Click to read the first of our posts in the Potty Training Made Easier series.
I was surprised to find out that the number one Potty Training question centered around the topic of poop! How do you get a child to poop in the potty?
We have all heard the child-refuses-to-poop horror stories. Others of you are living the nightmare! To get help in answering this question, I asked three girlfriends for their thoughts. Between the four of us, we have successfully trained a total of thirteen children. You will find their suggestions intertwined among mine.
1. Check the Child’s Diet
One friend said, “Make sure the child is eating and drinking properly so he is not having hard poop. Constipation causes fear in the child’s mind because it hurts. This leads to fears of pooping.” Make sure the child’s diet is providing him with enough fiber so that there are no constipation issues. Encourage the child to drink more water and eat more whole wheat, bran, beans, fruit, and vegetables. Watch the amount of dairy the child is taking in as large quantities may cause constipation. Juice (not orange juice) can also aid in BM’s.
2. Sit Properly
Often times a child will squat down to do his business in a diaper. Try to create this position on the toilet. Sometimes it helps for the child to have her feet on a firm surface in order for the bowels to work. Dangling feet doesn’t allow for the push factor. A step stool may help. One of my boys liked to put his feet up on the toilet seat. Also, encourage the child to bend forward. It may help to hold a book in front of the child but toward the floor to help the child obtain this position.
A child has to focus to do his business. It may help to put the books away for a while if you feel focus is not happening.
Honestly…grunting may make all the difference. Peanut had to make the “sound” before I would begin reading a book. Then a few pages in, he had to make the sound again before I turned the page. Just making the sound helped begin the process. Please understand that I am not talking about hard pushing as this is not healthy.
5. Remove the Pressure
If the child feels a great deal of pressure to not have an accident, issues with BM’s can increase. Depending on where you are in the process and the age of the child (under 2.5), it may be best to take a step back and take a break from potty training. Start over without the pressure for perfection.
6. Relax, Relax, Relax
Without prompting, each one of my friends said the same things: “This too will pass.” “Relax.” “Don’t worry.” When you relax, this helps drop the fear and anxiety level in the child. One friend shared, “Although at the time it really consumed me, thankfully no one is scarred from those days and it is now a faint memory!” Keep things in perspective.
7. Drop the Bribes
One of my girlfriends lived the potty-training nightmare. At the age of four her son still struggled with BM’s. Here are her thoughts:
It was a control battle! For our son it was also a fear battle. We got extremely creative after all bribes ended in disappointment and all softener products seemed to come up short. It is amazing how desperate we as parents get. You have to let go and trust that they will eventually get it, just not always on your time table!
Continually offering higher-level bribes demonstrates to the child your feelings of anxiety and desperation and put the control deeper into their hands. Take the pressure off of yourself and the child.
8. Seek Professional Advice
Be sure to talk to the child’s pediatrician if you still have concern. What I am sharing is strictly my opinion and my experience. Sometimes there are medical issues that a doctor can help with.
Time is sometimes the best course of action. Remove the pressure and give everyone a break.
Pray for peace and relaxation in the process. Pray for wisdom. Involve your child in the process of praying.
Tomorrow, more FAPTQ!
Thank you to Mel, Windy, and Lizz for helping me on this post.