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The Importance of Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

This week marks the 10th annual celebration of Real Bread Week, a delicious initiative that aims to encourage people to buy real bread from local bakeries as well as bake their own bread at home. By buying local, you are investing valuable support into your community and supporting independent business.

Among a host of events and activities organised to celebrate all things real bread, there is a focus on encouraging children to learn all about baking their own bread and the value of healthy food. As many kids will naturally dislike the taste of more processed foods, Real Bread Week provides a great opportunity to promote the virtues of healthy eating.

We are huge supporters of encouraging children to adopt healthy eating habits from the outset, and Real Bread Week got us to thinking about healthy eating on a wider scale. A healthy diet is important for young children to set their minds and bodies in the right direction from the word go.

Potty training is just one area that highlights what can happen when things go wrong with eating. Constipation is a common problem that many children struggle with during potty training but symptoms can be alleviated by making a few simple changes to diet and lifestyle. 

Alleviating Constipation

It’s important to understand that constipation is a very common problem in children. Even if you’re encouraging the healthiest eating habits, it may still crop up. We’re just giving our tried and tested recommendations on how to best keep it at bay.

Firstly, you need to recognise the signs and potential red flags. Just because your child doesn’t use the toilet every day doesn’t mean they are constipated – just like adults, a child might do a poo once a day, three times a day or every other day.

But when constipation rears its troublesome head, your child will go to the toilet less than usual. They may strain to poo and experience pain. Bloating or feeling full is also a common symptom and you might also notice a little blood on the loo roll after they wipe.

Stress and Strain

Constipation is also closely associated with stress. Children may become constipated if they’re pushed into potty training before they are mentally or physically ready. It’s important to know the signs of readiness and act accordingly.

Stress may also be less closely associated with the task at hand. If your family has recently undergone a major change (house move, new sibling, starting nursery) then the gut is often the first part of the body to get upset. Keep a close eye on your child during such times and try to minimise their exposure to stressful situations.

It’s a vicious circle as if your child needs to strain on the toilet and can’t go/takes a long time to go, they will associate going to the loo with feelings of fear, shame or frustration. They will avoid it at all costs, so you need to get in first and establish these healthy habits.

  • Maintain a fibre-rich diet including lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Even if your child is a fussy eater, there are plenty of sources of fibre so you’ll be able to find at least one that they enjoy. Pears, peaches, carrots, pineapple and wholegrain bread are all delicious options alongside brown rice, peas, nuts and popcorn. General guidelines suggest 19 grams of fibre daily for toddlers (aged 1-3) and 25 grams for those aged 4-8.

  • Avoid processed, starchy, sugary and fatty foods that slow the bowels down and upset the body’s natural rhythms. Key culprits include white bread, crisps and cheese, as well as junk or fast food.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day to keep things moving. We would recommend an average of three or four glasses daily.
  • Know the signs of when your child needs to use the loo and make sure that you take them. While this may sometimes cause a ruckus – if they’re playing with friends or just don’t fancy using the toilet – ignoring the urge is one of the main causes of constipation in the first place so your attention will pay off in the long run.
  • Include exercise in your child’s daily routine as this will keep things moving in all the right ways. Find something that they enjoy such as playing football, riding a bike or going for a walk with the family dog.

As you can see, it’s all about adopting healthy habits and once you make that shift, there’s nothing but positives ahead. A healthy diet and a good amount of exercise create the ideal environment for successful potty training and a happy, healthy child.


For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at . Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world.  We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.



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