We have a mostly potty-trained 3-year-old (still requiring help with wiping and clean up) that we will shortly be transitioning from an enclosed crib to a twin mattress on the floor. Currently we keep her in her diaper during quiet time (she doesn't sleep) but along with the transition to a cageless twin mattress we are also planning on switching her to undies during quiet time and telling her to let us know (through the monitor) when she needs to go potty (otherwise she shouldn't get out of bed, or at the least not out of her room).

The problem is that she currently (while in diaper) holds poop in until it's quiet time, and then lets it out as an excuse for us to get her up (even if it's only temporarily). We've tried sitting her on the potty for a long time before quiet time to no avail. Even if she does poop before quiet time she still forces even the smallest stool you've ever seen out to tell us she pooped (and thus get out of quiet time temporarily). I forsee that if she's in big girl undies then she will undoubtedly keep telling us she needs to poop then not pooping on the potty, only to throw a fit if we put her back in quiet time because "I need to poop!" In other words she has learned to use poop as an an excuse to get out of bed and we believe it will only continue when she's in undies.

So my question is, what approach do we take so that;

  1. She doesn't simply get out of quiet time whenever she yells "I need to poop!" and then sit on the potty as long as mom/dad tolerate it.
  2. She doesn't accidently (or purposely?) soil herself because we didn't get her to the potty when she really needs to go.

I'm thinking of telling her I'll check on her every 30 minutes, and sitting her on the potty for 5 minutes, then back in quiet time but wanted to get other people's thoughts.

FWIW I'm looking for a strategy to follow once she's in undies during quiet time, not necessarily how to address the current situation (though the given answer seems to imply we should fix the poop issue now, so that's one approach).

  • 1
    I know people love flagging and finding dupes. I've searched and although there are questions that are helpful none cover this specific scenario (unless I missed one in two dozen questions or so I read through).
    – n00b
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 18:28
  • 1
    Have you tried rewarding her for pooping before quiet time, or going through a quiet time without pooping? Was the reward significant enough to outweigh her getting attention during quiet time? Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 18:44
  • We have incentivized pooping before nap time, but it doesnt matter. she still poops during quiet time (even if its a minimal amount she manages to push something out). In addition we dont want to get her in the habit of pooping for a reward (at this point she doesnt need it, she will still poop on the potty outside of quiet time).
    – n00b
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:44
  • I'm sorry, I don't see how being in undies changes anything. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:47
  • The difference is currently we can leave her in a diaper all quiet time if we so chose. With underwear we cant simply leave her for 2 hours and expect her not to pee or poo. It seems unreasonable to expect her to go two hours without a bio break.
    – n00b
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


If you have tried rewarding her for pooping before or after quiet time, how about letting her know that now that she is a big kid, she will have to wait until the end of quiet time for a diaper change?

You should never punish a child for using a diaper -- it can lead to disastrous messes -- but you can let her sit in her soiled diaper for an hour. I would bet the farm it will happen 1-3 times before she figures out that you will clean her up afterwards and you won't be mad (seriously do not let her know if you are mad) and that sitting in a soiled diaper is smelly and unpleasant. She will choose on her own to be clean.

I would suggest leaving her in a diaper until you solve this part of the problem, because her success is your success.

  • Thanks, the question is how to handle the behavior once we transition to undies though. Are you suggesting we leave her in diapers until she stop pooping during quiet time? She will sometimes poop before quiet time but still push some out during quiet time so im not sure rewarding pooping beforehand would solve the issue
    – n00b
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 18:56
  • @n00b Yes, I would suggest leaving her in a diaper until you solve this part of the problem, I'll edit my answer.
    – WRX
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 18:57

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