Help Your Toddler Poop in the Potty


Can’t get your child to poop in the potty?

For many toddlers, pooping in the potty is just not as easy as peeing in the potty! It makes sense, since many toddlers are used to squatting in a private corner rather than pooping in the sitting position with Mom or Dad watching!

While there may not be one surefire way to get your child to use the toilet or potty, we’ve got several tips that may help your toddler master the potty and keep those underwear clean! Check out our section below for lots of great tips and tricks to help your toddler poop in the potty!

Tips and Tricks to Help Your Toddler Poop in the Potty

Get Your Child a Footstool if He/She is using the Toilet: Most young children’s feet will not touch the ground when they are sitting on a toilet. It’s physically easier for toddlers to engage their stomach muscles and have a bowel movement when their feet are touching a stool or the floor. If your toddler’s feet are dangling at potty time, it’s time to purchase a non-slip footstool!

Buy a Potty Seat for the Toilet if your Toddler is using the Toilet: Make sure you have a potty training seat if your tot is using the toilet. It can be hard for your child to concentrate on using the toilet if he/she is having to also focus on not falling in the toilet!

Let Your Child Watch You Go: This can be awkward for parents, but some children really benefit from seeing a demonstration. Let your little one watch you the next time you have a bowel movement. Some children are not sure how the process is supposed to go, and seeing it can clear up the confusion.

Extra Special Rewards: Going poop on the potty takes more concentration and time than going pee does. Some toddlers need extra special rewards to help motivate them to stick it out and keep trying. Make your “Poop on the Potty” reward something your child is really willing to work for.

Put a Diaper in the Toddler Potty: Some toddlers are so used to going in a diaper, they don’t feel comfortable trying the potty with their diaper off. You can help by putting a diaper on a potty (not the toilet, only a toddler potty) and letting your child poop on that. Once s/he is used to pooping on the potty with the diaper, you can guide your toddler to trying without the diaper on the potty.

Let Your Child Wear a Diaper on the Toilet: If you’ve already tried a lot of things to help your child poop on the potty this may help, though it’s not ideal. Let your tot wear a diaper while sitting on the toilet to poop. By doing this, s/he is getting the practice of pooping in the correct sitting position, but gets the comforting feel of a diaper. After your child is used to pooping on the toilet, you can stop putting the diaper on.

Give Some Privacy: Little children are used to going into a private corner to poop in a diaper. Offer your little one some privacy on the toilet as well. If your bathroom is safe and your child is calm, step out of view and let your toddler poop alone.

“Make a Splash”: Make pooping sound fun! Tell your child that when s/he poops in the toilet it’s going to make a little splash. Encourage him/her to “make a splash” when going potty.

Talk about Poop: Some toddlers are scared of their poop or think it is part of them and don’t want it flushed down a potty. Talk to your child about poop. Explain poop is the part of our food that our body doesn’t need. It’s like the body’s way of taking the trash out. Pooping makes our tummies feel better! It may help to read children’s books about poop, or watch potty training videos. Sometimes, all a child needs is a little assurance to help them understand that they do want to poop in the potty!

Prevent Constipation: Toddlers who refuse to poop can become constipated. Once a child is constipated, he/she will have a more difficult, and possibly painful, time going. Many toddlers will choose to hold in their poop after a painful bowel movement, creating a vicious cycle of constipation and refusing to poop. Avoid this constipation cycle by providing your child a diet with sufficient fiber and fluids to help prevent toddler constipation.

Keep your Child Trying when You Know It’s Time to Go: Many toddlers have bowel movements at roughly the same time each day. When you know your toddler’s bowel movement is coming up, have him/her sit on the potty and do your best to calmly keep your tot there until he/she is ready to go poop. Read books, talk, rub your toddler’s feet or back, sing toddler songs, etc. Keep your little one in a nice, relaxed mood and then when the urge comes he/she may successfully go on the potty.

