I am really worried and frustrated. My son has been potty trained with peeing since he turned 3 and pooping for the past 5 weeks (no accidents with either). Well now for some reason he is refusing to allow himself to go poop. He will hold it even though it hurts him to do so and if I sit him on the toilet he totally freaks out cause he can feel it coming. He has pooped twice in his sleep (without even waking up) from holding it the day prior. Then one time he held it all evening until he couldn't hold it anymore and he pooped in the bath tub. Your first thought may be maybe he is constipated and afraid to go, but he is not. The accidents he has had have been very soft stools. He just goes around complaining his bum bum hurts and his stomach but refuses to go. He says "I don't want to." What is going on???
My nephew has a similar issue. It is actually a medical condition and I honestly can't remember what the name of it is. I will have to call my SIL and ask her. You should call his pediatrican and talk to him/her about it. Of course, I could be completely wrong but there is no harm in getting him looked at just to sure. Good luck!
Most of the time, when a child refuses to poop on the potty it's because ONE TIME, it hurt them, and that starts a vicious cycle of remembering the hurt, tensing up, and hurting again. I remember when my daughter had a painful poop on the potty, she was so afraid to go again, and would hold it as long as she could, and then she'd have an accident (sounds a little like your son). I finally actually had a long talk with her and explained the whole thing to her (she was 2 1/2, I think it's the stupidest soundintg conversation I have ever had with her, but she either got what I was saying, or put on a good show of it -- either way, it got her ON the potty). I told her that when she did sit on the potty to poop, she could hold my finger and squeeze it as hard as she could when she felt the poops coming out, and even harder if she thought it might hurt, and then maybe if she squeezed hard enough, she could make me fall down. Well, like any typical kid, she loves the thought of inflicting pain on her mommy, so she was actually excited to go poop on the potty, and she was so focused on squeezing my finger and watching me fall down, she didn't think about it hurting, and I made a BIG show about how she pooped on the potty and IT DIDN'T HURT, and I repeated it over and over again, how IT DIDN'T HURT her... just to get it firm in her head, you know? Anyway, she wanted to squeeze my finger for several weeks, and then one day decided she was big enough and didn't need me anymore.
Another thing that helped, was a taller stool that her feet could rest on when she was sitting on the potty. Something about the position made it easier for her I guess?
My pediatrician told me to give him miralax once a day even though I don't think he was constipated (even though he may be now) he hasn't gone in 4 days and is still complaining off and on his bum bum hurts. I have been making him sit on the potty even if he doesn't end up going but he doesn't even try to go, he tries his best not to! I will try the finger trick maybe that will work but I am telling you he is a strong willed little thing and for this past week all the bribes or threats in the world won't change his mind about not going. And when I say threats I just mean things like "ok we can't go to the pool until you go poop." ect ect. Nothing works! I am just hoping the miralax gets him going (even if it is in his pants) so we can get over this fear he has developed. I can't tell you how frustrated and worried I have been that he will keep this up. I was actually crying today about it!
Don't stress out about this. I just went through the same problem with my daughter. Your son sounds like exactly what my daughter did. She would not poop. Hold it in for days, the whole time always whining that her butt hurt. She constantly wanted to sit on my lap. She also pooped in her sleep too. Just one time it hurt to pooped, and got terrified, she would scream if i made her sit on the tolit. I knew thats what was going on. I just talked to her about it, explained why sometimes it hurt and how much better she would feel after she finally pooped. I had to sit with her and hold her hand a couple of times. But finally the fear passed. She goes on her own now like nothing ever happened. It will pass soon enough. My daughter did that for a little over a month. Hope he gets better soon, for your sake, usually things like this are harder on us than the kids. As long as he gets the poop out, whether in the bath or asleep, there shouldnt be anything medically to worry about. Just one of those crazy phases kids go through.