Children often perfect peeing on the potty long before they figure out the art of POOPING on the potty. The reason behind this is because they have far less opportunities to practice this new skill! If your child has ever had a painful poop, there could also be a bit of subconscious fear behind pooping in the toilet. But not to worry! Here are some of the best poop tips to help YOU help YOUR child to start successfully pooping on the potty in no time!
1. Create positive associations surrounding poop.
Oftentimes without even realizing it we can create negative associations surrounding poop by calling it, “icky”, “stinky”, and “smelly”. It is important to create positive associations with poop starting from day one to help establish a positive relationship and outlook revolving around pooping on the potty! The smallest verbiage changes can help to change your child’s hesitation to poop on the toilet! So, next time your child has a poopy diaper, instead of saying, “Pee-ew! What a stinky mess! Let’s get you changed!”, try, “Wow! That was a big poop! I bet your belly feels much better now!”
2. Achieve the “prime poop position”.
The “prime poop position” is composed of 3 simple things:
- Feet flat and planted firmly on a stable surface (floor, step stool, chair, etc.). This helps your little one to bear down and feel more stable.
- Knees elevated above hip level. This creates a natural squat position and helps to “unlock” the rectum to get things moving. Requires less pushing/straining.
- A slight lean forward. This part isn’t as critical as the other two but good posture helps! Your child shouldn’t be using their arms/hands to hold themselves up as it adds too much tension to the body making it more difficult for the poop to pass.
Avoid those painful and memorable pooping nightmares by feeding your child a high fiber diet and by offering lots of fluids (especially water!). If you notice that your child has gone several days without pooping, their poops are starting to become painful, or the consistency of their bowels are hardening, then offering a fiber supplement* can help get their little bodies back on track! The faster you can avoid a traumatic poop experience, the more successful your journey will be. *Always consult with your child’s doctor to find the best constipation treatment for them.
4. Build a poop tent.
Many children hide when they need to poop. This is not only a sign of readiness, but also a natural human instinct to seek privacy for this intimate event. Build a fort or set up a tent and place these items inside:
- Floor potty
- Towel to line the floor
- Wipes/toilet paper
This will offer privacy in a fun and exciting way! You can have your toddler help pick out which books and toys they’d like to store in their tent to help them feel a part of the creation process.
5. Offer bottomless time.
Offering your child bottomless time for 1-1.5 days at the beginning of potty training will give them the opportunity to really feel their body cues and connect them to their brain signals. Bottomless time will also help YOU notice your child’s signs of needing to poop faster so if an accident does start to happen you can help them get to the toilet in time to end on a successful note.
6. Reward ALL successes.
We want to make potty training as positive and fun as possible! Any success that we can muster out of our children in those first few days we want to celebrate to keep the momentum going! A success is considered: self-initiating and going to the potty on their own, starting to poop while not on the potty but then finishing on the potty, OR going when asked/prompted without resistance. Immediately after your child finishes pooping (and washing their hands of course), hand over the reward and celebrate with lots of praise!
Pooping can feel like an intimidating milestone for your toddler to achieve, but it can be done! For every unique problem we have a unique solution! For more pooping tips and tricks, check out Potty Training Consultant’s Instagram account at @pottytrainingconsultant.