Toddler Potty Training

Won't Poop in Toilet

Won’t Poop In Toilet?

Having trouble getting your child to do a poop in the toilet? Even if day time potty training is going well, this is a common problem faced by many, so don’t worry, you are not alone.

After 9 months of trying to get my daughter to poop in the toilet and finally succeeding, I’ve done a lot of research around various techniques to help achieve this.  I thought I’d share them with you as for others going through the same thing, dirty undies and/or constipation is never fun.

The reason why some kids get the hang of doing poops on the potty or toilet quickly and others take a little longer is unknown.  Reasons have included having a bad experience, like a poop that hurts when trying before, falling in or nearly falling in the toilet, constipation, stubbornness, lack of interest, or scared that a part of them is being flushed away.

My daughter went through a few different stages.  She would just do it in her undies and not seem to realise or care that it was there.  She then suffered from stool withholding which turned into constipation.  Sometimes this would lead to 3 or 4 poops a day in her undies as only little bits were getting past a blocked poo – a form of constipation I later found out (more severe cases are known as encopresis). Then she would only do poops in her diaper when she had her day time sleep or night time sleep.  For a while this was actually a relief as there were no more dirty undies and she wasn’t suffering from a sore stomach.

Cleaning poops from dirty undies is never fun, I have to admit some never returned, especially the ones returned from day care.  However, after trying many things, there were definitely some techniques that worked better than others.

Each child is different so I thought I’d list a variety of different techniques you can try if your child won’t poop in toilet. I wish you every success with your poop in the toilet challenge.  I truly hope these ideas help in some way.


Constipation could definitely be a cause for a child not wanting to poop in the toilet. Constipation could be caused by holding on to the poop or they may actually be constipated so poops are hard and can sometimes hurt when they do a poop, their tummy may hurt and hence don’t like doing poops.  There could even be a blockage and only small bits of poo get out which a child has limited control over. 

If you can relate to any of these things, it’s best to see a health care professional to check your child isn’t constipated.  If they are, normally a form of laxative is given which will help. More natural methods you can try are things like prune juice.


Using rewards charts are great if your child is occasionally doing a poop in the toilet, especially when they are allowed to choose the stickers and put them on.  I find though that reward charts tend to work better when there is a toy or treat involved too. A sticker isn’t always enough.  I found my daughter sticking all the stickers on the chart one day when she just did a wee.

Whilst not everyone agrees with this, bribery was definitely a success factor in my experience. A treat for every time we had success wasn’t giving us long term consistency.  However, letting my daughter go to the toy shop and pick a toy (she choose an owl Beanie Boo) which she would only receive after consistently doing poops in the toilet is what I think really got her over the line.

If you are happy to subscribe to my newsletter, I have a free download of a reward chart.


Another idea that really helps is getting picture books about potty training. Especially ones that talk specifically about doing poops in the toilet. Kids really relate to books and they can sit and read them whilst they are waiting for a poop to come. My favorites and the ones that really worked for my daughter are:

But I have to say, her ultimate favorite was “Come Out Mr Poo!” by Janelle McGuinness as it was colorful and funny and didn’t take itself too seriously.


While it might sound funny, smaller kids want to be big kids and tend to idealise what bigger kids do.  If they can watch a slightly older brother or sister, a cousin or friend do a poop in the toilet sometimes this gives them the push to overcome their fear or stubbornness as they too want to be a ‘big kid’.


It goes without saying but kids generally want to make you happy and if you can make them feel proud and grown up then this is something they want to continue to receive. Every time you have success, give as much praise as you can. Many high-fives and hugs go a long way.


If your child will only do poops in their nappy or slinks off to the corner to do a poop, encourage them to do this in the bathroom.  Whilst it won’t necessarily solve the problem, it gets them closer to understanding the right place for where poops should be done.


There are other books that you can read that offer suggestions and advice in more depth than this post.

So, if your child won’t poop in the toilet, I understand it can be a challenging time. I hope some of these suggestions are useful and work for you.  Patience is definitely required. There are some great days and some not so great days.  Remember, your child will get there and this will just be another milestone your child achieves as they grow!

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