The Potty Boot Camp is a remarkably successful new toilet training method developed by Dr. Suzanne Riffel. It combines a number of well-known techniques into one unique and EFFECTIVE program. Learn a LOT more by visiting our website at www.ThePottyBootCamp.com.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Child Refusing to Poop on the Potty? Try the "Gradual Withdrawal Technique"


I used the Potty Boot Camp with my son when he was 22 months old. The potty training part was a complete success by the afternoon of day one. However, he refuses to poopy in the potty and it has been over 6 months now. He will not go in his pants he will specifically ask for his "special undies" (pull-up). I have tried leaving him in his room with his potty chair only to find feces on the floor and very very upset toddler. I have tried taping pictures of toys that he wants by his potty and having a reward bowl in the bathroom as well with no success. I have tried talking to him about it and reading "wheres the poop." He has continually watched his father use the toilet again with no success. I am really at a loss with this? I have not wanted to force him to do it because I fear he will hoard it. He is obviously fearful of pooping in the potty and I desperately need some advice with this. PLEASE HELP!!!!


This problem is sooo frustrating but you are not alone!

I am going to recommend a technique I call the "gradual" withdrawal process for your son. It might work well for him since he is obviously well aware of when he needs to go....especially since he asks for his pull-up. Here is how the technique works:

1.Tell him that he can use his diaper to poop, but he must first tell you when he's going to go. (Do this for about three or four days. After that, do the following steps, each for a few days to a week before moving on to the next.)

2. Next, he has to tell you AND he has to be standing in the bathroom.

3. Then, he has to tell you AND he needs to be sitting on the potty (in his diaper) when he goes.

4. Next, do the above steps, but cut a hole in the diaper before giving it to him. Make the hole bigger and bigger each time.

5. Finally, get rid of the diaper!

The other thing you can try is a "poopy place." Some kids just feel very insecure about going - ask him where he wants to put his "pooping potty" and together make it a special place. A great thing to do is buy a child's play tent (or make a homemade version with sheets, etc.) and make a cozy little area over the potty. Some kids just want privacy and a place they feel safe! You can fill it with stuffed animals, pillows, etc....anything to make him feel comfortable.

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Potty Boot Camp Day 1 and 2 Question - Naked, Underwear, or Training Pants during Potty Training??

In "The Potty Boot Camp" program, I encourage parents to use non-padded training pants the very first day of training and to go naked during days 2-4. The question below is from a mother who didn't read the book until AFTER the first day and therefore used underwear on Day #1. Her question and my response follow:


I started first day in underwear instead of training pants/ pull ups, should I still have her be naked next few days? She has just been wearing underwear the whole time (no other clothes.)


I would go ahead and do the "naked" intervals even though you started in
underwear. UNLESS, that is, she is doing really well in underwear with
hardly any accidents. Then go ahead and stick with the panties.


The purpose behind the "non padded" training pants are that they do NOT feel like diapers to the child. "Non-padded" training pants are basically just like underwear but have a few layers of material instead of just one. These help (slightly) to catch messes compared to regular underwear. Underwear on Day #1 is actually a GOOD option as well - albeit it might mean more cleanup for Mom or Dad!

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Bathtub Can Help Your Toddler Overcome Fear of the Potty!

My best suggestions for Potty Training usually come as a result of helping to troubleshoot when parents write me about bumps in the road as they go through Potty Boot Camp.  The following post is between myself and a Mom whose 32 month old daughter is crying each time she uses the potty - usually without success.  Follow through beginning with her original question through our entire conversation below:


We've been doing Potty Boot Camp since Friday with limited success. My  daughter (32 months) cries every time she is peeing on the potty. Is this normal? She has pooped once on the potty, and did not cry. She has not self initiated either; we're still going based on the timer.

Any advice you can offer would be great.

First Reply:

Sorry, I'm going to have a bunch of questions for you before I can help :)

Why do you think she is crying? Fear, or pain, or just to complain? What is your gut feeling? It isn't a typical response..especially for a 32 month old. We hear of this a lot in the little ones (18-22 mo.)

