How To Get Your Toddler To Poop In The Potty
Potty Training Toddler

How To Get Your Toddler To Poop In The Potty – 9 Practical Steps

Learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty can sometimes be a little frustrating. You want to help support their development as much as possible and patience is essential.

Potty training is an essential part of a toddlers developmental milestones but the challenge that most parents face is that some toddlers just take longer to generate a lasting habit while others take to it almost immediately.

You have to strike a balance on being supportive and understanding but also firm and structured t ensure that a positive habit is formed.

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When learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty most parents ask questions that include:

  • How to get my toddler to tell me he has to go potty?
  • How to get toddler to relax on potty?
  • Toddler struggling to poop but not constipated
  • How to get toddler to release urine?
  • Toddler afraid to poop in potty / potty training poop anxiety
  • Does my child have to be potty trained before starting kindergarten?

The most important part of potty training is to create a safe and problem-free environment that your toddler can feel comfortable in. This will allow them to feel like that can make mistakes, have accidents and ask questions without feeling bad.

If they are being rushed, judged or scalding for having small accidents around the house, it can be very pressuring for them to learn how to get it right.

Learning how to get toddler to tell you when they need to potty is just as hard. You will need to be patient as they are going through different developmental changes. For example, your child may understand what the potty is for but may not have the correct vocabulary to explain to you that that need to go.

Often times it is too late and your toddler will have an accident before they get a chance to tell you the need to go. They are still figuring out their body and how it works so again, patience is key.

In this all-inclusive article, we’ll explain how to get your toddler to poop in the potty, what to do if you child refuses to urinate, how to get toddler to relax on potty and age-specific potty training so that you can breathe easy again.

Potty training doesn’t have to be hard, but you must never rush your child into using the potty before they are ready.

This can lead to potty training poop anxiety and a toddler afraid to poop in potty.

Quick Contents hide

Is my child ready to potty train?

Here are 4 questions to ask to ensure your child is ready for potty training:

  • Do they stop in their tracks, mid-play, and go and hideaway, behind a door or under a table each time they go in their nappy? IF so, they are probably ready to be potty trained.
  • Do they have around a 1-hour gap between wetting and soloing their nappy? If so it could mean potty training time.
  • Are they intrigued about a potty, interested in it and try to sit on it after you explain what it’s for? Yep, you guessed it, they are ready to be potty trained!
  • Can they understand basic commands like, potty time, pull trousers down, time to go pee-pee? Then you should start slowly potty training.
  • Are they more vocal about dirty nappies? If they routinely say, diaper dirty, or nappy change etc then it may be time to start thinking about potty training.

When should I start potty training my toddler?

Most children are usually ready to start thinking and being introduced to potty training around the age of 2. Although, some children may wait until after 3. It’s not a competition and it’s not a race.

Some children are nappy free at 18 months while others can take up to 4 years old. Every child is different and you should respect the uniqueness of your child by not comparing them too much with others

How To Get Your Toddler To Poop In The Potty: 9 Fundamental Preparation Steps

1. Give them lots to drink!

A healthy bladder will make potty training 10 times easier. Give your toddler lots of water to drink (around 6 – 8 cups a day) and try to avoid sugary drinks or those with caffeine in them. The bladder needs to be filled correctly and then emptied for it to work efficiently.

2. Make sure they are not constipated

Your toddler should be doing a poo around 4 to 5 times a week or more and the poo should be relatively soft and easy to release.  If your toddler is going fewer times or they are suffering from highly runny and liquid-based poo’s then try to wait until constipation passes before you being potty training.

3. Get them to pick their potty.

Most toddlers will have a favourite colour or can choose between the items they like and the ones they don’t. Get them involved with the potty making decision so they feel apart of the process.

Plus you can use this small leverage point when asking them to get and sit on their potty for longer. For example, “Sweetie, can you get your pink flowery potty and put it in the bathroom, it’s time to use the potty!”

4. Set a routine and stick to it

Try to have “potty time” every few hours and don’t ask them if they need to use the potty too often. Most toddlers, especially those that are younger, are still unable to express whether they need to go potty or don’t.

Instead, stick to a structured routine, and then just mention that it’s “toilet time”. You can even go with them, if the potty is in the bathroom, just show them how to do it. But this should only be done the first few times for moral support.

5. Shorter is better

When learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty try to keep the potty time to a few minutes and don’t allow your little one to stay on the potty for too long.

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It’s counterproductive for them to sit down for too long as you are trying to encourage going to the potty when the feel the urge to.

Instead, give them a short period for potty time and if they do or don’t go that’s fine, just tell them to try again a bit later. No rush!

