Parenting

The Best Poop Books for Kids Who Hold That Sh*t In

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Poop books teach toddlers that everybody poops and can help them along with the process. If you have a potty-trained kid who struggles with pooping, you’re not alone. Holding in poop is super common in toddlers and young kids, and while it’s a crappy frustration to deal with as parents, it’s pretty unbearable for kids, too.

Why is my child holding in their poop?

There are lots of different reasons why they might be holding in their poop, but more often than not, it has to do with control. Kids don’t have control over most of their existence, but they can certainly control when they push their poop out. Another common reason is that, quite simply, it can hurt. Releasing a bowel movement, especially a big one after constipation, can be a literal pain in the ass. (Check out these top-rated overnight diapers just in case the struggle becomes a little too real.)

According to Melissa Halas, a Pediatric Nutritionist, author of the Super Crew books, and fellow Mama — the struggle for some kids to poop, “often comes down to fiber, diet, exercise, sedentary behaviors, hydration, position, and stress,” says Halas. She broke down her explanation of potential (pooptential?) reasons in terms even we could understand.

Exercise and Technology: “One reason kids may not [poop regularly] is due to a lack of consistent exercise and movement, which gets the GI track going!” Halas explained. “More recently, kids have been superglued to their screens for both school and leisure, making sedentary behaviors a way of life. Yet, it’s recommended that children get at least one hour of exercise per day. On those jam-packed days, bust a move by breaking up exercise into 15+15+15+15 minutes segments! Run outside. Have a dance party. Kick a ball…The possibilities are endless!”

Stress: “Younger kids may use withholding potty time to maintain control, which can develop into a stubborn habit over time. Older kids may get stressed by the fear of gastrointestinal distress and therefore avoid going to the bathroom.”

Hydration: “An essential factor to keep bowel movements regular. As a rule of thumb, give your child the number of 8-ounce cups of water equivalent to her age + a little extra. For example, roughly a 4-year-old should drink four to five 8-ounce cups of water a day.”

What can I do to help move things along?

When the struggle is real for your kiddo, there are a few things parents can try. For one, Halas suggests giving them food with a natural laxative effect; things like prunes, dragon fruit, and kiwi! “Adding two kiwis to your diet a day can help stop the strain, increasing frequency, softness, and ease of movement,” Halas added.

A tip that’s useful for both kids and parents is to change your poop position. “Those little dangling legs are causing the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract to strain, creating unnecessary pressure and tension. Instead, prop them up with a step stool to make pooping easier! That goes for mom and dad too, it will lower your risk of diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.”

The biggest thing that could help your child’s urge to poop is their diet. Staying away from wrapped and pre-packaged foods — meaning try to keep their diet as natural and organic as possible. “To call it quits on wrappers, have fresh fruit, veggies, and whole grains ready to go for when hunger strikes,” says Halas. “Whole food snacks are jam-packed with nutrients, water, and fiber to help prevent constipation. To keep your kiddo’s gut (and butt) happy, pair these with low-fat dairy or fibrous plant-based foods like beans, nuts, or seeds. ”

Now trying to explain all of this to a toddler isn’t exactly a walk in the park. That’s where children’s poop books come in. We rounded up the best poop-themed books for kids that encourage them to stop holding it in, at least if they can help it. From books that help overcome pooping fears to stories that describe how the digestive system works, there’s something for every poop occasion (or lack thereof). BTW, we also have a round-up of poop toys that might also, you know, help things move along. (May we suggest the “gotta go” flamingo?)

Listen, parents: You’re doing your best to help your child overcome their hesitation with pooping. It’ll happen. Books can help, but if they don’t, you might want to consider a visit to the pediatrician for professional advice.

The Best Poop Books For Kids

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