Bowel movements are always harder.
…. allow me to rephrase.
Bowel movements are always MORE DIFFICULT.
People usually tell me that their dog has the urination thing pegged but still leaves little brown presents in surprising places.
That’s because they happen less often. A normal dog might defecate only once or twice a day, while a it will happily squat or lift its leg every two feet, long after the bladder has been emptied.
It’s the same with toddlers.
Our son was completely potty trained pee-wise within a couple of days.
(At least, while awake. Nearly a year later, he still tends to pee in his sleep, which is different from dogs, who never pee in their sleep at all unless they have some kind of hormonal imbalance.)
But poops were a different story.
Since they were less frequent, he had a much weaker reward history when it came to doing them on the potty. He also tended to do most of his bowel movements at daycare, where they insisted on pull-ups. (I will explain my hatred of the pull up as a training tool in a different post, as this post isn’t big enough to contain ALL THE HATRED.)
There was also a fairly traumatic incident where he had an accident in his stupid pull up and it went all over the floor and the young helper was horrified and I think they over-corrected him for it.
Over correction is a problem.
When someone terrifies the living bejeebers out of a dog, we call that over-correction. It’s the sign that you’ve gone too far. The most notable symptom is that the dog shows fear of the whole training process, which should never happen.
When your puppy or child has an accident, you want to interrupt it, redirect the the appropriate location, and then encourage a success. You don’t want to make them think that they have just utterly failed at life.
But when my son had a breakdown over a poop accident the next weekend, I suspected that this is exactly what had happened at his daycare.
Your puppy should not cringe with horror after having an accident, and your child should not weep “Waaaah! My pooped! NO POOP DOWN DOWN!” after an accident.
In this situation, simply and calmly redirect to the correct location and look for the slightest sign of success to try and build their confidence of the whole process.
You need to build up a strong motivation to overcome the fear of failure.
So we took a trip to the dollar store. We bought a small zoo of plastic animals of questionable quality. We placed them in a glass vase on a high shelf.
Those were POOPING TOYS.
A bowel movement in the underwear was OKAY, but would not result in a toy. On the other hand, a poop in the potty, well… that would be amazing.
There were no more poop accidents after that.
Even after the toys ran out.