6. Praise & More Praise

Going to the potty is a big deal. Not just the first time, but also every time.

Try to be as celebratory as you can and give lots of rewards for successful potty time. Stickers on a reward chart are a perfect example of this.

7. Patience

It’s the cornerstone of parenting and with potty training, you’ll certainly be tested plenty! There will be lots of accidents and you have to be as supportive as you can.

That means being “happy” that they have tried to use the potty but missed and cleaning it up in the middle of the night!

8. Developmental milestones

This is a great milestone for them to achieve but it also can take along time. They are learning how to open and close their bladder on demand and how to use this muscle to hold wee and poo. That’s no easy tasks, so make sure you show some empathy when the going gets rough (and it will get rough!!)

9. Don’t forget toilet hygiene

Potty training is the goal but toilet hygiene is just as important. Once they have finished remind them to wash and dry their hands. They may want to look inside the potty to see what it all looks like and that is fine.

Sometimes they will try to go potty and nothing will come out so by letting them see the final results they’ll start to piece together the puzzle and understand what feelings are attributed to successful going pee and poo.

How To Get Your Toddler To Poop In The Potty: Starting Potty Training (6 Steps)

1. Comfortable clothing is best

Make sure their clothes are easy to put on and take off as you’ll be rushing to take off clothes when they suddenly feel the urge. Try to avoid unnecessary zips or too many buttons as they will just get in the way and not be useful for helping to efficiently potty train.

2. Switch their normal nappies to pullups

Once your toddler starts potty training it’s smart advice to switch to pull ups. This will allow them and you to very quickly pull up or down their nappy in time for a wee or poo.

Successful potty training means taking a few shortcuts when you can to save time. Once they have had a few successful sessions, then change them out into washable cotton underwear.

3. Let them run FREE!

Learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty involved encouraging the mindset of using the potty freely. To help your toddler understand the importance of potty training and for them to maximise their efforts you should let them roam around bottomless.

This will boost your toddler awareness of their own body signals and help with getting them on and off the potty faster. Once they start to see that when they wee or poo it’s not hidden in their nappy but comes out for everyone to see they will soon start running to the potty for ease and privacy.

4. Motivate their efforts

The key to successful potty training is getting your toddler to understand that they are growing up and being able to go to control their potty time is all apart of this process.

5. Show consistency

Many parents who ask “how to get your toddler to poop in the potty” are very busy doing 101 other things as well. While this is necessary it’s important that you try to be as consistent as possible and involve other people in the potty training regime. This will keep a structure and help your toddler to learn faster.

For example, they are staying with a grandparent over the weekend, remind them that it’s potty training time and bring or buy a potty for that house. (keep it the same colour and brand if you can)

This will help keep your toddler in the right frame of mind and improve their efforts as they have a similar setup to home.

6. Change diapers in the same room as potty training.

This small tip will help the majority of toddlers to link the two together. If you have space and it’s safe to do so, try to change your toddlers nappy in the bathroom or the area that their potty is stored.

This will help them visually see that their potty is for wee’s and poos’ and nappies are not anymore.

How To Get Toddler To Relax On Potty

Learning how to get toddler to relax on potty is very important. If you don’t get this right you may increase the likelihood of potty training poop anxiety increase.

Your job is not only to get them to understand what a potty is and how to use it, but you need to learn how to get toddler to relax on potty so that they go with less fuss.

Here are the 5 steps to get your toddler to relax on the potty.

1. Comfortablility

Ensure they have the correct type of potty and that it fits around them appropoitatly. Many children won’t want to go in the toilet even with a trainer seat as it looks too big and they feel scared they may fall in.

Try to understand the situation from your toddler’s point of view. Don’t have the toddler too close to a radiator or nearby a cold draughty door. These small differences will have big effects and can aid your efforts in learning how to get toddler to relax on potty.

2. Repetition is KEY

Getting your toddler to relax on the potty means creating a positive structure around potty time. The way you do this is by constant repetition even when you think it isn’t’ working.

A perfect example of this is to setup the potty in the morning in the correct potty area. Call “potty time” or “toilet time” and leave your toddler to sit down to try to go potty at the same tie each day.

This repetition will prove to be vital as your child will soon start to pick up the routine and his body will expect to expel wee or poo in the morning when they get up.

3. Breathing exercises 

This one is a bit fun, but it does work. Whilst on the potty give your toddler a small game to do. Pretend that there are candles that you have and they have to blow hard to get them out.

Blowing out helps as it naturally pulls your belly button towards your core which puts some pressure on your bladder. This will make it remarkable easier to pee! (try it)

4. Turn the tap on

You can also try to run a tap or a bath next to your toddler when they are trying to go. There is some evidence to suggest that the sound of water trickling can stimulate the sensors to expel water at the same time.

