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If you have a potty trainer, you have probably heard this question from a friend or two: ” My child will pee, but not poop on the potty. What do I do?” I hear potty training questions often, but this one takes the cake.

The best news, if your child will pee but not poop on the potty, is that it will stop at some point. The bad news is that it may take a while to get over the fear of going poop on the potty (some kids actually feel like they will fall in or part of their own bodies will fall into the potty!)

Here are some suggestions to help your child:

  • This one is crazy, but let them watch TV. When our daughter was doing this, I brought our little training toilet into the living room area (I placed it on towels) and let her sit there and watch Frozen. I knew that she would be having a bowel movement in the morning, after breakfast, so I let her watch the whole movie from the time that breakfast was over until the movie ended. She pooped half way through! (You will know, because they might start to act nervous to try to get up… if they do this, point out a part in the movie and help them become distracted again.)
  • Know their schedule. Try to pinpoint the time that they have a bowel movement every day. It will probably be around the same time every day. Try to chart it on a notebook for a few days and then move onto #3.
  • When you have found out the timing (morning, afternoon) try to keep a very close eye on your child. When you feel like he has to go, give him a distraction. I would suggest giving him a tablet or even a book on the potty. It is simply the idea of being distracted that will help.
  • Offer a lollipop only while he is trying to go poop. Take it away when he gets up. It isn’t a punishment when you take it away, so be happy, Oh! Good try. This is only for when you have to go poop on the potty. You can have one later, when you try again. 
  • If they have an accident, dump the poop into the potty. Let your child watch you take their underwear and dump the poop out of the underwear and into the potty. Let them flush it and tell it goodbye.
  • Take their baby dolls to the potty to go poop.
  • If you have a pet, let your child see how even your pet has a bowel movement! (A cat is a great example, using their toilet  litter box.)
  • Your child may need to be touching the ground with his feet. A lot of children have issues using the bathroom when they are on a big toilet, because they can’t use the floor to help them push. Let them use a training toilet, because it is small and close to the ground. (Tip: use a coffee liner in their little potty and it will make cleaning up the poop so much easier! Just remove the coffee filter, dump the poop out into the potty & wipe the potty with a cleaning wipe.)
  • Leave them alone. Sometimes a child just needs privacy (this is why they hide in a corner or behind a chair to poop in their diapers). Give them a book or tablet and walk out of the bathroom (if they will stay on the toilet). I never went far and I could always watch them, but two of our four children wanted me to leave the bathroom. They just wanted that privacy.
  • Crazy, I know, but try this. I haven’t tried it personally, but a friend of mine swears by it! Cut a hole in the diaper with a pair of scissors, before putting it on your potty trainer. Let him use it and place him on the potty to poop. The poop will go into the potty, but the diaper will make him feel secure. Try this for 5-10 days and then remove the diaper!

If you are stuck in a potty training struggle, we suggest using this book, Potty Train in a Weekend. It has a chapter devoted to this very topic, when your child won’t poop on the potty.

In the meantime, we have some great potty training tips here and we share advice like this daily on our Facebook page.

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