Everybody poops right? Constipation in kids isn’t a thing that actually happens.
Everybody should poop is the more accurate statement. And yes, constipation happens to everyone.
As every parent comes to understand, the elimination habits of children becomes somewhat of an obsession. No, not for the child but for the parents.
Toddler constipation is one of the most searched for terms when it comes to kids and poop.
That’s because more and more babies, toddlers, and children these days are struggling in the poop department.
Yes, I’m talking toddler constipation, constipation in kids, and other things. Some children don’t go enough. Some go too much. Some refuse to go. Some are scared to go. Some go where you don’t want them to go. Others want to go but can’t go.
Ahhhh….the complexities of taking a good BM as a wee one. ‹ Did you see what I did there? BM, wee. Together in the same sentence. Come one, you know that one was funny.
Ok, let’s get serious.
Constipation in Kids
There are way too many constipated toddlers and children these days. Babies get constipated too! I kid you not when I tell you that almost every single one of my friends’ children is constipated. Chronically. This is sad. There shouldn’t be so many constipated children. There is plenty of time in life to get acquainted with the throne. No need to waste your childhood struggling to drop a deuce.
I have become rather well versed in poop as a result of the misadventures of Tiny, my daughter. Tiny and poop were not friends for a solid 7 years. They battled. Constantly. And it hurt me. (Tiny would probably argue that it in fact hurts her more but I disagree. You ever try to convince an unwilling 3 year old to just poop already? Yeah – way more painful than trying to push out a toilet paper roll sized log from a nickel sized hole.)
Let’s start with the basics.
What is constipation in kids specifically?
First, constipation has nothing to do with how often you go. Constipation refers to the compactness of stool and the difficulty in passing them. If your child does not poop often enough, it is possible for constipation to be a side effect. But frequency in and of itself is not defined as constipation, although it is an issue. Ideally, everyone should poop daily.
Constipation is really a vicious cycle. It all starts in your mouth.
Yes, I said your mouth. Food goes into mouth, it is chewed (hopefully to the point of becoming liquid) and swallowed. Unless you are under the age of 2 or so. Then it gets spit out. A lot.
As the food you eat moves through your colon, it absorbs water from the food, forms waste products (AKA poop), and then passes along through muscle contractions toward your rectum for elimination. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water and/or if the colon muscle contractions are slow or sluggish and the stools move too slowly through it.
When children get bound up, they become rather reluctant to poop. It only takes one bout with constipation for a child to quickly learn that it is going to hurt to get that poop out. So what is the logical thing for a child to do? Become a poo hoarder. The child holds the poop in, the poop gets bigger and harder, and when it comes time to go, it is next to impossible to get that sucker out.
What causes constipation in kids?
There are several reasons for constipation in kids, toddlers and even babies. At the root of it all, there is usually some sort of gut flora imbalance. A healthy gut keeps all systems functioning like a well-oiled machine. Although some outside factors can come into play, in general, a healthy gut promotes healthy elimination patterns.
In infants, constipation is fairly common if they are primarily fed formula. Now this post is not going to become a breastmilk versus formula debate. However, there is ample evidence that points to formula as being problematic and destructive to an immature gut. So while it is better to breastfeed from a gut health standpoint, just be aware that you may need to support your baby’s gut health in other ways if you chose the formula feeding route.
Food allergies are often the culprit in a sudden onset of constipation during the transition from breast/bottle to solid foods. Be sure to introduce foods slowly, taking careful notes of elimination habits after introducing new foods. You might be surprised at what foods trigger constipation.
Lack of adequate hydration is also a major reason children experience constipation. Offer water constantly or make staying hydrated fun! Don’t assume that leaving a cup of water out means your child is drinking. My daughter is ten and I still have to get after her about drinking.