Whether it’s down to a natural link to water or just setting up an anchor and your toddler following the cues, it’s worth a try.

5. Give it more time

Sometimes we have very big expectations for our little ones. While this can push them to excel in some areas, potty training is more of a nurturing arrangement.

Toddlers can pick up subtle clues about how we are feeling by looking at our body language. Be careful with your body language to prevent problems of your toddler afraid to poop in potty.

If you want to learn successfully how to get toddler to relax on potty then you need to show less anxiety and pressure and more fun and support. This will leave them in a better state of mind to go naturally.

Toddler Refuses To Sit On Potty

A toddler who refuses to sit on a potty usually does so for a few reasons. It’s very common and it’s usually down to a fear they have in their head about something that’s happened in the past or that something unfavourable is about to happen to them.

Potty training refusal happens to many toddlers as they try to establish a common ground on how to use the potty correctly. You can help smoothen the transition between nappy and potty by taking these into considerations

The key to knowing how to get your toddler to poop in the potty is to figure out why they are hesitant to use it in the first place.

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Potty training refusal Tips to help when your Toddler Refuses To Sit On Potty.

Potty Training Refusal tip 1: The Unknown Fear Problem

Toddlers are much smart then we give them credit for and can understand a vast amount that they are not yet able to express. Think back and try to draw a conclusion on whether or not you’ve laid the foundation of what potty training is, how it works and when it’s coming to happen. Some toddlers need more time to adjust than others.

If you haven’t given potty training comprehensive explanation at least for a few days then you need to before you bringing in the unknown potty seat.

Potty Training Refusal Tip 2: The New Sensations Problem

Your toddler has been wearing diapers since they have been days old. To remove this luxury comfort and replace it with a cotton one, or worse still none at all could be throwing them in the deep end.

Instead, try to gradually decrease the diapers they wear and introduce pulls ups. These will facilitate a more natural feeling potty time and make the transition between diaper to no diaper much easier.

Potty Training Refusal Tip 3: The Loss Of Control Fear

All of a sudden your toddler is seeing and feeling he’s body do things that he didn’t see and feel before. It can be traumatising to feel your body expel wee’s and poo’s and then seeing them all around you.

If there hasn’t been enough ground work to explain what is happening and a routine hasn’t been setup to show your toddler what to do next, things can get very stressful all too soon.

It can take weeks, or longer, to learn the correct functions to control with potty training so be patient and try to explain what is happening before it happens.

Potty Training Refusal Tip 4:  The Accident Fear

Accidents will happen and there’s no way to get around it. But you need to set up a structure to support your toddler’s accidents pre potty time. This will give them a better understanding of what just happened and that it’s not a big deal at all.

Try to remind them that if they miss the potty it’s no big deal, they can just try again next time. Mention that you had PLENTY of accidents when yu was learning to use the potty and eventually it all worked out!

Once you set up clear boundaries that promote growth, the ability to ask questions and the structure to help with accidents you’ll find it much less frequent that your toddler refuses to sit on potty.

Toddler Won’t Tell When Needs To Potty

Some parents can get frustrated and wound up when their toddler won’t tell them they need to go potty. On average most toddlers will go for a wee or poo up to 7 times a day and they don’t always give a warning on when they need to go. This is certainly the case when they are first starting out but can still happen to a more veteran potty trainee.

First of this is normal behaviour, so don’t feel like you are isolation. Many parents suffer from the “Toddler Won’t Tell When Needs To Potty” problem.

As your toddler begins to understand the body changes surrounding potty time they will begin to become more expressive about what and when they need to go.

Learning how to get my toddler to tell me he has to go potty and how to get my toddler to tell me she has to go potty takes 3 stages.

Stage 1: Knowing they have done a wee

First off your toddler needs to know that they have done a wee. This sensation will help them in stage 2. Most newer diapers lock away the wee so well that most toddlers don’t even release that they have a wet nappy.

This isn’t good for potty training so you need to try to make yoru toddler more aware that they have indeed done a wee and to understand what has happened.

Stage 2: Recognising your body’s signs

Next, your toddler will need to recognise the body’s clues that they need to go before they actually do. This is extremely difficult to explain to a young child and almost more impossible to demonstrate.

Instead, explain to them they have to listen to their body and distinguish when they have a full bladder. Usually, the bladder will have to be filled or close to full before your toddler will even begin to sense they need to go wee.

Stage 3: Timing & Getting To The Toilet.

Lastly, they need to be able to distinguish stages 1 and 2 and then put them together to get to the toilet on time before they have an accident. It is so natural to older people but this all takes time to master.

