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5 Tips: How to Help Your Child Go Poop in the Potty

Updated: Jan 21

Inside: If your child is pooping in pullups and you're looking for how to help your child poop in the potty, here are potty training tips for poop.

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A few 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 candy flip a child who's afraid to poop?

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 reward.

Fear is physical.

Would you do something you're really scared about for a 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 in potty training when they're scared to poop? What's the magic with helping your child poop in the potty?

Here are 5 proven potty training poop tips for toddlers afraid to poop in the potty.

None involve a magic hat, but as you might guess, seeing your child flip from pooping in pullups to pooping in the potty, after a struggle, feels like magic.

How to help your child go poop on the potty
Here's the real magic for helping your child poop in the potty

These Oh Crap Potty Training poop solutions help to see soft and steady poop — so pooping in the potty feels more *safe* to your child.

Because what we're looking to do is flip your child

from toddlers feeling afraid to poop..

to feeling feel safe that pooping, and releasing that poop 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. Full-fat foods help your child poop easier

Your body needs fiber and fat for the poop to flow out. 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 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).

Bonus: Jamie's delicious smoothie that helps bring on the poop is a free printable I'll send straight to your inbox!

dairy-free snack that helps with potty training and poop
A favorite snack that brings in fat (coconut milk).

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. And you'll find more simple recipes on this guide to support parents when you're feeling anxious.

Need more support? I share solutions for helping your child 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 refuses to sit on the potty to poop. Check it out here.

And here's a simple Tropical Poop Smoothie I put together that helps your child poop in the potty, too.

What's inside:

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 child, 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 to poop.

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.

This problem is common with 3-year-olds trying to poop in the potty.

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.

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 cheerleading praise can stall out your progress. How could praise hurt your progress?

For some toddlers, then there's this performance 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.

normalize process of pooping in the potty
Help normalize the process of pooping in the potty —making it one other everyday thing you do in the bathroom.

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.

Related: What else helps normalize pooping in the potty? Talking about the poop and the human body.

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 and pee in the potty for your child, too. You want to show how pooping in the potty is something we all do, even grownups.

How to help your child poop in the potty

You can also help normalize poop and pooping in the potty with the support of potty books that visually show your toddler what's happen when we poop.

And finally, keep in mind that pooping requires the sphincter muscles relaxing to release the poop.

Related: Jamie Glowacki, the author of Oh Crap Potty Training, also has a Poop Solutions course with solutions for poop issues with potty training that go beyond this level.

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 problems that can come up in potty training.

But these 5 early potty training tips are a solid starting place to help a child struggling to poop in the potty.

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

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