FAQ – Help, my child won’t poo on the toilet or potty

This is really common and is the most frequent of the FAQs we receive!


It is also the exception to the ‘keep the nappy off after you start training rule’ as we recommend that if your child will only poo in a nappy then always give them a nappy to poo in. If you say no there is a danger they will either try to withhold, which can cause more issues, or they will go and hide and do it in their pants, which is then a harder habit to break.


There are a couple of ways to do this so that it is not a backward step into wearing nappies all the time.  Always give the nappy in the bathroom and only to poo in. After the deed has been done ask the child to get involved in flushing it down the loo, telling them that this is where poo goes.


The next stage is to put an open nappy over a potty and get them to poo in that, then when they are comfortable doing this you can replace the nappy with kitchen towel, and eventually progress to nothing other than the potty or toilet.


Ensure the child is comfortable sitting on the potty and toilet – always use a step stool on the toilet as this gets them in a better position for pushing the poo out. Keep toys around them to help them stay relaxed and distracted long enough to do something. Health professionals that we work with recommend playing with bubbles as the blowing helps engage the right muscles.


Most of all, try to stay positive, and to keep your child positive about this.  It is so common and you will get there!



Return to Week 2


Share On:

3 comments on “FAQ – Help, my child won’t poo on the toilet or potty

  1. Fiona Kirkwood on

    My child won’t even tell me when she needs a poo and will happily poo in her pants up to 3 times a day. Even when dirty she doesn’t bother and will happily sit in it. She’s virtually dry all the time including at night but we just don’t seem to be able to crack the poo issue! I’ve offered the toilet, potty and nappy but she says no to them all. I’ve had the HV involved and the advice I was given was that she’ll just need to grow out of it. She’s almost 4 and potty trained for nearly 10 months. HELP!

    • Di Titterton on

      Hi Fiona, we have a couple of other blogs on the website, written by the Children’s continence charity ERIC. One gives advice on how to cope with children who are toilet avoiders and the other has some case studies which may be helpful. They also have a fantastic helpline and we would recommend you call them on 0845 370 8008 (calls cost 9.6p per minute plus the phone company’s access charge). The helpline is open between 10am and 2pm Monday – Thursday. Good luck, I’m sure you will get there but it may take a lot of patience.

    • Lyndsey Winstanley on

      Hi Fiona, have you managed to crack this yet? We are having the exact same experience with our son, even the age (he’s 4 in May).
      I’m interested in any advice.
      Thanks Lyndsey


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *