How can I get my toddler to poop in the potty? Potty Training

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child sitting on potty and reading
iStock.com/Alija

Usually, when potty training, peeing comes first -- it's just easier for most children to learn that part of it. Pooping can be a little trickier. So we asked a pediatrician and moms for their best tricks to teach a toddler to go #2 in the potty.

Try This Sneaky Diaper Trick

"Another pediatrician gave me really good advice for a child who's pooping in their diaper but not into a toilet: First, have the child go into the bathroom to poop into their diaper, rather than in a corner or wherever they usually go. The next step is to have them stand on a potty stool in front of the potty, and then sitting on potty -- all while still wearing the diaper. Then, once they're doing that, you can cut a hole in the diaper so then when...

"Another pediatrician gave me really good advice for a child who's pooping in their diaper but not into a toilet: First, have the child go into the bathroom to poop into their diaper, rather than in a corner or wherever they usually go. The next step is to have them stand on a potty stool in front of the potty, and then sitting on potty -- all while still wearing the diaper. Then, once they're doing that, you can cut a hole in the diaper so then when the child is sitting down, the poop falls into the toilet. This can work for kids that already have some success with peeing on the potty but need help with pooping." -- Christina Johns, MD, MEd, FAAP, senior medical adviser, PM Pediatrics, Lake Success, NY

Give Small Rewards

"I gave my son temporary tattoos for going poop. His dad and uncle both have tattoos, and he wanted to be like them. When everything else failed I got a few pages of the tattoos and ran with it."

Don't Freak Out

"Be patient! If there's an accident, don't take it as the end of the world. Remember, your child is learning every time he has an accident. He needs to have them to learn not to have them. Stay positive and remind him to try and keep his underwear clean and dry. But don't get upset."

Use Distractions

"The issue with poop is getting them to sit that long. I put my son's potty in front of cartoons and it worked like a charm."

Deal With Constipation First

"Poop was tough! My son had one bad bout of constipation and after that, he didn't want to poop at all because he was afraid it would hurt. We waited a while -- until the constipation was a distant memory -- before trying to train him with pooping. After that, it kind of worked out well because we could point out that pooping on the potty didn't hurt. And eventually, that helped him want to do it."

Use Their Role Models to Help

"We drew a picture of Daddy on a poster board and hung it on the pantry door in the kitchen. He was able to give 'Daddy' one sticker if he went pee, two stickers if he went poop, and three of he did both, all in the potty. It was too funny! And it was a way of including Daddy even when he was at work. My toddler also looks up to his big brother, so reminding him that Mommy, Daddy, and his big brother all go pee and poo in the potty was a motivator for him."

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