What if your toddler is withholding poos?

Constipation can lead to further painful issues so here are some tips:

  1. . Give your little one dried fruit with a high fibre food (Weetabix). If this doesn’t work, then please speak to your GP to see if your infant needs a stool softener to keep it soft.
  2. In the summer, make sure your little one is hydrated.
  3. Accept that it’s better for your infant to go in a nappy or in his pants than to withhold the poo.
  4. If you find your child has accidents, always clean him up calmly in the toilet. Put the poo in the toilet and flush so that he associates this with the process of pooing.
  5. Get your child to help you around the cleaning up process such as flushing, wiping, and washing.
  6. Avoid even the most gentle, negative comments such as “oh dear, you should have told me you wanted to poo’ as this can make your child feel ashamed resulting in more withholding.
  7. To help your child relax around his anxiety of pooing, talk about where the poo goes once you have put it in the toilet. Make it a funny story (what shapes does your poo make? Do you think it has a chat with all the other people’s poos when it goes down the toilet? What do they chat about? etc.)
  8. Slowly build up to your child being comfortable with sitting on a toilet. You can use a child seat and start with her/him still wearing a nappy, to get used to it.
  9. Have bubbles and other activities to encourage your child to relax. ‘Letting go’ of a poo can be a scary concept for lots of children.
  10. If your infant goes to nursery speak to them and ask them to be consistent in your approach.
  11. Avoid making your infant sit on the potty for a long time hoping that a poo will appear because it just doesn’t come on command! It’s not just an infant’s diet that rules when an infant will pass stools. In part, the natural body clock is responsible too.