Children hide when they poop

"Some children will hide from adults while pooping. This phenomenon can begin either prior to potty training or after. Some children who hide while pooping are able to control when and where they will poop and chose not to utilize the toilet.

This behavior is not well researched, In a cross-sectional study, Schonwald et al. (2004) found that 74% of children who had difficulties toilet training hid to poop. Stool withholding is associated with hiding while pooping. Taubman et al. compared children who hid to those that did not and found that children who hid to poop were more likely to exhibit stool toileting refusal, stool withholding, constipation behaviors and toilet training completion at a later age.

Experts hypothesize that this behavior may be in response to embarrassment, fear, or not having observed adults defecating, thus assuming it is a private behavior." (The Effectiveness of Different Methods of Toilet Training for Bowel and Bladder Control, 2006)

This issue should be addressed before potty training, to hopefully avoid in problems especially stool resistance. If you are having this issue with an older child (typically they will ask for a diaper or pull up to poop in), constipation more than likely is playing a part in their poop potty training. If your child is having no medical issues, please take a look at our Constipation in Toddlers article for more information on preventative and treatment options.


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(9/10/2012) Reviewer: Naples Mama (Naples, FL)

Great book available on but, not currently listed on your site.

"I Can't, I Won't, No Way!" A Book for Children Who Refuse to Poop is written entirely from a child's perspective. One page (in particular) shows a child hiding behind a chair to have a bowel movement. Colorful illustrations culminate in a successful ending. Went a LONG way in breaking down our daughter's resistance.

Would highly recommend the story for any household struggling with this potty training challenge!