We have all been there, sitting in the bathroom with our toddlers, wishing it would be easy to go to the bathroom! But sometimes kids get constipated, it happens to everyone. For a child, constipation can be more than just uncomfortable—it is scary!
Just when you think you have potty training down, you hit a wall. Out come the remaining diapers you had put away and you feel like you have just gone back a month to start all over again. Once your child has experienced constipation, or any kind of painful washroom experience, it can take up to a month before they are comfortable enough to get back on the potty again.
Don’t worry, there is a simple solution to constipation and you can be back on track with potty training within a week.
What is Constipation?
Constipation refers to the compactness of the stools and the difficulty passing them (motility); whereas many people believe that it is how often you go, i.e. frequency. Just because you pass stool once a day to once every three days does not mean you are not constipated.
The problem with constipation in children is that they have a tendency to hold it in because they are afraid to go to the washroom. Holding it in causes stool to become hard and dry out, making it even more painful to pass and creating a circle of discomfort and bathroom fears.
Doctor Visit Tips for Your Child’s Constipation
The first question your doctor asks at a wellness checkup is how are your child’s stools? But I have found if you say they are regular, without knowing what is “regular”, your doctor moves on to the next question. But actually, constipation has to do with the consistency of the stools as well. If you have very hard or ball-like poop, you are considered constipated. These types can be very painful to pass and can make your child feel very uncomfortable.
Signs of Healthy Poop
Dr. Sears has a great poop chart to help you get the scoop on comfortable poo. This chart gets the conversation started with our kids and gives adults some much needed insight on what a ‘regular’ poop looks like.
Tips to Treat Your Child’s Constipation
Once your child has experienced constipation, or any kind of painful washroom experience, it can take a lot of convincing to get them back in the washroom. So what do we do?
Remove food that gunk up their system, these are:
- Too many bananas
You get the idea—things that are white and things that come in a box! Start adding in more of these:
- Green vegetables – the darker the better
- Fruit – berries, pears, melon and oranges
- Peas, beans and pulses
Encourage your child to go right away:
- Set a timer if needed to remind your child to go to the washroom
- Keep some books or toys in a bin in the washroom
- Read a body book to show your child their digestive system and why they should not hold their stool
- Go for a walk
- Go swimming
- Have a dance party in the living room
- Play tag as a family
When we start adding high fiber foods into our diets and increase our water intake, our digestive tract will thank us. But while our kids’ bodies start to get back on track, adding a simple and natural supplement to your child’s diet can speed up the process. We use a prebiotic fiber with added probiotics in our house to help keep us regular. Prebiotic fiber is the food for the probiotics, the good bacteria in our gut. Prebiotics help your gut by increasing the ‘good’ guys. Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into gel during digestion. Allowing for a smooth passage of stool. Once your child feels more comfortable in the washroom they will be back in the washroom and will say NO to diapers.
Prebiotic Fiber Supplements
Prebiotic fiber is food for the healthy bacteria in our gut. A healthy gut helps keep things moving to help us stay regular. We use a prebiotic fiber supplement called Regular Girl daily. Regular Girl is an odorless, tasteless powder that mixes clear into water. We put a scoop into the water bottle and out the door we go. Regular Girl helps us drink more water and keeps us regular— because no one has a perfect diet and some days we need more help than others. This goes for the entire family. As parents, we watch what our children eat and strive to feed them healthy whole foods, but sometimes we forget about ourselves. We can always use a little extra help.
Regular Girl gives 5 grams of fiber in every scoop and is licensed by Health Canada for age one and up—truly the whole family. Regular Girl is gluten free, vegan, kosher certified, low FODMAP, improves absorption of minerals, helps food move at the right pace through your intestinal tract and is USDA organic. But most importantly it is easy to take and it works fast!
Reminder About Potty Training
Keep in mind, we never want our children to feel bad for having accidents or needing to use a diaper for a few days or even weeks. Do you remember the last time you drank a large coffee and then had no washroom in sight? Be kind to your little ones during this learning phase.