When Your Child Refuses to Have a Bowel Movement

The Struggle To Go #2

My son was potty trained about a month after my daughter was born. I was on maternity leave, and something clicked in him. He wanted to go on the potty. I was so excited! We had tried it several times before, but we had no luck. Then it was like it was as easy as pie. The potty made sense to him, and we were off and running. He was going #1 and #2 in the big potty.

Then a few months later, he had a very large and hard bowel movement. It hurt him, and he decided that he no longer wanted to go poopy. Unfortunately, his will power was able to help him out with that request. This caused a very real struggle to get him to go #2.

Recently we have tried a new approach. We are using a reward chart. We tried immediate rewards many times before, but for some reason, this chart, plus the rewards have helped him to go poopy consistently for four months. We are so thrilled.

We see the light at the end of this tunnel, and finally, it is not the train!!

He received a sticker for each time that he had a bowel movement. If he was able to do it twice in one day, he received two stickers. At first he received a surprise after he had three stickers. Then he had to earn five stickers. After that, he had to earn ten. Finally, he had to go 25 out of 30 days in the month. Now we are getting close to being able to retire the poopy chart.

I cannot fully explain the heartache that we went through during the year and a half that he was refusing to have a bowel movement for days. It was difficult to hear him scream from stubbornness, ultimately resulting in pain from not going.

If you are going through this with your child, you are not alone. We thought that we were for a little while, but after we were living it for about a year, we began to hear of other families that were going through the same thing. We are not bad parents. Our children are not going to be scarred for life. I pray that you will give yourself some grace. You will get through this. You will find something that will help it “click,” and then, you will look back on it all with a sigh of relief.

About The Author


I became a first-time mommy at 37. The timing for starting our family landed us in the middle of becoming a co-caregiver for my mom and at a high point in my career. Our adventure continues as we navigate through this amazing and crazy journey we call life.

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