Thursday, June 20, 2013

Potty Training Made Easier: Poop Please!

Click to read the first of our posts in the Potty Training Made Easier series.

I was shocked to find out that the number one Potty Training question asked centered on one topic - poop!  How do you get a child to poop?

We have all heard the child-refuses-to-poop horror stories.  Others of you are living the nightmare!  For each of our children, I breathed a huge sigh of relief on each of those first toilet geared BM's.

To get help in answering this question, I asked three girlfriends for their thoughts.  Between the four of us, we have successfully trained a total of thirteen children.  You will find their suggestions intertwined among mine. 

1.  Check the Child's Diet
One friend said, "Make sure the child is eating and drinking properly so he is not having hard poop. When the child gets constipated that causes fear because it hurts and the cycle starts over again." Make sure the child's diet is providing him with enough fiber so that there are no constipation issues.  Encourage the child to drink more water and eat more whole wheat, bran, beans, fruit, and vegetables.  Watch the amount of dairy the child is taking in as large quantities may cause constipation.  Juice (not orange juice) can also aid in BM's.  

2.  Sit Properly
Often times a child will squat down to do his business in a diaper.  Try to create this position on the toilet.  Sometimes it helps for the child to have her feet on a firm surface in order for the bowels to work. Dangling feet doesn't allow for the push factor.  A step stool may help.  Peanut liked to put his feet up on the toilet seat.  Also encourage the child to bend forward.  It may help to hold a book in front of the child but toward the floor to obtain this position.   

3.   Focus
A child has to focus to do his business.   It may be best to put the books away for a while if you feel focus is not happening.

4.  Grunt
Honestly...grunting made all the difference.  Peanut had to make the sound before I would begin reading a book.  Then a few pages in, he had to make the sound again before I turned the page.  Just making the sound helps the begin process.  Please understand that I am not taking about hard pushing.  This is not healthy. 

5.  Step #1 - Introduction without Pressure
The removal of pressure to perform is what makes this part of the process so important. This step allows the child to use the potty without the fear of accidents.  Depending on where you are in the process and the age of the child, it may be best to step back and focus on this step.  I especially encourage you to do this if the child is under 2 1/2.  Take a break for everyone's sake.

6.   Relax, Relax, Relax  
Without prompting, each one of my friends said the same things:  "This too will pass."  "Relax."  "Don't worry."  When you relax, this helps drop the fear and anxiety level in the child.  One friend shared, "Although at the time it really consumed me, thankfully no one is scarred from those days and it is now a faint memory!"  Keep things in perspective. 

7.  Drop the Bribes
One of the girlfriends whom I sought advice lived the potty training nightmare.  At the age of four her son still struggled with BM's. She shares,
It was a control battle! For our son it was also a fear battle.  We got extremely creative after all bribes ended in disappointment and all softener products seemed to come up short.  It is amazing how desperate we as parents get. And you have to let go and trust that they will eventually get it, just not always on your time table! 
Continually offering bribes shows the child your anxiety and desperation.  Take the pressure off of yourself and the child.  

8.  Seek Professional Advice
Be sure to talk to the child's pediatrician if you still have concern.  What I am sharing is strictly my opinion and my experience.

9.  Time
Sometimes time is the best course of actionRemove the pressure and give everyone a break.

10.  Pray
Pray for peace and relaxation in the process.  Pray for wisdom.  Involve your child in the process of praying.  

Tomorrow, more FAPTQ!

Thank you to Mel, Windy, and Lizz for helping me on this post.

What questions do these 10 points bring to mind?

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