We all know babies poop (a LOT). But what do you do when your baby poops while nursing, in the high chair, only while standing, or in his undies? In today’s episode, Nicole helps 4 mamas problem-solve their poop predicaments.
You Will Hear:
- Common challenges parents have with poop and how to address them
- Why babies poop while nursing, in the high chair, or in the car seat
- How to shift undesirable poop habits like standing while pooping
- What to do when your toddler poops in his underwear
- When to seek help from a coach and how to find one
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Top Hat Potty
- Go Diaper Free Book
- “The Golden Window” EC Program
- Newborn Poops While Nursing - Podcast #176
- Mini Potty
- Blog post - Baby poops in car seat or high chair
- The Log app for iOS and Android
- Go Diaper Free Certified Coach Training Program
- Find a Local Coach or EC Group
- Private EC Support Group on Facebook
- Private Potty Training Support Group on Facebook
- Go Diaper Free Store
- Tiny Undies Store
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
EPISODE 222: All About Poop!
Hello and welcome to the Go Diaper Free podcast. I'm your host for today's episode, Nicole Cheever, Go Diaper Free Certified Coach and mama of three kiddos who all did EC and potty training at different ages and stages.
Welcome back. This is episode 222, all about poop. You can find the show notes over at godiaperfree.com/222. Leave us a comment, ask us any questions you might have and as always, everything I talk about in today's show will be conveniently linked over there in the show notes. We have four calls to get to today, the first one is from Nat.
Nat: How do I do EC if my baby poops while I breastfeed?
Thanks for the question. Now, it sounds like you've probably got a newborn. It is very common for newborns to poop while they're nursing or bottle feeding. They tend to be very relaxed at those times, and so it's a great opportunity for them to poop. The sphincters need to be relaxed in order to release the poop, for them to push it out, and so nursing or bottle feeding tends to be one of the most common times when newborns will start pooping. And there are a couple ways you can deal with this. There are a few signs that they're going to poop.
A lot of times they will start popping off the breast or the bottle and just having a hard time getting that latch because they're trying to coordinate both nursing and the feeling to need to poop at the same time, and that can be a little bit difficult for them. So, in preparation for this, you can have a Top Hat Potty between your legs that you're nursing over and just go ahead and grunt along when they start pooping. You can notice that they're starting to pop off and either take them to the sink or grab the Top Hat Potty. You can have a waterproof pad of some kind in your lap and have the diaper off while you're nursing. And, again, just grunt along, “mmm mmm” is usually the sound that we use as they're pooping, and that will start to build the sound association for them.
They will grow out of this. They do start to consolidate their poops, so you won't always have to do this. Another thing you can do is take breaks while nursing. If you notice that after, say, five minutes of nursing, that's usually when they start pooping. You can offer them the breasts so that they're not feeling like they're starving, and then take a break after a few minutes, and go offer the potty, and then come back to nursing. They might squawk at this a little bit at first, they might resist it. But after repetition, they will learn the pattern and they will know, "Okay, I get to eat a little bit, and then we take a potty break, and then I get to eat again."
All of this is in the Go Diaper Free book. There are really great instructions for how to start with a newborn and all of these little intricacies, like when you're dealing with pooping while feeding. There is also a Golden Window Newborn EC program on the website, you can enroll in that. And that is a really nice deep dive into all about starting with a newborn. We also have a podcast that I will link, it's number 176. And that is a little bit more detail about what to do if you've got a newborn that poops while you nurse. Thanks so much for the call, Nat. The next one is from Audrey.
Audrey: Hello, my name is Audrey Chefs. I live in Los Angeles, California. I have one baby, my daughter Isadora is aged 12 months. She just turned 12 months a couple weeks ago. So, Issa begins pooping mid-meal. She's always done this with breastfeeding and now we do baby-led weaning, she's feeding herself. And in the high chair, she starts pooping mid-meal, always. And so, how do I handle this situation? Thank you.
Thank you so much, Audrey. This is also very common. I myself had a dinner pooper. My second baby has always been very regular and when we started doing potty training at about 16 months, for the next six months, without fail, in the middle of dinner, she would have to poop. So, while we were in the training process, we actually had a potty right there in the dining room. And I know this can be a little bit off-putting for many people. It's a temporary situation. The high chair, very much like nursing, your baby's going to be in a relaxed position. Not only that, at one-year-old if they've been using the potty, it feels a lot like sitting on a potty. So, subconsciously, their muscles all start to relax and they'll have that urge to poop. There's also a little bit of biological process going on there when they eat, sometimes, that triggers the need to poop.
So, having that potty there in the dining room is very helpful for when that urge all the sudden strikes. Again, this is temporary. You're not always going to keep the potty there in the dining room, but during this transition process it is very helpful, especially, because they can see it. With kids, as with some adults as well, I know this happens to me, often things are out of sight, out of mind. And when they're just really getting that potty independence, they're just learning. Having that potty in view can be a very helpful reminder to them and it will remind them to let you know that they have to go potty. So, see if you're willing to put a potty in the dining room and that way she can just indicate to you when she needs to poop and go ahead and do it there.
