Potty Training Relaxation Techniques
My 3 year-old daughter is almost potty trained except she has this block when it comes to going poop on the potty. We'll catch her in the act and bring her to the potty, but it's like she's terrified of pooping on the potty. What can we do?
The next time you catch your daughter 'in the act,' do not jump up, grab her, fling her on the potty seat, and say, "Put those poopies in here." She will immediately stop bearing down and that will stop the elimination process completely. Instead, direct her attention to what she is doing, describe what you are witnessing, and give her an enthusiastic message, such as: "I see you're putting BM's in your diaper. Mommy and Daddy do BM's too, but we put them in the toilet, and someday you will too." This should be enough information for now. From my experience, when parents keep repeating this kind of message every time they see their child straining, he/she will eventually associate the word "BM" and the potty/toilet with the need to go.
You might also want to use some relaxation techniques so she isn't so terrified to go BM's on the potty. For kids who are hiding, scared and/or withholding stool, the first step is to reward them for producing stool in their diaper or pull-up each day. If they have some defecation anxiety and are fearful of painful BMs, teaching basic relaxation before and during defecation is useful. Slow "belly breathing" is a good technique for kids, having them breathe in through their nose to the count of 2 seconds and then out through their mouth to the count of 4 seconds. This can be facilitated with the use of bubbles and pinwheels which have the added benefit of being good distractions.
Check out my tips for getting your kid to poop on the potty. Before long your daughter will be a super pooper!
For more potty training advice, check out:
Potty Training Tips from the Potty Pro, Teri Crane
Refusing to Poop on the Potty
My Kid Won't Poop in the Potty
Talk to other potty training parents who are also in the pee-pee & poo-poo trenches on our Toddlers & Preschoolers Message Board!