Picture this: Your child has gotten into a potty-time groove at home and is going #2 like a champ. Hurray! It's time to celebrate. But, just as things are running smoothly, September rolls around, and it's time for school.
Now, when you pick your kids up from school, or they get off the bus, you notice they run (not walk) to the bathroom to relieve themselves. Your first thought is…why didn't they just go at school?
Why Kids Avoid Pooping in School
Just as kids might feel anxious about pooping at home, it's not uncommon for them to avoid going #2—or even #1—at school.
There are a few reasons for this, such as:
- School restrooms are unfamiliar
- They are public, not private
- Other kids can walk in
- Restrooms are bigger and more open (echoing sounds)
- If the toilet overflows, you can't call mom for help
- If you run out of toilet paper, you have to ask a stranger
- It feels embarrassing to go #2 when others are within ear shot
Just looking at this list would make anyone, including adults, want to skip the public restroom routine and just "hold it" until they get home.
Why Withholding Stool Isn't Cool
Withholding stool isn't good for anyone. In fact, if your child continues this behavior regularly, it will become a routine, making it even more difficult to pass stool in other environments that feel unfamiliar, such as on vacation, at a friend's sleepover, or while visiting family for the holidays.
Withholding stool can also lead to children (and adults) developing constipation issues.
Worse yet, there are certain times when, despite our best efforts, our bodies will relieve themselves—whether we want them to or not. Having an accident at school happens, but it can have a traumatic effect on your kid's confidence and well-being.
"With repeated withholding, the child may lose rectal sensations, which leads to irregularities in their urge to poop. When the rectum is full, softer stool may start to leak around the accumulated poop. With reduced sensation, the child may poop involuntarily," (Medical News Today).
As parents, it's up to us to break the cycle and get our kids comfortable with going #2 when their bodies signal it's time—even if this means they're at school.
3 Tips for Pooping in a School Bathroom
Before we continue, it's important to note that kids are less likely to mention this issue to their parents. Therefore, be sure to look for a few telltale signs, such as going to the bathroom "immediately" after school, or doing a little potty dance when you pick them up.
You can also speak to your child's teacher who may have a sign-out system for using the lavatory during lessons. You'll be able to see if your child uses the restroom throughout the day or not.
Okay, back to our list of tips!
1) Practice Pooping in Public
You've heard the phrase "practice makes perfect." Well, it's true for going #2. Getting your child familiar with going potty in public restrooms is an effective way to help them realize that pooping is a regular part of life. In fact, it's just part of growing up.
If your child needs to relieve himself, use the stall next to him—even if you don't have to go. This will help demonstrate that everyone poops in public restrooms—even parents.
And you don't always need to have your child use the actual potty for this tip to be effective. You can just take your kid to a public restroom to wash hands. This creates a "no-pressure" type of environment for kids to just observe and understand that restrooms aren't a scary place at all.
"Familiarity brings comfort, so it can lead your child to be less apprehensive about going potty in public," (VeryWell Family).
2) Create a Rewards System
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, your kids may already be on a potty-time routine, going #2 at least 1-3 times a day. Perhaps, they poop once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Or maybe they go once in the afternoon and evening.
If your child refuses to go to the bathroom at school—thus, shifting this routine—try to get things back on track with a potty-time calendar that allows your kids to mark when they've used the restroom each day.
At the end of the week, if your kids are regularly going #2, both at home and at school, plan to have a special prize waiting for them..
This might include:
- A family movie night [pssst! They get to pick the film, too]
- Dinner at their favorite restaurant [or favorite homemade meal]
- A trip to the playground, museum, or park
- A sleepover
- A new book or toy
3) Help Your Kids Stay Regular
Part of helping our kids go #2 with ease is ensuring their diets consist of a healthy blend of fiber, water, and other essential nutrients to aid in the passing of stool.
At Doolies, we can help you break the cycle of occasional constipation. By offering delicious, bite-size snacks that contain powerful p-fruits and fiber from Psyllium Husk, our products promote healthy digestion.
When taken daily with water, our snacks deliver the real-fruit ingredients your kids need paired with the chewy textures and flavors they love to help them go #2 regularly.
They spend less time sitting around and more time getting back to playing with their new friends.
Believe it or not, one reason kids avoid going poop at school is simply because they have better things to do. Going to the lavatory when the rest of the class is painting, building, or just playing outside can feel like you're missing out.
With Doolies, your kids have better control over their digestion, which means they don't need to worry about sitting around and missing all the fun. Instead, they can go #2 with ease and get back to being a kid.
Make Potty Time a Party Time with Doolies
If kids are avoiding restrooms in favor of holding in their bowel movements until they get home, it's fair to say they'll continue this behavior as adults.
Therefore, if you're ready to break the cycle and help your kids realize that going #2 is no big whoop, it's time to try Doolies. Because when potty time is easy and comfortable, it feels more natural and less stressful.
For a great snack that keeps up with your kid's digestive needs, Doolies has you covered!