I would also take a look at, maybe, having a high chair that's not as comfortable and as potty-like. A lot of plastic high chairs, especially, are contoured. They have a bump in the middle and it feels a lot like a potty. They're very supportive, but it feels a lot like a potty. So, if you can get something with a flat seat, a lot of the wooden high chairs just have the flat seat and you can get a cushion for it, so it's a little bit more comfortable. But that may help her to not, subconsciously, feel like she's on a potty and maybe prevent that urge a little bit more or at least give her more time to notice she has to go potty, and see the potty, and let you know. Or you can notice she's starting to squirm around a little bit and maybe it's time to poop. So, experiment with that. Something a little bit less restrictive, something a little less potty-like for a seat.
I prefer something they can get in and out of by themselves. My second-born, the one I was just mentioning, she was very independent when it came to pottying to the point where, even at 17-18 months she would just go. She would not tell us she needed to go, she would just take herself to the potty. So, I liked to have, at that point, something that she could just get out of and go and sit on the potty that was in the dining room. That way, if I was busy with her older sibling, if I was still preparing part of the meal, whatever I was doing, she was able to have access to that. What we used at the time was one of those travel seats that you just strapped to a regular dining room chair. And rather than having the tray on it, I took that off and just scooched it right up under the table. So, it was like she could have her own chair, and she could push it away from the table, and then climb down herself.
Currently, we have the Tripp Trapp chairs, they're the wooden chairs where the seat moves up and down. There's a variety of different chairs that grow with your kids like that. But it has a great wooden footrest and it scooches right up to the table so that they can just eat at the dining room table with everybody, which we prefer in our family. And also, they can get up and down from it independently. And, at a year, she might need a little bit more help with this, but as you start to get closer to that 18-month mark, depending on her personality, it could come sooner, like mine, at around 15 or 16 months, she's really going to crave that independence anyway. So, thinking about, right now, investing in something that she can get in and out of on her own will help facilitate the potty process during a meal, and it will be helpful for you in the long run.
Thanks so much for the call on that one, Audrey. We also do have a blog post with a little bit more detail that I'll link for you. And it's for when babies poop in the car seat. This is another receptacle that is very common for babies to poop in. So, if you're having this issue with a high chair, you also might be having it with a car seat. And anyone else listening, wondering why your baby poops in the car seat, it's for a lot of the same reasons. It feels like sitting, it's really contoured, and a little bit restrictive, and comfortable. So, they can fully relax and have that urge to poop. All right, the next call here we have is from Emily.
Emily: since he was born, but I recently realized we were allowing for too much naked time and he developed a preference for pooping standing up. Mea culpa, but I need some suggestions for how to fix that, that don't involve just letting him go outside because the dog rolled in it and got an ear infection, so that's not going to work. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you so much.
Thanks for the call, Emily. This can also be common. It's not unlike, “my baby will only poop if I give them the diaper.” Anything that we do that is not ideal, that's their preference, that they tend to do better with, if we allow it to keep happening, it's going to keep happening. So, we always want to begin with the end in mind. Where, eventually, do you want your baby to poop? And, obviously, at this point we would like him to poop in the potty, so no more outside, he just can't go. We're not going to allow him outside. Hopefully, you have a little bit of a poop schedule or some predictable pattern with him of when he poops. If you don't, you can always use The Log app and try to time him, and see if there is a certain time of day, or a certain pattern, that he has for when he's going to need to poop.
It might involve a little bit of naked teaching somewhere in the house where the poop is easy to clean up so that you can get him used to pooping on the potty. When we did the Potty Training Experience with my oldest, poop was a little bit tough for us as well. And what ended up being most successful was when we noticed he'd start pooping, we'd bring the potty to him. We'd basically just scooch it right up behind him and gently take his shoulders and have him sit. Although, sometimes, just putting it up right behind their calves, they know it's there, and they'll sit.
You can also try the reducer on the big potty. That's eventually what we went to. But if you have a reducer that he can't easily get on or off by himself, he's going to have to be sitting. So try a reducer. For you, maybe something a little bit more comfortable, like a little bit more curved so that he can relax. There are some potty seat reducers that have the nice high pee guard and it's a curved shape to really support them in that nice squat. So, see if you can find something like that.
If you haven't already been wrapping up with him, it’s definitely time to start wrapping up. Again, beginning with the end in mind, we do eventually want our children to wear clothing. So, another thing that might be helpful to him, this really depends on the personality, but it may be helpful to put him commando in pants or even to put him in undies. If he's so used to pooping standing up out in the open where the poop just falls away from him, if he poops in undies and then it's right up there against his skin, he may really not like that. And that may be a motivator for him to go and put his poop in the potty where he's not going to have to have that sensation.
