Toddler holding onto Poop!

Updated: Apr 16




Many parents are excited to start throwing out the diapers and saving some extra cash, only to hit a few hurdles along the way.


I would say that the NUMBER 1 hurdle is, holding onto POOP!


I wanted to dig into this a bit deeper so that you can understand why this happens, and how you can help your child and you thorough this BIG bump in the road (or their bottom if they hold onto it for too long)


They get to practice peeing MUCH more often than they do pooping, hence why the peeing tends to be the easier of the two things for them to master. Pee comes first, Poop comes second.


Peeing is also easier for them to let go of, although holding onto the bladder for an extended period will lead a child to be uncomfortable. With pooing, the pain can start before the act as the poop is moving through the colon, causing them to tense up before they even get to the point where they should let it out.


Poop is also more messy and smelly, and this for them, can be more negative, than a bit of warm straw coloured liquid trickling down their leg onto the hard wood.


Did you know ?


Children can actually get separation anxiety towards their bowel movements !!!!


They don't see it as waste, they see it as part of their body. I have known children to not want to put a poopy diaper in the diaper pail! "NOOOOO Mummy, me hold it Mummy"


My advice is:


Learning to let go.


When working on letting go of bowel moments in the beginning, I would NOT be concerned over where the bowel movement takes place, work on them just learning to let go of it, and worry about where it goes next. Lots of children will poop in the bath, again, when in the process, thats okay, its out, and its much better out than in!


Accidents are an opportunity to learn how to do it right.


Having accidents is a normal part of the process and I get that its messy, and I get that cleaning up can make the hardest of us, go a little green around the gills, but we cant have our cake and eat it in the beginning. Try not to gag or make them feel bad, but do have wipes, and some anti bacterial spray handy.


Pushy parent.


If your child feels that you are pushing them too hard, they will actually hold onto it even more! The more they hold onto it, the more painful it gets, the bigger it gets, the harder it is to pass.


Because your first and foremost requirement is to NORMALIZE THE ACT they can be other varying factors that can make this harder than it needs to be.


Such as...


1. Diet



If your child has struggled with passing hard stools, do what you can to increase, either water intake, high fibre foods, vegetables and fruits to keep things moving along easier.


Its harder to hold onto a softer poop, than a soft looser one.


Avoid foods that are constipating.


See our suggested smoothie recipe




2. Previous negative experience


For children that have had bouts of constipation in the past, go into the process expecting to see a bout of two and also be preventative when possible. Diet changes in advance of the process, but also have solutions handy should you need them. Using suppositories although sometimes necessary can also create a negative experience that your child will then want to avoid. Metamucil can work better as a prevention over a suppository as a cure.


3. Confusion


Don't go back to using a diaper to help your child let go of poop, its a catch 22, and it will only reinforce the problem. Remember the goal is to get rid of diapers, so if they are around for poops, you will not actually get around the real issue which is learning to let go of poop elsewhere.


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