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  • By Steve Hodges, M.D.

What You Need to Know About Your Child's Poop

Do you know if your child is pooping pellets, logs, or bumpy sausages? You should!

Because those variations of poop, all of them firm and formed, indicate a child is constipated.

If, on the other hand, child’s poop resembles mushy blobs, thin snakes, or soft-serve ice cream, all is well. Pudding, a fresh cow patty, hummus — all good, too!

What many parents don’t realize is that the consistency of poop is a far more reliable indicator of constipation than frequency. (Poop size is helpful, too; XXL toilet-cloggers are a big red flag.)

Parents often assume that children who poop daily are not constipated. Google “constipation” and you’ll find the most common definition is “having a bowel movement less than 3 times per week.”

But this definition misleading! Many severely constipated kids poop daily, so frequency isn’t what to look for.

Monitoring your child’s poop, whether it’s delivered to the toilet or a diaper, may not be your idea of fun, but it’s an important parenting job at virtually all stages: in the diaper years, during potty training, and — especially — once potty training is complete. With many kids, poop surveillance during the school-age years is necessary, too. Our free, downloadable chart, How’s Your Poop?, can help your family distinguish healthy poop from poop that signals a child’s pipes are clogged. Print it out, post it on your child’s bathroom wall, and instruct your children to examine their poops and compare it to the pictures. Even better, read Jane and the Giant Poop with your kids!


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Must-read books for kids by Steve Hodges, M.D.

• Bedwetting and Accidents Aren't Your Fault

• Jane and the Giant Poop


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