Too much or too little fiber can bind your child up. Fiber seems to be pushed as a constipation cure-all but in reality, fiber is a tricky beast. Oodles of fiber increases the risk of constipation if your child doesn’t drink extra water along with eating fiber-rich foods, since fiber needs water to do its intestinal sweeping job. Too little fiber and there isn’t anything to sweep out the intestines with. Keep a mindful eye on your child’s fiber intake to help them find a happy medium. One item of note – dried fruit does NOT help get things moving without additional water intake. Once that dried fruit hits your digestive track, it rehydrates itself, sucking up available water and thus, creating the potential problem it is thought to solve!
Stress and emotional sensitivity can also play a role in elimination habits. The intestines are a sensitive organ and stress can all but shut them down.
Illness can throw everything out of whack pretty easily especially if said illness is of the intestinal variety.
Certain medications may cause constipation in kids. Please don’t stop any medications that your child is taking if they are medically necessary!
Any change in routine, traveling, or even a time zone change can throw elimination habits out of sync.
Constipation in Children – When to Worry?
If you do an internet search on this topic you will find that all the experts agree on two things. Constipation is normal and you only need to worry if the constipation lasts more than two weeks.
TWO WEEKS!? I honestly cannot believe that medical professionals actually believe that not pooping for two weeks is safe. I guarantee that no adult doctor is constipated for two weeks before he or she does something about it.
And as for the constipation is normal baloney. Well… constipation is NOT normal. It is a sign that something isn’t right inside our bodies. Constipation in kids might be the new norm but it is far from normal.
For the most part, parents can support their children’s bowel habits themselves. But sometimes, constipation in kids (usually toddler constipation) is something worth seeking a medical professional’s expertise on.
When should you worry if your child is constipated?
- Constipation has been present since birth or early infancy.
- If your child has regular elimination habits and suddenly stops pooping for 3 or more days and it is NOT related to one of the above causes.
- Your child has a fever, vomiting or diarrhea alternating with the constipation.
- If your child’s stool suddenly become very hard and painful to pass.
- If your child is experiencing abdominal pain and/or is very gassy and bloated.
- If there is blood in any stool that is passed.
- Your child has urinary accidents or recurrent urinary tract infections in addition to the constipation.
Home Remedies For Constipation in Kids (AKA What Parents Can Do)
Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to talk your child through a bout of constipation? No reasoning with them. No bribing them. No sitting with them in the bathroom for hours at a time. No tears (yours). No pain (also yours).
I kid…I know all too well that those little people shed some big tears and feel some big pain when it comes time to pass a baseball bat sized poop that is harder than my great-grandma’s Christmas candy.
Tiny always struggled with elimination chaos. It was the bane of our existence since the day she was born. Therefore, I have had the pleasure of learning a lot along the way. And finally, after 6+ years of toilet battles, we are on solid footing as it relates to preventing constipation but also ready to tackle a backup if one arises.
Now – let me state that I am NOT a medical professional. I am a mom. Of a former poo hoarder. A poo hoarder with underlying gut health issues. For the early years of Tiny’s life we were under the care of the most amazing naturopath on this earth. I wish all pediatricians were this spectacular. We also worked with a nutritional and wellness therapist. What I am sharing is what WE did to help Tiny. These suggestions may or may not help you. But at the very least, they might give you some talking points with your medical provider.
Constipation in Kids and Gut Health
Tiny was born via c-section which put her already immature gut in a compromised position. Babies born vaginally get all kinds of goodies from the birth canal; goodies that help establish gut flora. Tiny did not get that and I did not know this. In all reality, she should have been on a probiotic since day one. By the time I figured that out, Tiny’s gut was a hot mess which led to some of her pooping problems.
From the age of 2 until about 7, Tiny was on a very high quality probiotic/prebiotic blend. You see check out the one we used here. This is a powerhouse and if you decide to use it for your children, let me warn you that you need to introduce it slowly. It is very powerful! Infants can even benefit from it. You can rub a little powder on your nipple or on their cheek. Again, a little goes a long way.
In conjunction with a high quality probiotic, introducing probiotic foods early on is a great way to promote your child’s gut health. Fermented foods and beverages are a great way to do this.
Children do not have any preconceived notions about proper pooping posture.
