Common signs and symptoms are that parents find children hiding, asking for a nappy to poo in, doing a potty dance to trying to stop themselves needing to go, or even just doing it in their pants.

This is really frustrating for parents, and here are our top 10 tips for dealing with it:

  1. Look out for signs of constipation. Constipation can sometimes be difficult to spot but can be a trigger for children not wanting to poo on the loo. This is because constipation can make it painful to pass poo, therefore a child can react by deciding to with hold. Signs of Constipation and How To Deal With It
  2. Check they are not scared of the toilet and make sure they feel safe and secure sitting on the seat. Some children don’t like the drop in the toilet, and you could therefore cover it with a piece of toilet roll or kitchen roll.
  3. Keep track of when they normally do a poo and work with nature by Introducing a consistent toilet time when they would normally go for a poo.
  4. Treat poo accidents like any other accidents. Take your child to the toilet to clean them up and get them involved in the clean-up process. Sit them on the potty or toilet to ensure they have fully emptied their bowels and bladder.
  5. Make poo accidents an inconvenience by ensuring the clean-up takes longer and is more hassle than going to the loo in the first place.
  6. Keep reinforcing the routine. The main message here is that ‘poo goes down the loo.’
  7. Reward trying and other parts of the routine that they have mastered, like washing hands. Keeping your child positive will help keep them motivated to keep trying.
  8. Use Dry Like Me pads to protect pants as this reduces the stress and mess of accidents for parents, as it’s easier to clear up and protects clothing. 
  9. Keep positive! If you get annoyed, take your frustration out on the accident not on your child. Let your child join in telling the naughty poo off!
  10. Get help if you are worried. Speak to your Health Visitor, GP or nurse or contact the ERIC hotline for personal advice from trained advisors.

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