The reason behind it will help me tell you what next steps to take. Is she having a lot of accidents, or not? What are you using for timer intervals?

Mom's Response:

My gut tells me that it is fear. She pushes up on the potty with her hands while she's trying to go, like she doesn't want her legs to touch. We are having a lot of accidents, and she doesn't cry during those, and  they are often within 10 minutes of getting off the potty. After I wrote you this morning, she told me three times that she needed to go - one was a false alarm, and then has had three accidents followed by one self  initiation in the last few hours.

Our time intervals Fri-Sun were 10 minutes off, 5 on. Today I've done 20 off, 5 on, and 30 if she went. We don't have any trouble getting her to sit, and she'll often sit for 15 minutes if we're reading to her.

I feel like she finally understood the sensation Saturday night when she stood up in the bathtub and said she needed a diaper while pee was running down her leg. She even pooped on the potty on Sunday morning, but not since.

Second Reply:

It sure sounds like she is holding it until she just can't do so anymore....and even holds it when she's on the potty....likely due to the fact that it just simply scares her to let it go into the potty! I would try something called the "bathtub" technique. (I've copied it from another email:)

Bathtub Technique:

To get her to fully relax her bladder, you can try a little trick I have found to work well. Put her potty in the bathtub. Sit her on it (barefoot),and then turn on the bath water. Between the sound of the running water and the warm water on her toes, it almost always gets them to go! For obvious reasons, you will always want to do this supervised. Once she starts to recognize the sensation of what it feels like to "let it all out" it'll help
her do it on a more regular basis.

This will likely help her realize that it doesn't hurt, and it isn't scary.....low and behold it just happened without her hardly noticing!!!

If she has a success, go ahead and stick with the 30 minute intervals. That is GREAT news you finally got a self-initiation. She's on her way! Now we just need to conquer her fear of "letting go." Keep using the bathtub for a few days if needed..you can gradually work it out of the tub and back onto the floor.

Let me know how that goes!

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Child is Pee Trained, but Still Not Pooping in the Potty

I received recently an email from a parent whose little girl is 99% pee trained using The Potty Boot Camp.  Her daughter is rarely having accidents but still is not pooping in the toilet.  Below is her question and my reply.


"E" is 99% potty-trained for pee in the potty, but that last transition of poop in the potty seems to be tough. she tries: "E" pushing poo poo out. No, just pee pee."
She has pooped in the potty before -- a few months ago I caught her pooping in her diaper and ran her over to finish on the potty successfully. And one month ago she was peeing and noticed she pushed a bit of poop out then.

I don't think she is scared of pooping in the potty, it just isn't happening for some reason.

How do I get through this? she now poops about every other day, sometimes the poop is in her nap time diaper or pull up. I don't think she will poop in her panties, the stigma is bad enough that she seems to know that isn't an option.


The poop issue many times will resolve on its own given time. Especially when the child is doing well in every other aspect- like yours! It is much more of a problem when the child is 'sneaking' off to poop, hiding, or going in their underwear.

You can try to make it a separate 'event' - once per day have a 'poop' sit. (around nap time, maybe). Tell her you are going to work on getting the poop out. Maybe use the little potty instead of the big one.... Or the big instead of the little. (whatever is different from what she is using for pee.)

Just try to make it a special event- a cozy stuffed friend to hold, special music, a book - tell her you are going to stay until she goes (or at least tries for a while)......

She is doing so well I bet it will all fall into place soon!

Another source for parents to help with "poop problems" is Where's the Poop?, available from Amazon.com and other major booksellers.  I have heard feedback from many parents that it's light-hearted approach has helped many children overcome hesitation about using the potty.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Potty Training Your Child is Just Like Potty Training a.......Whale???

An interesting concept...teaching your child to pee on command based on training methods to teach whales? Chuck Tompkins, a Sea World animal trainer, has authored a parenting book based on techniques he has used to successfully train animals.  Check out the story below:

Tompkins is Sea World's head of animal training and co-author of the new book "Whale Done Parenting: How to Make Parenting a Positive Experience for You and Your Kids."

An Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.