Your LO tells you, “all done,” after peeing in the potty, but when she stands up there are extra dribbles. Today Nicole will share some strategies to help get all of the pee *in* the potty.
You Will Hear:
- What might cause dribbles
- Whether your LO will outgrow it
- Strategies for helping your child sit longer and fully relax on the potty
- How to “ninja hover”
- Conditions to rule out if dribbling persists
Links and other resources mentioned today:
EPISODE 214: Dribbles after peeing
Hello, and welcome to The Go Diaper Free Podcast. I am 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 to The Go Diaper Free Podcast. I am your host for today's episode, Nicole Cheever. Today is Episode 214, talking about dribbles after going pee. The show notes can all be found over at godiaperfree.com/214. I'll link everything we talk about in the episode today there. And we're taking a call from Christina, so let's hear what's going on with her little one here.
Christina: "Hi, Andrea. My name is Christina. I'm in Illinois, and my daughter is 17 months old. I've been ECing since seven months, and now she's out of diapers during the day. My question is after she finishes peeing in the pot and says she's all done, there's always a little extra that comes out when she stands up to get the pants back on. And it ends up either getting on me or the floor or her undies. And so I'm just wondering, is this something that she'll grow out of once she gets more control? Or is there something I can do to help?"
Thanks so much for the call, Christina. To reassure you first: yes, she will grow out of it. But in the meantime, I'm sure you're tired of cleaning up pee. So, let's talk about what we can do to help her get it all out. And one of the first things you can do is help her with the awareness of how much she's pushing her pee out. Kids are very physical. Talking about pushing pee and even kind of grunting can really help them. We all have to flex our abdomen in order to push. And with kids, that might be a little bit hard to describe, but you can kind of grunt for them.
You can go, “Mmmm,” and tense your belly. You can even have them touch your belly and feel the muscles tighten, and then together, you can touch their belly and feel those muscles tighten as they push. You can encourage her when she's sitting on the potty to push all of the pee out. So, if she says she's done, encourage her to give it another push. "All done? Okay. One more push with Mama." Kids love doing that. They love when they interact with us and grunting along with Mom or Dad, so that can really help her be aware of whether or not she's getting everything out.
Another thing you mentioned was that she stands up, so it sounds like you might be using a floor potty. If she's already pushing and you're still getting dribbles, it may just be that she's not sitting on the potty quite long enough. So, a lot of the strategies I have for you today are to help her stay on the potty a little bit longer. It will help her relax. We all need to be relaxed in order to let our pee and poop out. Those sphincters need time to relax. And at 17 months, she might be really excited about the routine, getting up, getting the pants back on, throwing the toilet paper in the potty. We want to help her take a beat, help her to relax a little bit and release everything.
If she's on a floor potty, that impulse to stand can be very strong. Maybe try getting a seat reducer or something that she can't really easily get off herself, at least for now. Especially if it's been a while since her last pee and you think she might have a lot, maybe utilize that so that she'll stay a little bit longer. And then you can move back to the floor potty as needed or when she's getting all the pee out a little bit more reliably. So, a seat reducer might help you.
You could also have something for now to distract her. You might have done this when she was younger, too, and learning to crawl or learning to stand. That's when a lot of kiddos really like to get off of the potty prematurely. You can have a potty-only toy, something she only gets when she's on the potty. You can try a book, a calm-down jar. You can try singing, especially with hand gestures, something to keep their whole body occupied. We like to do Itsy Bitsy Spider with the hands, or if you know the signs to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, something like that.
You can try running the water. You can also just try giving her a little bit of privacy. Maybe having you right in front of her is making her think that, "Oh, it's time to get off. I need to get off and move on with the routine because Mom's here ready for me." So, busying yourself in the bathroom. You can always close both of you together in the bathroom. Shut the door, busy yourself doing something else. Check your hair, your makeup, look at something in a drawer. They don't really notice the difference. As long as we're occupied with something else, they feel that sense of privacy, and that could give her a little bit more time to relax and get everything out. Just in general kind of ignoring her. You're keeping a side-eye, we call it “ninja hovering,” in case she needs any help, especially if she's on a seat reducer and you think she might jump off or need some help getting down. You can still keep that awareness but give the appearance that you're ignoring her. That can help her get a little bit of that perceived privacy. Those are my main suggestions for you, Christina.
And I want to go into a few more just in general because I think probably a lot of our listeners have dealt with kids not staying on the potty for very long. I have a few other suggestions that can help with that, or especially if you've got a kid who just pees all the time. Frequent pee-ers, they're not getting it all out when they sit down. And so they're having to go again every two or three minutes. Hopefully not that long, but sometimes it's even just five or 10 minutes. You can try an egg timer, you can try a visual timer or a timer on your iPhone to tell your kiddo that this is how long they're supposed to be sitting on the potty and trying to get everything out. Not every child responds great to that. I have a kid who really does not like timers, really resists them, so this is all based on your specific kiddo.
But you can also try something auditory, something for them to hear. "I need to hear more pee." It can be a little abstract for them for us to tell them, "You need to get all your pee out," when they can't see it. But if you ask them to listen, let them know, "I need to hear more pee in the potty," that can give them that incentive and that idea of what they're supposed to be doing to push out the rest of the pee. And you can say, "Let's listen together. Do you hear more?"
There are a couple blog posts on resistance that I will link in today's show notes. Episode 42, godiaperfree.com/42, is an episode on resistance. If you've got a kid who doesn't sit at all or just doesn't quite sit long enough, you can get a few pointers in there. And then for those of you who might have a baby who resists the potty and then pees on the floor right after, so you're not actually getting any in the potty, there's a blog post for baby resists the potty and then pees on the floor right after.
