Potty training is not fun. What’s also not fun is when your sweet potty trained tot won’t poop because he can’t. Constipation affects many children, which can make those who are recently potty trained afraid to go or to even try. My boy has had a problem with constipation for some time, and we’re finally getting the hang of how to deal with it. There’s a fine line between getting your child’s digestive system working regularly, and putting it into overdrive. It’s a trial and error process, but in the end, your child learns that pooping doesn’t have to be scary or painful. Try these tips to get things moving with your little one the next time he’s a little backed up.
1. Offer Foods High In Fiber
Unfortunately, many high fiber foods are not a child’s first choice. But you’ve got to at least offer them. Luckily my little guy loves fruit, so it’s been easy to incorporate raisins, apples, and raspberries into his diet. If your child is more of a veggie person, you can try squash, Brussel sprouts or artichokes. If your child is like most others and won’t eat anything “healthy,” try foods like black beans, bran flakes, almonds or oatmeal. A well-balanced meal with plenty of healthy high fiber foods is the easiest way to combat constipation.
2. Have Fiber Bars Available
When your child’s diet is not enough to get the digestive system going, fiber bars are a great way to help. You can find several different kinds available in kid-friendly flavors, so most kids won’t resist when you offer one to them. Just be careful not to let your child eat too much in one sitting, as that can lead to an overactive bowel movement. It might take a few times to figure out what the right amount to give your child is, but this remedy definitely works.
3. Hydrate With Water
One of the things that can lead to constipation is dehydration. It’s important (whether your child is constipated or not) to keep your child hydrated on a regular basis. Water is the best thing for your child to drink, as juices and sodas have sugar that can prevent them from getting the hydration that they need. Adding in a few pieces of fruit to give the water a flavorful kick might make your child more inclined to fill up, and will add additional fiber content to help with constipation.
4. Avoid Sugary Foods
We already know that candy and sweets can lead to cavities and other health problems. They can also lead to constipation because of the high-fat content and refined carbohydrates they contain. Limit your child’s sugar intake and substitute with treats like fresh fruit that will aid in the digestive process.
5. Give Laxatives
As a last resort, there are always laxatives. You’ll find child-friendly ones that come in chewable tablets or pills for older children that they can swallow. There’s also Miralax, which is a powder that dissolves in liquid, so you can easily (and sneakily) mix it into your child’s drink. Rectal ones (those are not fun) can be used when all other efforts have not been successful. I say use this as a last resort since your child can become dependent on laxatives. Of course, if you just tell them that the pill is really a vitamin or a treat, you might have better luck. I always suggest talking to your pediatrician before trying laxatives with your child.
6. Help Your Child Relax
If your child is uptight or afraid when it comes to pooping, it will be even harder for him to go. When my son gets upset trying to push or is afraid it will hurt, I remind him to take a deep breath and relax so that it doesn’t hurt even more. Try to make light of the constipation situation and ease your child’s fears as much as possible. Remind them that everybody poops (in fact, there’s a book about it! You can find it through our affiliate link here) and that there is no rush to get it all out. Teach them a few breathing techniques to try or give them a book to look at while they’re sitting on the potty.