There are many stages to the potty-training milestone and one of the most common questions that our clients ask is how to encourage their toddler to do a number two.
Many children will master going for a pee fairly quickly but struggle with the poo stage. Knowing when they need to pass a bowel movement represents a very different challenge. Children will often outright refuse to poo on the toilet and instead risk an accident or ask for a nappy which provides a sense of familiarity.
There are many reasons why your child may refuse to poo on the toilet. He or she may get bored sitting and waiting to complete their bowel movement. They are not used to sitting down to go for their poo or “letting it loose” – this sense of the unfamiliar is likely to cause nerves and mean your child backs off from the problem. They may even just feel lazy and not want to take off their clothes to use the loo, especially at this time of year when they are all bundled up.
Talk to your toddler and try to find out exactly why they don’t want to use the toilet for a poo. Explain that you aren’t angry and there’s no reason to be embarrassed. Teach by example and as this will help them to relax and learn that going for a poo on the toilet is something that everyone does, including mummy, daddy and their older siblings.
Don’t ever try to force them to poo and if your child is straining too hard, then let them have a rest. They may not be quite ready to go and a short break with a glass of water to speed things along may do the trick. We recommend spending no more than five minutes on the toilet at any one time and keeping your child relaxed by singing songs or letting them read their favourite bathroom book.
If your child holds a poo in for too long, this can lead to constipation which just exacerbates the problem. When a toddler experiences pain on the toilet, they may become afraid and not want to try it again. This is what industry experts call the D3 concept - discomfort, dread and delay. This takes place when a child has experienced discomfort when trying to poo, dreads using the toilet to poo again because he or she believes it will hurt and therefore delays going back entirely.
You can avoid constipation by making sure your child has a fibre-rich diet, drinks lots of water and engages in regular exercise. That can be as simple as running around the playground or walking down to the shops. You should also focus on helping him or her to relax in every way.
It’s important to make sure that your child feels confident and steady on the toilet. Every Family Seat has been specifically designed with a sturdy structure to keep your little one comfortable and keep them steady on the toilet. This improves the experience on the loo and soothes any nerves, all of which help contribute to a healthy bowel movement.
And don’t forget, positive reinforcement goes a long way! Keep using your Potty Training progress chart to keep all associations with the bathroom experience as good ones.