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Toddler Won’t Poop Because It Hurts? When to Worry.

toddler painfully pooping on pink toilet

My toddler won’t poop because it hurts!

We have gone through the steps of potty training. The days of dirty diapers are over, right? What do you do when your toddler does not want to poop in the toilet because of pain? The pain is directed at trying to go poop. You are now faced with a toddler who does not want to poop because of the pain. Do not panic today; we will go over ten tips and advice to help.

Is your toddler holding poop in?

The common problem here is the toddler is holding their poop. The act of going potty creates discomfort or pain so that they will hold it. The situation arises from anxiety around the toilet area. The size, area, and sound can cause fear. The trick here is prepared. The first step is perhaps to let the toddler relieve themselves in a pull-up or diaper. You will then take the soiled item off. You will show the toddler disposing of the poop in the toilet. Flushing the matter down the toilet and discuss the process. If the sound of flushing is scary, this to can be explained. The idea is to create a comforting environment, not a scary one.

Are you prepared for a toilet emergency?

We, as parents, lead hectic lives, but we must be prepared. The idea for preparation is not only at home. If you are preparing to go on an outing, think of your toddler’s needs. A public restroom can be cold and scary for a toddler. The perfect item for a parent to carry is post-it notes. Place a post-it notes over the sensor of self-flushing toilets. The scary, unexpected flushes can provoke an unwanted reaction of holding pee and poo from a toddler. Even carrying an extra diaper or pull-ups is a wise consideration.


Exercise is very important to a toddler as well as an adult. A toddler is going to have a ton of energy. A fun exercise to teach a child is the Frog Squat. The exercise is done exactly like the posture you use for going potty. It is stretching of the pelvic muscles that help us all go potty.

To do the exercise, ask the child to squat down to the floor. The feet and knees need to be spread wide. The heels and hands need to be on the floor.

Then instruct the child to look up mimicking a “frog” looking for flies. The next step is to have your toddler take five deep breaths and hold them being still waiting for flies. The “frog” position should be held for ten to fifteen seconds for five times.

The atmosphere should be fun for your toddler. The exercise can be done prior to or even during a potty session.

Do you know the toddler poop position?

Another area that might need to work on is the position. The correct position to go potty will help with the pain. Making your toddler as comfortable as possible while going is important. Make sure your toddler can put both feet on the floor. The use of a stool in front of the toilet will help. Make sure the seat is not wobbly and make sure that no falling in accidents can happen. The more comfortable, the better the outcome will be.

Is your toddler’s stool hard?

The pain a toddler may be having is due to the stool holding. The continuing of holding the stool makes it larger and harder. It only takes one painful bowel movement, and the act of poop holding can begin. If at any time you are thinking of stool softeners to help consult your pediatrician first. These can be taken orally and will help soften the stool to help ease it out. There should not be consideration of enemas or suppositories unless under strict guidance from a doctor. The less painful, anxiety, and fear invoking the process is, the better.

How can you empower your toddler?

Making your toddler understand why there is pain and how to correct it can be fun as well as educational. The idea of letting your toddler know that eliminating the poop makes them feel better. They need to know they are the boss of their body. They are in control of getting rid of something that can cause pain. Giving toddler praise when they “take out the trash” of their own body.

Talk to your toddler about poop!

It may sound a bit gross, but talking about the pain is essential. It is a good time to ask your toddler, “why does it hurt?” The flow of communication can be directed at asking questions. The toddler may tell you it is cold. They may feel like they are about to fall in. These are all communication points you can address in a realistic and comforting manner.

Is your child afraid of the potty?

A child can build a strong fear of the toilet, especially if having painful bowel movements. The time to back up may be in order for you and your toddler. To start, put some comfortable Underoo’s on your toddler. The next step is to explain when the toddler needs to do a potty; they need to ask for a diaper. When they ask for the diaper, put it on, and put them on the toilet. Ensure they are comfortable and safe. Explain they will need to stay in the bathroom, on the toilet, and potty in the diaper. Do not ask any questions.

Once they have finished, remove the diaper and put the poop in the toilet. Explain why the poop needs to go to the toilet. Clean the toddler and put them back into the big kid underwear. Make sure you are praising the child for doing the business in the appropriate room. After a few weeks, then move to cut a hole in the bottom of the diaper. The process will stay the same. When he or she poops, it will fall into the toilet bowl below. The praise continues here and makes sure they understand they did a great job. In the next few days, you can make the hole bigger. There will come a time when they no longer need the diaper.

Is your toddler purposely doing this?

Toddlers will sometimes hold their poop even if it means pain. The act of doing this is for attention. After the age of three, the “power play” can happen. A child quickly understands how to get an adult’s attention by having an “accident” or withholding. Do not yell, do not make a fuss about it. If the stool is in the wrong place, have the child clean it up. If the child does not want to poop, do not force the issue. The idea of softeners and even given something in the diet that encourages pooping can be done. Once the toddler has pooped in the toilet or potty chair, praise them. There are many constructive ways to praise. A special reward for going potty correctly. The idea is to get your child to understand that a good day of pooping well is rewarded, not the opposite.

Should you visit a doctor?

We never want to see our little ones in pain. The hardest heart can be broken by the tears of a child. If you are concerned, by all means, plan a trip to your pediatrician. There are some rare instances where a medical condition can cause pain. If, after attempts and you are not successful, it is time to seek a professional. The holding of poop can, over time, cause the colon to stretch. The muscles that work in that area become flabby. The issue will cause leakage around a very large piece of stool. If the problem is not corrected, it can cause gastric problems down the road.

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