If you are in the middle of potty training, you have probably heard this question from a friend or two, “My child will pee, but not poop on the potty.  What do I do?”  I hear potty training questions often, but this one often feels more challenging because you have had success! And then you have not…


Child Will Not Poop On the Potty

The best news, if your child will pee but not poop on the potty, is that it will stop at some point.  

The bad news is that it may take a while to get over the fear of going poop on the potty. There are various reasons that we will discuss including that some kids actually feel like they will fall in or part of their own bodies will fall into the potty!

Related: My 3 year old won’t poop in toilet

Oh, and this problem is very common so you are not alone!

Tips when a child will pee but not poop on the potty

Thanks to our awesome readers for coming up with these fantastic suggestions today.

1. Let Them Watch TV

This one is crazy, but let them watch TV.  

When our daughter was doing this, I brought our little training toilet into the living room area (I placed it on towels) and let her sit there and watch Frozen.  I knew that she would be having a bowel movement in the morning, after breakfast, so I let her watch the whole movie from the time that breakfast was over until the movie ended.

She pooped halfway through!  

You will know, because they might start to act nervous to try to get up… if they do this, point out a part in the movie and help them become distracted again.

2. Address Potty Fear

If you have a child that is scared to go to the potty, then check out these simple ways to address those first.

3. Know Their Schedule

Try to pinpoint the time that they have a bowel movement every day.   It will probably be around the same time every day.  Try to chart it on a notebook for a few days and then move onto #4.

4. Keep Watching

When you have found out the timing (morning, afternoon) try to keep a very close eye on your child.  When you feel like he has to go, give him a distraction.   I would suggest giving him a tablet or even a book on the potty.   It is simply the idea of being distracted that will help.

5. Lollipops

  1. Offer a lollipop only while he is trying to go poop.  
  2. Take it away when he gets up.  
  3. It isn’t a punishment when you take it away, so be happy, Oh!  Good try.  
  4. This is only for when you have to go poop on the potty.  
  5. You can have one  later, when you try again.

6. Dump The Poop

If they have an accident, dump the poop into the potty.   Let your child watch you take their underwear and dump the poop out of the underwear and into the potty.   Let them flush it and tell it goodbye.

7. Baby Dolls Poop, Too

Take their baby dolls to the potty to go poop.

8. Watch Your Pets!

If you have a pet, let your child see how even your pet has a bowel movement!   A cat is a great example, using their toilet litter box or take a walk to the dog park.

9. Feet On The Ground

Your child may need to be touching the ground with his feet. A lot of children have issues using the bathroom when they are on a big (regular) toilet because they can’t use the floor to help them push.  Let them use a training toilet because it is small and close to the ground.

Parent Tip:  Use a coffee liner in their little potty and it will make cleaning up the poop so much easier! Just remove the coffee filter, dump the poop out into the potty &  wipe the potty with a  cleaning wipe.

10. Privacy

Leave them alone.  Sometimes a child just needs privacy (this is why they hide in a corner or behind a chair to poop in their diapers).  Give them a book or tablet and walk out of the bathroom (if they will stay on the toilet).  I never went far and I could always watch them, but two of our four children wanted me to leave the bathroom. They just wanted that privacy.

11. Cut A Hole in the Diaper

Crazy, I know, but try this.  I haven’t tried it personally, but a friend of mine swears by it!  Cut a hole in the diaper with a pair of scissors, before putting it on your potty training child.  

Let him use it and place him on the potty to poop. The poop will go into the potty, but the diaper will make him feel secure. Try this for 5-10 days and then remove the diaper!

potty train in a weekend book cover
Yes, you really can potty train in a weekend!

12. More Suggestions for Potty Training Success

If you are stuck in a potty training struggle, we suggest using this book, Potty Train in a Weekend.   It has a chapter devoted to this very topic when your child won’t poop on the potty.

More Potty Training Advice & REsources from Kids aCtivities Blog

Do you have any advice for potty training? Please add in the comments below!

Psst…Have you ever wondered should you have a third child? Us too!

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  1. It’s so frustrating when my toddler will pee but not poop in the toilet. I was at a loss for how to break this cycle but now I have lots of ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for all these suggestions. It seems so crazy when kids who are fully pee potty trained won’t poop! To the mom, it makes no sense and can be super frustrating. Love all these ideas of what to do when your child won’t poop on the potty, but even more than that I love that I don’t feel as crazy anymore!