It is very common for a preschooler to learn to pee but refuse to poop in the potty. She may request a diaper for bowel movements or she may just make them in her underpants. Sometimes she’ll sneak in a bowel movement when she’s dressed in a pull-up at night-time or in a swim diaper. If your preschooler is having trouble pooping in the potty, know that you’re not alone.
That doesn’t make the problem any easier for parents, but here are a few suggestions to help ease your preschooler over this particular roadblock in successful potty training.
Wait It Out
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It may be that your young preschooler just isn’t ready to give up the security of her diaper for something as major as a bowel movement. If she frantically requests one when she is about to poop, don’t force the issue. Give her a diaper and wait a few months to see if things improve. If your child still isn’t pooping in the potty after three or four months, try a bit of gentle persuasion through other means.
Take Baby Steps
Help your preschooler learn to be comfortable making a bowel movement on the potty. Let her leave her diaper on while she sits on the potty. After making a few dirty diapers sitting on the potty, see if you can gradually remove the back of the diaper at least to let the poop fall into the toilet. Some creative parents might even cut a hole in the back of the diaper to allow the poops to fall through without taking the diaper off – just until your preschooler begins to feel comfortable sitting and making bowel movements on the potty.
As she feels more comfortable, encourage your preschooler to try going without the diaper on at all. Don’t push, and let her keep it on if she wants to. Eventually, the diaper will come off and you’ll find success.
Your preschooler may not have a problem with pooping in the potty, but she may very well have a problem with sitting down to do it. If you find that your preschooler prefers to stand while making poops, allow her to stand over her potty to start off the training in a slightly different way. After a few successful trips, even without sitting, encourage her to try sitting down as it may be more comfortable.
Another option would be to let her experiment with positions. Sure the universal way to poop is to sit on the potty, but perhaps she’d do better to squat first or crouch. Encourage her efforts (and be ready with a disinfecting cleaner) until she finally realizes that sitting is really the best way to, ahem, go.