What is a healthy bowel movement?

Healthy bowel movements can be described as 1-2 stools a day that are easily passed. The stools have the texture of peanut butter or mashed potato.

Suggestions to help with healthy bowel movements

  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition, drink plenty of fluids. When combined with plenty of fluids, the fiber in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can make it easier to have more regular bowel movements.
  • Limit milk and dairy because they can be constipating. It is also best to stay away from processed foods.
  • Encourage taking part in enjoyed physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Create a regular sitting plan with the care team (planned time to sit on the toilet to help bowel movements come on a regular schedule and prevent constipation).

What different bowel movements look like

Below is a chart of different bowel movements. This chart is called the Bristol stool chart.

Bristol stool chart
Bristol stool chart


Rev. 9/2018


MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.

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