Toddler Holding Poop While Potty Training: Tips and Solutions

Potty training is a significant milestone for toddlers and parents alike. It’s a time when parents have to be patient and encouraging, and toddlers have to learn to use the toilet instead of their diaper. However, some toddlers may experience difficulty pooping in the toilet and may start holding poop, which can be a frustrating experience for both parents and children.

Holding poop while potty training is a common issue that many parents face. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as fear of the toilet, discomfort, or anxiety. Parents may notice that their child is holding poop by observing signs such as crossing their legs, clenching their buttocks, or hiding in a corner. It’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent complications such as constipation or encopresis. In this section, we’ll explore some strategies that parents can use to help their child overcome poop withholding during potty training.

Understanding Potty Training

What is Potty Training?

Potty training is a process of teaching young children to use the toilet for urination and bowel movements instead of using diapers. It is an important milestone in a child’s development, and typically begins between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Potty training can be a challenging process for both children and parents, but it is an essential step towards independence and self-care.

When to Start Potty Training

There is no set age for when a child should start potty training, as every child is different. However, most children begin to show signs of readiness between 18 and 24 months of age. Some signs that a child may be ready for potty training include staying dry for longer periods, showing an interest in the toilet, and being able to follow simple instructions.

It is important to note that potty training should not be started before the child is ready, as this can lead to frustration and setbacks. Pediatricians recommend waiting until the child is showing signs of readiness before beginning the process.

How to Prepare for Potty Training

Before beginning potty training, it is important for parents to be prepared. This includes having the necessary equipment, such as a child-sized potty seat or a step stool for the toilet. It is also important to have plenty of underwear and clothing that is easy to remove.

Parents should also prepare their child for the process by talking to them about using the toilet and reading books about potty training. It can also be helpful to let the child watch a trusted adult use the toilet to help them understand the process.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using positive reinforcement during potty training, such as praise and rewards for successful toilet use. It is important to be patient and understanding during the process, as accidents are a normal part of learning.

In conclusion, potty training is an important milestone in a child’s development. By understanding what potty training is, when to start, and how to prepare, parents can help make the process smoother for both themselves and their child. Consulting with a pediatrician can also be helpful for parents who have questions or concerns about potty training.

Common Potty Training Problems

Potty training is a significant milestone in a child’s life, but it can come with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common potty training problems that parents may encounter and some tips for addressing them.

Constipation and Withholding

Constipation and withholding are common potty training problems that can cause discomfort and pain for your child. When a child is constipated, they may avoid going to the bathroom because it hurts. This can lead to stool withholding, which can make the constipation worse.

To help your child with constipation and withholding, make sure they are getting enough fiber in their diet and are drinking plenty of fluids. Encourage them to sit on the toilet regularly, even if they don’t feel like they need to go. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Fear and Anxiety

Some children may be afraid of the toilet or the potty, which can make potty training a challenge. Fear and anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a bad experience or a sensory processing disorder.

To help your child overcome their fear and anxiety, make sure they feel safe and secure in the bathroom. Consider using a potty seat or a toilet seat insert to make them feel more comfortable. Positive reinforcement and incentives can also be helpful in encouraging your child to use the potty.

Accidents and Bedwetting

Accidents and bedwetting are common potty training problems that can be frustrating for both parents and children. Accidents can happen when a child is not yet fully potty trained or when they are in a new environment. Bedwetting can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a medical condition or a lack of bladder control.

To help your child with accidents and bedwetting, be patient and understanding. Encourage them to use the bathroom regularly and consider using a timer to remind them. Make sure they have easy access to the bathroom and consider using a step stool to help them reach the toilet. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor about possible underlying medical conditions.

Overall, potty training can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By being patient and understanding, and by addressing common potty training problems as they arise, you can help your child become potty trained with confidence and independence.

Tips for Successful Potty Training

Potty training can be a challenging process for both parents and children. However, with the right approach, it can be a positive and rewarding experience for everyone involved. Here are some tips to help make potty training successful:

Establishing a Routine

Establishing a routine is crucial when it comes to potty training. Children thrive on routine, and having a set schedule for using the potty can help them feel more comfortable and confident. Encourage your child to use the potty at regular intervals throughout the day, such as after meals or before naptime. This will help them get into the habit of using the potty on their own.

Using Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when it comes to potty training. Praise your child for using the potty, and offer rewards such as stickers or small treats to encourage them to keep trying. However, be careful not to overdo it with rewards, as this can lead to your child expecting a reward every time they use the potty.

Dealing with Accidents

Accidents are a normal part of the potty training process, and it’s important to handle them with patience and understanding. When accidents happen, stay calm and reassure your child that it’s okay. Help them clean up, and encourage them to try again next time.


Setbacks are also a normal part of potty training. If your child is struggling, don’t get discouraged. Take a step back and reevaluate your approach. Are you being consistent with the routine? Are you offering enough positive reinforcement? Sometimes a small adjustment can make a big difference.


Pull-ups can be a helpful tool during the potty training process, but it’s important to use them correctly. They should be used as a backup, not a replacement for underwear. Encourage your child to use the potty without the pull-up, and only use them when you’re out and about or during naps and bedtime.

By establishing a routine, using positive reinforcement, handling accidents with patience, and being prepared for setbacks, potty training can be a successful and positive experience for both parents and children.


In conclusion, it is common for toddlers to hold their poop while potty training. This can be due to fear, anxiety, or discomfort during bowel movements. It is important for parents to remain patient and understanding during this process.

To help alleviate this issue, parents can try increasing their toddler’s fiber intake and ensuring they drink plenty of water. Diluting their favorite juice with water can also help. Additionally, creating a positive and comfortable environment during potty training can help reduce anxiety and fear.

It is important to note that if the issue persists or becomes severe, it is best to consult a pediatrician for further guidance. Stool withholding can cause discomfort and lead to constipation, which can be harmful to a toddler’s health.

Overall, potty training is a process that requires patience and understanding from both parents and toddlers. With the right techniques and support, toddlers can successfully overcome stool withholding and become potty trained.

About the author
Piper is a seasoned parent who has been through the ups and downs of raising toddlers. As a writer, she shares her experiences and offers practical advice to help other parents navigate the challenges of parenthood.