You Asked & The Expert Answered | Life Love and Hiccups: You Asked & The Expert Answered
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Monday 15 June 2015

You Asked & The Expert Answered

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Congratulations to Sonya and Brooke

For those of you whom asked, and those of you who have ever wondered; here are the answers to some very important questions you had around healthy toileting habits in kids including how often both adults and children should do a number two!

Brought to you by Nuffnang and MOVICOL

A couple of weeks ago we officially went there and we talked about all things poo related.

I know right?!

Ewwww... kinda.

Whilst toilet talk isn’t usually something I like to spend a lot of time partaking in (especially not at the dinner table thanks kids), it is something that is very important to talk about with our kids.

In fact, in can be crucial to our kid’s health given that research from MOVICOL has shown that almost eight in ten Aussie kids hold on rather than going to the toilet at school, because they feel uncomfortable using the toilets with their school mates around.

It is for that reason alone, my son ended up a very sick little boy in hospital.

As part of the MOVICOL ‘Take Five for Better Health’ campaign (encouraging healthy toilet habits amongst kids), the gang at MOVICOL asked for our help in opening up the lines of communication around our kid’s toileting habits and encouraged you guys to ask any questions you may have with the promise that Dr Nitin Gupta- a Paediatric Gastroenterologist would personally answer them.

You asked some really good questions, and I myself have been waiting for the answers… so thank you, for getting the conversation going!

For those of you who asked, and those of you who have wondered; here are the answers to some very important questions you had around healthy toileting habits in kids.

Q: When is the ideal time to start toilet training your child?
A: Each child is different, but on average around 2 years-2 ½ years of age is the average starting age.  The child needs to demonstrate ‘readiness’ such as walking/sitting/pulling clothes on and off, as well as language skills to understand and vocalise the need for toilet.

Q: There is so much talk out there about 'gut health', good bacteria, raw foods and how it affects so many things in the body. Is going to the bathroom connected with gut health too?
A:  No direct link that has been shown between bathroom cleanliness or bathroom habits and gut health.

Q: My question is, how do we best encourage children to go to the toilet when they are at school/day care/kindy? Or should we just encourage our kids to go at home more regularly to compensate?
A:  Talking and understanding with children about if anything stops them going in that situation – ie: smell, scared, lighting, noise, dirtiness or just not enough time.  Positive re-enforcement that is age appropriate is best.  Bowel habits vary from day to day, so relying on home only may not work for most kids who then end up holding on at school.

Q: Is there a known link between anxiety and constipation (or even IBS) and has there been any research done as to why is this so? Is this anything we can do to prevent symptoms getting out of hand from a diet point of view?
A: There is a link between mood and anxiety disorders and constipation ‘disorders’ and IBS rather than a ‘normal’ level of constipation which all people get from time to time.  Research has happened and continues to study these links.  Diet is part of the solution and has to be a balanced approach.

Q: What is the ideal age that boys should be toilet trained? Is there a difference for boys and girls? How is it best to deal with family members that make comments on how you have decided to toilet train your children?

A:  No difference between boys and girls, they have to be ready (question 1).  Family members, friends, neighbours and the general public will always contribute to child rearing in their viewpoints, I suggest that you listen but take a consistent approach whatever that may be in the family home.

A: Yes, bowels habits vary day to day because of diet, exercise, ‘body clock’, illnesses and the routines of the day. It  may be worth considering keeping a record of daily movements with the MOVICOL Stool diary.

Q: Many people stop children from drinking water in the evenings to help prevent bedwetting. Is this detrimental to good bowel health, particularly as some bedwetting can actually be caused by constipation?
A:  Children do not need a prescribed amount of water but generally drink enough so that they are not getting thirsty; evening water drinks do not necessarily fix bedwetting  for most children as this is a developmental milestone as well for children with huge variation in achieving this. 

Q: My son is 4 and has been wee toilet trained for a year now. He was successfully doing poos on the toilet for a few weeks but since then he has refused to do 99.9% of his poos on the toilet. He holds all day so he never has an accident but soon as he gets home he'll put on a night nappy and do a poo. I was wondering if you had any tips on encouraging him to use the toilet before he starts school in January 2016?
A:  Star charts with immediate rewards initially for sitting only on the toilet and then more rewards for actually pooing in the toilet; with spreading the frequency of rewards further apart.  These rewards can be ‘cheap’ and can be time with mum and dad doing his favourite thing or can take forms of toys etc.  He should be part of putting stars on and choosing the stickers. 

Q: How often should we, and by we I mean both adults and children, actually do a poo or number two?
A: Roughly 3 times a day to once every 3 days – some strain is normal but NO PAIN OR DIFFICULTY. 

MOVICOL products are used to relive constipation and treat chronic constipation and the gentle MOVICOL Junior range focuses on pediatric patients from 2 years of age.

Healthy toilet and bowel habits are crucial to help maintain healthy and regular bowel movements in children and holding on can have serious health implications, including constipation.

The MOVICOL brand is based on a natural mode of action that works in harmony with the body. MOVICOL’s gentle action allows comfortable and effective relief from constipation

MOVICOL is available from all pharmacies without prescription. It is usually at the front of the shop so you can select it yourself, but if you don’t see it, ask the pharmacist as they sometimes stock MOVICOL behind the counter.

If you require ongoing treatment, your doctor can write a prescription for MOVICOL, which may entitle you to a PBS reimbursed price at the pharmacy if you are an eligible patient.

If you have any concerns for your child’s health, please see your doctor.

For more info have a watch of these videos including one from Kristy who shares her son Shane's story about the impact constipation and bowel habits had on him so that other parents can learn what to look for and good toileting behaviours.

Now I have two more of the MOVICOL prize packs valued at $200 up for grabs. All you need to do to answer is tell me how you would encourage your child to take 5 minutes to do their business? Rewards charts? Bribes? I’d love to know what works or what you think might work for you.

Please note the image of the prize pack is an example of what products may look like. 
This isn't an exact replica.

These packs include everything parents need to help develop healthy bowel habits including a toilet step, a five minute  timer, fruit basket, toy snake and children’s magazine subscription… you know to keep them entertained on the toilet and all that. 

This competition is open now and closes Saturday 20 June 2015

The competition is open to Australian residents only. Please view T&C’s here.

How would you encourage your child to take 5 minutes to do their business?
Rewards charts? Bribes?
Were there any surprises in the above answers for you?