“Why won’t my toddler poop on the potty?” If you’re reading this, this is probably a huge frustration for you right now and you desperately need some potty training poop tips to help you.
First, let me reassure you it’s common for toddlers to resist doing number two when they’re first potty training.
Potty training a toddler is a challenge, no matter what stage of the process you’re in. But helping your child learn how to poop on the toilet is one of the most difficult aspects of potty training.
Whether you’ve successfully trained your little one to pee on the potty, but are struggling to get them to poop or you’re just starting out on your potty training journey, I’m sure you can use all the help you can get!
These potty training poop tips are some of the best ideas for helping you teach your child how to poop on the potty.
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How to Get a Toddler to Poop on the Potty
Each step in the potty training process is a new adventure, and poop training is no exception.
It can be a struggle to figure out how to get your toddler to poop on the potty. They can feel like they’re losing control without the safety of their diapers.
Don’t worry, though.
One of the most useful potty training poop tips you’ll get is to take things one step at a time.
After your toddler has tackled peeing in the toilet, you can start to focus on teaching them how to poop in the toilet.
But if you’re having trouble getting your toddler to go on the potty, you’re probably wondering how to get a toddler to poop on the potty!
I suggest letting your little one use their diaper to help them get used to the idea.
Once they’re trained to pee in the potty, allow them to wear their underwear throughout the day, but let them put on a diaper to go poop. But instead of letting them run and hide to poop in their diaper, insist that they poop in the bathroom.
This may seem counter intuitive to allow them to put a diaper back on when they’ve been wearing underwear all day, but if they feel more comfortable pooping with their diaper on, it won’t hurt to allow them to use it as long as they are practicing sitting on the potty while pooping.
Continue this process, encouraging them to sit on the toilet or on their potty seat as they poop with their diaper on.
Make it a habit that they switch to their diaper right after meals and try to poop so they won’t forget.
And when they become uncomfortable doing that, encourage them to skip the diaper and try to use the potty without it.
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Why Toddlers Hide When They Poop
If you have a toddler that sneaks away before they start pooping, you may be wondering why little ones often hide when they poop.
While there may be a variety of reasons your own toddler hides to poop, the most common one is that they need privacy.
This may be especially true if you’re in the midst of potty training.
Think about the amount of time you spend watching your child throughout the day, looking for clues they need to go potty and even standing in the bathroom as they go.
If your child is anxious about using the bathroom, having someone constantly watching them while they’re using the potty may cause that anxiety to rise. And that may also cause them to want to hide when it’s time to go poop.
If your toddler often hides when they poop, encourage them to go into the bathroom and leave them alone until they’re finished going.
If your toddler has had a history of constipation or uncomfortable poops, getting them to poop on the potty is going to be a little more difficult.
Since your toddler probably already associates pooping with discomfort, adding in the anxiety that may come along with pooping on the potty may make the situation even worse.
The key to helping a child with difficult poops learn how to go on the potty is to address the constipation issue head-on.
Typically, there are three reasons your toddler may be constipated:
- drinking habits
- amount of time spent pooping during each bowel movement
Eating more fiber-rich, full-fat food and drinking more water throughout the day are easy ways to help your toddler ease their constipation.
But if your child has a problem slowing down to complete a bowel movement, teaching them how to properly poop may be a good idea.
When toddlers don’t take the time to fully evacuate their bowels, the poop begins to back up, which can cause constipation and discomfort when pooping due to the size of the bowel movement.
To assist your toddler with this issue, encourage them to finish pooping each time they have a bowel movement by asking them to remain seated on the potty for a few minutes after they say they’re done.
And if your child is afraid to poop on the potty because of an uncomfortable poop, refrain from potty training for a few days until your little one’s poop has softened.
In addition to adding more fiber and water to their diet, toddlers can also safely use polyethylene glycol based stool softeners to help with constipation.
But be sure to talk to your child’s doctor before using any medication.
The Best Pooping Position
Whether your child has uncomfortable poops or not, showing them the proper pooping position is a great way to make pooping on the potty a little easier on them.
Studies have shown that the best position for pooping is to lift the knees slightly above the hips.
One of the best potty training poop tips is to place a stool, like the Squatty Potty, in front of the toilet.