So, there are a few different things you can play around with there. It is going to take some trial and error, of course, but just begin with the end in mind. Where are you going to want to end up with him? And I always go back And I always like to go back to half a day or a day of intensive teaching whenever there's a missing link there. He's pooping. It sounds like he's probably telling you when he needs to poop, but we do need to get that in the potty. So, just having a little concentrated teaching time, going back to basics is helpful for really a lot of issues we run into with EC and potty training. So, thank you so much for the call, Emily. And our last one here is from Andrea.
Andrea: My name is Andrea. I'm in California, and my son just turned two a month ago, and he's been out of diapers for about three months now besides nighttime, and I cannot get him to stop pooping in his underwear. So, how do I get him to stop pooping in his underwear and tell me when he needs to go?
Thanks for the call, Andrea. Stop using underwear. If the back-up we're using is not working, switch your back-up. That is a really helpful technique as well, even if it means not using a back-up. So, for you that might be, again, a little bit of naked teaching or going commando, which is just pants or shorts with no undies. And it sounds like if he's only been out of diapers for three months, you might have used the Potty Training Experience from The Tiny Potty Training Book, and that's got a lot of troubleshooting in there.
Those of you listening, if you haven't purchased one of the books, one of my favorite benefits of having these books is that you have access to the online community. And there are coaches like me, and there are other parents who have gone through a lot of this. So, not only do you have extensive troubleshooting sections, which, in my opinion, The Tiny Potty Training Book its weight in gold just because of the troubleshooting section. I don't recommend reading it until you're having an issue because it can psych you out. But when you're having an issue, going to that section is very helpful. And then going to the online community, looking if anyone else has posted the question you have. There are coaches on there answering questions, helping mediate everything. And there's also the option to find a coach, which I'll talk about in just a second.
But for you, Andrea, having some of that naked teaching, determining poop times using The Log app, like I mentioned before, that may help him connect the dots. We're looking again at these Building Blocks of Potty Independence. There's something missing there. He's not telling you when he needs to poop, he's doing it in his pants instead. It hasn't quite clicked for him yet that the poop needs to go in the potty. With kids who have been pooping in a diaper for a pretty long time, we're talking usually a year plus, sometimes, opposite of Emily's issue, having that poop up against their skin is what's comforting. That can be really hard for them to not want to do anymore. So, having those undies on, that poop goes right up against his skin, and so that's a motivator for him to poop in the undies. It's comfortable. He's used to it. It's hard to let go of that sometimes, especially if you're using the big potty and it falls really far away from him, that can be a little bit intimidating.
Having him in pretty loose pants where the poop is still there, but it falls away from him a little further, can be a lot more uncomfortable because then it's going down his leg. So, we're going to want to do this in an area where the poop is going to be easy to clean off the floor if it happens. That's kind of an in-between, so it's there a little bit, but then it's falling away, but then it's uncomfortable, so that could help to motivate them.
And having a watchful eye on him when you think it's going to be time for him to poop, that can clue you into what his signals are. Is he starting to squat? Do you have a hiding pooper that they like to go away into a corner or behind the couch or somewhere a little bit private? And think about that too, when you are asking him to poop on the potty. How much privacy are you giving? A lot of these kids really, really want privacy, especially when they're pooping. That is a natural instinct. And a lot of us as parents, we're, number one, so tuned in to wanting to make sure the poop gets in the potty because, of course, we don't want to have to clean it. But then also just being there as a support. And really at the end of the day, we have to remember that it is their journey. And sometimes at very early age, as early as six months, they want privacy, they want to be left alone. You can be there as support around the corner, or right out the door, or maybe even in the room but busying yourself with something else, and that will sometimes help them to feel more comfortable on the potty.
Those are a few tips for you, Andrea. Again, everyone listening, if you are a book owner and you haven't made use of the online portal, it's on Mighty Networks currently, but there's always a link on the website for book owners to find the online portal. Definitely, make use of that. You can also find a coach in your area. We do have the Certified Coach Training Program, which I'm certified through, and we have coaches all over the world. So, I will link that in the show notes to the Coach Finder. You can find your local coach, your local group, there are support groups oftentimes.
And if there's not a coach in your area, go ahead and email firstname.lastname@example.org because there are some coaches who can help you out virtually or with a phone call. So, contact The Mamas and they will set you up. If you can't find a coach in your area, they'll set you up with someone who can do a long distance coaching session with you. And with a lot of these, it just takes a little bit of fine-tuning. It's not necessarily going to be a long drawn out process. Often one or two meetings with a coach, or one or two phone calls, and you can have it nice and wrapped up.
That concludes our episode on poop. I hope that you found some helpful suggestions here, and let us know on the blog: Has poop been a challenge for you? Which tips that we talked about today are you going to try? Head over to godiaperfree.com/222 and leave us a comment, please ask us questions, let us know if there's anything else you want us to talk about here on the podcast. We love taking suggestions. Thanks, everyone. Take care.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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Has poop been a challenge for you? Which of today’s tips are you going to try?