The tricky part is to pick up the body signals before it’s too late. Sometimes children who have learnt how to manage their body’s clues try to hold their pee or poo for too long and this can result in bigger accidents or very abrupt ones.

As you can imagine all of this takes time and patience as your toddler learns what each stage is and then how to correctly master it.

Learning how to get my toddler to tell me he has to go potty or how to get my toddler to tell me she has to go potty is not easy. However, you can implement these 5 quick strategies to help.

Toddler Won’t Tell When Needs To Potty: 5 Strategies

Tip 1 – Accept accidents

Tip 2 – Remind them to listen to their bodies as much as possible

Tip 3 – Look out for tell-tell signs they need to go like, crouching, squatting or dancing around on a full bladder.

Tip 4 – Don’t constantly ask them if they need a wee or poo

Tip 5 – Try to use video’s or other older children to help explain what to do. Toddlers mimic older children remarkably well.

How To Get A Toddler To Poop On The Toilet? 3 Main Problems

Sometimes you can try every trick in the book but your toddler is showing potty training poop anxiety or you have a toddler afraid to poop in potty.

Problem 1: Poop Issues

Some children that have never poo’d in the potty may have an underlying issue of constipation. The issue here is constipation can come and go, so it’s difficult to pinppint what the issue is.

It can happen even with the good diet and hydration guidelines as toddlers sometimes just don’t want to finish going potty. They are so busy in their own world that they will go a little bit and then stop only to get constipated later.

Problem 2: Position on the potty

The wrong position on the potty or the toilet can make a big difference in terms of how effective potty training is. The wrong position on the potty can contribute to your toddler afraid to poop in potty.

Studies show that the best position for releasing poo is called “Hip Flexion”.

This is where your toddler has their hips slightly above the hips. A small stepping stool can help with this position and like anything else it takes a lot of practice to get right

Problem 3: Bad Strategy

Sometimes when a toddler afraid to poop in potty it’s down to bad strategy. Potty training poop anxiety can happen when they are not sure about each step. If they are unsure they will tend resort back to what they are cofortable with and that’s using a diaper.

Avoid this by having clear boundaries and rules that specify what the potty is when to use it and what happens if they have an accident.

Potty Training Poop Anxiety

If your toddler is still showing potty training poop anxiety then there are a few more in-depth strategies you can try. Remember your role is to act as supportive about the entire process as possible.

Learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty takes a lot of patience and time and won’t happen overnight.

Even if you are anxious or frustrated by how long potty training is taking try not to show it. Toddlers will go in and out of potty training for weeks and sometimes months, they can even regress back.

It’s all al learning curve and eventually, they will get the hang of it.

Tricks To Get Toddler To Poop On Potty

1. Take a break

Breaks are a part of the process and if your toddler is showing potty training pop anxiety then you need to ease off the gas a little. Don’t force them to stay on the potty to assist with time constraints, just whip a diaper and keep it moving.

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Potty training is a marathon, not a sprint.

2. Pooping is much harder then peeing

More muscles need to contract and release to let out poo and that’s when it is ready to come out. Sometimes it’s just not ready and there is no amount of pushing that can make it. Try not to scare your little one away from the potty by leaning on them too much to poo because they can pee.

3. Use the toilet flush as a reward

Some children love the sound of the toilet flush and want to press the button or handle themselves. It’s a sense of achievement and shows they are a big boy or big girl now. If that’s the case then use it to your advantage.

Conversely, if your toddler gets scared by the sound of gushing water, just wait until they are washed up and out of the room before you tidy up.

Promote successful toilet time to friends and family.

Children learn well from a re-enforced celebration and potty time is no difference. Once they have a successful gone potty, pee or poo, shout it from the rooftops! Go a little overboard and tell family so they can call in or swing by to provide their support.

This really works well for toddlers of all ages.

Does My Child Have To Be Potty Trained Before Starting Kindergarten?

Once parents understand how to get your toddler to poop in the potty, they often ask Does my child have to be potty trained before starting kindergarten?

Finding out whether or not your child should be potty trained before starting kindergarten is very important. starting school, not toilet trained can have an immediate impact on education so getting the balance right is crucial.

All kindergartens have their own policies so its important to first contact your preschool and find out what policies they have.

Some may insist that your children are fully potty trained before they attend and are nappy free zones. Here they will insist that all children wear underwear instead of diapers or pull-ups.

Other kindergartens are a bit more lenient and won’t mind clearing up the odd accident here and there. They will remind children to go to the toilet after meals and also 30 minutes after having a drink.

