Categorized | Health, Toddler Sickness

How To Treat Constipation In Toddlers

Constipation in toddlers is not a rare case. Constipation normally arises when stool moves too slowly in the digestive system, causing the stool to become dry and solid. Common factors that contribute to constipation include – diet, dehydration, change in routine, sickness, medications, minimal physical activity, medical conditions (e.g. gastrointestinal problem), toilet anxiety and withholding. However, there are various things parents can do to treat constipation in toddlers.

Spot The Signs

First of all, you need to know when your child is constipated. Look for these signs:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • No bowel movements for several days
  • Stool is dry and hard or is accompanied with blood
  • Soiled underwear
  • Queasiness
  • Ill-tempered
  • Loss of appetite

Increase Water Intake

The number one reason why toddlers get constipated is because their body does not have adequate fluids. Increase the amount of water your toddler drinks per day. Limit his intake of sodas and other sugary drinks. Water will help cleanse his body from the waste, soften the stools and regulate bowel movements.

Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber is an important nutrient in a toddler’s diet. Make sure your little one gets his daily dose of fiber by offering fiber-rich foods such as fruits (apple, avocado, papaya, orange and raspberries), vegetables (corn, beans, broccoli, peas, sweet potatoes and turnip), crackers, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread.

Decrease Constipating Foods

For now, it would be best to keep your toddler from eating foods that increase constipation such as fatty foods (e.g. dairy products, deep fried foods, ice cream and pastries) since they have very little fiber content.


Exercise, play sports, take a walk, run around the neighborhood or do any activity that will keep your toddler active for 30 to 60 minutes each day. These activities stimulate the digestive system and make bowels more frequent. Plus, it will also boost your toddler’s immune system.

Give A Tummy Massage

A belly massage can help relax the tight muscles in his tummy. Place your fingers below his navel and apply gentle but firm pressure. Maintain steady pressure for about 3 minutes.

Never Force Potty Training

Do not pressure your toddler to potty train if he is not ready. This will only frighten him in using the toilet and he could end up withholding bowel movements.

Instead, encourage him to use the potty only when he feels ready to poop. Let him sit on it for at least 10 minutes after breakfast and dinner. Read a potty book with him or play soothing music in the background to keep it fun while at the same time, encouraging him to poop. But if no poop comes out, do not force him. Just tell him he can sit in the stool again if he is ready. This way, your toddler will not think of pooping as a punishment.

Offer Natural Laxatives

Laxatives help stop constipation. Avoid over-the-counter laxatives and go natural by letting him drink apple or prune juice or mixing flaxseed oil to his food.

Generally, a change of diet and lifestyle can alleviate constipation. But, if all else fails, it is best to talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

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August 2014
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