My son is 4 years old and still will not poop on the toilet. How can I help him stop fearing the toilet?

Potty aversions are quite common, and a phase that most toddlers will experience.

By Dr. Ayala Wegman





about the doc

Ayala Wegman is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.  She has two young boys and deeply enjoys caring for her community at NYU-Langone Global Pediatrics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she resides. We are proud to introduce Ayala as our All About The Mom resident pediatrician. You will find her advice in our Ask a Doc section.

Potty aversions are quite common, and a phase that most toddlers will experience.

Some encounter a brief period of aversion, while others can have a more lengthy battle.

  • Ensure first and foremost that your child is not constipated, which can absolutely create an aversion to stooling.
  • If your child is constipated try increasing the amount of water in his diet, offering more fiber-rich foods, and increasing the amount of “p” fruits in the diet: peaches, plums, pears, prunes. These fruits (in either pureed or juiced form) will draw water into the colon and help to soften stool.
  • Try to wait for the opportune moment to sit on the potty, 5-10 minutes after solid meals.
  • By using the body’s gastrocolic reflex your child will be better able to expel stool. Blowing bubbles on the potty will help to relax his pelvic floor.
  • Use a stool to ensure his knees are elevated above his hips, which will also allow for pelvic floor relaxation.

If accidents happen, do not show frustration.  Try to be as supportive as possible: patience is key. 

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