Having children is one of life’s greatest joys. Many parents believe that having a child has given their life more purpose, meaning and love.
But other parents will tell you that raising children is not all sunshine and rainbows or a leisurely walk in the park. Unless that walk was more like Jurassic Park.
Rearing kids can be a trying task, and although there are many beautiful and precious moments to be had with your babies, there are also more sticky...smelly...and messy moments to look forward to.
Some people say that potty training is one of the hardest parts of having children, and who are we to argue?
Raising children is a difficult process and is constantly ongoing. There is always something new to learn, and they will never run out of questions to ask you, but it is all part of the journey.
Potty training is one of the messiest parts of parenthood, and can take months and months to master, and every child has their own learning curve and pace.
Do not worry if you feel like you have been potty training for what seems like a lifetime, your child will always get there in the end.
You may have overcome the peeing in the potty stage, but seem stuck on the pooping part.
Many toddlers refuse to poop in the potty, and after some battling and arguing, it will result with you putting a diaper back on them, and they will go straight away.
It is just one of those things. Many toddlers prefer to poop in a diaper as it is what they have grown accustomed to, and this strange new potty contraption may seem weird and unnerving to them.
Why your child will not use the potty
If you feel like you have exhausted all of your efforts, smiling and waving and coaxing them to go poop in the potty, but nothing seems to work, perhaps try thinking about whether they are ready for potty training.
There are a few signs that may signify that your child is not quite ready for potty training that you should look out for.
When a child is ready to start pooping in a potty, they may begin showing interest in the potty, or may begin keeping themselves dry for longer periods of time, or even notifying you when their diaper needs to be changed.
Children ready to poop in a potty may begin hiding when moving their bowels and can be ready to make the change to using a potty. A toddler unwilling to use the potty even after extensive coaxing may not be ready to make the transition yet, and that is okay.
Your child may also not want to use the potty to poop because they are constipated or suffering from some pains. If this problem persists, then try to see a doctor for a little extra help to move things along.
It can be very frustrating if a child uses the potty to wee but will not poop, and prefers to go in their nappies. However, withholding pants or nappies for them can lead them to holding it in, and this can cause health issues.
In other cases, toddlers may not want to use the potty because they have a short attention span.
The process of sitting and waiting for their poop to come can be boring and they get distracted, which is when accidents happen.
What not to do
We know how stressful this time can be, but it is important not to get angry or shout.
You do not want to put stress on your child or make them feel uncomfortable or ashamed of themselves.
To us, using a toilet is natural, to a toddler fresh out of nappies, it is a big change and completely foreign to them.
Try not to force your child into sitting on the toilet and wait for them to poop. This can feel like a punishment or that they have done something wrong. Their bowel movements are natural, and will come when they are ready.
If your child is forcing a poop to please you, then it may cause a strain or a hard stool which can be harder to pass and frustrating for the child.
What to do
Ensure that your child has a fibre rich diet and that they drink lots of fluids. This will promote healthy bowel movements, and it will be easier for them to use the potty.
Try to limit their intake of foods that may cause constipation such as rice, fizzy drinks or bananas.
Make sure that they are partaking in exercise and movement, as this will promote digestion and bowel movements.
Do not tell your child to hold in their poop, explain that it is time to go potty and that the poop is ready to come out.
Communication is key, and you should walk them through where the poop goes and show them how it flushes down the toilet.
You should also explain the process of wiping and flushing, and make sure that they understand why we poop in the toilet or potty.
You can also read books or tell stories about pooping or anything whilst they sit on the potty. You do not want to rush them, you should leave them sitting there to poop in their own time.
Children can not always adapt well to change. If they see something new, then they may be afraid of it, and attempt to avoid it.
You must make a positive environment around the potty and the experience of using it. To overcome this fear, and a big change in their day to day lives, the best way is to ease them into it.
Try a step-by-step approach, with small steps towards using the potty to poop.
This may start by encouraging your child to poop in their diaper, but only when inside a bathroom. This way they are becoming used to using that room for those purposes.
Once they have mastered this, you can move them to sit on the potty, whilst still in a diaper to poop.
A diaper can bring a sense of security to a toddler, and they grow accustomed to wearing them as a sort of second skin after a while. It can be hard to break them apart from their diapers.
You may need to cut a hole in the diaper when they are sitting to poop on the potty, so that they begin getting used to it.
After some time, you may get your child used to taking off their underpants for pooping on the potty, and you will no longer have to resort to cutting holes!
Once this is covered, you can begin encouraging them to get rid of the potty and use the toilet.