My five-year-old still won’t poop on the toilet.

My son just turned five and we’ve been working on toilet training since he turned three. He certainly has had phases of success, but he is still not fully trained with stool.  He’s always been pretty good about not having pee accidents and has been able to sleep without a diaper or pull up since about three.  But when it comes to stool, he still frequently poops his pants.  Sometimes he doesn’t want to stop what he’s doing to go to the bathroom and sometimes he says it just comes out too quickly for him to get to the bathroom.  During this period, we had a second child and while that caused regression, it’s been a year and half since his brother’s birth and we’re still struggling.

I feel like we’ve tried everything, do you have any advice?

There are a few things that you can do to help.

1. Focus on positive approaches:

  • Give praise every time he poops in the toilet.
  • Have some special toys or books, that he can play with only when on the toilet.
  • Notice when he usually has a bowel movement.  This is often half an hour after meals.  Take him to the toilet at those times to sit and relax for 5 minutes.
  • Use a “clean days” chart. Every half day his pants are clean, he gets a sticker. When he acquires 3 or 4 stickers, he should get some special treat.

2. Have him help clean up his poopy pants
3. Avoid criticism or punishment
4. There are rare medical issues that can contribute to this problem, discuss with his doctor at your next appointment.

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