So, I don't understand. In the anal stage Freud's theory of psychosexual development, does Freud theorise that a child gains pleasure from defecating? If so, is this pleasure sexual or merely physical?
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Yes, during the anal stage, the child experiences pleasure from pooping.
The anus becomes the child's "errogenous zone,"
which just means "sensitive zone."
This is why it's hard to determine whether the pleasure is sexual, or just physical.
See, when the erogenous zone is stimulated,
we typically experience....
1. Sexual arousal (erection/vaginal lubrication)
2. Sexual fantasies
Now, the anal stage happens around 1.5 to 3 years.
The question is....
could a child experience those three aspects of erogenous stimulation?
Sexual arousal can happen at any age. Yes to that one.
But I doubt that a child as young as 3 could experience sexual fantasies. I don't know about that one.
And I'm not entirely sure about orgasms. They can be experienced at a pretty young age. But at 1.5 to 3, years, I don't know.
All in all, I would say that the anal stage would give a child both kinds of pleasure:
physical pleasure, certainly,
along with a bit of underdeveloped sexual pleasure, that could fully bloom later on in life.