If you give them to the tools to poop in the most natural position possible, you are setting them up for a lifetime of great poop! Now that Tiny is a bit older, she is ridin’ the Squatty Potty train! Yep – she loves the Squatty Potty just as much as I do. You can read more about it in this post which gives you the scoop on poop, but in a nutshell, the Squatty Potty allows you to get into a more natural pooping position. In a semi-squat, the bowels are able to vacate more easily. Children get a kick out of it. Plus, it doubles as an impromptu stool if need be. ‹ Did you all just catch what I did there again? Squatty Potty, stool? Oh my gosh I crack myself up. Seriously.
Food plays a key role in preventing constipation in kids.
Gluten and dairy cause all kinds of problems both for myself and Tiny. So we stay away from those. If you are breastfeeding, look at what you are eating. Perhaps you are passing it through breastmilk.
Preparing food at home, from scratch, using organic ingredients when possible is another surefire way to keep the bowels happy. Processed foods, junk foods, sugar, and low quality ingredients won’t do your child’s intestinal health any favors. The cleaner your child eats, the better their ability to process out waste.
When the going does get tough, how do we get the tough going?
What a lot of parents don’t realize is that the colon has an incredible memory. The more poo it holds the more poo it CAN hold. And even if it gets cleared out, it still remembers how much poop it is capable of squirreling away. In order to stop the vicious cycle of poo hoarding and constipation, you have to shrink the colon. Oxy Powder is the safest way to do this in my opinion.
So many pediatricians are quick to recommend laxatives and other pharmaceuticals that the colon becomes dependent on. I always refused to go that route and instead sought out natural ways to keep things moving for Tiny. Honestly, I never found anything “natural” that sat well with me. But Oxy Powder is different. It contains ozonated magnesium oxide, ozonated magnesium peroxide, Germanium-132, and natural citric acid. It adds oxygen into the bloodstream and bowel and does so in a natural and non-toxic way. It uses a time-released oxygen (oxidation/reduction) and turns solid compacted poop into a liquid.
To get Tiny cleared out initially, we put her on a cleansing amount. Working up in increments, the idea was to get her pooping out “liquid” (not to be confused with diarrhea) 3-4 times per day. We kept her on this cleansing protocol for several months, until we were sure that her colon had shrunk back down to normal size.
Tiny had a very stubborn colon. Plus she had gut issues related to mold exposure. So, she used Oxy Powder daily as a preventative from the time she was 14 months old until she was about 6 years old. Left to its own devices, Tiny’s colon would fill up faster than a mouse in a cheese factory. But a little bit every few days kept things moving and Tiny produced the ‘perfect’ stool most of the time.
When Tiny was about 8, our naturopath recommended a product called Natural Calm Magnesium. This has been great to keep on hand both for stress relief and also to keep things moving if Tiny’s elimination gets thrown off for any reason. We have used this with great success many times. While I won’t dole out dosing information (since I am not a medical practitioner), I will tell you that it has been very safe, very gentle, and something you can use on the wee ones with confidence. If you accidentally give your child a little too much, the worst thing that happens is loose stools for 1-2 days.
How To Prevent Constipation In Kids
Revisit that section on what causes toddler constipation and constipation in kids. That gives you a LOT of hints as to what you can to do to prevent constipation. But in short, you can prevent constipation in kids by:
- Encouraging them to poop
- Keeping them hydrated
- Promoting good gut health
- Watching for food allergies
- Making sure your child moves their body and exercises
- Keeping fiber balanced with water consumption.
Is anyone still reading? Well if so, I hope that this gives you some food for thought. The bottom line is that constipation is not ok for your child. You need to tackle it head on and in a manner than you are comfortable with. I hope that what I shared makes sense to you and allow you to open a dialogue with your child’s pediatrician so that you can restore a better relationship between your child and his or her bowel functions.
Guess what? I have more posts about poop!
- If you want to up the poop fun for you constipated wee ones, check out these books about poop geared towards children.
- Some people want a quick, easy constipation preventative. That’s where coconut oil comes into play. Learn more coconut oil works for constipation.
