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Tips and resources for parents on successful potty training methods.

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WebMD Expert Discussion: Poop Problems: The Hard Truth of Constipation

Potty training is sometimes a battle of wills between a parent and a stubborn toddler, but occasionally, constipation can also cause a child to resist using the potty. If constipation causes discomfort during bowel movements, it can complicate your efforts to potty train your child.

WebMD guest parenting expert Laura Jana, MD, notes that a toddler will usually not have the words to tell you if he’s constipated. Watch for signs of crankiness, lack of appetite, backsliding in toilet training progress -- and surprisingly, diarrhea.

If your child is constipated, how can you help?

  • Don’t press the matter. Be sympathetic to your child's problem -- not critical or harsh.
  • Help soften stools by giving your child fiber-rich foods and fewer constipating food items like cheese, bananas, and excess milk.
  • If constipation continues, see your child’s pediatrician.

If a child is constipated, refusal to use the potty ceases being the behavior of a toddler in the midst of the "terrible twos." Instead, using the potty becomes a scary and sometimes painful process. It makes sense if you think about it from a

toddler's viewpoint; why would you want to poop if it hurts?

Has your child's potty training progress ever been sidetracked by a bout of constipation? What did you do to improve the situation? Share your experiences with other parents in the WebMD Parenting Community.

Discussion led by Laura Jana, MD Guest Expert
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Guest Expert What is a guest expert?

Laura Jana, MD, is an accomplished parenting advisor and child health advocate, a proud mother of three, and an Omaha-based pediatrician. More

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