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June 2019

"Potty Talk" and Toilet Training

Before initiating potty or toilet training it is important that parents be comfortable with "potty talk." Most parents are uncomfortable talking about poop. They are also uncomfortable when their children talk about poop. Unfortunately, when families do not talk about poop, children are more likely to be slow to toilet train and to become constipated. My book, Softy the Poop: Helping Families Talk About Poop, addresses both of these potential problems by facilitating healthy parent-child conversations about poop. Toilet training is easier and constipation can be avoided if parents and children are comfortable talking about poop before toilet training begins


Fiber, Liquid and Encopresis

One of the most common misconceptions about encopresis (functional constipation) even among healthcare specialists, is that it is caused by not eating enough fiber and/or not drinking enough liquid. The truth is that diets low in dietary fiber or liquid do not cause functional constipation. Functional constipation (encopresis) is caused by stool withholding and subsequent rectal distention. However, for prevention, fiber-rich diets are recommended for all children, especially for those who have a history of occasional or functional constipation.

Dietary sources of fiber contain both soluble and and insoluble fiber (see Chapter 17 in my book for the important differences between the two.) For children, the daily amount of fiber recommended is the age of the child plus five grams.  The recommended liquid consumption from all sources for children 1-8 years of age is 4 to 5 cups (32 to 40 fluid ounces) a day.