I know, I know, POOP. The word is hilarious to my 5 year old. He dissolves into giggles if someone dare utter those four little letters. But wouldn’t you know it– poop is more than just a funny word, it’s actually a great indicator of your child’s current level of health. Here’s the lowdown on what your child’s poop is telling you.
How many times should my child POOP each day?
The number of daily bowel movements varies for each child, but generally kids make 1-3 trips to the toilet and often will poop after they eat. Stool transit time is usually 12-24 hours from top to (literal) bottom.
Identifying your POOP: The Basics.
The Brown Banana: Medium brown in color and formed into a C or S shape, healthy poop passes regularly and easily. These poops don’t smell like roses, but they aren’t terribly stinky either. If you see a lot of brown bananas in the toilet bowl, rest assured your child pooping well.
The RUNS: Diarrhea means the body is trying to expel something quickly. Diarrhea is an acute symptom, NOT an ongoing disease. If your child is experiencing a bout of diarrhea he may have ingested a problem food, or his body is trying to get rid of a microbe or infection. This condition is usually short lived and it’s best to keep your child hydrated and near a toilet. If your child has continuous diarrhea, visit a holistic health care provider to investigate the cause. Your child might be suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity, celiac disease, infection or parasite. Make sure you repopulate the gut with good bacteria either from a probiotic or fermented foods after the diarrhea has resolved.
Loosey Goosey: Bowel movements that are loosely formed are a signal that food is moving too fast through the colon. This type of stool often shows pieces of undigested food and varies in color. If loose stools are a chronic condition for your child (instead of an acute bout of diarrhea) it may be caused by: low stomach acid, food sensitivities/ allergies, or a chronic low level infection or parasite. See a holistic health practitioner to find the root cause of loosey goosey stools.
All Balled Up: When stool sits in the colon too long, water is reabsorbed back through the intestinal wall and the stool becomes small and hard. If your child is passing dark brown balls or small pellets into the toilet make sure you address this condition promptly! Reasons for this type of stool include; imbalanced gut flora, stress, low fiber intake, food allergy/sensitivity, dehydration, or parasite. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, eats a well-balanced diet with probiotic-rich foods and fiber, and takes time to relax when visiting the toilet. If hard stools don’t resolve with diet and lifestyle changes, consider visiting a holistic health practitioner for further testing.
Shades of White: Stool that is lighter in general color, is white, or has a greenish tint could mean the body has been exposed to refined/processed/damaged fat OR has ingested too much natural fat and the gallbladder (the organ that releases bile to emulsify fat) isn’t able to properly digest it. If you see light colored stools in the toilet often, watch your child’s processed fat intake and perhaps get a gallbladder check if they don’t resolve with dietary changes.
The Toxic Toilet: Poop that is dark, dark brown, sinks to the bottom of the bowl (generally) and is SUPER stinky is a sign you’re looking at toxic poop. Dark, compacted, smelly poop means your child is ingesting too many processed foods, chemicals (from non-organic food, personal care products and the environment) and needs a dietary reset. Focus on fresh, organic, whole foods (as much as possible) and learn about greening your living space to lower your child’s toxic load. If these changes seem overwhelming, consider working with a holistic nutritionist to create manageable change.
Signs you should see a health care practitioner promptly? If your child’s stools contain blood or mucus.
What’s your POOP telling YOU?