toilet paper for pooping

5 Tips For Toddlers Afraid To Poop

Some things in life just can't be rushed. Parents of toddlers are living with this reality on a daily, minute-by-minute basis. When little ones start to assert their strong will and independence, a power struggle often ensues. Parents who are used to being in control of their babies suddenly find themselves negotiating, pleading, and bribing stubborn little ones to eat, sleep, behave....and sometimes, unfortunately, poop. Sometimes the problem can be easily solved by purchasing a fun toddler potty with lots of lights, sounds, and interactive features. But for others, the issue may require a little more investigation.


How to Help Toddlers Afraid of Pooping on the Potty

Pooping is a very natural biological function, and yet it comes with a lot of stinky baggage. It's a topic that is often considered uncouth to discuss, unless it is  a very specific conversation about the health of bowels. Yet lots of little kids, to the dismay of their parents, go through a phase where they talk and laugh incessantly about this taboo topic. Sometimes it begins during the potty training phase  when a lot of time and attention is spent in the bathroom. This behavior is temporary and will thankfully pass. However, a more concerning situation is when kids seem to have fear, aversion, or general anxiety about pooping. This can lead to discomfort, and in some cases, more serious medical issues. Reading guides for parents addressing these exact scenarios can help.Here are some tips to consider if your child is having difficulty doing the deed.


young child


Increase the fiber intake of your child to expedite the process of pooping.

Sometimes kids don't like to take time out from playing if it takes too long to poop. Other kids may be embarrassed about a prolonged visit to the restroom during school hours. By adding some fiber-rich foods (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables)  into a child's diet, pooping will be fast and easy. And in turn, they will be less resistant about taking care of business. Consider more tips to ease the transition to pooping on the potty.


toilet paper


Talk to your children about never holding in a bowel movement.

Kids should be encouraged to go to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge. Sometimes getting to a restroom right away is not possible, so in those rare situations, it's ok to wait. But kids should not get in the habit of holding it in. Serious conditions can arise, like fecal impaction, incontinence, and gastrointestinal perforation. Although you may not wish to scare them with these medical terms, kids should understand that they could get very sick if they regularly avoid pooping.




Do not forbid talking about poop in your home.

This does not mean that you have to embrace potty talk in your household 24/7. However, if you abstain from  any sort of discussion about pooping, children may start to feel like they are dirty, smelly, or gross for having a bowel movement. Even more important, parents need to know if their kids are pooping daily and if the consistency of the fecal matter is normal, hard, or loose. An easy change in a child's diet may fix a problem, or there could be a more serious, underlying medical problem that needs to be addressed.


flushing toilet


Never stigmatize the act of pooping.

Teasing a child for stinking up the bathroom may seem funny, but sometimes it can lead to embarrassment and discomfort. Kids will quickly steer away from pooping in public restrooms, which can be problematic once they are spending all day at school or other locations. Most people, adults and kids alike, prefer the privacy of the bathroom at home. But that is not always a practical or possible. If you treat pooping like it is no big deal, kids will feel less self-conscious about having bowel movements. 




Read lots of children's books about pooping.

Normalizing this subject through stories is a good start. Kids need to understand that every single living being poops. Read silly, fictional books to keep things light and funny. And read non-fiction books about poop so kids understand how bodies function and why this is a healthy habit.  


Discover More Books About Toddler Behavior

Stories about Temper Tantrums

Books for Toddlers About Staying in Bed

Kids' Books About Not Hitting 

Back to blog