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When it comes to wanting to do a poo he insists on wearing a nappy

Hi Sally-Anne.
My son turned 3 in may of 2007. My husband and i are concerned because he is very good at going to the toilet to wee, but when it comes to wanting to do a poo he insists on wearing a nappy. i have a 6 year old daughter and also another son who is 8months old. We have tried everything!!! from tempting him with lollypops, he loves hot wheel cars and bikes, we have even tried saying for every poo in a nappy we take away a car out of your box set. Nothing seems to work! i need help, i try and encourage him and tell him he is a big boy now and can do it. ill sit with him and im right there. today he told me he was scared. is this something he will grow out of and do we need to be more patient or should we be doing more about it. he has lately also just decided when he needs to go, wether its at the shops or friends places, he will go on the grass, cement carpark. i have tried talking to him about this. and telling him he needs to tell mummy and i will take him to the toilet. can you please let me know what i can do. i would really appreciate it. thanks vicky (mother of 3)

Answer: Hi Vicky, This is such a frequent problem for parents. Using their bowels in the toilet often takes children a lot longer to master than urinating for a number of reasons. It may be due to a previous time where he had been constipated so it hurt to "do a poo". Many children hate the smell, perhaps he has been splashed by the toilet water, it may be a learned behaviour because parents close the door when they use their bowels (but may not when urinating). It is extremely common for a 3 year old to "hide" while dirtying their nappy (often behind couches, in their bedrooms, etc.) so they have privacy. They may be embarrassed doing it, so we adults need to remember not to use language or expressions that may make it worse (eg. "oooh yuck" or "that smells") because it reinforces the need to hide it, and can even lead to children becoming constipated! Let him wear a nappy to do a poo for now. He will eventually grow out of it (it feels uncomfortable in his pants), and every now and then ask him if he would like to use the toilet instead. Sticker charts can be used (and when he gets to a certain number he can have a reward which may be a special trip or play a treasured game with mum/dad, etc.). Make sure that he eats a balanced diet with fibre and water so he regularly uses his bowels (and it is soft enough to not hurt), and hopefully he will want to get rid of his nappies in the not-too-distant future. For now, let him poo in the place that he feels most comfortable. All the Best! Sally-Anne
Answered: 29 Nov 2007