Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Fear of poo-ing


My 31 month old son has been doing really well with potty training, up and till 2 nights ago, when he suddenly developed a fear of having a poo. He cries and screams because his tummy and bottom are sore, but refuses to go to the loo or the potty to poo. I attempted to put a nappy on, but he refused to poo in the nappy as well. Its very traumatic for all of us. The staff at his day-care have not noticed any change in his behaviour regarding the potty training.
Any advise on how to convince him that it is ok to poo?

Hello Chantel,

I don't think there is anything you can do to "convince" him that it is okay to poo. There's probably not much you can do besides feeding him soft foods for a few days that will be helpful.
My best advice is to be supportive and sympathetic for a few days until the soreness and any illness he's experiencing goes away. Once he's feeling better and has had a successful poo, things will be fine again. It probably will take longer than you would like, but be patient and let him know you are still loving and affectionate despite his upsetting everyone.
James Windell  


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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