Parenting Tips, Toddler

How to Get Your Toddler to Poop in the Potty

How to get your toddler to poop in the pottyPotty training can be a real shit-show, am I right? (see what I did there?) But for real, getting your child to reconsider the notion of changing up the one habit that has been established since day one is hard. And I get it. I mean, why would they be excited to make the effort to stop what they are doing, which is usually playing, to go to the bathroom. And then they have to wipe. And flush. And wash their hands. It’s a burden.

But one pretty consistent complaint I hear from parents while potty training is figuring out a way to get their toddler to poop in the potty. This was a non-issue with my oldest. He was delighted to go number 2 and has an uncanny ability to control his poop-chute. And in a naively rookie mistake, I assumed my youngest would follow suite. 

She did not. 

So here we are smack dab in the middle of potty training and she has yet to go number 2 in the potty. And worse, she has now contorted her body’s rhythm to poop during nap times and overnight to avoid the situation all together. So I decided to research why the hell kids can’t seem to figure this part of potty training out. 

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. What the hell does that mean? It means that if you click one of the product links below and purchase something, I am eligible for compensation. Carry on.

  1. The child holds all the power
    Literally and figuratively. And they know it. So trying to force them to go poop just won’t work. I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to try and make potty training fun. This goes double for when there’s an issue like not figuring out how to poop successfully. The power struggle will not end in your favor. And they will continue to hold their poop. And things will only get harder on you. Instead, you can try changing their diet to include more fatty foods to encourage more movements so they have the opportunity to practice more often. Fatty foods like avocado and eggs are usually crowd pleasers, so try those and see if you don’t get a few more trips to the bathroom. 
  2. Shit can be scary
    Some kids are truly scared of the potty. Let’s see, you sit precariously on the edge of something cold at a Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!
    precise and inconvenient time, do your thing in a sitting position that you aren’t used to, and inevitably mom/dad/sister/random stranger in the stall next door is staring at you the whole time. Oh, and flushing is a nightmare these days with the ultra-powerful sucking mechanisms in the new toilets. It sounds like a jet taking off. Yup. Scary.So how can you get your child over the fear of the toilet? Reading books may help.There are so many books about poop. Pages and pages of poop. No wonder the poop emoji has become so popular. All the millennial parents potty training are embracing the poop! But for real, you can try reading to your child about potty and what to expect and lead by example as you confidently conquer the porcelain monster in your bathroom.Another reason your child may be scared to go number 2 is if it’s painful to go. If they are fearful that the event will end in pain, they will just call it a day and hold it in as long as they can (apparently this is called poop withholding). Refer to number one to increase the likelihood of a soft poop and make sure they are drinking plenty of water.
  3. Squatter’s rights…to the potty
    Our bodies are freaking fascinating. Not only can they create life, but they can expel that poor lunch time Taco Bell decision that you made. And apparently the way you number 2 can affect how easy or hard it is (the action AND the poop). Did you know that being in a squatting position is preferable than a sitting position? (If you haven’t seen the video for the Squatty Potty, check it out. It gets in to the biology of it all. AND there’s a unicorn that poops rainbow ice cream.)One tip to get your child in the proper pooping position is to stack up some books underneath their feet. This will put them in the squatting position and set up for success from a biology perspective.
  4. Stage fright
    Do you like pooping in front of people? Your child probably doesn’t either. This is a tip that I learned and immediately went ‘Of course!’ I hate pooping if there’s even one other person with me in a public restroom. Your child may be feeling that same kind of pressure and decide it’s not worth it. They shut it down until they feel more in control. Which is probably when they are playing or napping. Not ideal. Instead, try giving them a little bit of privacy and see if that helps.
  5. Chill out mama
    Patience will be key in this situation. I know you are tired of cleaning up poop, or changing dirty underwear. But the more you act like it’s no big deal, the more your kid will believe it. Like most things, your child will figure this out in their own time with the right encouragement from you. Try not to compare your child’s progress to that of other children. They will get their in their own time once everything clicks.

I know I’ll be trying out a few of these tips myself for my youngest. What tips did I forget to include? What worked for you?

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