The Squatty Potty is designed to help keep your child’s legs in the right position to push out poop more easily.
In addition to making it easier for your toddler to get on and off the toilet when they need to go, a stool will also help them get in the best pooping position.
With a stool, your toddler can place their feet flat on the step stool so their knees are slightly raised above their hips.
And if you don’t have a step stool, try letting them sit on the toilet seat backwards when they’re pooping.
In this position, they’ll be able to get their knees in the correct position while also being able to get more of the toilet seat under their thighs to prevent them from feeling like they’re going to fall in while they’re sitting.
Even if your toddler isn’t experiencing issues with pooping, they may still have some anxiety when it comes to pooping.
Here are a few things that cause pooping anxiety in toddlers that can make it hard for them to do number two.
Fear of falling in
Falling in the toilet is a real source of fear and anxiety for some toddlers, and rightfully so!
Regular toilets are made for adults to sit comfortably, not for small children.
If your toddler has ever fallen in, or has imagined that they could, take it seriously.
To help ease their mind and assure they won’t fall in, try these ideas:
- Let them sit on a small potty made for their size instead of the adult toilet so they feel more in control.
- Use a potty seat that fits over the toilet seat to make the hole in the toilet much smaller.
- Have a step stool under their feet while sitting on the toilet so their feet won’t dangle, causing them to feel unsteady and like they could fall in at any moment.
Fear of the flush
This one may be less common, but it’s no less important to a toddler with pooping anxiety.
Some toddlers are afraid of flushing their poop down the toilet.
They may have an attachment to it since it came from their body or they aren’t sure where it’s going. Both of these things can cause anxiety.
To combat this, talk to your toddler about what happens when we eat and why we poop. Explain that the bad stuff has to come out and that it’s a good thing that we get to get rid of it by flushing it away.
It may take some time for them to fully understand or appreciate this concept, but be patient. They will eventually come around.
Potty Training Poop Tips
If you’re still having issues with getting your toddler to poop, try some of these other easy potty training poop tips:
- Create a distraction. Make trying to poop on the potty a little more fun by causing a distraction. Distract your toddler as they try to poop by singing songs, reading books, or playing a game like I Spy. Fun activities like these can help your toddler take their mind off pooping, which may help them relax enough for a bowel movement.
- Warm bath. To help your toddler relax and poop, try putting them on the potty after a warm bath. The warm bath water will help relax them, making it easier to poop.
- Skip the celebration. While it may see counter intuitive to avoid celebration after your toddler achieves this milestone, celebrating after your child poops on the potty may put too much pressure on them to do it again. Instead, praise them and let them see that pooping is a normal occurrence that happens every day – nothing to get nervous or excited about.
- Keep the bathroom door open. In order to help you normalize bathroom usage for your toddler, make sure you allow your toddler to see you using the bathroom. That means keeping the bathroom door open to show them that everyone poops and pees in the toilet.
- Use electronics. To encourage your toddler to sit on the toilet a bit longer and see if they are able to poop, let them take a tablet or other electronic game with them to play while sitting. This will help them stay put longer and may take their mind off of the business at hand long enough for them to relax and poop.
- Sit backwards. Another easy way to take their minds off of trying to poop is to sit toddlers on the toilet backwards and let them draw on the lid of the toilet with a dry erase marker. This has to be done on a toilet (not a potty) so they have a surface to draw on. Hopefully they will be having so much fun drawing that they’ll relax enough to poop without thinking about it.
- Dump the poop. Each time the y poop in their underwear, let your toddler go with you to the toilet and watch you dump the poop in. This way they get a visual representation of where their poop belongs.
- Set a timer. Use a timer and set it to go off every 15-30 minutes depending on your child. When the timer goes off, have them sit on the potty to see if they can go. If they pee, great, but let them stay a few extra minutes to see if they can poop. Do this each day until they poop that day.
- Try squatting. Squatting is the easiest position to get poop flowing. Use a tall stool or the squatty potty to elevate their knees slightly above their hips into more of a squatting position while sitting on the toilet.
The bottom line
These potty training poop tips will give you a good start to helping your toddler who’s reluctant to poop on the potty to start going.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while. Just know that it will happen when your toddler is ready.