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What To Do When Your Toddler Refuses to Poop


Many parents realize they'll have some accidents to deal with while potty training their toddlers. They are probably less prepared, however, for the instance when their kids refuse to poop. According to North Fulton Pediatrics, around 5 percent of toddlers refuse to be potty trained. This can be very frustrating for parents and kids alike. If your little ones don't want to go poop, here are some tips to help them:

Talk with your doctor

The act of choosing not to use the bathroom is a conscious decision for most children. They may be afraid of the bathroom, for example, or unsure about how to cognitively control their body to have a bowel movement. Instead of keeping these kids in diapers forever, it's important to talk with a doctor. The child may have painful bowel movements and that's why he or she is hesitating to use the restroom. Pediatricians are specially trained to assist in this situation. They'll feel the child's belly, explain digestion and ask about why he or she won't go to the bathroom. You may return home and find your child heads straight to the potty to take care of business! The doctor can also rule out any health issues that are affecting your child's bathroom habits and provide suggestions to help you get your child back on track with potty training.

"A bad experience with hard stool can scare a toddler."

Your physician may suggest giving your child a small dose of stool softener or laxative to assist in the bowel movement process. Only use this method if it is approved by your child's doctor. This can help create the urge to go, and soften poop that may be painful. One bad experience with a bowel movement that hurts may have been all it took to scare your child out of using the restroom. Laxatives and similar medications are safe to use for most children, and they're nonaddictive so you can stop administering them when your doctor suggests doing so.

Explain why pooping is important

While kids feel the urge to poop, they may decide to hold it in. This act can be physically damaging as it stretches the colon and rectum and can be incredibly uncomfortable. Leaking is possible, especially if your little one is choosing not to go to the bathroom on his or her own. It's helpful to tell the child why they need to poop. Explaining that eating fills up the belly and then requires him or her to poop to make room can be useful. Mention that he or she can't keep eating his or her favorite foods without pooping because this is an important part of a healthy day. 

Toddlers should choose when they have to use the bathroom on their own.

Let them choose

As many adults have realized, pooping doesn't always happen when it's convenient. Parents cannot force their kids to poop the moment they sit down on the potty. Instead, let your children dictate when they have to go. Typically they will feel the urge within a half an hour to an hour of eating a full meal. Ask the little one if he or she needs to go and look out for signs he or she is holding it. Then, escort the child to the restroom as needed.

Now that your kid is fully aware of why pooping is necessary and knows it's his or her job to decide when to go, stop talking about it. Refusing to poop can be a cry for attention. Parents should no longer acknowledge the issue after providing al the tools the child needs to use the restroom by him or herself. He or she will no longer feel pressure to use the bathroom and can do so of his or her own accord.