Potty training is a significant milestone in a toddler's life, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. One common hurdle parents encounter is when their little ones start withholding their poos or just not asking for the potty when they need a poo. This behaviour can be frustrating and confusing, leaving parents wondering why it's happening and how to address it. In this blog, we'll delve into the reasons why toddlers might withhold their poos or take longer to have a poo on the potty during potty training and provide effective solutions to tackle this issue head-on. So grab your potty, trainer seat, and training pants, and let's dive in!
Fear of the Potty/Trainer Seat:
Toddlers may associate the potty with discomfort or fear. The unfamiliarity of the potty or trainer seat can be overwhelming, causing them to withhold their bowel movements. To ease this anxiety, introduce the potty as a fun and positive tool. Let your child choose their own potty or trainer seat to make it more appealing. Leave your potty in the room that they spend the most time in for a couple of weeks before you even start training so when you do begin, it doesn’t feel like such a foreign object to your little one. Gradually encourage them to sit on the potty for short periods, making it a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Lack of Privacy:
Privacy is essential for some toddlers, even during potty training. They may feel self-conscious or exposed when using the potty, leading to poop withholding. Let them have a minute or two on their own if they ask for it and let them know that you will just be outside the door waiting for them if they need you. When out and about, when you have the time of course, find somewhere a little more private for their potty time. You could even bring a small blanket to hold up to cover them if they feel a little conscious.
Pain or Discomfort:
Sometimes, toddlers withhold their poos due to physical discomfort or pain during bowel movements. This can occur if they've had a hard or painful bowel movement in the past. To alleviate this, ensure your child's diet includes plenty of fiber-rich foods and water, promoting softer stools. Additionally, discuss any concerns with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Control and Independence:
Toddlers are known for asserting their independence, and withholding their poos can be a way to exercise control over their bodies. It can be helpful to give your child some sense of ownership during potty training. Allow them to choose their potty, trainer seat, or even their training pants. This involvement empowers them and may reduce the desire to withhold.
Changes in Circumstances:
Changes in routine, such as travel, starting nursery, a new sibling or movie house can disrupt a toddler's bathroom routine, leading to poo withholding. Establishing a consistent schedule and sticking to it can provide reassurance and stability. Encourage your child to use the potty at regular intervals, especially after meals, and praise their efforts to reinforce positive behaviour. If you can help it, avoid beginning potty training when your toddler will experience big changes, such as a new house, nursery, or sibling. Once they are settled and used to their new environment, begin your potty training journey. Big changes in their lives can also create distractions, meaning you can also have more accidents.
Comfort and Familiarity:
Some toddlers prefer the familiar feeling of a nappy for bowel movements. Many parents use pull-ups, which are made from the same material as nappies, so your toddler can sometimes find it hard to distinguish the difference between the two, therefore, having more accidents. Transitioning from nappies to big girl/big boy pants can be a gradual process. Start by allowing your child to wear training pants during the day as they can catch small accidents, but will still feel when they have soiled themselves. Gradually encourage the use of big girl/boy pants when they have longer periods without accidents.
Withholding poos and having more poo accidents during potty training can be common challenges faced by parents. By understanding the underlying reasons for this behaviour, such as fear, lack of privacy, pain, control, disrupted schedules, and comfort issues, we can implement effective solutions. Remember to make potty time a positive and fun experience, involve your child in decision-making, maintain a consistent routine, and address any physical discomfort. With time, patience, and support, your little one will overcome this hurdle and successfully embrace potty training using their potty, trainer seat, and training pants.
So, take a deep breath and be confident that you're equipped with the knowledge to conquer this challenge together with your toddler! Happy potty training!