Boys and their Bowels

Ahh, boys and their bowels. A lovely topic. But it must be discussed =) I have had three boys and even though they have wildly different personalities, some commonalities have emerged:

1. Somewhere around 2, the boys started hated having their bowels. They really resisted it and would generally hold them in forever. My mother-in-law called this “anal-retentive.” But whatever it was, they would whine, cry, or sometimes hide off and on for days whenever they felt the urge to hold it in. This led to the second commonality…

2. When they would go, their bowels were huge. When they started getting them in the toilet, my husband and I would marvel over how so much stuff could fit inside the bellies of such little people. The boys themselves started to get proud of their big bowels and would happily describe them to us as “big,” “huge,” or “giant.” It was kind of disgusting, but to them it was just functional, something they had created. And big they were! Many of them stopped up the toilet and we had to keep the plunger right on hand.

3. In general, they always seemed constipated. Probably due to the massive “holding it in” problem, they generally seemed backed up or even slightly pained as they passed their bowels. They had plenty of fruit and water in their diets, but it didn’t seem to matter. As babies, the number of times our boys pooped was always a worry. And it didn’t change much as they grew! Until we let it go 😉

Giving our kids snacks on the toilet helped them learn to poop on it. Giving them M&Ms as a reward for doing their duty helped motivate them the next time. Laying a piece of toilet paper across the seat (under their bum) helped them feel “covered” while they were working on it. And doing the wiping for them until they were older and more coordinated (around 4, 4.5yrs) all helped the bowel training process.

But basically I learned through toilet training three boys that boys having bowels is just a big deal for awhile! It’s totally normal! They didn’t like going, they didn’t like a dirty diaper, and they didn’t like sitting there on the toilet and letting their bowels drop, and they didn’t go very often if they could help it. Doctors can recommend diet and suppositories, but who wants to do that? Nature will eventually take its course. The reality is that many little boys are just this way and until they are five and have some perspective on the subject (and are more skilled with toileting themselves), their bowels are like an event. In some way, it is not totally unlike my husband or my father who stereotypically head off to the toilet with a newspaper or magazine for quite some time! It is always a source of slight dread for them and when they finally emerge it is like the world is a brighter place. I have never really understood this about men, but apparently it is just one of those gender mysteries that start from the beginning =)

The point is, don’t stress over boys and their bowels. It’s not worth it. And if you really have a constipation problem that is needing intervention, give them some juice and put them in a warm bath for awhile. It works every time =)


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