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December 2013

She Refuses to Sit on the Toilet Even With Her Diaper On, Help!

A parent of a child who will only poop with a diaper on recently wrote me the following, “My daughter poops in her diaper in the bathroom while standing or lying flat on the floor. But, if I ask her to even just try sitting on the toilet with her diaper on, she refuses. I have offered her prizes and she still says, No way! Help!”

Parents of children who will only poop in a diaper or pull-up often find that it’s a lot easier to get their child to go into the bathroom to poop in their diaper or pull-up than it is to get them to take the next step which is to simply “practice” sitting on the toilet with their diaper on. The sequence of steps necessary to reduce the subconscious fear that is preventing these children from sitting on the toilet is detailed in Chapter 16 of my book, “The Ins and Outs of Poop”.

For many children, sitting on the toilet with their diaper on (or off) is the scariest and, therefore, the most difficult thing for them to do. That’s why children resist so strongly and are often slow to respond to incentives.

Don’t give up. Be patient. Do not rush your child to sit on the toilet.

It can sometimes take months for a child to relax enough even just to try sitting on the toilet with a diaper on. And it can take months for this same child to then relax enough to just try sitting on the toilet with no diaper. While that may seem like a long time, remember that time, patience and understanding are the keys to eliminating fears, in children and adults.

Why Do I Always Have to Remind Him to Go and Try to Poop?

Parents frequently ask me, generally in exhasperation: "Why do I always have to remind him to go into the bathroom and try to poop?" 

This question typically occurs sometime during Steps 3 and 4 of my 6 Step Treatment Program (as outlined in detail in my book), when a child is having daily bowel movements but, in many cases, only with parental reminders.

Parents generally think that, by now, their child must feel the urgency to poop, because when he does sit (and push), he almost always gets poop out. They worry that their child will become dependent on them and never learn to go to the bathroom on his own.

I tell them to be patient and not to worry.

I remind them that at this stage in treatment, their child’s rectum has not yet shrunk back to its normal size and, therefore, his ability to sense the need to poop is inconsistent, at best. The main goal at this point in treatment is for a child to have at least one large, very soft bowel movement every day, regardless of whether he does it on his own.

In the meantime, always offer a small reward for going to the bathroom without needing to be reminded. You might also ask him to tell you when is going to go try, and praise him for telling you. But try not to punish, scold, or express frustration when he does not remember.