12-18 months

PLAYING: What To Do When Your Toddler is Constipated

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What To Do When Your Toddler is Constipated

Your toddler may poo once a day or once every few days. This article explains the possible causes of constipation and how to help alleviate it.

2 mins to read Jan 3, 2016

Constipation in Toddlers

Your toddler may poo once a day or once every few days. Constipation is not how often your toddler does a poo but what it comes out like. Signs and symptoms of constipation in your toddler:

  • Hard, pebble-like poo;
  • Poo is painful to pass;
  • Poo is infrequent – Frequency varies for each toddler and some may go 2-3 times per day and for some it’s normal to go twice per week. If your child hasn’t had a motion for two weeks then it may be time to seek advice from your doctor;
  • Frequent small amounts of runny poo that slips out without your toddler knowing. It can be poo seeping around a larger mass in the bowel. This can be seen as skiddies on their undies or accidents;
  • Your toddler may be irritable, refuses food and complains of a sore stomach.

Possible causes of constipation:

  • Lack of physical activity;
  • Poor diet consisting of too many processed foods and less natural fresh foods;
  • Excessive amounts of cow’s milk and not enough solid food can result in less fibre in the diet;
  • Holding poo in for long periods. This may occur if at any time it has been uncomfortable or unpleasant for them to poo. It may have been from being teased, pain, lack of privacy, embarrassment, smelly toilets, or simply too busy to stop. Holding on causes the bowel to swell and become less functional;
  • Food intolerances;
  • An unbalanced microflora;
  • Poor water and fluid consumption.

How to help alleviate constipation:

  • Ensure your toddler is receiving a healthy balanced diet, full of whole grain cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables. Limit their intake of highly processed foods and foods high in sugar;
  • Encourage daily physical activity and play;
  • Encourage regular toilet sitting about three times per day after meals;
  • Ensure they are getting plenty of water over the day;
  • There are oral supplements which may assist with constipation, always seek medical advice before trying these methods. Healthy diet and exercise should always be the first option.

Seek health care professional advice if your toddler’s poo doesn’t stay soft and regular. There may be an underlying cause.