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 This is the biggest concern  that my friends and I hear… “They will pee on the potty, but not poop.”

I went through this with our first son and hear it SO much from other Moms!!

So, without sharing too much of what is in the book, I wanted to make this post as helpful as possible.  When I hear the problem with peeing, but not pooping, I remember two things:

  1. I can help this
  2. This is a phase!

I had heard about a 7-year-old waiting until he came home from school to put on a diaper to poop.  I was afraid this would be our first son (at the time, he was only 20 months old, but still…) so I was so nervous!  I tried a bunch of things until I found what worked for our family (included in the book) and I realized that he needed to be distracted.  He was scared and I didn’t want him to be scared of the potty, so I used the distraction techniques every time.

Our son was trained to pee on the potty at 20 months old, but not until closer to 24 months with having bowel movements on the toilet.

How do you deal with it?

Well, I don’t want to give away all of my secrets, so I am saving my best ones for the book, but I just kept telling him “No! No!” when he would poop in his pants.  It was gross and I would let him know that I did NOT approve!  I wasn’t mean, but I was firm and wanted to get my point across.

I would take the soiled underwear & dump the poop into the potty (while he watched) and we would flush it. Then I would offer a treat if he pooped (sticker, ice cream…)

What ended up working for us was when I knew he had to poop, I made sure that I would start distracting him while he was on the potty.  I used several distraction techniques together (all shared in my ebook)  and we were able to take care of this.  Most kids are scared of going poop.  It is not that they are trying to be defiant, but that they have a genuine fear.   Once you are able to help this, using one of the techniques, you will have your child pooping on the potty in no time!

A few ideas to get you started:

  1. Read to them on the potty, let them play on the iPad or Kindle or phone to distract them while they are sitting there, give them a special toy to hold while they are on the potty.   Do not let them have these things if they get off of the potty. This is a distraction, but also a reward for sitting there!
  2. Teach him to tell you when he needs to go so you can put a diaper on him.  Many kids wait until bedtime to go (they feel safe this way).  That is OK!  Really.   Just be sure to put a diaper on him at naptime & bedtime.  Check them after 20 minutes.  This will pass.
  3. I heard this one time (I never tried it)…  Cut a hole in the diaper and let them poop through their diaper, on the potty.  Crazy, but I’ve heard it works?   The poop goes through into the potty.  It just lets them feel secure.
  4. Talk to your child.  “Poop is yucky and messy, so it goes in the potty.  That is easy to clean!”
  5. Provide a step stool.  Some kids just have trouble having a bowel movement & a stool allows it to come easier because they brace themselves and can “push” more easily.
    Whatever you find that helps you, you need to just help them to go the first time and then it will be easier and they will understand that it is OK, not scary and that they will feel better afterward.

You do not want them to become constipated and you want to make sure that there is not a health issue (allergies, etc…) causing them to not be able to go.  If you suspect this, see your doctor before beginning to push the issue.

If you are potty training your child, you are welcome to download my coloring book for free:


This is my ebook, Potty Train in a Weekend.
Potty Train in a weekend

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I don’t know what is going on but my seven year old daughter has stopped pooping in the potty. She came from school one day and has since refused to go in restroom to poop. She pees okay but when she poops she does it in her underwear and I am at a loss on what I can do. What are some pointers here. She waits mostly until after she goes too sleep at night then it is a big mess the next morning or when she rides the school bus home it happens then. She holds it in until she can’t no more and then it happens. I can’t force her to stay on toilet until something happens because I do have things I must do besides being on her about properly using the toilet.

    1. Honestly, at this age, I would talk to a pediatrician. I feel like there has to be something going on – maybe allergies? Or something more? I’d definitely seek their help. Good luck! Email me anytime.

  2. Maybe there are scared of he potty monster. ha ha ha. Just kidding. You have done some great articles on potty training. Great work.