- Have gas? Learn more about what it is and why you pass it here.
Have your struggled with poo issues in your child(ren)? Were you able to support them naturally? Do share your tips and tricks!
Until next time when we discuss another exciting bodily function.
Loretta E. says
Ha ha! I can’t believe you said deuce. Love it.
Momma Jorje says
Thanks for this post! As you know, we’re loving the Oxy-Powder around here and I’m spreading the word. I meet lots of parents online with children with DS (who commonly have intestinal problems). Now I have a single source I can pass along!
My daughter has been constipated her whole life, I remember calling the doctor at 2 weeks worried because she hadn’t had a bm in a few days. I had a few Doctors tell me that constipation is normal for some kids. I reluctantly believed that for over a year and a half until I decided it wasn’t normal. Probiotics and a great diet just didn’t do the trick. After some doing some research I guessed that the cause could be related to her dairy intake. I took her off dairy and after 5 days of being dairy free she had a bm every day. It is amazing and I can’t wait to report to her doctor that no, it wasn’t normal and there is a solution.
Vidya Sury says
Phew! That was very comprehensive 😀 I’ve heard docs say that being irregular with poop is normal, as long as everything is as usual. God bless Tiny!
Hi! Found your post on the NPN Blog Hop and can completely relate! For my son, reflexology helped a lot in conjunction with mashed up prunes and also massaging with olive oil. Good luck to all – I know how hard it is to watch them go through this! x
Christine Powell says
This is great, as a family we don’t suffer with constipation – I accredit that to our fresh fruit and veggie filled diet and regular consumption of probiotics – as you said both seem to help immensely 🙂
Visiting from the NPN Blog Hop!
I was going to say, magnesium! But I see it’s in the blend you’re using.
I’ve been constipated my whole life. My mom never mentioned anything to me, so I thought painful poops was just the way things were supposed to be. My first son doesn’t have problems, but my second son, by three months old, was already a once-a-week pooper. Though on only breastmilk he never built up to hard poops, it still did concern me. The secret turned out to be magnesium. I use a magnesium lotion (made by myself — but I’ll be developing it for sale soon) and it has solved so many problems, constipation included. Too much fiber just tears up my gut; water makes me pee a lot but does nothing for poops; and several fruits (apples and bananas in particular) actually make constipation worse. Magnesium normalizes everything right away.
I’ve had really good success with homoeopathy for this. Remedies are specific to the individual, but you can usually get advice from a homoeopathic pharmacy who can then post out the right remedy.
I’m confused by the first part of this post…are you saying that you feel giving coconut oil to a child will help? Like if I were to give mine a teaspoon of the oil. It didn’t specifically say to feed it to them, but I’m assuming that’s what you meant. She is too young to “pull” it like I read elsewhere on your site. I’ve been thinking of trying to let her just eat some straight (which she has done before on her own, in secret!) and see if that will encourage things along…as she seems to have developed a fear of going, even though the fiber/water/ban on dairy seems to be softening things up. I believe her colon must be huge. 🙁 THANKS!
In my experience, coconut oil has really helped move things along. Just let your daughter eat it up! 🙂
How do yoy give the Oxy Powder to your child?
My Boy can´t swallow the capsules, he is 6 years old and I do´nt know how many capsules are ok for him, for how many days.
Thank You for your help.
I can’t dispense medical advice so you will need to experiment with the amount you give your son. I started with a 1/2 capsule and then increased it every three days until my daughter got things moving. I simply empty it out into a little bit of juice and she drinks it up. Doesn’t taste horrible!
What is the name of the Oxy Powder that you use?
I use these interchangeably: https://amzn.to/2JuNSDj and https://amzn.to/2qi1Rn9. Sometimes the powder is easier to deal with for children. 🙂
Servando Iñiguez says
Did you give Oxypowdwr at night on an empty stomach (4 hour fast) as directed by Global Healing Center?
I realize you are not a doctor and can’t give medical advice. But at least share how you gave Tiny Oxypoweder, one parent to another.
