Seeing your little one in pain or discomfort is never easy, especially when they complain of not being able to go to the bathroom properly. Constipation is common and will happen to most children at some point.
There are plenty of reasons why it might be happening, and also loads of things you can do to help them go back to pooping like normal.
What is constipation?
Constipation is the infrequent passing of poo with pain and discomfort, usually with hard and dry stools. It’s not a question of how often your child is going to the bathroom, but more if they are unable to pass bowel movements and when they do they are dry and hard. They might come to you complaining about tummy pain, it hurting when they go to the bathroom or you may notice them visibly avoiding the toilet.
What causes constipation?
- Not drinking enough water
- Not eating enough solids
- Lack of fibre in their diets
- Pain from a possible tear near their anus making it hurt too much to use the bathroom
- Not getting enough exercise
- If they get too busy and ignore the urge to go to the bathroom
- Fear or issue with bathrooms from the smell or lack of privacy
There are plenty of stories where kids avoid using the bathroom out of discomfort or uneasiness. If so, there are a few things you can to help them:
- Setting up a regular toilet routine will give them some structure and normalise bathroom time.
- Motivation and encouragement will make them want to go more often
- Take them for a walk and start helping them to exercise more
- Add more fibre to their diets with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables (pears, apples and prunes are a good start)
- Increase how much water they drink
- Cut out foods that are known to increase constipation like bananas, milk and cheese
If these solutions work or your little one complains of serious pain, reach out to your doctor. If it is serious they may suggest the use of a laxative which will move the process along faster or stool softeners or fibre supplements might also be recommended if the problem persists.
Your little one will probably suffer from constipation from time to time, but it is easily treatable and very common. Helping them get back on track with their bowel movements and they’ll get back to feeling comfortable in the bathroom again.