Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

How often should my child be “pooping”?

This is a great question and one the worries most parents at some point in their child’s life.

We worry as new parents about the color and consistency of our children’s bowel movements because it seemingly can change overnight. As our child gets older, we still worry.

How much is enough, too little or too much pooping for children?

As with any medical condition, if you suspect an issue that is abnormal or causing concern, visit your physician as soon as possible.

Did you realize that there are a multitude of apps about your poop? There are some designed to track their frequency and other characteristics as well as marking the various locations across the globe where you’ve pooped. There are of course medical poop apps that help you diagnose a problem if you need more expert advice too.

Because the frequency of bowel movements in children (as in adults) varies greatly from one or more each day to every few days, the biggest factor to determine if there might be a problem is if your child’s pattern changes.

If they are going every day and suddenly go twice a week, there could be a problem to investigate.

If this change is accompanied by your child complaining of belly pain or hurting when they try to go number 2, it might be time to call the doctor.

Don’t give children laxative or enemas without prior approval from your pediatrician.

What parents can do to keep their children’s bowels moving regularly:

  1. Give your child plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and other sources of fiber including whole grains to help them have enough bulk to move the stool through the intestines.
  2. Along with adequate fiber, we all need enough fluid to keep the stool soft. Be sure your child is drinking water between meals whenever thirsty.
  3. Provide plenty of opportunities to stay physically active. Their intestines need to stay in shape too!
  4. If you suspect constipation, give prune juice and fruits such as apple or pear to help give relief in addition to plenty of water.

Constipation is a possibility for kids who aren’t getting enough fiber, fluid and activity. If your child experiences difficulty when pooping such as painful, dry, hard to pass poop, blood on the outside of the stool, or leaking between bowel movements, they could be experiencing constipation and need some relief.

If your child is being potty trained, they may be holding their stool known as stool retention. This and other causes for retention, such as waiting to be at home, can lead to constipation.

If they are constipated, it is time to give them more fiber, fluid and activity. If the condition persists, contact the pediatrician for further advice.

Establishing a regular toileting routine and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet will help you keep your child’s bowels regular.

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