Welcome back to our third and final installment of the Potty Training Basics Series!
In our first installment, we talked about preparing yourself and your child for the potty training craziness.
In our second installment, we talked about starting the training.
Today, we talk about poop. And long term success. And poop.
What’s Up, Potty Pooper?!
Poop. It’s one of the many gross parts of parenting, but we can’t get away from it so let’s just embrace it. Well, maybe “embrace” is the wrong term. Let’s respect it from a distance.
When it comes to poop and potty training, take a deep (through the mouth, not the nose) breath and know that it’s usually the last thing toddlers pick up. I tend to focus on the peeing first, making sure to really celebrate when they do poop in the toilet! Once they get the peeing down, you can take some time to focus on the poop.
We’ve got the peeing down around here! And when I say that, I mean that Miles is still on a timer of sorts. I still need to remind him and take him to the bathroom. He’s not really into telling me when he needs to go yet. But he goes every time we take him! What a huge accomplishment, and a relief on our wallets! We’re still working on the nap/night time thing, and pooping is touchy. But here’s how we do it around here, and how I’ve done it in the past with children I’ve nannied.
Timing is Helpful!
Some kids have a digestive timer that keeps their bowels on schedule daily. If you have a child like this, then I’m jealous. Seriously jealous. It’s a great thing to know your child will poop right after their nap, or just after they eat breakfast. You can take them to the toilet, sit them down and let it happen.
If you don’t know your child’s schedule, try and take note of the times they poop for a few days. They may have a schedule and you just don’t know it!
If they don’t seem to have a schedule, try taking them after meals and letting them sit for a bit to try. They just filled their belly with food, so some room will need to be made, if you get my drift!
How Do You Explain Poop To A Toddler?
This conversation is hands-down in the top five weirdest conversations you’ll ever have in your life, but know that it doesn’t sound as weird to your toddler as it does to you. In order for your little one to know that when you say “let’s go poop!” it doesn’t mean to sit down and pee, you need to be kinda weird and graphic. Start by explaining their diaper contents to them early on. Telling them that their diaper has pee or poop in it helps as a segway into the big conversation about doing it in the toilet. Also, when you see that look on their face from across the room—you know that face—the one that looks like they are disgusted/confused/uncomfortable all while they hide behind the couch for privacy? Yep. When you catch them pooping in their diaper (or underwear!) Let them know without making a big deal that they’re going poop! “Oh, Miles! Are you going poop? Good job!”
Once it’s time to learn to poop in the toilet, all of that prep work will help out.
The weirdest part of poop talk is talking about pushing it out. This will be the most beneficial part of poop training! No kidding, sit in the bathroom with them and tell them to push out the poop, then make a grunting noise. Show them! Kids aren’t born with the knowledge of what “push” means, so if you want them to push on the toilet, let them know how to do it. You can also tell them to try to toot into the toilet (fart, make wind, gas)-this will help them to know where to push! Another trick is to tell them to hold your hand and squeeze theirs a little to show them the feeling of pushing. Have them squeeze yours back. I’ve actually had kids poop just from squeezing my hand! It’s that little push that got it going, so don’t feel silly! No one is watching, and your child needs direction, so be weird.
No, No, NO!
I’m not sure why, but pooping seems to be one of the hardest parts of potty training for kids to pick up. Some kids are scared of it, some like the comfort of doing it in their diaper or pants, and some just want privacy, so they hide behind the couch instead. Make pooping a big deal. Let your little one know if they can poop in the potty that they get a SPECIAL treat! Miles gets some play time on the computer if he poops. Some parents let the kids call a family member to brag, some let them pick a toy at the store. Pick a special treat and let your little one know they’ll get that if they poop!
We celebrated when the kiddos peed on the toilet, throw them a dance party when they poop!
Getting a toddler to poop on the toilet is a lengthy procees. Make sure to have a good stash of books, toys (we keep “special” toys in the bathroom that can only be used during potty time) and other distractions to keep them sitting long enough to really give it a go. Like I mentioned in the first installment, sing silly songs, tell stories, have them watch videos on your phone…anything to keep them on the potty. Miles has an AWESOME Baby Einstein book that has tons of pictures on each page, and it keeps him busy naming each item, counting them, telling me what colors he sees, letters, etc. That book has helped us though many poop sessions.
Now that we’ve talked dirty for a bit, lets talk continued success now.
Potty training isn’t about getting your child to go just once…it’s about getting them out of diapers and into the big kid world. So making sure that your toddler’s success doesn’t fade takes all the determination you can give!
Keep up with the initial training using timing, spacing it out a bit more as time goes on. Miles is up to about an hour and a half at a time, each time we just take him to the toilet and ask him to go. Eventually, your child WILL start telling you that they need to go, and you will be able to ease up on the timing thing.
As your child becomes well trainied and goes every time you take them, you can start to ease up on the treats/motivation prizes. Keep up the praise, because this will help promote the long term success, but the prizes can be phased out slowly.
The best advice I have for long term success is to not use diapers anymore during the day. If you can go without at night, then power to you!! If you tell yourself and your child that the diapers are done, then stick with that and it will help out a TON! I still leave Miles in a diaper sometimes when we’re going to be very busy but we are taking that away too- I was just being lazy, I think!
Ask for help, too! Ask other moms who are/have potty trained when you have questions or concerns! Heck, come by here and leave a comment or leave us a note on facebook or twitter with your question. We have a few moms here who have potty trained using different methods, as well as a whole community of other moms who can answer your questions!
You’ve got this! Be ready for tears, messes, frustration, and more, but really…what day in a toddler’s life didn’t already have all that?! Soon enough, you’ll be able to get rid of those diapers!
Catch up on the first two installments of our Potty Training Series!