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Poop Formed Like Rabbit Pellets or Hard Logs: Signs of Constipation in Children

By Steve Hodges, M.D.

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, are red flags for constipation, suggesting the stool has been sitting in the rectum too long and drying out.

In reality, kids should be pooping out mushy blobs, thin snakes, or soft-serve ice cream. Pudding, a fresh cow patty, hummus — all are good signs, too.

What many parents don’t realize is that stool consistency is a more reliable indicator of chronic constipation than pooping frequency. Many children who poop every day are nonetheless constipated. They're just not fully evacuating, so poop piles up in the rectum, and parents are none the wiser. Hard, formed stool is one of the 12 signs of constipation in children.

Monitoring your child’s poop, whether it’s delivered to the toilet or a diaper, may not be your idea of fun but can save you and your child from years of difficulty in years to come. It's especially important right before, during, and after potty training. If your child is already constipated prior to training, both you and your child will find potty training highly frustrating. In addition, many children who were super poopers as babies become constipated during potty training.

Chronic constipation is the root cause of enuresis (bedwetting and daytime wetting), encopresis, and chronic urinary tract infections. You can prevent these conditions by treating constipation early.

The treatments I recommend for constipated babies and toddlers can be found in The Pre-M.O.P. Plan: How to Resolve Constipation in Babies and Toddlers and Overcome Potty-Training Struggles.

It's important to teach children what healthy poop looks like, so when they enter school, they can report signs of constipation to you.

Our free poop chart, How’s Your Poop?, can help your family distinguish healthy poop from poop that signals a child’s pipes are clogged. Post it on your child’s bathroom wall, and ask your child to examine their poop and compare it to the pictures. To reinforce this practice and make it more fun, read Jane and the Giant Poop with your child.

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