Potty Training: Catching Poop

The hardest thing that I realize about potty training isn’t to get Bam Bam to go pee in the potty.  Granted, there are times when he has an accident and he knows that he went pee pee and will tell me or not depending if he’s having fun or if he’s bored.  All in all, he knows that pee pee belongs in the potty.  Poop on the other hand, is a whole different level of potty training.  You see, unlike pee where if you try to hold it for a long time it won’t work because the urge is too strong and you have to let it go somewhere.  But, if you have to poop, you can ignore the urge to go poop before you have to go.  Trying to potty train Bam Bam to poop in the potty is a challenging feat.
                                          
For some reason, toddlers don’t mind that poop is in their diaper.  They would walk around stinky butt all the time if it was up to them because the poop doesn’t bother them.  I don’t know why, but it doesn’t.  It’s hard to sensitize poop to a child if they don’t mind it being on their body.  Well, I shouldn’t say on their bodies.  Most likely, the poop is hanging a little away from their butt hole and if the diaper is big enough, the poop will hang below the butt where they don’t notice it.  But you can see it in their diaper because you’ll see something that looks like a tennis ball behind their butt.
So you ask, “How do I get my toddler to poop in the potty?”  Well, the best way to get them to poop in the potty is to wait until they really have to go poop then make them sit on the potty until they poop.  Let me explain. Since you can’t sensitize them into getting rid of the poop, ‘unless your child poops watery like poops everyday and if they do you need to get them check out by a doctor’, the only thing you can do is wait.  You see, when you ask your child to poop in the potty, they won’t do it because their so use to going in their diaper.  There’s no reason to go in the potty for them and just because you want them to won’t motivate them either.  In turn, they will hold it.  I’m saying not to ask them to go poop in the potty by all means you need to.  But keep in mind they will hold it and wait until that diaper is back on.  Don’t give up.
What will happen is that they will go in their diaper and you have to watch for it and when they do, rush them to the potty and sit them on it.  Your child may be in the middle of their bowel movement and may stop because you rush them to the potty.  That’s ok.  They may already finish their bowel movement quickly to avoid going to the potty.  That’s ok.  In either of these cases, you need to put the poop in the potty, make them sit on the potty for about two to five minutes and tell them that ‘poop goes in the potty’.  This new poop area will take awhile to get use to. 
Once the child knows you know when they’re going to poop, they will most likely 

A.  Hide to go poop in their diaper, or 

B.  Hold it.  

This is where you need to know your child’s poop schedule.  Meaning, if you know that your child usually poops morning and night and this particular day your child didn’t poop all day and went to bed without pooping, you know that poop will come the next morning.  Since you know this and it’s usually hard to hold poop like that especially if your child is regular, they will need to poop badly.  They may poop when they wake up or at least after breakfast, those are the times that you need to put them on the potty and make them sit at least fifteen to twelve minutes (I say this long because most likely you will get resistance) so they can poop.  If they hold it even after breakfast, you just have to watch them and any sign of poop, rush to potty.  Once they poop in the potty, celebrate with them and say, “Yes, poopy in the potty.’
With Bam Bam, our poop word is ‘Doo Doo’.  Once we got over the hump of getting him comfortable sitting and pooping in the potty, when we say, ‘Go Doo Doo,’ he knows what that means.  We give him things to play with and let him be. If we know he needs to poop and he gets up, we make him sit back down until he poops or when twenty minutes is up whichever comes first. If your child is resistant to poop in the potty, try to keep them occupied by having a toy they only use while going poop, or a favorite app, or a book, or anything that can keep them on the potty for twenty minutes.  Once they’re preoccupied, try not to sit or stand near or in front of them.  Pooping is a very private moment, so act like you’re doing something else like cleaning or reading something because if your child knows you’re expecting poop by hovering over them, they wouldn’t poop.
The one mistake I made when training Bam Bam to go poop in the potty is putting him on the big potty with the toddler seat first.  He was so scared that no matter how I reassured him that he wouldn’t fall in, he would scream and cry to get down.  I figure since he can pee standing up with a stool to the big potty that he can poop as well and it would be less clean up…for me, of course.  But Bam Bam is comfortable with the little potty and is pooping in the potty.  He knows when he poops because he’ll spring up from his little potty and says, “Doo Doo”, smiles and claps for himself and then wait for us to clap and cheer with him. 
If you’re persistent and stick with it, eventually your child will get the hang of pooping in the potty.  It’s about repetition, encouragement and knowing your child’s bathroom habits in making pooping in the potty possible.  You will get frustrated and upset and it’s human to have those emotions, but don’t let it stop your child from succeeding in potty training.  All the hard work you and your child put through will pay off in the end when they are diaper free in the daytime. Your child will be so proud of themselves that once they master pooping in the potty that they will be ready for the next phase.
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