How to Prevent (and Treat) Potty Training Constipation

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How to Prevent (and Treat) Potty Training Constipation
Written by:
Michelle D. Swaney
November 18, 2021

How to Prevent (and Treat) Potty Training-related Constipation Naturally

1) What They Eat Matters

There are oh-so-many foods we put into our bodies these days many of which are "foods" that wouldn't even be recognizable to generations past, and often which contain ingredients we can't even pronounce.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) published by the National Institute of Health, the recommended fiber in-take for a child of one to three-years-old is 19 grams per day.

So, what does that practically mean, or look like? Here's both a pictorial view and each of the portions are listed below. Try them raw, or cooked according to the suggestions below. You can get them fresh, or canned. Your food choices for your child matter. Many a picky eater has potty training issues because of fibrous foods continually lacking in their diet.

Foods to prevent potty training constipation. The Potty School
Foods to prevent potty training constipation.

2) You Have Options

Are you up for natural methods or are you wanting to cut to the chase and pursue pharmaceutical options?

We can choose from natural and pharmaceutical options. For most common issues with potty training constipation a simple change in diet, water intake and habits can help treat many of the issues. There are exceptional cases of constipation that warrant the necessity of medical intervention.

Natural remedies for potty training constipation. The Potty School
Natural remedies for potty training constipation

Natural Methods: 

A) Water for the Win

Natural remedies for the treatment of potty training-induced constipation include increasing the amount of fiber your child eats. Increasing healthy fats can help and also making sure they are hydrated. Hydration doesn't just take the form of cups and cups of water. You will get far more hydration from a slice of watermelon than you will from a handful of Cheerios, and more from pineapple than you will from a cracker. Choose your foods wisely. Treat water-based and fibrous foods as your first line of defense "medicine" for treating constipation.*

*The Potty School always suggests you consult your child's pediatrician for any medical concerns you may have as we are not medical doctors. But, we do talk potty training all the day long.

B) Recipes that Impact Success

Choose recipes that contain the ingredients you are looking for. Here's a sample breakfast you and your little can share on a fall or winter's morning. It's warm and cozy and screams - yummy! And, if you serve yourself, enjoy a bite and then offer some to your child, they are far more likely to enjoy breakfast along with you. Kids are culprits too. "The grass is always greener on the other side", or in this case plate. How many times has your kiddo asked for food off of your plate. Let's start, and continue, potty training on a fun note by sharing breakfast together!

Not only does sharing a meal (this one in particular) help with preventing and treating constipation, but it also builds a bond with your child. Being able to sit eye-to-eye and enjoy something together as simple as oatmeal does wonders for when you are tell them to do something later in the day. Your happy, cheerful attitude now helps your child to be willing to go along with your other suggestions throughout the day. It's not a matter of manipulation, it's a matter of trust and contentment. Kiddos (and I as well), would rather listen to someone with whom they have shared, positive experiences.

Potty training breakfast oats recipe. The Potty School
Potty training breakfast oats

Medical Options

A) Miralax

It seems to be the pediatric medical go-to for childhood constipation. But, did you know that Miralax isn't even approved by the FDA for pediatric use?

"Similar to many commonly used medications, the use of Miralax (PEG 3350) is approved by FDA for adults only, due to lack of clinical trials in children. Its metabolism and long-term use in children are being studied." Full article here.

B) More Extensive Medical Testing

There are several medical test that are typically saved for more severe cases of constipation, they include, but are not limited to:

  • "Abdominal X-ray. This standard X-ray test allows your child's doctor to see if there are any blockages in your child's abdomen.
  • Anorectal manometry or motility test. In this test, a thin tube called a catheter is placed in the rectum to measure the coordination of the muscles your child uses to pass stool.
  • Barium enema X-ray. In this test, the lining of the bowel is coated with a contrast dye (barium) so that the rectum, colon and sometimes part of the small intestine can be clearly seen on an X-ray.
  • Rectal biopsy. In this test, a small sample of tissue is taken from the lining of the rectum to see if nerve cells are normal.
  • Transit study or marker study. In this test, your child will swallow a capsule containing markers that show up on X-rays taken over several days. Your child's doctor will analyze the way the markers move through your child's digestive tract.
  • Blood tests. Occasionally, blood tests are performed, such as a thyroid panel." Further information about these tests can be found here.

All-in-all there are numerous ways to deal with and prevent constipation. Most are very common sense. Eat things that make your child poop regularly (fibrous foods), give them plenty of hydration (water and water-dense foods), and give them the opportunity to poop. You can't expect them to get it done in a minute, so give them time do grow the rythm and get into the groove of what you want the new normal to be.

Potty training can deal with ongoing issues, and be frustrating. We at The Potty School understand that. We'd love to help. We offer ongoing support via our Diapers to Flush membership site. Check-out our Potty Training section of our menu for more info!

Ongoing Potty Training Support: Diapers-to-Flush Membership The Potty School
Ongoing Potty Training Support: Diapers-to-Flush by The Potty School

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