When kids are uncomfortable, every parent wants to do what they can to help them feel better!
Constipation is relatively common in children, affecting approximately 1 in 3 kids. However, it isn’t a condition any child or parent wants to face. While medications can be very helpful, it’s important to try at-home remedies and solutions for constipation relief as a first course of action to help your child get and stay as regular as possible.
Constipation in toddlers is generally defined as having fewer than two or three bowel movements per week. But, every child is different and a ‘normal’ number of bowel movements per week varies for each child. It’s important to consult a pediatrician if you think your child may be constipated and prior to exploring various toddler constipation remedies.
Symptoms of Constipation in Toddlers
Common symptoms of constipation in children include:
- Stools that are hard, dry, lumpy and/or difficult to pass
- Stool Withholding – stool withholding typically occurs when a child has once passed a large, hard, or painful stool and is subsequently reluctant to use the bathroom as a result. Signs of stool withholding include making faces, crossing legs, and twisting the body.
- Stomach pain (if your toddler isn’t speaking yet, look for signs of stomach pain, including holding an arm or hand over their abdomen or lower belly)
- Unusually large stool
- Stool accidents and stool leakage (a sign that stool is backed up in the rectum).
- Frequently occurring urinary tract infections
Common Causes of Constipation in Toddlers
Constipation occurs in toddlers for a number of reasons, but some of the most common reasons include the following:
Toilet Training: When children are toilet training they become aware that they can control when they move their bowels, which can lead to stool withholding/constipation.
Changes in Routine: starting preschool or daycare is a common cause of constipation in toddlers. Being away from a familiar bathroom and comfortable routine may cause bathroom anxiety and/or a reluctance to ask to use the bathroom.
Changes in Diet: Changes to a child’s diet can lead to constipation, particularly when a child is transitioning from breastmilk to whole milk, or introducing new foods into their diet.
“Too Busy”: Particularly with toilet training, even when toddlers need to have a bowel movement they often do not because they are “too busy”, which is another way of saying they are distracted or more interested in playing than going to the bathroom!
Fluid Intake: Toddlers stay on the move, so it can be difficult to get them to stop and stay hydrated! Insufficient non-diuretic fluid intake can lead to hard, dry stools and constipation.
Fiber Intake: We all know toddlers can be picky eaters! Getting enough fiber into a toddler’s diet can be difficult, but it’s important to keep stools moving and prevent constipation.
At-Home Toddler Constipation Remedies
There are simple toddler constipation remedies you can try to help your little one relieve constipation, and habits you can create to help prevent bouts of constipation in the future.
Try Abdominal Massage
Gently massaging the lower abdomen, as well as having your toddler lie on his or her back while you move their legs in a bicycling motion, can help get stool moving!
Create a Routine
Life with a toddler is busy, but working in a regular time to use the bathroom each day promotes regular bowel movements (and helps with potty training!). First thing in the morning, as well as about 20 minutes after a meal, are good times to try. It’s okay if your toddler doesn’t go each time, the idea is to have a predictable bathroom time every day.
Fiber is important not only for relieving constipation, but also for preventing it. The amount of fiber that is appropriate depends on the child’s age and gender, so be sure to check with your pediatrician to determine the right amount for your child. Foods that are fiber-rich include:
- Whole Grains: whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and bran based cereal.
- Fruits: berries, oranges, pears, and apples (leave the skin on!) are fruits that are rich and fiber and most kids love them!
- Legumes: kidney beans, black beans, soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in fiber, and you can work them into recipes kids love.
- Vegetables: broccoli, green beans, peas, and carrots are fiber-rich foods many toddlers love to eat.
- Nuts: pecans, almonds, and peanuts (as long as your toddler doesn’t have a peanut allergy!).
Foods to avoid when your toddler is constipated include:
- Fast foods
- Prepared or processed foods
- Dairy products
- Traditional “binder” foods such as rice and bananas
Ensure They’re Hydrated
Water, water, and more water! Give your toddler a sippy cup full of water instead of juice, and avoid any diuretic fluids.
Moving the body helps keep stool moving, too! Playing games like tag, hide-and-seek, tossing a ball around, and playing at the playground are ways to help relieve and prevent constipation, and they are fun, too!
DocuSol® Kids Can Help!
The last thing a parent wants to do when their child is not feeling well is to make them wait for relief.
Parents and caregivers can help young ones with constipation not only feel better faster but avoid further complications by being aware of the reasons and signs of constipation.
DocuSol® Kids, a first-of-its-kind formula, provides constipation relief in 2-15 minutes. The non-irritating DocuSol® formulation functions as a stool-softening, hyperosmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, replicating a normal bowel stimulus. This unique formulation provides children ages 2–12 fast, predictable relief of constipation.
Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Alliance Labs, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2020 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Alliance Labs, LLC.