Toilet training is a journey of small victories ending in the triumphant moment when you first hear the splash of number twos landing inside the toilet bowl. But for some toddlers, doing poo in the toilet is a little more challenging.
Many kids just refuse to poo on the loo – some hide away and do number two in secrecy, others wait until naptime. But simple tricks like getting the timing right and using distraction can get them to ditch the nappy and conquer the final toilet training frontier.
Here are 11 tried and tested, ways to gently teach kids to poo in the potty.
1. Put the potty in their favourite poop place
Little nappy-clad ninjas seem to love sneaking off to their favourite place to poo, usually somewhere they can’t be seen. Try popping the potty in this spot, and explain they can take off their nappy and poo there without anyone knowing.
2. Find the fear
If your tot does wee in the toilet but won’t poo, ask them if there’s a reason. Some kids don’t like the toilet water splashing back, so explain they can put some toilet paper in the bowl and there won’t be any splash back.
3. Timing is everything
Kids are creatures of habit, and you’ll find that this probably means they poo at around the same time each day. Some are morning poopers, others like to wait until they’re tucked in for a nap. Use these times cues to ask if your little one would like to use the toilet, or give them some nappy-free time in a room with a potty.
4. Distraction for attention
Kids often don’t want to go to the toilet because it interrupts play time. So give them something to do while on the toilet, so it feels like a game. This nifty trick involves nothing more than sitting your child backwards on the toilet and handing them a whiteboard marker.
5. Teach by example
It may sound strange, but letting kids watch their pets do poo can help, particularly if you have a cat that goes in a litter box. Explain that this is the cat’s toilet, and she poops in the toilet – hopefully your kiddo will want to copy!
6. Don’t flush
The noise of flushing can put some toddlers off pooing in the toilet, so just forgo it until they’ve left the bathroom. Once they’re comfortable with using the toilet to poo, you can slowly introduce flushing the loo.
7. Read all about it
There are some great toilet training books that help teach kids learn pooing on the potty in a playful way. You can also try reading to your child while they’re on the toilet.
8. Put a stepping stool in the toilet
Some kids are frightened of the toilet because it’s big, and their feet can’t touch the ground. Pop a stepping stool at their feet so they feel more comfortable, and can get on and off the toilet themselves.
9. Cut a hole in their nappy!
Ok, this one is a little left of centre, but anything’s worth a try. Cut a hole in their nappy, and put the nappy on their potty, then sit your child on top. Some little ones just want to feel the security of a nappy, so this little hack may just work!
10. Friends who poop together, stay together
Give them a toy friend, like Tot on the Pot ($59) who is also learning to use the potty, so they feel like someone is on their journey. You can also put the potty in front of the TV with their favourite show on. They may not even realise that they’ve done a poo on the potty – but the achievement might be enough to kickstart the teaching process.
11. Potty training – there’s an app for that
In fact, there are lots. A quick search of iTunes or Google Play will bring up a huge variety – some are based on rewards systems, others make a game of potty time. Kids love playing on devices, so if you’re having a heap of trouble getting your tot to poo on the toilet, going high-tech may help.
Once you’ve mastered teaching your tot how to poo in the toilet it’s time to teach them how to wipe their own bottoms.