If you’ve managed to navigate your way through the tears, plastic potties and public toilet emergencies of toilet training you might think that toilet troubles were all behind you! For some children, this is absolutely true and you may come to miss the daily if not hourly family discussions about size, shape and frequency of their latest toilet tale. But, for many children even after toilet training, pooping can be a hot topic!
Every child is different so don’t assume your child is constipated if they don’t use their bowels every day. Some will have several bowel movements a day while others may only go once every couple of days.
According to the Royal Childrens’ Hospital classic poo brown represents a healthy bowel movement. Of course, there is a colour palette within that brown and this is strongly influenced by your child’s diet. Eating a lot of dark green leafy vegetables can colour poop a bright green whilst foods with high beta carotene (such as carrots) provides an orange hue but generally to alter colour dramatically your child we have to be eating a very large volume of it.
Very dark or very light poop and any blood within a stool should be discussed with your health care professional.
Not surprisingly, this depends heavily on how much food your child consumes and how often they tend to go. More frequency tends to equal smaller volume on each visit.
Ideally, for a child eating a normal diet, their poop should be formed but not hard. Food they’ve eaten should be fully digested by the time it turns into waste – if it appears it isn’t then you might want to consider removing it from their diet and try again when they are a little older.
You will know what is normal for your child and if things don’t seem to be running smoothly, here’s a few things to look out for.
Always consult your health care professional with any concerns regarding your childs health.
There are things you can do to help keep your child’s digestive system happy and healthy once you have established that there is nothing more serious occurring.
Water helps keep their poop soft and therefore easy to pass. Check out the table below for the recommended daily fluid intake for children and adolescents.
You may not know that the human body cannot actually digest fibre and it passes through the human body relatively unchanged. But, fibre helps bulk up poop, adding size and weight at the same time as softening it. This helps their little gut pass it through more easily.
Great sources of fibre include:
Get them moving to help get it moving – exercise is great for encouraging intestinal contractions and bowel movements. Try a walk to the park or a treasure hunt in your back yard.
Healthy happy toilet habits
If your child has only just become an independent toileter it can really help regularity by establishing the right habits. You might want to try encouraging them to:
Adult sized toilets can be a little daunting for small children so make sure they have a child seat and step. Kids need to see that they can do it themselves and be reassured they wont actually fall into the toilet!
Don’t forget, constipation is very common and approximately one third of children will experience it.