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3+ year old pooping in pants- at wits end!
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3+ year old pooping in pants- at wits end!

I am hoping someone out there can offer some advice because I have been at my wits end for months!

My son has been in underpants for 9 months. Peeing on the potty has never been an issue. He happily goes pee when he needs to, often doesn't even ask just goes on his own. He wears undies to bed and wakes up completely dry on a daily basis.

However- poop has always been an issue. What started as constipation has grown into a full blown behavior problem. His GI has reassured us that he is no longer constipated- takes Miralax every morning and poops are soft. His problem is withholding and then pooping in his pants. The habit that has developed is that he feels poop coming, he hides and squats and lets a little out. THEN he tells us he has to go but by then his undies are dirty and when he sits on the potty he says he "no longer has to go" even if he sits for a while so we change into clean ones and he goes on his merry way. This then repeats about 10 times before a "real" poop is actually made- hold in, let a little out, change undies, over and over. It is infuriating. This happens at home and at preschool.

Since February, we have tried everything in the way of rewards for poop in potty, not undies: stickers, charts, prizes, extra computer time, extra tv time, cool underpants, everything. Positive reinforcement does not seem to motivate him. We have also tried not letting him do something UNTIL he poops: no tv, no dessert, etc. He couldn't care less. We have tried ignoring - figuring the attention was what he is seeking- but this did not help either. Making a big deal for positive or ignoring negative seems to have the same result- it gets better for a week or so, and then back to the bad habit.

The only things we have NOT tried is going back to pulls up, which I do not want to do b/c I think at his age it's confusing and enabling- and simply letting him be dirty if he goes. Up to this point, I always clean him up when he poops in his pants. Today his teachers suggested letting him sit in dirty undies for a short time before changing him. I am willing to try anything.

I know I need to "let it go" but it's very hard when your entire life revolves around your child's bowel movements. I can ignore it all I want, but when there is poop in his pants and all over the toilet seat, I can't exactly pretend it's not happening. I am hoping someone (or many others) is going through the same thing or has survived the same thing and can offer some advice.
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6 Comments Post a Comment
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757137_tn?1347200053
Well you certainly have tried everything and I am left without a single suggestion - except one. Shame him.
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Avatar_m_tn
As in, yell at him? Or let him be dirty? Please elaborate.
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757137_tn?1347200053
No. Tell him he acts like a baby. Laugh at him. Make fun of him. Tell him it's a dirty habit. In other words, call a spade a spade. Let him know you are fed up.

This sounds cruel, but continuing this habit is much more harmful to him than is a brief humiliation.
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Avatar_m_tn
While I refuse to laugh at him or make fun of him (calling him dirty), I certainly have no problem telling him he's asking like a baby and that big boys do not poop in their underpants. I have been doing that for some time. However I do not believe that 3 year olds have the social awareness to change behavior based on teasing or social reasons. I also do not want to model teasing or mean spirited behavior.

His teachers suggested letting him be dirty for a short time- long enough for it to bother him but short enough that it does not cause a rash or too much discomfort. This is a strategy I am willing to try.

Thank you for your suggestion but we might be on a different page in terms of how far to take the verbal reaction.
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Avatar_m_tn
Let him be. He will soon get over it.

There are not standard milestone for behaviour assessment in childred. A 3yr old todler can behave like a 6yr old at times while a child of that age will occassionaly behave like a yr old.

The strategy of letting him be dirty for a while will pay. Children generally do not appreciate discomfort in their bum bum.
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757137_tn?1347200053
Yes, leaving him soiled is probably the best approach.
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