Should we use laxatives to help our constipated child get through potty training?

Should we use laxatives to help our constipated child get through potty training?

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Constipation makes for difficult and painful bowel movements, a complication that a toddler in the midst of potty training can do without. But before you use laxatives or stool softeners — which you shouldn't give a child anyway without the express recommendation of his pediatrician or family doctor — try altering his diet first. Fiber-rich foods such as such as whole-grain breads, broccoli, and cereal can help keep him regular. A good rule of thumb is that children should eat enough grams of fiber to equal their age plus five (for example, a 4-year-old needs 9 grams of fiber each day). And this is not as daunting as it sounds — an apple has 4 grams of fiber; a packet of instant oatmeal has 3. It's also best if the fiber is distributed equally among all three of your toddler's daily meals, rather than eaten all at once. Make sure, also, that he's getting adequate fluids: Water, diluted fruit juices, and prune juice are good choices. And be careful not to give your child too many dairy products.

If, after modifying his diet, your toddler's still constipated, you may want to consider giving him a teaspoonful of pure honey each morning to help to soften his stools (make sure to check with his pediatrician first). Honey is a mild natural laxative that can be given without the recommendation of a healthcare provider (but never give it to a baby younger than one year — babies are at risk of getting botulism). If nothing else works, consult your child's pediatrician.

Once your child is having regular, soft, formed stools, give him some time to gain confidence that he can poop easily without straining or pain. It can take weeks, sometimes months, for a child to get over having had painful bowel movements, and he's likely to be anxious about trying to poop on the potty until his memory of this experience fades. When he seems ready to resume training, keep track of when he has bowel movements to see whether there's any pattern to them. If you can tell that it's about time for him to go, you can encourage him to sit on the toilet. Once he poops on the potty successfully a few times, he'll be well on his way to being trained.

Watch the video: Gut Health - Ben Warrens top 10 tips for a healthy gut. (November 2022).

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