Stool Retention Prevention

Preventing stool retention can be accomplished by following a few guidelines over longer periods of time.

Tips for Decreasing a Child's Stool Retention


Make sure that your child is drinking enough fluid to keep urine a light, yellow color.

Daily Toilet Time

Your child should have a well-established routine of sitting on the toilet each day at the same time to attempt a bowel movement. Prompting to sit on the toilet after meals typically works well.

Soluble Fiber

Fiber comes in two varieties. Insoluble fiber absorbs fluid and increase in size, producing a bulky stool. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance when it comes in contact with fluid, keeping stools soft without adding bulk. Many foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber in them. While all foods with fiber are good, too much insoluble fiber without enough fluid will produce a bulky, hard stool which will distend the rectum. Try to focus on soluble fiber foods first.

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

  • Oat bran, rolled oats (oatmeal, Oatmeal Squares, Cracklin’ Oat Bran)
  • Prunes, especially those that are individually wrapped
  • All dried fruits: apricots, cranberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Mango
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Apples with the skin on
  • Avocado (add guacamole, a sandwich filler or spread on butter toast with salt and pepper)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (try serving with hummus, which is made from chickpeas)
  • Snow peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas (can be roasted with salt and spices and served as finger food)
  • Beans of any kind, in any way
  • Peanut butter with ground flax seed added
  • Flaxseed (ground) or Chia seeds (either can be added to cereals, casseroles, macaroni and cheese, smoothies and ground meat dishes)
  • Green smoothies (made with spinach or kale)