Sometimes you can get potty training at daycare and preschool booklets and teachers will try to prepare you and your toddler for the right way to potty train that’s in line with their policies.

Whether you opt for the stringent kindergartens or the more lenient ones you’ll want to factor these considerations in.

  • Dress your toddler in easy to take off clothers with elastic waistbands that are easy to pull up and pull down
  • Pack enough pull-ups to facilitate diaper changing 
  • Set up play dates with other potty trained children. This will encourage your toddler t to follow suit
  • Practice at the kindergarten with your toddler before or after school.
  • Give it time and accept that the teachers are doing the best they can. Kindergarten teachers have a lot on their plate so it’s important you try to set up a potty training routine outside of school first.

Age & Gender Potty Training Issues

4 Year Old Pooping Pants After Being Potty Trained

Sometimes fully trained children will regress and start to show signs of poor potty training skills. If this happens, try to be as supportive as you can but importantly try to find out the reasons behind the regression.

When a 4 year old pooping pants after being potty trained for example its usually an accident. Potty training resistance 4 year old is a very common occurrence.

However, on rare occasions, you can find that your child pooping in pants for attention. If this is the case try to get to the bottom of the problem.

Spending more 1 – 1 time with them and giving them positive attention in other ways should help to reassure your relationship.

Remember, It is a common problem and there are some very effective solutions.

4 Year Old Pooping Pants After Being Potty Trained – Practical Solutions

1. Act normal

Try not to get to frustration about the whole ordeal. It can very problematic especially if you are in public or in a car and finding a safe place to deal with the problem is not so easy. Remember it’s usually just an accident and it’s just a part of child growth.

2. Use constructive discipline

Children learn appropriate forms of expression by fowling parents. Sometimes they will get upset at themselves for having an accident and this may spill over to you. If you need to issue a time out or some other smaller consequence then do so. Make it swift and move on once it’s done

3. Give them independence

Try not to treat the clean up like diaper change. Instead, give them the resources to help out themselves and intervene with you need to.

Remember they can still help to clean it up which may deter them from doing it again if it was done on purpose.

How To Potty Train A 2 Year Old Little Girl

Learning how to potty train a 2 year old little girl is usually very similar to potty training any age toddler. However, let’s examine the differences in potty training toddler girls as opposed to potty training toddler boys.

How to potty train a 2 year old little girl – 3 Special Tips:

1. How to wipe

One very clear difference in teaching your daughter to potty train is learning how to wipe. Clearly explain that she needs to move the toilet paper from front to back and not the other way around. This will avoid her getting any unwanted infections.

Sometimes you can assist this by reminding her just to pat the area instead of wiping as this will aid her memory.

2. Personalisation

Sometimes girl children can feel the urge to get a bit more creative with their potty. Encourage this by giving them the full reign to add stickers and write her name on the potty.

This will give her a sense of independence when she is going to the toilet.

3. Special underwear

While this can apply to boys as well, having special underwear that highlights the grown-up-ness of being a big girl and using the potty will go a long way in solidifying a positive potty training regime.

How To Potty Train A Stubborn 3 Year Old Boy

Learning how to potty train a stubborn 3 year old boy or any stubborn toddler can seem a little bit cruel, but when push comes to shove it has to get done.

Some toddlers need a more rigid system in place and this means putting your foot down and being a bit more stern with the potty training experience.

How To Potty Train A Stubborn 3 Year Old Boy: 5 Practical Tips

1. Remove all the diapers from the house

Get a box or container and ask him to help put them inside. Explain that they are no longer needed in this house or you can ask him to write a babies name on the box and mention he is sending it as a gift to someone else.

2. Pick his own underwear

Get him to pick out an underwear himself. That’s important as you want him to show some independence with something important.

3. Get ready for a full scale war!

It’s going to be a very tough time for you both as he transtision from wearing nappies to not. Have lots of spare clothes ready and try to keep a smile on a your face as much as possible.

4. Cancel off 3 days of activities

You will need to allow for at least 72 hours of solidarity potty time. This can be with him bottomless, running around the house half-naked, or with pull up diapers on.

Either way you need to prepare your schedule for the new routine.  

5. Don’t freak out and expect regressions.

Boys show less interest in potty training the girls and tend to have more accident so strap in for the long haul! You have t be a bit more patience and sometimes that can mean accepting that they may regress and go backwards before totally committing to using the potty fulltime.

Learning how to get your toddler to poop in the potty is important. Don’t rush the process and make sure you follow the steps and guidance above. Some toddlers just take a little more time than others to learn and that’s ok.

Encourage good potty strategy and good potty hygiene and in no time at all, you’ll have a fully potty trained toddler!

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

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