OK. He's 4. He's had speech issues so communication with me is tough and he still isn't telling me he needs to go. I've been asking him and making him go pee about every hour. When it comes to pooping he always tells me no. Then I catch him hiding bent over holding his butt. I have been trying and trying and he just continues to hide. I've tried rewarding him and praising him and he still refuses. Once I catch him and run him to the toilet he won't even try to poop. He just sits there. I don't want to just let him go back to diapers. . I don't see how backtracking would help the situation. I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm so frustrated and I don't want to lose my temper. It's just got me wanting to pull my hair out. Help!

  • So to clarify, he is trying to hold it in rather than pooping on the toilet?
    – Warren Dew
    Jan 14, 2017 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


Both my kids were 4 1/2 for stool continence. Most important: Don't panic.

Switch to pull-ups if you haven't already done so. After 6 months in pull-ups, one day, my son got up, put underpants on himself, and has had only 2 accidents since. Not a word from his mom and me beyond what you've done.

My daughter was more sinister. She was allowed to pick out a stuffed animal from Dollar Tree for every successful use of the toilet. It worked; although eventually we had to work our way up to Ty animals ... That went on for a few montha, and now we have about 200 stuffed animals. But who doesn't like making a pile of stuffed animals to jump in?

The book Everyone Poops or any of the more modern equivalents might be a good bedtime read. It is imperative you don't get angry around stool issues. He doesn't like disappointing you either. He doesn't get it yet, and frustration can make it worse. But he will get it, you have to believe.


In my experience, defecating in a toilet takes longer to train than urination. I would simply take your child every 60-90 minutes and sit until there is a result. I am betting that you know when/ times of day that this is most likely to happen. Do not get mad at a soiled diaper*, but do praise using the toilet. Read, watch a movie, play a game, make potty sitting as pleasant as possible. *Diapers and pull-ups are made for this. Holding waste is not healthy. I do not like food rewards or things that cost money -- but you could promise a trip to the park, a push on the swing/a favourite game if your son defecates in the toilet.

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