When our children are babies, it’s so easy to keep track of their digestive health and help them when they’re having issues. As much as parents joke about the horrors of changing babies’ diapers, the truth is that when your baby is an infant, his or her diaper is one of the best indicators as to whether or not something is wrong with your baby. As your baby ages, things get a little bit more complicated, mostly because children don’t really want to talk about their digestive issues. I can only imagine how difficult it can be to help them when they are teenagers!
My children are eight and three, so I still have a relatively easy time. But, we do deal with a bit of digestive issues with our three-year-old, who often suffers from constipation. Having just been potty trained for less than a year, it’s still difficult for him to verbalize when he needs to go potty for a bowel movement. We do periodically encourage him to try, but any parent of a toddler/preschooler knows that you can’t force a child of this age when it comes to using the potty; there’s a fine technique to potty training. Because of this, we employ a few tricks to help him be a bit more regular and ease his digestive issues. While you should always consult with your child’s pediatrician if your son or daughter is suffering from constipation and I am by no means a doctor, I have found these tips to help my three-year-old have bowel movements 2-3 times a week versus just once a week like he used to. Here’s what we do.
5 Tips from a Mom for Helping Your Toddler with Constipation
(*Always Consult Your Child’s Pediatrician)
- Provide Your Toddler with Lots of Water: It’s pretty much known that drinking water regularly helps your digestive system.
- Give Him Prune Juice Every 2-3 Days: I’ve found that prune juice every few days seems to help him have a bowel movement, so I especially have him drink some when it’s been a few days.
- Have Him Eat Mango: According to the National Mango Board, just one cup of mango has 12% of your daily fiber needs. Since eating foods rich in fiber is important for digestive health, it makes sense that mango would help. Mango is one of our favorite fruits in our house, which is why it works for my toddler – whether eating the fruit itself or mixing it into a smoothie, mango may just help!
- Encourage Him to Try Using the Potty: Reminding and encouraging your toddler to use the potty periodically is important. Sometimes simply having my son sit on the potty at the right time helps, which in turn helps him make the connection that his belly feels better because he used the potty.
- Talk and Joke About It: I find that my toddler needs to know all this is normal, so we don’t shy away from talking about using the potty. The more we talk about it and even bring humor into the topic, the more matter of fact it becomes for him and the less “weird” it seems. We constantly remind him that everyone in the family uses the potty and it’s a perfectly routine part of being a person. We even read books about it – like the famous Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi!
The team at OTCSafety has a comprehensive article covering symptoms of common stomach problems, including not just constipation, but heartburn as well. It also has information on over-the-counter remedies you can use for treating constipation, such as laxatives (did you know there are 4 types?), and other treatments. As always, when using over-the-counter medications and treatments, be sure to read the label for proper dosing and usage instructions. This is especially important if you have little ones!
For easy sharing and reminders, much of the information on symptoms of stomach problems has been converted into this handy infographic. Feel free to share with your friends and family and pin for future reference! (Click on infographic image to view full size.)
Facts About & Tips for Dealing with Children’s Tummy Troubles
Do you find it difficult to get your children to talk about their digestive issues?
Photo: Jay Ryness/Flickr
Infographic courtesy of OTCSafety