How do I begin Toilet Teaching?


Constipation is most often a factor in belated bowel control. A child who cries, screams, or kicks when urged to use the potty may be doing so because of the discomfort or pain experienced due to constipation. In this case, it is not stubbornness, but fear (real or imagined), that is keeping the child from doing what you ask and holding back. Some even believe there can be an inherited tendency towards constipation.

Constipation is NOT diagnosed by infrequency of bowel movements, but by the hardness and character of the stool. Dry BMs that don't stick to the diaper can be a description of constipation. And what may be considered hard to pass by adult standards is not the same for children. Whatever makes passing stool difficult or painful for a child will inhibit a child from wishing to repeat the procedure thus compounding the problem. Avoid suppositories and enemas as they will be seen as an " assault" by the child.

The first step in treating constipation -- actual or suspected -- is to change the child's diet.

• Decrease milk products (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.).1f a doctor recommends eliminating milk products for any length of time, a calcium supplement will probably be recommended.

• Decrease or eliminate apples, bananas, rice, and gelatin. These are binders. Opt for peaches, instead.

• Chocolate is a constipating food especially when consumed in quantity. Some medications are, too.

• Increase whole-grain breads, cereals, muffins, and any other bran foods. Try adding bran to other foods. If your child will only eat bran cereal with milk, and you're trying to cut down on milk, dilute the milk with water first. Offer graham crackers rather than soda crackers. Roughage helps.

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