A lot of these ideas are in those blog posts, as well as both the Go Diaper Free and The Tiny Potty Training Book. Both books have comprehensive troubleshooting sections where you can get a lot of great ideas. There also is our private book owners' community where coaches like myself answer questions, other parents who have been through it. You can really put your feelers out to the whole community when you're having an issue and say, "Hey, my kiddo's doing this. What do you all suggest?" Those are really helpful. The access to those pops up as soon as you purchase the books. The books are in digital format by default. You can order a paper copy, but if you order either the Go Diaper Free book or The Tiny Potty Training Book, you get the audio version and the digital version pretty immediately in your email inbox. And then you can also access the private book owners' communities that will help you out with a lot of that.
Try not to rush potty time. For you, Christina, and for any other folks out there listening who are having kiddos who are resisting sitting or not quite sitting long enough, try not to rush. At 17 months, Christina, your baby is starting to build her long-term memory. And what happens when they're doing that is we're going through a lot of repetition, and things can also sort of look out of order. It can look like they're regressing, but they're actually just processing and really lining everything out mentally. It's a big shift. We also have a blog post specifically on development for babies at 12 to 17 months and how it relates to EC and potty training, and that's Episode 192.
But she may be a little bit fixated on the routine, like I mentioned earlier. If you're standing right there in front of her, she thinks it might be time to get up. And just in general, she might be excited about that part of the routine. Finding ways to slow potty time down. We don't want to be spending forever on the potty dilly-dallying, but we do want to relax a little bit. Give them some time to completely empty their bladder. And that's why giving them something to focus on or even just focusing on something yourself can give them that reduced sense of urgency. If you're right there ready for them, they might get a little bit of a sense of urgency like, "Oh, I'm supposed to be done now."
The other thing is if you give her the time and space and some privacy to focus on pottying herself without you right there in front of her, that actually might help her make that connection a little bit more. If she is really fixated on the routine, she might not really be realizing that sensation in her body when she's standing up and that little dribble is coming out. Giving her the time even on the floor potty to sit down and stand up multiple times, stand up, try to pull her pants up, maybe she sits down again because she realizes there was a little more. If you avoid intervening and let her go through that process by herself, that can really help her connect all those sensations and the cause and effect, the result of, "When I stand up and this little dribble comes out, and now I'm pulling my pants up and they're wet."
We do have to give our children that time and space to kind of figure it out. That's that Montessori philosophy of giving them the tools and then letting them work through it. So, while as adults, we might be all business when it comes to pottying, we're in and out and over and done with it, your kiddo needs a little bit more time because she's still learning to connect all the dots and put all the pieces together. Busying yourself, slowing potty time down a little bit, giving her that chance to get on and off the potty multiple times as much as she needs with the door shut so she's not running all over the house with wet pants. But shut yourself in with her and tidy up the counter and just let her get up and sit down. And if she asks for help, absolutely help her, but give her that time and space.
There is a “Passing the Baton” mini-course that I'll also link to if you are in this wrap-up phase where you are trying to help your kiddo do these things for themselves. We have the building blocks of potty independence, is what Andrea has called them, and these are all the little steps in the potty routine. The Tiny Potty board book also has these steps in a story format and a little singsong rhyming format. It follows a little kid and their bear going through each of the little steps of potty time.
And if you're stuck, typically when you run into an issue or some resistance, we always say teach something. There might be a little missing piece there that they can take over themselves that they're ready to, and you haven't let go of the reins yet. Going through in the book The Building Blocks Of Potty Independence, going through that Tiny Potty board book, or even going through the mini-course on Passing the Baton can clue you into that. Because sometimes when we're in it, it's hard to zoom out and see what we're missing. So any of those tools can help you identify maybe those missing steps. And so you might just have a missing step in there that once you hand over those reins, everything will click, and she'll actually finish letting all of her pee out.
Lastly, I did want to mention that we always want to rule out any medical issues. Sometimes, having dribbles or not being able to hold their pee in as much, if they're having maybe a little bit of what seems like incontinence, that could be an early sign of a UTI. If you are having any suspicion of that, absolutely talk to your doctor. Rule it out. If you're having a frequent pee-er, also, a lot of people don't realize that frequent urination can sometimes be an indicator that your kiddo's a little constipated. And constipation doesn't always mean stuck poop, that's severe medical constipation. Constipation can just be a little bit of slowed-down poop. Maybe it's not quite soft enough to get out really easily. And so pee is starting to get pushed out of the bladder from that ball of poop that's stuck there in the colon. Ruling out constipation, ruling out UTIs are another thing that can help you troubleshoot. If you've tried everything else and you're still having leaks and dribbles, that's a really important thing to rule out to make sure everything's running smoothly.
That's it for today. I hope that was helpful. Please head over to the blog, godiaperfree.com/214, for today's episode. You can get the transcript there, you can get all the links that I mentioned. And I do have some questions for you there. Have you ever dealt with a dribbler? And what did you do? Do you have suggestions for Christina and these other parents that are going through this? Please leave your responses in the comments there. We'd love to chat with you. We're really good about answering every comment, and if you have questions about what we talked about today or anything related, please leave it there in the comments. We would be happy to chat with you and help you out there. And let us know what strategies you use to help your kiddos sit longer. Thanks so much for being here today. 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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Have you dealt with a dribbler? What strategies worked for you to help them get all their pee in the potty?