4 Year Old With Constipation

by Annie B.
(PA)

4 Year Old With Constipation


My 4 year old gets constipated a lot. The big problem I have is she won't sit on the toilet for more than a minute...then she says it won't come out and gets up.


I tried everything to get her to sit on the toilet longer...books, games, even threatening time outs, and nothing works.


Any suggestions? It's hard to get her to have a BM when she won't stay on the toilet.






Hi Annie,

I feel for you. I know 4 year olds can be a real handful and difficult to get them to do what you want.


It seems like you have 2 issues. One is a 4 year old with constipation and the other is a power struggle. Although you're feeling like it is all one issue, it's not.


Let's talk about your 4 year old with constipation first. It's not unusual for young children to get constipation, especially if they are not drinking enough good water.


If your daughter is not used to drinking much water you will need to change her habits by cutting out other liquids and encouraging her to take a small drink every 30 minutes or so.


That would be one of the first challenges. You usually need to increase their fiber intake as well. If you haven't tried it yet, salba grain is a good option for helping to eliminate constipation in toddlers. My niece uses this for her little boy and it works like a charm.


Salba is tasteless, so it can be easily sprinkled on their breakfast cereal or mixed in yogurt or something else she enjoys eating. It's full of good Omega oils that encourage good bowel motions.


If she continues on without getting the constipation issue remedied, she may develop long term constipation problems. Sometimes when kids have a hard or painful time going, that discourages them from trying and they hold it even more, making matters worse.


If more severe problems develop you may have to resort to a herbal mixture like Herbal Fiberblend to get her digestive system working properly again. If that happens, you'll really have a battle on your hands, because it isn't very tasty. :-) Let's hope you can deal with it before it gets that far.


Okay, now for the second issue. Doesn't it amaze you sometimes how someone only 2 feet tall runs the show? No matter what all the modern day "experts" say, I'm a firm believer in the Biblical principles of parental authority and training children to be obedient.


Of course, I do NOT advocate beating children or abusing them, but proper discipline makes a household and family a peaceful and wonderful experience for everyone.


You have to remember that YOU are the boss as the mother and not your 4 year old. It takes major effort and self discipline on YOUR part to instill this truth in your daughter, not to mention a lot of hard work... ...at first!


Once you've firmly established your authority, both you and your daughter will be much happier. Parental authority gives a child security.


Here's what I would suggest. Start small and work your way up. Get an egg timer or something with a buzzer/beeper to keep track of time.



Take your daughter to the potty chair and set her on it, telling her that she must sit there for 3 minutes until the buzzer goes off. It doesn't matter if she has a BM or not at this point. The purpose is to establish your authority and get her to do as she is told.


If she gets up, calmly sit her right back down again. Do this 50 times if you have to, no matter how much she screams or carries on. Don't let her emotional outbursts upset you or get you angry. Just be matter of fact and insistent, and completely in control.


Remember, that you are not hurting her in any way whatsoever. In fact, you are HELPING her, and it is your LOVE for her that compels you to win this little battle.


Some children give in to their parental authority fairly quickly, while others are very strong willed. Regardless, you must persevere.


If your child is one of the strong willed ones, you may need to include a short sharp crack on the backside or thigh to accompany your instruction. A wooden spoon is effective for some people.


I know some people are completely opposed to any form of "spanking," but it is a Biblical principle and I believe God is right about these matters, as all others. :-)


Anyway, once you've mastered the 3 minute potty break, increase the time to 5 minutes, etc., until your daughter learns that she must sit on the potty (or do whatever else you ask) according to your word.


You can make it easier for her if she lets you by reading her a story or singing songs together or even letting her watch her favorite DVD or something, but you must always be the one leading.


Don't ask her what she wants to do in general, just give her a choice of two things and let her pick one of them. Don't let her pick a third option that wasn't on offer. ;)


The biggest challenge you'll probably have is controlling your own emotions and being consistent. Disciplining your children starts with disciplining yourself. :-)


This is really off topic of what I usually cover on this site, but you asked for suggestions and I felt compelled to give you sincere answers.


I think you'll find that if you tackle this little challenge and then carry it out in the rest of your dealings with your daughter, you will have a much more pleasant long term relationship with her, more energy, and more peace and joy in your home.


You will then be able to instruct your daughter to drink her water, eat her veggies, sit on the potty, or anything else, and she will know that she must obey, because you are the mom.


The end result, of course, is that you will be able to remedy the "4 year old with constipation" problem.


I hope that gives you some help and encouragement.


Blessings,
Angie

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