Why Is My Toddler Holding Poop While Potty Training – What Can I Do About It?

Have you taken the step to potty train your toddler, but he is stubborn and won’t poop? He may pass his urine but doesn’t make a bowel movement, no matter if you make him sit on the potty for hours! Your baby might be holding poop because he is habitual of doing it in his diaper, and he needs time to get accustomed to this new potty method. But at times, holding poop can be very dangerous as it can lead to very harmful situations for your toddler. If you wonder why your baby holds poop and what you can do to resolve this issue, then read ahead as here you will find everything you need to know about successfully potty training your toddler. 

Toddlers can hold their poop for several reasons. Some reasons are that they might not be comfortable while sitting on the potty seat or afraid of falling. There is also a possibility that they might be constipated, or it’s just they are habitual to pooping in the diaper and are reluctant to adopt this new thing. Be patient with them, understand their reason for not wanting to poop in the potty, and then solve that problem accordingly. Try giving him points for every time he makes his bowel movements at the right place. Once he scores 10 or 15 points, buy him a toy of his choice, encourage him, and make him understand that poop is meant to be done on the potty seat. Sticker rewards also work like a charm. Within a few weeks, your toddler will be potty trained! 

Why Does My Toddler Hold His Poop When I Make Him Sit On The Potty

Why Does My Toddler Hold His Poop When I Make Him Sit On Potty

Toddlers can be scared, constipated, or simply not ready to poop in the potty. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, the age of readiness for potty training lies anywhere between 18 months to 4 years, so you have plenty of time to train your toddler without worrying about exceeding the age limit.

And if your child turns four and yet he is not potty trained, simply give him some time, refrain from pressurizing him as every child is different; some babies need time to understand the transition and adjust accordingly. 

Is He Ready To Be Potty Trained?

The basic reason for your toddler to refuse to not poop in the potty can be that he is not ready to dismiss the habit of pooping in the diaper. Before you plan to potty train your toddler, you need to ensure that he is mentally and physically ready. A few signs that will indicate that your toddler is ready for potty training are…

  • He stays dry for more than 2 hours.
  • He hides while making the bowel movement.
  • He notifies you when he has pooped in his diaper.

If you do not see any one of the signs then take a break for at least two months and let him poop in his diapers. 

My son was very stubborn, he used to start crying by just seeing the toilet. I was quite frustrated as he was 20 months and there were no improvements. But instead of scolding my son, I took a break for 3 months and resumed potty training. This time I took him to the washroom and made him sit on the potty while he was wearing his diapers. I used to give him small toy cars and crayons to divert his attention.

Soon, he got accustomed, stopped crying, and pooped happily. The next step I took was removed from the diaper, and within a month, he was potty trained without any crying sessions. 

He Might Be Constipated

There is also a possibility that your child is constipated, and no matter how hard he tries, he can not pass his poop; he might even be in pain! And due to this pain, he may hold his poop every time he has the urge to poop.

Due to this, the poop might become firmer and lead to a more painful situation for your child. And this might not only be because of less intake of fiber. Sometimes too much milk or formula can lead to constipation

He Might Be Afraid Of Pooping In The Potty

Your child might be afraid to sit on the potty seat or find it big enough or comfortable to sit on. They find it very troublesome to balance and prevent from falling with their feet hanging in mid-air. Your kid might be afraid of water beneath them or the water you use to wash them. Also, there is a chance that your kid is afraid of the sight and sound of the flush. These factors cause them to stop their poop and, at times, cry due to the fear and anxiety they feel. Try to understand your toddler. 

What To Do When Your Toddler Refuses To Poop On Potty

What To Do When Your Toddler Refuses To Poop On Potty

Here I am listing a few helpful tips that can help your child to pass the poop on the potty. These tips helped me a lot with my firstborn and I am using the same tips for my second one too.

Be patient

Never scold your kid for not pooping in the potty or pooping in pants, as it only hurts their ego and makes them feel more ashamed. Be very patient with your little one and look for signs indicating that he wants to poop.

Every child is different; hence their timings for pooping will be different; some might poop before eating while others may poop after eating their meal.

Do not force them to poop according to your timings. Doing so will make the situation even worse.

Also, if your kid poops in his pant, then instead of scolding him take him to the washroom, flush the poop in the toilet and make him understand that the right place to poop is in the potty. 

Help him feel safe and secure 

If your child is uncomfortable or afraid of falling from the potty seat then you must ensure that the potty seat is of appropriate size. Also, keep a stool beneath each foot of your baby for proper grip and to ensure that his feet are not hanging in the mid-air. 

Motivate going to the potty with a reward

Encourage your baby to poop. You can also offer your toddler a little treat, chocolate, sweet, or even a star on a chart for every success. After a certain number of stars or points, you can buy your little one a toy of his choice. This trick might encourage him to poop in the potty. 

Create a pooping routine

A routine plays an important role in making your toddler poop in the potty and not in their pants. Try to make him sit on the potty every morning, after every meal, and before sleep. His body and mind will soon start to understand this pattern and then empty the bladder, stomach, and bowel accordingly. 

Increase your toddlers fiber intake

If you notice that your toddler finds it very painful to pass poop or his bowel movements are quite big, then it is a clear sign that your child is intaking less amount of fiber and water. You need to ensure that your kid drinks plenty of water and eats food rich in fiber. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should give 7 grams of fiber per day to 2-year-olds and 8 grams to 3-year-olds. It would help if you also made him exercise to soften his bowel movement and make it easier for him to pass it.


Potty training can be nerve-wracking, but all you need to do is take a chill pill and tackle the situation calmly. There are certain reasons why he might not be pooping. Understand your child’s problem and find out a situation accordingly. Avoid bashing your child or demanding him to poop according to your timings. 

My firstborn gave me a tough time, and at that time, I was not aware of why he might be holding his poop and tricks to make him poop without losing my temper. But my mother and Google helped me a lot. 

Now I am using these tricks on my second born, and everything is going smooth till yet. These tricks helped me a lot; hence, now I am sharing everything I know that might help you while potty training your toddler.

If you have something valuable that you think may help others, feel free to comment below. Also, I would love to hear about how you potty-trained your toddler?

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Hello, I am Ramsha. A mother of two naughty boys. One is 2.5 years old while the other is 1.5 years old so you can understand the tips and tricks I may have learned and am still learning while upbringing them. It is a wonderful yet difficult phase of life. But every moment is worth cherishing!

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