What Your Child’s Poop Can Tell You
Dr. Annie Salsberg, ND
For parents looking to get a better handle on their toddler’s tummy health, the bathroom is a great place to start! Read on to learn more about constipation in toddlers and what to look for when it comes to poop.
What is toddler constipation?
Up to 30% of children experience constipation, so toddler constipation can be common. While there’s no single definition, the term generally describes uncomfortable tummy symptoms, with poops that are too hard, not frequent enough and/or painful to pass.
The Bristol Stool Chart is a useful poop visual guide for children eating solids; it’s divided into 7 categories. This chart provides one way to identify potential tummy troubles. Ideally, stools should resemble Types 3, 4 or 5; Types 1 and 2 may be associated with constipation.
How often is enough? Frequency can vary greatly and there is a lot of normal variation here: from 2-3 times per day, to twice per week. Most experts agree that poop consistency is more important than how often your little one goes.
In addition to keeping an eye on excessive strain when your little one is on the potty, ensure that your toddler’s belly is soft to the touch and painless with gentle pressure. Even if your child is pooping, a distended belly and tummy aches could be a signal that they aren’t completely emptying their bowels.
Toddler constipation remedies
No one likes seeing his or her little one struggle with uncomfortable tummy symptoms. To help ease toddler constipation symptoms, try increasing dietary fiber (toddlers should get 19g of fiber each day) and offer at least 2 cups of water daily. Also, start and end the day with a tummy rubfor your toddler. You’ll want to warm your hands by rubbing them together. And then, with firm, but gentle pressure, move your flat palm clockwise up and around the belly. And lastly, consider a 7-day diet diary to track tummy symptoms and identify a potential food trigger. If cow milk seems to be contributing to constipation in your toddler, swap it out for naturally easy to digest KABRITA Goat Milk Formula* and KABRITA Goat Milk Yogurt and Fruit* pouches.
It’s normal for poop to change (it may be affected by lots of factors!), but big changes may warrant working with a healthcare provider. By keeping an eye on your little one’s poop and the factors that may contribute to poop quality, parents can help support their little one’s tummy health and comfort.
Dr. Annie Salsberg is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and Senior Manager, Medical Engagement & Education, at KABRITA USA. Dr. Salsberg’s passion for nutrition and natural health, along with her experience as a mother of two, and educator of many, inspire her work and KABRITA’s mission to help parents and healthcare professionals with expert nutrition education.