Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Inside: When you're potty training your toddler, here are 5 tips for how to help your child go poop in the potty.
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A couple years ago, we went to a friend’s birthday party featuring Mario the Magician (amazing performer, I might add). Underneath a pop-up tent lined with pastel balloons in a Brooklyn park, the kiddos sat on grass, their eyes glued to his every move — trying to figure out what would happen next. Even the adults were paused in motion, waiting for the surprise that would come with each trick.
That’s the thing about a good magic trick.
There’s an element of wonder. And a flip in emotion when the trick is done right.
From curious to..
Even a little relief (in learning the mystery.)
The missing piece with all the rewards and tricks for getting poop in the potty comes down to this…
A child struggling to poop is often starting at a place of being scared.
So with Pinterest-worthy lollipop charts, M&Ms for good poops, and talking princess toilets, you want to ask yourself..Are these tricks magic enough to flip a child from fear to comfort?
Can a lollipop flip a child struggling to poop in the potty?
If your child is not naturally comfortable going poop in the potty when you start potty training, rewards to go poop in the potty are not the magic we see work. Why?
Because fear is an emotion that’s tough to flip with a simple reward.
Rewards can also be a one-way-ticket to some epic power battles with your toddler. That doesn’t help the potty training process, either.
So what can you do to support your child to poop on the potty? What is the magic with helping your child poop in the potty?
Here are 5 proven tips we know help make pooping easier for a toddler.
None involve a magic hat, but as you might guess, seeing your child be able to poop in the potty, after a struggle, feels like a kind of magic.
Here are 5 real-world tested solutions that help keep the poops moving along — and make the process of pooping in the potty feel more *safe* to your child.
Because what we're looking to do is flip your child
from feeling scared and unsure about poop..
to feeling feel safe that pooping in the potty is normal and okay.
You're trying to make pooping in the potty safe in the child's mind.
So here's where to start:
1. Healthy Full-fat foods help your child poop easier
Your body needs fiber and fat to be able to poop. But slow down with those prunes and the prune juice, because high-fiber foods can actually work in reverse if you overdo it. That's why in Oh Crap Potty Training we recommend going with healthy full-fat foods to keep the poops soft and moving along. A simple, easy way to add that to your child's diet: make up a smoothie with full-fat coconut milk (the kind in a can).
Related: Jamie's delicious smoothie that helps bring on the poop is a free printable I'll send straight to your inbox!
Avocado is another great healthy fat. I share loads of toddler food ideas with coconut and avocado on my Pinterest, if you'd like to take a look for more inspiration.
Need more support? I share solutions for helping see poop in the potty in the early days of potty training in my e-course Potty Training Solutions, including what to do when your child won't sit on the potty to poop. Check it out here.
2. Squatting over sitting is the better way to poop
It's naturally easier to poop in a squatting position than simply sitting on the toilet. That's a fact not just for potty training toddlers, but us grownups too! The solution is the super popular Squatty Potty for adults.
What about your potty training toddler? For your kiddo, you could simply start off adding books/blocks to elevate the feet while your child is sitting on a small potty. Or looking for a sturdy stepstool that helps raise your child's feet into more of a squat when sitting on the big toilet.
3. Privacy please, when you sense a poop is coming
This may seem obvious but it's a tip that often gets overlooked — since in the beginning days of potty training you're always watching/observing your child for signs of needing to go pee.
Many toddlers have already developed a natural sense of shame, so if you're staring at your kiddo — or even simply standing a few feet away in the bathroom — your child may have a much tougher time releasing the poop.
Imagine trying to poop on command?
Not possible, right? You cannot poop if you're not relaxed.
Same tip for daycare. I've heard of daycares that have the small potty out in the middle of the playspace. That's a tough setup. Do you find it easy to poop while someone's watching? Neither does your child.
Related: Here are tips for daycare if you're seeing resistance to use the daycare potty.
So give your child the feeling of having personal space to poop without watchful eyes on him.
4. Choose praise over celebration for a poop in the potty
I'm not saying *praise* works against you, but try to be mindful of the kind of praise you're using with your child during potty training. Because praise can backfire on you in potty training. Steer clear of turning a poop in the potty into a full-scale celebration, as that kind of praise can stall out your progress. How could praise hurt your progress?
For some toddlers, then there's this pressure on the child of..
uh-oh what if I can't do that again?
Potty training always works best when you focus on normalizing the process.
We all pee and poop in the potty. You don't praise your kiddo with a happy dance and call to Grandma when she brushes her teeth. Same thing with poop in the potty. We want to make it as normal and routine as brushing teeth.
5. Open-door bathroom policy helps normalize pooping in the potty
If you don't already let your child into the bathroom with you, now's the time to start! Allowing an open-door policy for the bathroom will help normalize the process of going poop/pee in the potty for your child, too. You want to show how pooping in the potty is something we all do, even grownups.
And finally, keep in mind that pooping requires the sphincter muscles relaxing to release the poop.
Will these 5 solutions work to solve all poop issues in the world?
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. As a potty training consultant, I see a wide-range of poop issues that require much more support to right the boat. It's a lot like a birthplan. When I looked into solutions to help with natural childbirth, I came upon a ton of ideas. Did all of the ideas work for me when I was in labor? Most definitely not.
There are all sorts of poop issues that can come up in potty training.
But these 5 tips are a solid starting place that help support a child struggling to poop.
What's the other magic with potty training?
Following your instincts as a parent.. listening to your inner voice when things feel off.
Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs