Toilet Training

"Potty Talk" and Toilet Training

Before initiating potty or toilet training it is important that parents be comfortable with "potty talk." Most parents are uncomfortable talking about poop. They are also uncomfortable when their children talk about poop. Unfortunately, when families do not talk about poop, children are more likely to be slow to toilet train and to become constipated. My book, Softy the Poop: Helping Families Talk About Poop, addresses both of these potential problems by facilitating healthy parent-child conversations about poop. Toilet training is easier and constipation can be avoided if parents and children are comfortable talking about poop before toilet training begins


Toilet Training Can Cause Constipation

In the second edition of my book, The Ins and Outs of Poop, I encourage parents to consider whether their child is ready to be trained before beginning training. Typically, when a one to two-year-old develops constipation during toilet training (potty training), it is because his or her parents have not correctly taken into account their child's physical development, temperament or the potential negative impact of stressors inside or outside the home. For example, a child's physical ability to control their bowel and bladder sphincters (muscles) does not occur all at once, it develops over a period of time which varies in length from child to child. Some toddlers are temperamentally anxious and fearful of change. Some toddlers are quite stubborn and defiant and are perfectly happy to walk around in wet or soiled diapers.

Before initiating toilet training, parents are well advised to think about their child's unique temperament and how strongly they think he or she will resist. This is because children who repeatedly resist or refuse to poop on the toilet during toilet training will often withhold their stool which can, fairly quickly, cause them to become constipated. Therefore, if you expect or you see strong resistance, the wise thing for you to do is to postpone toilet training to a later time.