Poop-Poop-Di-EWWW -- Why Does Your Child Clog The Toilet All The Time?

It's your home's dirty little secret. Just about every time your child goes to the bathroom to defecate, the toilet clogs and you end up with a huge and disgusting mess. It has turned into such a problem that your entire family dreads when this child needs to use the restroom. So barring the unrealistic notion of refusing to let your child ever use the toilet again, what exactly should you do? 

Twice (or More) is Nice

Your toilet can only handle so much paper being flushed at one time. So if your child is using and flushing big wads of toilet paper, that could be the reason why your toilet is experiencing clogs. Advise your children that they should not flush large quantities of toilet paper down the toilet at once. Instead, suggest that they flush a few times while cleaning themselves or while emptying their bowels. This is especially important if your family prefers the ultra-thick, soft toilet paper being offered by some manufacturers. This type of paper is more apt to clog your toilet. And avoid flushing facial tissues and so-called flushable wipes. The latter is believed to have caused clogs in sewer systems across the country.  

Call a Plumber

It's possible that your clogging problems may actually be caused by your toilet. The following are some reasons why your toilet may need professional help or replacement:

  • Your toilet is one of the original low flow toilets. Check your tank for a time stamp. If you can find it, and it indicates that your toilet was manufactured between the years 1994 and mid-1997, you could have an early version low flow toilet that doesn't use sufficient water to flush waste away. It is highly recommended by plumbing experts that you replace these early versions with newer models. 
  • Something was flushed down your toilet that is now blocking the trap. An item doesn't have to be big to wreak havoc with your toilet. Something as small as a medicine bottle cap or a toothbrush can also cause big problems. If you can't get the item out yourself, call a professional plumber, who can snake your toilet and clear it of the blockage. 
  • Tree roots are blocking your sewer line. In some cases, you could just have the roots cut and flushed out. But in other cases, the roots may have caused extensive damage to your sewer line that could require it to be replaced by a company like Drain-O-Rooter.  

The Problem Pooper

Sadly, approximately 2 million children in the United States suffer with a condition known as encopresis. Children with this disorder typically have a problem with constipation, which can cause them to have very large bowel movements. Some of these bowel movements are so large, they can clog a toilet. Ironically, you may not realize your child is constipated because kids with encopresis will sometimes have "accidents" in their pants. This happens when the child develops a large blockage of hard stool near his rectum and looser stool from higher up in his bowels flows around the hard mass and out the anus. If your child has encopresis, your doctor will probably recommend some of the following treatments and lifestyle changes:

  • Stool softeners
  • A colon lubricant -- for example, mineral oil 
  • An enema
  • Drinking more fluids
  • Adding more fiber to your child's diet
  • Scheduled toilet time. Some children with encopresis have very painful and large bowel movements, which causes them to avoid going to the bathroom. Unfortunately, this only causes their stool to become larger and harder. That is why it is important to get your child on a regular bathroom schedule. 
  • Counseling. Your child may be ashamed because of the "accidents." Talking with a mental health professional can help your child overcome these feelings of shame.

With a little investigative work, chances are you'll be able to discover what is causing your child to clog your toilets. Once you figure that out, fixing the problem should be reasonably easy.