Poo Withholding – what to do when your toddler won’t poo!

Poo withholding is one of the weirdest, most upsetting things I have been through as a parent and that is saying something. If your child hasn’t got a problem with pooing then you probably won’t want to read this. But if they have, or you are quite literally pulling your hair out at what to do like I was, then read on. Otherwise skip this post and I’m sorry, I hope you aren’t currently eating!

When I say poo withholding I don’t mean constipation. I mean they are trying, often painfully hard, to not poo. Spending days lying down with their legs crossed or going off in private. At first we thought she was constipated and then we realised she was trying to hold it in. For us this happened after she had been constipated a couple of times and that coupled with toilet training seemed to set it off.

I put a cry for help out on Instagram and Facebook and had so many replies with support, suggestions and other parents agreeing at the distress it can cause them and you! We have tried most of the tips below and currently it seems to be helping. I’m under no illusion that we might encounter problems again though, but I’m hoping with continuing a mixture of the ideas below we might be over the worst.

So here they are in no particular order, the things you can do to help if your toddler is poo withholding

What to do when your toddler won’t poo – Poo Withholding

Share poo stories – Ava loves these two books; 

  1. Everybody Poos 
  2. Poo In The Zoo

Talking about/making poo normal

Takin them to to toilet with you

Flushing their poo down the toilet from a nappy/potty if needed and tell them it’s going to a poo party. Ava will now say ‘bye bye poo have fun at the party!” Weird but if it it works!!

Making a big deal of when they poo. High fives, a treat, telling other family members.

If they like it, encouraging alone time when they need to poo and makeing sure other family members respect that, including siblings.

Going for a walk.

A warm bath or shower.

Tummy rubs – check out this video on Youtube

Talking about it and explaining why they need to poo. This book is good

Lactulouse or another laxative if constipation is one of the reasons for the poo withholding. 

Lots of water.

Eating fruit and having a balanced diet.

Making sure that once they poo it’s regular. 

Making sure they are comfortable with a toilet seat and stool or a potty.


And there you have it. Please do let me know if you have anything else I could add to the list and I hope it helps. 



One response to “Poo Withholding – what to do when your toddler won’t poo!”

  1. istiaque says:

    Very important information.Specially for the parents with first child. May be they will need to know about a potty training toilet seat too. I have reviewed some.
    here is the link: https://reviewtoiletseat.com/best-potty-training-seat/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

latest vlogs