Potty Savvy: 4 Tips for Healthier Potty Learning
1) Begin with a potty CHAIR, not a SEAT! Whether you are doing with a 2/3 year old or with mobile baby, do not use a potty seat that fits on the big potty as it will not foster independence or influence good posture. We definitely don't expect our little ones to use the potty all on their own for many weeks, but we do want them to have a safe, low potty for them to run or crawl to whenever they have a sudden desire to go on their own! Even if you have a step stool for the big toilet, remember that a small child must learn how to mount the stool, turn around while standing on it precariously and then bend over to remove the pants. That is two accidents waiting to happen- a bump from your tile floor and a pee in the pants. So..buy a little potty for the floor, it will foster independence and allow for the proper poop position which leads us to…
2) CORRECT POSTURE for BOWELS. The biologically and anthropologically sound way to poop is in a wide-legged squat position. Many potties encourage legs together (maybe to prevent splashing). My favorite potty so far for a wide squat and wonderful bowel movements is the Potty Pod by Prince Lionheart (I have no affiliation nor have I ever made contact with this company!) A narrow oval or oblong bowl is better for small tushies than a round bowl. We want the thighs supported and the tush to not “fall in.” The potty should not have a high back, so that it can be crawled onto from any side and so that it doesn't encourage a reclining posture. You may have read Jennifer's great posts about Squatty Potty for adults! I have designed a tot potty with Squatty Potty but it isn't ready yet, so find something using the info above.
Older children can use a Squatty Potty as Jennifer writes in this post, Constipation in Children.
3)DIET MATTERS! Pay careful attention to diet and water intake to prevent constipation while potty learning. You will hear of 2 and 3-year-olds who were doing great and suddenly refuse to poop in the potty, holding it in and pooping while standing, sometimes crying while doing so. When we hold poop in, the body re-absorbs water and it only gets harder. It is no mere coincidence that most people start potty just after 2-years and that is usually when healthy children have their first bout of bad constipation. When the first bout of constipation happens to be on the potty, well… lets just say that toddlers are sensitive creatures and one little anal tear and pain while potty learning during a bout of constipation is enough to make them refuse the potty by simple association. This is an awful cycle which is first prevented by starting potty before 2 years (even better if there is still some breast milk in the system) and then prevented by limiting the consumption of constipating foods like wheat, gluten, dairy and bananas while potty training. Add flax meal, some lubricating coconut oil and a highly soluble fiber like super-fun Chia seeds mixed with some…
4) WATER, WATER, THROUGH A STRAW! Sippy cups are less than optimal for proper hydration. Have you tried to suck water out of those things? They were designed to allow a little bit of water to come out and no water to fall out on your sofa. It requires a lot of effort to get water out and hydration is incredibly important to preventing constipation while potty learning. Lets say your child has a less than ideal diet and the above mentioned constipation could occur- you could still mitigate constipation with increased hydration to keep the bowels wet. Much more water can be accessed through a straw. Always have two sippy straws/water bottles at child access level and remind your child to drink regularly, as well as model proper hydration yourself! (Just like you will model regularly using the bathroom) Having one by the little potty is awesome and will often procure a nice pee which you can celebrate!
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