As an adult, you probably look forward to some alone time on the potty. But for toddlers, it's not always their favorite place to be. Though the transition from diapers to "big kid" underwear is certainly a cause for celebration, if your child is refusing to go poop, you might feel like you're stuck on repeat.
Withholding stool happens more often than you may think. And it's actually more common among boys, but girls can show signs of stool withholding, too.
Here are a few reasons why your child may avoid going #2.
Reason #1: Scared to poop because it hurts
Fear of pain is one of the most common reasons why children don't like to go poop. Occasional constipation is uncomfortable and frustrating at any age. But imagine experiencing it for the first time ever. Pretty scary, right?
When stool becomes hard to pass, it can sometimes feel painful to the point of tears. Such a traumatic event will no doubt negatively impact a child's experience with potty time. And this can result in a child associating that same fear of pain every time he needs to poop.
Reason #2: Afraid to poop in the potty
Another reason your child may be avoiding potty time like the plague is simply because he may need more time and support to make the transition. Moving away from a potty training toilet to a giant porcelain one is a big step!
Now, pair this with the loud sounds of flushing, the water swirling at a rapid speed, and a big rounded open seat, and it's not too surprising why a child might feel a bit overwhelmed or anxious.
Fears of falling in or reptiles coming through the hole to bite (yes, this is a real fear that children have) can make any child want to take a pass on potty time.
Reason #3: Has better things to do
Our kids have forts to build, games to play, and adventures to go on. So, the idea of having to take a momentary pause from all that excitement to sit on a potty may seem like a chore rather than a natural instinct.
Because going #2 usually takes longer than going #1, it's not unusual for kids to get bored and want to do something else. This is why routine is so important for potty time. Rather than choosing random times to go throughout the day, your child will get used to a schedule that includes potty breaks in-between other activities.
Is Your Toddler Afraid to Poop?
If your child is showing signs of fear or anxiety when potty time rolls around, it's important to remember that this is actually pretty normal. Your kids are undergoing so many new experiences everyday, and not all of them are going to be on their top 10 favorite's list.
The best thing you can do is acknowledge the struggle and try to find out what the root cause of their fear is.
The best way to do this is to talk it out!
It sounds simple, but make sure you ask your child why he fears going #2. Remember that whole reptile fear? You know there's nothing swimming around in the toilet bowl, but your child may think there is.
Remember not to brush off the fear but to listen and talk it out together.
"Don’t dismiss their concerns, however silly they may seem. Empathize, let them know you hear them and make it clear that you’ll make sure they’re safe when they’re on the potty," (Cleveland Clinic).
How to get my toddler to poop
The less times children experience occasional constipation, the more they will start to get into a natural groove with going #2.
Common signs of occasional constipation in children include:
- Less than 3 bowel movements a week
- Hard, dry stool that is difficult to pass
- Pain and discomfort while trying to pass stool
- Abdominal pain
As you can imagine, this is a very unpleasant experience for a child. But the good news is there is an easy way to keep your kid light and free from occasional constipation—without the use of over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives.
Doolies offers a delicious, bite-size snack option that makes going #2 a breeze! It's packed with the real-fruit ingredients you trust and made by real parents, like you!
We promise even your pickiest eaters will love Doolies. Shop our selection now and help your kids start going #2 like a potty-time pro.