Poop Accident = Bathtime: You’ve got to clean up your child after a poop accident anyway, why not give him/her a bath? Not the “play with toys and have bubbles” kind of bath, just a boring “get cleaned up” bath. Do this in a matter of fact sort of way. It’s not a punishment, it’s just the natural consequence of pooping in underwear. Sometimes this is all the motivation toddlers need to poop in the potty!

Watch Potty Training Videos Together: There are many wonderful potty training movies out there that can really help your child feel more comfortable with potty training.

Put the Poo In the Potty: If your toddler has a poop accident, dump the poop where you want your toddler to have a bowel movement (in the toilet or potty).

Have a Positive Attitude: Having a child who won’t poop on the potty can be a very messy and stressful problem. Unfortunately, getting too upset about it and putting stress on your child can shatter his/her confidence and make things worse. Potty training can be very difficult for toddlers. Keeping yourself calm and having a positive attitude can help your little one relax and focus on learning the potty training skills. Let potty training become a time that strengthens your bond, not weakens it. If your toddler continues to show no progress, maybe s/he isn’t showing the signs of potty training readiness yet.

Potty Training Motivation

toddler lies on floor

Potty training can be a long road full of little successes and setbacks. Many toddlers are excited to begin potty training and then get overwhelmed, discouraged, or bored and need a little motivation to keep them going!

Successfully potty training will usually involve some motivation or reward. The type of reward really depends upon your child. Think about things your little one loves and how you can use those loves to help with potty training!

Here are some ideas:

  • Does your child love to sing and dance? Why not come up with your own “potty success” song along with a silly dance that you only do after your child uses (or tries to use) the potty?
  • Does your child love being tickled? Why not give them a little tickle after each potty attempt?
  • Does your child love reading books? Why not read to your toddler while s/he waits on the potty?
  • Does your child love music? Why not have a special bell you ring every time your toddler gets the job done in the bathroom?
  • Does your child love talking on the phone? Why not let them call a friend or relative after they’ve had a successful potty training day do tell them all about it?
  • Does your child like shaking hands or high-fives? Why not come up with a special hand shake only done after potty time?
  • Does your toddler love hats, pirates, or princesses? You could make a pirate hat or princess crown out of paper or poster board and let him/her add a sticker to it every time he/she goes in the potty!
  • Does your child have a favorite character? Why not download a printable picture of that character and use it as the sticker chart?
  • Does your child love the outdoors? Why not reward a series of successes with a fun nature walk toddler activity?
  • If your toddler refuses to poop on the potty you may need an extra special motivator like a little toy or a special type of treat.
  • Of course there are always the traditional sticker charts and M&Ms; or skittles that have motivated thousands of little potty-trainees over the years.

Is your toddler ready?

boy in hat

Good question, huh? We should thank our lucky stars that there are signs you can look for since every child is so different. The right time to start training is the moment your toddler realizes he is about to urinate or have a bowel movement.

On the average, your toddler will have a bowel movement once or twice a day. The movement will also occur around the same time every day. He knows he’s doing it if he looks down after urinating or having a bowel movement.

He may not realize he did if he doesn’t indicate to you that he did it. In this case, you may want to hold off on training until he’s older..

I believe if your child can show you that he has to use the bathroom then its potty time! Here are some other indications that your child may be ready.

He is ready if he peels off his own pants! You’re long, long, long overdue if your child says, “I have to go potty.” Let’s face it, if he can say it, he can do it!

My son use to have a crazy dance I called, “the potty dance.” He would hold his crouch and go in circles. It was kind of embarrassing in public, but that was his way to let me know that he had to go!

What sign is your child exhibiting? My kid at one point snatched the diapers off and declared, “I don’t want to wear. I want underwear!” I couldn’t imagine why he would mess in the baby underwear if he wanted them! He was long overdue!

Is your child overdue? He is if he is interested in how other people use the toilet. You may even notice that he remains dry during the day for hours. He may stay dry at night as well. I’ve heard of some kids having a bowel movement in the same area in the house all the time.

I think that’s so weird. But, hey, if it’s happening to you, he’s ready! These are all great signs that your kid is ready! Here are the signs in a nutshell.