One of the most common issues I've heard parents run into when their child is learning to use the potty is poop! A lot of children are afraid to poop in the potty. There are stories of children holding their poop for days or waiting for a moment when the parents cave and put on a diaper on their bum. Some children find a hiding spot or wait for mom and dad to be really busy before taking the chance and sneaking a poop into their underwear. As a parent, it's frustrating! Your child will cheer and dance when it's time to pee in the potty, but pooping is a whole different story. Perhaps you've tried stickers, rewards, all types of bribery and nothing is working. Here's my tip!
The key for my tip to work is your child has to REALLY need to poop. I'm talking you can smell it, it's about to fall out, there's no doubt about it.
My son would run to me and tell me he had to poop. We'd get to the potty sit down and he'd change his mind.
"No. All done."
But he wasn't all done! He still needed to poop. Nothing had come out! Many times I could see the poop there, ready to go! He just needed to push.
"No, not yet. Push, buddy! You can do it."
"No! No poopy! All done!"
He'd arch his back and try to get himself off the toilet. There were times when I wanted to cave. Let him down, knowing that as soon as he was free from the potty he'd go poop in his underwear. I needed him to get over the fear. I'm not so sure what he was afraid of. Perhaps it was a big hard poop, I don't know.
I decided I needed him to do it. I need him to go through the process to see that it's okay.
So I didn't let him down. Instead, I sat down in front of him. On a stool, on the floor, in a squat, whatever! I hugged him really tight! He'd say no. He'd get hot, even sweaty, but I held him and told him it was okay. I didn't let him go. And lo and behold, he'd poop!
We'd cheer loudly! I'd make a huge deal of it!
"See! You did it! Yay!"
The next couple of times, it was the same story, but after he'd poop he'd say the same...
"Yay! See! I did it!"
Once he got passed the fight, he'd still ask me to hug him when he had to poop. So I would. Whatever made him comfortable. I worried this would continue for a long time, but a month later, he no longer needed my hugs for pooping.
Occasionally when I need to use the bathroom he offers to give me a hug. Can't a mom get some privacy?
I offered this same advice to Christine at Thoughts of Fluff. Her little boy was struggling with pooping on the potty, fighting to get down. I told her to hold him firmly in a hug, reassuring him it was okay. It worked for her too!
So if you think you've tried everything and it's not working, try this!