How To Potty Train a Stool Holder: That is the Question

Internet, I have a confession to make. Despite a prodigally early start, my daughter, at age four, is still not potty trained.

She’s got the peeing in the potty thing down. That’s not a problem. But her poop? It goes nowhere near the potty. It lands in her pants (or pull up) if we’re lucky. But she prefers to keep it locked up inside her colon.

She seems to be trying to become a new kind of human. One that, if she only holds it long enough, tightly enough, can turn her poop into pearls.

But alas, she hasn’t succeeded yet. And even if she did, how would we get it out of her? Don’t answer that.

She has, however, succeeded in making herself completely miserable (and where she goes, we go too).

Because poop eventually has to come out. And  when she  holds it too long? Well it ends up with a kid crouched over in pain, whimpering in corners, and screaming about how much it hurts.

Not that that’s going on upstairs at this very minute or anything.

Nope, not at all.

And lest you think we’re being too soft on her, or not trying hard enough, or not being innovative enough, let me assure you. We’ve tried everything.

Candy bribes.



Fiber gummies.

Cutesy iPhone apps.

Fake Disney princess calls.


Straight up threats.

Whole wheat bran flaxseed chia cocoa blueberry brownie muffin bites.


None of it works. In fact, the Miralax turns her into a psychopathic mini-Hulk (but that’s a rant for another day).

The latest threat was that she wouldn’t get to take anymore dance classes until she’s all the way potty trained.  So she tried to convince us that she was.

Which led to more of that poop holding behavior.

Which led to the current state of affairs.

Which is about to lead me to a great big ginormous glass of wine.

I think my kid might be the first to graduate from high school in diapers. Fortunately, she’s pretty small, so they’ll probably still fit her when she’s a teen.

And hey, if my kid’s wearing diapers?

I probably won’t have to worry about boyfriends.

The bright side. Have to keep looking for that bright side…


I’m open to suggestions. Anyone got any brilliant ideas?


8 Comments on How To Potty Train a Stool Holder: That is the Question

  1. Kella
    June 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm (3 years ago)

    My sister had the same problem with her son. She made him clean out his own underwear when he popped on himself, he only did it once. My son was a non-pooper and bribes did nothing so he ran around with no underpants & we put him on the toilet anytime he even showed a little sign if needing to poop. Good luck!

    • Amber
      June 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! Maybe we’ll try that. She sure doesn’t like poop, so I’m sure she wouldn’t want to clean it!

  2. Rebecca
    June 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm (3 years ago)

    One time Joey was having a terrible time. Lots of poop holding, then being in pain from all the said poop holding. Having poops so big his butt bled. Well, one day he held too much for too long and the only thing getting through was a stream of liquid poop. It oozed out like a puss filled blister. *You’re welcome for that visual*

    Anyway, I knew we had to do something and I told him that I had to do an enema (which made things worse and was a terrible, horrible experience for him and me) since that didn’t work, I went back to the pharmacy and did a suppository. Since he was already super pissed about the enema it was very difficult to get the suppository in (restraining and what I refer to ‘hog tying’ was involved) but once I got it in, I told him it was time to hold his poo for as long as he can…at very least 15 minutes. Well, he made it for about 10 minutes and then he sat on the potty and exploded not only a massive amount of poop but some of it was almost too big to flush down the toilet.

    Anyway, since that terrible horrible experience, he’s not held it once. To be clear, it was something that actually HAD to be done. I was *this close* to taking him to the ER to get ‘cleaned out’.

    He is six years old and only just recently poopy trained.

    • Rebecca
      June 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm (3 years ago)

      Also, we’ve learned that too much fiber and not enough liquids can cause more constipation. Joey eats TONS of fresh fruits and veggies so adding fiber only made things worse. And we have had good luck with adding probiotics to yogurt. We use Vitamin World Probiotic 10 which has 10 strains of good bacteria. That stuff is great for loosening things up when constipation is an issue but if they are holding it in…..wouldn’t do much good. My final answer to how to make a holder let loose is the suppository or enema thing.

      • Amber
        June 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm (3 years ago)

        Yeah, getting her to drink is sometimes a struggle, so I’m sure that’s part of it. We had to give her an enema once…I still have the mental scars. but if it gets bad enough, I might just do it again. This time, though, we managed to get things moving…with the help of a little mineral oil.

    • Amber
      June 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm (3 years ago)

      I totally understand. When they get blocked up like that, there’s nothing else you can do. The things they forget to tell us before we become moms…

  3. Elizabeth
    January 27, 2016 at 8:46 am (3 days ago)

    Amber I see this post is a couple of years old so I am curious if this issue has been fixed with your child. I am having a major issues with this with my son. We also have tried everything. Treats, stickers, toys, fun potty apps, etc… and he also keeps with holding. We have even gone to a GI that is just telling us to do miralax and exlax to make him regular. Then he will be regular and the moment we start with putting him on the potty he with holds again. This is causing major issues at school also. Any suggestions or how you got past this would be helpful.

    Concerned Mom

    • Amber
      January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am (1 day ago)

      Elizabeth, I’m sorry you’re having these issues. We’re doing a lot better than we were, but it’s still hard sometimes. Miralax is the devil. It does not work. There is a rather draconian program I followed, called Soiling Solutions (, which is incredibly tough. INCREDIBLY tough. There were tears from both of us every single day for a couple of months. But it got us over the worst of it—so she could go to school and be a pretty normal kid. Now we just have to watch her diet like a hawk. And she gets mineral oil and citracel every day. If you want to talk more about this, I’m happy to help. Just email me at writeamberwrite at gmail dot com.


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