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What to do when your stubborn toddler won’t poop on the potty

potty training poop

Toddler won’t poop on the potty? What the heck do I do? This is the very question I was asking myself before I eventually decided to write Nervous Nolan Goes Poopy on the Potty for my son. A rhyming children’s picture book about a little boy bison named Nervous Nolan who is too nervous and anxious to poop on the potty or toilet. Is it a book for parents with some sort of magic bullet to make your toddler poop? No it’s not. But it is a fun, low pressure story that my son really enjoyed and helped take the pressure off of him.

toddler won't poop on the potty

Toddler will pee but not poop in toilet

We had been potty training and he had been peeing on the potty and/or toilet for months without any issue at all. He quickly took to peeing, with very few accidents. He would gladly tell us when he had to go, and he loved peeing on the paper targets you could put at the bottom of the toilet. But pooping in the potty…

Pooping in pull ups

But pooping was another story. For over 6 months, he had no issue peeing but would flat out refuse to try pooping. He was a nervous, anxious wreck. It got to a point where he would refuse to poop entirely and we had to resort to putting him back in a pull up because 3+ days without pooping became problematic.

So eventually, since my son loves reading, I decided to write a story about his favorite animal being nervous about pooping on the potty.

I was thrilled to see that he loved it, and even more thrilled when he eventually went!

I ended up gifting copies to his pre-school class and doing a reading for them. To my surprise, the school director told me several weeks later that two different parents told them the book helped their child go!

Is your toddler scared to poop because it hurts?

This is a very common fear, and one I specifically address in the book.

My son was scared that it would hurt and I felt it was very important not to pressure him due to that fear. I explicitly addressed this fear in Nervous Nolan Bison Goes Poopy on the Potty in a nonchalant way to attempt to disarm my son’s fear of it hurting.

Image by Freepik

How can I stimulate my toddler to poop?

For my son, we realized…we couldn’t.

We tried it all. We followed some wonderful programs which worked wonders for peeing. There are some great tips and strategies like blowing bubbles, the whole “no pants” strategy. Do you offer rewards? Negative associations? Make sure not to shame. I even created a mini toilet out of cardboard that he could put his Elmo and Abby on. We’d sneak Hershey kisses in there when he wasn’t looking to get him excited about pooping.

For him…he just wasn’t quite there and wasn’t quite ready. We found we needed to try and take the pressure off. I think Nervous Nolan Bison really helped him. It doesn’t hurt that his favorite animal is bison and there just aren’t many books about bison. So he was very excited!