Note #1: This post is about poop. So if it’s not your thing, come back on Thursday and I promise I won’t be talking about poop anymore.

Note #2: This post was almost named “Nobody Shits on Spiderman” so I made this snazzy little meme. I don’t know why it makes me laugh so hard to imagine this image as the cover of a coming-of-age novel about the perils of potty training.


Sometimes I feel like I’m totally rocking at this parenting thing. Other times, I feel like I kind of suck at it. And it all comes down to poop.

Jack started with his potty training at the end of December when I was home for the holiday break. I did a nice little Potty Training update in February talking about how he was pee-pee trained pretty quickly, but we were still working on the whole poop thing.

Well, it’s July and we are STILL working on the whole poop thing.

He was actually starting to do a pretty darn good job a few months ago and getting his poops in the potty on a regular basis. He even got TEN in a row and earned himself a Transformer… which was kind of a big deal.

Then, he stopped.
Instead of using the potty, he was having little poop smudges in his underpants.

I called the doctor and found out that this was pretty darn typical (especially for boys). They decide to hold it for so long that they get a blockage in their intestines. The treatment was a one-two punch of suppositories (for the lower intestines) and stool softener (for the upper intestines).

So, we did this for a while to get him all straightened out… but now he has absolutely NO interest in pooping on the potty. In fact, it’s been over a month since he’s been successful with getting any poops in the potty and I don’t know what to do.

I feel like I’ve tried everything:

  • Sticker charts for successful poops. This worked previously, but apparently not now.
  • Acrobatic happy dances if even a smidge of poop gets near a potty. He is obviously impressed with my smooth dance moves, but not impressed enough.
  • I have TWO awesome prizes sitting on top the fridge (fully visible) Nope, he doesn’t care.
  • I have a clear jar of all kinds of candy sitting in the bathroom. He wants one, but not enough to earn it.
  • I’ve made “BLEGH, gross” faces and noises when dealing with poopy underpants. He ignores me.
  • I bought him new Spiderman underpants and told him that “nobody poops on Spiderman, because it’s totally not cool.” He asks to wear a different pair of underpants instead.
  • If he gets poop in his underpants, I switch him to pull-ups for the rest of the day. He doesn’t like this, but not enough to do anything about it.

My kid LITERALLY has no shits to give.
Unless they are in his underpants.

I don’t know what to do. I mean, it’s obvious that it’s totally up to Jack when he wants to be potty trained and no amount of bribing/rewarding/jumping through hoops is going to force him to do anything. I feel like I’m failing though and I’m so embarrassed when I pick him up from his school and the teacher tells me that he pooped in his pants. Again.

I know that this is one of those thing that will work themselves out… I mean, he’s not going to be pooping his pants at age 10, right? RIGHT?!

Advice, support and ‘you can get through it’ pep talks needed!

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10 thoughts on “Regression”

  1. I completely feel for you!!! While I don’t have the poop issue, I can’t seem to get my 8 (almost 9) year old to stop having wet beds at night. Oh and I am also failing with my 4 year old too.

  2. I have no words of wisdom, only sympathies. My son (2 years, 10 months) is daytime potty trained and has been for several months. However, he saves his poops for his nighttime diaper. We’ve gotten him to poop on the potty 3 or 4 times, and it’s a struggle. Painting his toenails (he likes green and blue “pretty toes”) sometimes works as an incentive to sit there. Luckily since he still goes every night, we haven’t had any stomach issues, and he doesn’t poop in his underwear. Let me know if you find the miracle answer!

    1. My boy likes his toenails painted too! =) Incentives seemed to work at first, but now Jack doesn’t seem to really care. I’ll let you know when we have a breakthrough!!

  3. Ok, I have very little advice to give except hang in there. My daughter was pee pee potty trained at 20 months (yes I know, I’m bragging and I’m SUPER lucky!) BUT it took nearly a YEAR to get the poo poo thing down. Like your Jack, she’d have times when she pooped like a champ and other times when she was backed up for nearly a week! We ended up using threats (I know, I know, great parenting). We got these suppositories that would force her to poop within three mins of force sitting on the potty and she HATED them and was terrified of them. So when she would hold it, we’d threaten to “put stuff in the butt”. (Sorry this is so graphic!) Eventually, (after nearly a year!!!) she got it down pat.
    One thing though – once she was pee pee trained, we NEVER put a diaper or pull up on her again. Yes, we did once have poop on the kitchen floor. That’s what Lysol is for, amiright?! Good luck!!!

    1. Luckily I don’t find poop in odd places, but I’m getting awfully sick of cleaning out underpants. We definitely have bleach wipes in every bathroom, because… boys.

  4. Both my kids have done this. My son was completely potty trained for almost 9 months. Then his dad moved out and we had to start all over again. I was able to get him peeing on the potty again after I got rid of all diapers and pull-ups again. He did not like wetting his pants. Think he only did that twice. He would poop on the toilet only if I would catch him when he had the poop look on his face or if I caught him trying to hide to poop in his pants. He also had issues with constipation since he held it so long. I made him eat prunes or drink prune juice every day so he had to go once a day. We ended up moving in with my cousin for 3 months and she has two boys, one a year older and one four years older. They both talked to him about going poop on the toilet like the big boys do and that really helped. He finally stopped when he was almost four. Going through divorce made him regress terribly with potty training and sleeping.
    My daughter has been fully potty trained for 11 months and recently regressed with poop after my mom watched her two days in a row and she couldn’t get to her potty. She talks a lot more than my son at that age so was able to tell me why she pooped in her pants and I was able to talk to her about it. She told me at Grandma’s house she poops on the floor. So I didn’t let my mom watch her for three weeks and she seems to be ok now.
    Sorry for writing you a book. Just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in this issue. Hope you find something that works with him very soon.

    1. Oh my gosh, the “poop look” is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. Jack will be making poop face and I’ll catch him and say “hey, you’re going poop. Want to go on the potty?” and he will look at me (poop face and all) and say, I’m NOT POOPING! {sigh} Now I just need to rent some older boys to come hang out with Jack and tell him how awesome it is to use the potty…

  5. I am currently potty-training my daughter, and we are going 1 step forward 2 steps backward. Hanging in there, but getting scared of the dreaded Regressions now 🙁

  6. This might sound crazy but after he goes in his underwear make him clean it up. He will hate it and will start going in the potty. This was the only thing that helped with my daughter. She was so grossed out, it only took twice before she had enough of it. Good luck!

  7. Hello,

    Not sure of your son’s age, but wanted to say that when I was at the point of considering potty training for my son, I heard about this study (referenced here: indicating that the best time to initiate potty training is between the ages of 27 and 36 months, and that boys will do better if started later in that window. They said that while one could start earlier, in many cases that just meant it would take them that much longer to complete training. He’d been doing stuff since before age 2 that providers told me might indicate that he was ready to start potty training, but it was mainly an exercise in frustration. So after hearing about this study I backed off and really didn’t get him started in earnest until he was 36 months. At that point, he easily transitioned from pull-ups to undies, with only one or two pee accidents (when napping at school) and he never again required nighttime diapers, either. Very glad I waited until he was ready.

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