4.5 year old will only poo in nappy: Hi, I'm really... - ERIC

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4.5 year old will only poo in nappy


Hi, I'm really desperate to help my son. He's 4.5 and in reception at school. He does all his wees in the toilet and is dry all night but won't poo on the toilet. He's been like this since he was 3, I've got him to the stage of sitting on loo in nappy but that's it. He did poo into a nappy taped on to the seat but now won't do that again. I've tried bribery, being cross, telling him to clean himself up and I'm afraid I haven't been very calm so have probably made him more anxious. The only advice I've had from the GP is to refuse to give him the nappy and this is what my husband wants to do so I guess that's what we're going to do in the Easter holidays, but I know he can hold his poos for over a week so I'm terrified of causing constipation issues. When we do this we'll give him some sort of laxative too. I was just hoping someone might be able to share some success stories with this? I also would like to try a play therapist but they are so expensive (£150 per session), does anyone have experience of using play therapy? Thanks!

8 Replies

Hi my lovely I really do feel for you both. I feel that you need to completely take the pressure off your little boy, he's very young bless him. Personally I would let him poo in the nappy and make as little fuss about it as possible. I know this goes against the GP and your husband but I really think patience is the key, you certainly need to avoid constipation. He will grow out of it eventually but in his own time ,even if this takes ages. Good luck x

Have you tried reading “poo goes home to pooland” (there’s a free app and free story online) and talking about how he can help send the poo to pooland?

Hopefully some others can chime in with some helpful ideas.

Hi, I've chatted to loads of mums and read loads due to my son having withholding/soiling issues, and your sons issue is so common! You know your child best and while he may respond if you are strict and remove the nappies it is probably more likely that if you take the pressure off him he will surprise you one day. A local friend of mine had this with her reception age daughter (5 in June) and she just last month decided to use the toilet. If he holds on because you take the nappy away you could cause more constipation/soiling issues which take a long time to resolve. You could try relaxing for a while, then gently introduce the idea of appropriate reward when he wants to..sew the seed and let him decide when he is ready. Good luck, it is so hard when other grownups in your life have other views but trust your maternal instincts!

Beautifully put,well done,I couldn't agree more.


Thank you everyone!!

Hi. My daughter was exactly the same until Sunday night! She is 5, 6 in April and in primary 1 at school. We had very little medical help. In fact Eric was best for advice. She suffers from constipation and is on a daily dose of laxido. She told me immediately that she needed changed and a few times I have had to go to school and change her.

We just went at her pace. Spoke gently to her when changing her saying this would be better in toilet and giving plenty of encouragement. Dont get me wrong I told her I would get her whatever she wanted when she finally felt ready. But kept things light and cheery.

Well on Sunday she asked if she done poos in toilet could she get some dolls that she had found in smyths catalogue so I said of course. She tried to no avail that night but has now managed it all this week. So I am really pleased for her and we are visiting the toy shop on Saturday morning!

Next step is to wear pants and not pull ups albeit they are dry and clean now all day so again will go her pace and reward again.

So just wanted to say I know its hard but the day will come when your son just decides it's time. He will get there in his own time. Feel for you but try not to worry and stress which I know that's not easy but they are clever little things and they are aware of our feelings. Good luck.


Hi ya. My heart is with you. What I found the more strict, anxious, cross, annoyed you become seems to.have a negative effect on your child and you seem to go backwards. This is very difficult to do. With myself it involved alot of counting to 10. If my son thinks I will be cross it seems to make it worse.

Perhaps use pull ups instead of nappies. I think you need your son to be comfortable sitting on the toilet first before he will take the next step. Perhaps reward him for doing this. Also with pull ups he has the independance to go to the toilet. Once you have success with this I would then try pants.

Have you spoken to him about what he doesn't like about the toilet. Personally it sounds like something has happened to put him of ie did he hurt whilist going on an occassion.Perhaps try and have a chat with him. It's funny some children find the toilet scary. Perhaps you need to make it a fun place. We have used books, bubbles, tablets etc.

Good luck, I hope there may be a few ideas here for you.

Hi I had the same situation however once I started giving the Movicol and the medicine of the specialists initially she got worst .. but now she slowly feels a. bit more the feeling to go. I know that this may not be for all but since I put her on nappies (the one for those who have accidents in the night) she feels more confident and we have not had any accidents since...that s my experience but unfortunately for us now we are moving to enemas as unfortunately her blockage in the colon we see through X rays is still there despite 1 week of Movicol.. I hope you resolve I recommend the night nappies.. now she is back to school.. despite all

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