Back to School Pooping Tips

posted August 2, 2017

by Kristin Struble, MD, FAAP
Pediatrician and Author
“How to be a Poop Detective”

 

America’s kids are heading back to school. Yay!!!!  Summertime often means going to bed late, sleeping in late, eating junk food, drinking sweet drinks, traveling to fun places and all-in-all messing with healthy diets and bathroom habits. Therefore, lots of kids and adults for that matter, need to hit the reset button once school starts. 

Time to get back into a routine which means reestablishing good eating, sleeping and a healthy bathroom ritual.  

Our body does better with a good night’s sleep, eating a healthy breakfast and attempting to go poop before we are off to school and work.  In fact, our brain sends a signal to our gut to poop shortly after we eat breakfast.  This is called the Gastrocolic reflex. If we establish the routine of listening to our bodies, we will feel lighter during the day and our brains and bodies will function better.  

This routine also helps us avoid a very common and consequential issue amongst many school age kids where instead of listening to their bodies urge to go, they hold their poop inside. The result, over time this can stretch the colon and interrupt the body’s natural propulsion or movement of poop out of the body which can then lead to constipation.  

The longer the stool is held in the colon the more it dries out, which makes the problem even bigger. This typically will lead to frequent stomachaches even to the point where some kids and adults end up in the emergency room. They often think they have appendicitis when, in fact, their “pipes” are clogged, stretched and need to be cleaned out.  I like to analogize your intestinal tract to your sink’s pipes as I do in my book. Both can become clogged and both can require a clean-out to resume proper flow.

Therefore, much like the kitchen sink, if you put the right stuff down your “drain” making sure to keep a steady flow by listening to your body and using the Squatty Potty for the final push out, you won’t have stretched out clogged pipes.  

So, what is a good, healthy breakfast comprised of and how do we know our diet is healthy overall? Well, most of the time our body directs us to these answers by what our poop behaves like.

I highlight these characteristics in my book discussing what I call the 5 S’s. I tell my patients all the time that they must be good poop detectives making sure that they pay attention to the 5 S’s and telling their parents if they have poop problems.  

The 5 Ss

The 5 S’s

Their clues: Shape, Soft, Sink, Shape and Shoot

Shape – logs, hot dogs, snakes – NOT tiny meatballs, rabbit poop, baseballs, footballs

Soft– not hard 

Sink– it should mostly sink

Shade– brown-not black, not red

Shoot– you should sit on the toilet, and with Squatty Potty’s help, it should “shoot” out. No straining, no pain, no need to push for several minutes. 

 

If you or your child’s poop isn’t behaving like the 5’s, you might have a problem.  

The root of the cause most often is DIET.

So, back to a “healthy” breakfast.

Drink water first, during and after meals. No animal milks.  The only animal milk that is good for us comes from humans, not other animals.  Cow’s milk makes our guts unhappy, unhealthy and constipates us.  The good bacteria in our guts hate it.  It causes a war in there!  Really, dairy (cow’s milk, goat’s, yogurt, cheese, ice cream) in general should be limited or not consumed at all.

Don’t worry. Your bones won’t crumble without them. You will get plenty of calcium if your gut is healthy because a happy gut absorbs nutrients better and can even make vitamins and minerals.

A healthy gut comprised of a healthy balance of bacteria (microbiome), is directly influenced by our diet. Cow’s milk does not make it happy/balanced. It angers and inflames it!

Drink water, not juice!  Eat foods from Mother Nature, not from plastic wraps or bags. Chew fresh fruits rather than drink them. Vegetables, eggs, lean meats, legumes, etc.  If you need sweet, steel-cut oatmeal with cinnamon and a little real maple syrup or honey with tons of fresh fruit would be a good healthful choice.

Avoid the processed food choices: cereal bars, granola bars, pizza, lunch meat, “itos”-Doritos, Fritos and Cheetos, and no “ades”-Gatorade, Powerade, Koolade, no juice, no soda.

WATER!! Make sure your kids can bring their water into the cafeteria at lunch. If not, they will be given choices like  juice or cow’s milk – white, strawberry, or chocolate.

Drinking water and listening to your body’s cues to poop will prevent constipation. Adding the Squatty Potty toilet stool, will likely assure you and your family will be expert poopers and live happier and healthier lives! 

Be poop detectives, eat and drink healthy and use the Squatty Potty to eliminate your perfect poop!!! 

 

 

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