Toilet training can be a journey filled with both victories and challenges. While many kids transition seamlessly from nappies to using the toilet, others may face difficulties, particularly when it comes to pooing. It’s a common scenario where a child is perfectly fine with weeing in the toilet but becomes hesitant or even refuses to poo there. If you’re dealing with this situation, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons behind this reluctance and offer tips to help your child make a smoother transition to using the toilet for both wee and poo.
Understanding the Refusal
Children often have no problem using the toilet when urinating, but when it comes to bowel movements, they can become reluctant. This reluctance can persist even into older ages when you might expect them to have mastered this skill. While it can be overwhelming, it’s essential to remember that this is a common problem, and your child is not alone in facing it. Before diving into solutions, it’s essential to understand why your child might be refusing to poo in the toilet. Here are some common reasons:
- Constipation: One painful experience with constipation can lead a child to avoid using the toilet for poos, creating a vicious cycle.
- Toilet Fear: Some children may be afraid of the toilet itself, which needs to be addressed before they can comfortably sit on it.
- Control: Children often desire control over their actions and surroundings. Some kids prefer the control of staying in a messy nappy, asserting their power over the situation, although unintentional.
- Feeling Pressured: While your desire to see your child use the toilet is understandable, too much pressure can lead to resistance.
- Life Changes: Major life changes like the arrival of a new sibling, moving, or family issues can cause stress, leading to toileting difficulties.
- Sensory Overload: Sensory sensitivities, such as the sound of the flush, the cold seat or the splash of the water, can overwhelm some children.
Tips for Helping Your Child
Every child is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Consult with your paediatrician and Occupational Therapist for guidance tailored to your child’s specific needs. However, here are some general tips that can assist in the process:
- Maintain a Consistent Diet: Ensure your child’s diet includes fibre-rich foods to prevent constipation. Encourage hydration with plenty of water throughout the day.
- Create a Visual Daily Plan: Incorporate designated toilet breaks into your child’s routine without pressuring them. Normalize toilet time as just another part of the day.
- Use a Reward Chart: Consider using a reward chart to encourage positive behaviour, always respecting your child’s pace. Reward even small steps, like going to the bathroom with a nappy instead of doing it in other places of the house.
- Familiarize with the Toilet: Involve your child in the process of discarding faeces in the toilet and flushing it to help them become more comfortable with the idea.
- Positive Reinforcement: Use verbal praise, clapping, compliments, and other non-material rewards to reinforce your child’s achievements and encourage their progress.
- Toilet Seating and Stool: Use a specialized seat and stool to help your child get accustomed to sitting on the toilet comfortably.
- Make it Enjoyable: Allow your child to engage in enjoyable activities like reading a book or playing with their favourite toys while using the bathroom to make the experience less intimidating.
- Toilet Familiarization: Have your child sit on the toilet with his nappy on twice a day for a few minutes to help them become accustomed to the idea. If they show signs of needing to poo during these times, don’t hesitate to let them do so without the nappy or loosening the sides to facilitate the passage of stool.
- Transition Gradually: Once your child starts successfully doing poos while sitting on the toilet, consider modifying the nappy by cutting a hole in it to allow the poo to fall into the toilet.
- Minimize Splashing: To reduce splashing, throw toilet paper into the water before your child uses the toilet.
The journey of helping your child overcome their reluctance to poo in the toilet is not always linear, and there may be setbacks along the way. Remember to be patient, stay calm, and avoid providing consequences to your child for accidents. With time, understanding, and the right strategies, your child will make progress and eventually master this essential skill. The key is to respect your child’s unique timeline and make the process as relaxed and positive as possible. In the end, the effort will be well worth it, and your child will gain confidence and independence.