Pooping can literally be the hardest part of life for some children. My younger son, Ryan, was one of them. From birth, his bowel movements resembled little pellets, unlike the soft mustardy ones that his older brother, Jake, once had. Just before Ryan turned 3 and we wanted to potty train him, things got much worse. Every night, he'd scream from belly pain, and occasionally he'd pass small, watery poops.
In retrospect, I feel foolish for not realizing what was going on -- after all, I am a doctor. My wife and I finally learned the poor kid was so constipated that only a little liquid waste could leak around the concrete-like mass of poop lodged in his intestines, a condition called encopresis. Lacking a normal appetite because of his stomach pain, Ryan started to lose weight. My wife and I knew things were really bad when our evening conversations regularly focused on his bowel habits. One night, I saw an ad on TV featuring Metamucil; its potency was dramatized by a gushing geyser and I found myself fantasizing that Ryan would have a cleansing bowel movement that would be equally energetic.
Clearly, we all needed serious help. Ryan had become trapped in a vicious cycle: he'd been so constipated that every poop was painful for him. as a result, he avoided going at all, which made the situation worse. an X-ray of Ryan's bulging tummy showed the extent of the problem: his entire large intestine (which includes the colon) was "F.O.S." -- medical shorthand for "full of stool." Luckily, once we understood how Ryan had gotten to this point, we were finally able to help him get better.