It's a common but vicious cycle. When a child is scared to use the bathroom, they hold their poop in and subsequently become constipated, so it hurts when it finally does come out. The pain creates fear so they hold it again, and the cycle is repeated over and over. In their Note to Parents and Caregivers, A Feel Better Book for Little Poopers authors, Holly Brochmann and Leah Bowen, provide encouragement and tips for children who struggle with bowel movements. Here's an excerpt: The fear is real Children of potty-training age have been wearing a diaper since the very moment they were born. The transition to sitting on a cold, hard chair in a position that is often not advantageous for the release of the bowels can be not only scary, but physically difficult. When they do go, it feels strange to them, and it becomes and experience they are not eager to repeat. The fear can be even more intense for older children who have had painful movements in the past. You don't want to go in the potty like you should— you're worried and scared that it won't feel good. As a caregiver, it is important to provide comfort, compassion, and patience during this learning process and understand that it might take longer than advertised with potty training. It is also very helpful to acknowledge what they are going through, but provide assurance that it will get better. For example you can say, "You're new at this and it just takes time." Or "I know it hurt last time and you're scared it's going to hurt again, but together we will practice some new things to try that can help." The situation impacts your child's life and your family's When your child is afraid of having bowel movements, avoids them by holding it in, and then finally has to have one which ends up being painful, it validates their fears. In between these avoided bowel movements, the child becomes very uncomfortable and grouchy—in some cases they miss out on playtime, family outings, or school activities. But there really isn't a way to force your child to go. This is extremely frustrating for caregivers, and it often leads to putting pressure on your child to go. But pressuring your child or shaming them for feeling scared will only intensify the fear, making matters worse. Instead, you can reflect their feelings with gentle statements such as, "You're worried it will hurt, but it doesn't feel good holding it in either." Or "Listen to your body, and when you're ready to give it a try, I'll be here with you." Listening to your body can help There can be an internal struggle when the child knows they need to go to the bathroom and sit and try, but their fear stops them. This is why it helps to talk to the child about listening to your body's signals, and how, by paying attention, you can give your body what it needsRead More
About Holly BrochmannHolly Brochmann is an advocate for managing common mental health issues through therapy and exercise. She has a degree in journalism and enjoys creative writing both as a hobby and as a primary part of her career in public relations. Holly lives in McKinney, Texas.
Sadness is normal. You will make it through! But while you are waiting there are things you can do. Everyone feels sad sometimes. There are lots of ways to cope with sad feelings, and your sad feelings won't last forever. Hear author, Holly Brochmann read this rhyming story about feeling sad and ways to feel better!Read More
...do you feel troubled and perhaps a bit funny, like butterflies are fluttering around in your tummy? Is your heart beating fast like it's in a big hurry? If your answer is yes, you might have a worry. If you are feeling worried or anxious, this story can help you understand your feelings AND show you ways to feel better! Author Leah Bowen reads A Feel Better Book for Little Worriers and provides tips for creating a "Feel Better Box."Read More