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However messy and stinky the topic, it’s an important one for keeping your child healthy and happy. So here’s the scoop on poop.


First things first, check the bowl or diaper. Besides the smell, the easiest way to check for problems is by color. Healthy and normal poop can range in color. Green, brown and yellow can all be normal. But if it’s white, black or red — these colors indicate something might be wrong.

  • Black stool can be a sign of internal bleeding.
  • Red can indicate blood. Your child might have a cut around their bottom or in their intestine.
  • White poop can be from a lack of bile (bile from the liver gives poop its normal brownish color).

If you see any of these colors, call your child’s doctor.

Diet and medications can play a role in the color. For example, eating beets or drinking beverages with red dye could make poop red.

Consistency and frequency

A good sign that your child’s poop is healthy is that it is soft and formed, like soft-serve ice cream. Going every one to two days is also normal and healthy. If a child’s poop is hard, dry or resembles pellets, or if a child has to strain, they may be constipated.


This is one of the most common complaints during doctor visits. One symptom is abdominal pain. If your child has tummy pain, the first question you should ask is, “When was the last time you pooped?” Low intake of fluids and not enough fiber can cause constipation. Too much dairy and high intake of processed or fast foods with little fiber are common culprits.

Move it to lose it

In addition to offering water between meals, plenty of whole fruits and vegetables and less trips to the drive-thru, exercise helps keep constipation away. Preschoolers need lots of active playtime. Many experts suggest three hours each day. Children ages 6 to 17 should get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity daily.

Call of doody

Our bodies are designed to function like well-oiled machines, so and as a parent, you can add mechanic to your list of duties. Checking under the “lid” and performing a visual diagnostic can help support your little one’s normal, intestinal machine operation. It’s a poopy job, but somebody’s gotta do it.