By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed, C.H.C.
Whenever I ask our Facebook fans what they are wondering about regarding potty training, I always get a list of great questions. Here are a few answers!
How do I manage toilet paper usage? (Naomi M.)
While pictures of your tot wrapping themselves and the bathroom in toilet paper will be priceless someday, you probably only need one or two of those photo opps! Here are some suggestions to minimize the paper use, and save a few trees.
- Count squares: Show your child how many squares are acceptable for each wipe. If you need to, draw a little picture of just the right amount and hang it up for them to refer to and talk about.
- Count time: Tell your child they can pull down toilet paper while counting to three. However much is down when they say “three” is what they use. You may have to coach a bit on how fast to count!
- Sing: Sing the first three words of our jingle, “It’s Potty Time!” When the child says “time”, they stop pulling down paper and use what they have.
How do I get my toddler to sign “potty” to other people when she is being watched? (Kristen H.)
I think I would start with getting the adults to sign “potty” first! Kids learn by example and thrive on consistency, so if you can get her caregivers to take the lead on this and follow through with what you are doing at home, then that will help a lot.
We have a couple of resources on potty training when your child is in someone else’s care. Check out our articles in this link on Daycare and Working Parents
How do you help your child go poop in the potty? (Tammy E.)
First, know that it is very natural for some children to master pee before they can master poop. The muscles needed to control solid elimination can take a bit longer to develop. Once your child is indeed ready, there are a few things you can do:
- Provide a base: If your child is on the big potty, be sure to provide a stool to rest little feet on. This helps not only with physical comfort, but is actually necessary so the child has a way to plant their feet so they can bear down on the muscles needed to release waste.
- Ensure physical comfort: if your child has had a painful bowel movement in the past, they may have some fear around going again. Make sure they are well hydrated and have plenty of fruits and veggies for fiber to keep things moving along. If you are ever concerned about ongoing constipation, contact your pediatrician.
- Take your time: You may need to have your child sit for a while in order to relax enough to try to go. Be prepared to sing songs, read stories, and just generally hang out for a bit. You can check out all our reviews on potty training storybooks for kids HERE to help pass the time!
We had a reader ask Dr. Susan Rutherford (a Clinical Psychologist) the poop question as well, it seems to be a pretty popular problem nowadays! She takes a more behavioral take on the issue if any readers are interested: http://www.conversationswithmymother.com/potty-training-the-child-who-wont-poop-on-the-potty/ Thanks for your tips!