Oxypowder has been great to me and my family. I want to figure out the best way to help my 3 year old daughter.
Hi Servando! I give it right before bedtime. I personally have not noticed it working better on an empty stomach so I wouldn’t worry too much about that part. I do think giving it at bedtime is optimal though.
Servando Iñiguez says
Would it be okay to mix with their milk?
They most likely would not like the taste at all! It is best in a little non-citrus juice. Grape or apple seems to make it taste the best.
My daughter has had constipation problems since she was born via c-section. We had her on a hypoallergenic formula because we thought it was an intolerance to dairy and soy. But it wasn’t.
Her doctor prescribed miralax for her, but that is some baaaaad stuff. And even with that she will hold her BM in. She is now 2.5 y.o. and has major pooping problems. She will hold it in for a week at a time!
We have tries increased fiber in her diet (she already eats a ton of fruits and veggies, as well as nuts and grains) but that doesn’t help either. She also drinks a ton of water, runs around, and doesn’t eat a ton of processed foods.
I’ve not tried coconut oil with her yet, and seeing as how you are not a doctor, you cannot give me an exact amount, but can you suggest what you might give your own child?
thanks for your information
My DD stomach bloated since last week and have stomach discomfort also.. Frequent constipation problem as well.. How can I solve this?? can anyone help me i have no experience as this is my 1st child..
How are things going now MaryJane?
Hmmm.. u can give a try on those recommendations to solve your child constipation prob but u should think of a long term solution to prevent your kid fr having constipation problem again. Those milk with pre-biotic is very good for solving constipation problem.
Ashley Moneyyy says
I think better to let them have more vege or fruits, it will help to reduce the possibility of constipation.
Halley Leong says
IMO Mamil is a good formula milk and constipation prevention solution definitely. Try changing ur formula to Mamil, bcos im using Mamil myself and so far my DS no longer having hard stools ever since i changed. There’s decent amount of prebiotics and its also no sucrose inside the formula which helps in preventing constipation for children. U can consider Mamil la plus it has the highest DHA level in market also! see for urself the result in a week time. …
Home remedies works pretty good for me, i forgot what chinese herb i used for my LO and IDK why ppl say traditional herbs doesnt work. Cos if keep changing milk formula very troublesome leh
Anyone tried Enfamil??? I think its pretty good, well it works well for my LO. no prob at all. I think we just have to find the perfect ones for our LO.
never tried Enfamil
Sasa Thonq says
Thanks for sharing~~~~~~~~~~
My DS used to suffer in terrible constipation issue. I tried many solution but we have no luck. But once I switched the current consumption of formula milk brand, she seldom constipate and tummy ache. She told me that she is feeling better now.
Is it true? My daughter constipate always, I tried many solution but they are not working at all. Which formula milk brand that you purchase for your son?
In my opinion, I prefer not to wean so quick. Although kid is on meal but still can BF. My boy constipated previously and he’s really bunged up. I’ve found that helps is stewed apple. I will feed him stewed apple when he constipate, then he will recover on the next day. For me, I think that BF is better compared to bottle.
My 3yr son has had this issue. I am to an extreme point of tears! He will start to poop(smear) and then refuse to go more. He won’t go in a diaper nor on a potty. I have just started coconut oil today, but he piled giving it to him straight and so I cooked it into his eggs, and still nothing. His dr is a joke and I’m in the works of getting it approved by insurance for a naturopathic dr. I don’t want to change too much but am interested in getting some medical thoughts on oxy powder to help cleanse and shrink his colon. When he was a baby (2months) he experienced a horrific hernia and almost killed his colon, and up until potty training is bowl movement was at least 1x a day but now it’s 7+ days :”(. Thank you for this article I’m hoping to find a happy solution somewhere without paying a fortune.
Good luck Cassandra! Be sure to check back in and let me know if you had any success.
Hi There! Thank you so much for your post! We are dealing with Encopresis (my 10 year old son) for the last 6 months. His last x-ray showed he is still severely constipated, so our dr increased his miralax and exlax dosages (i had taken him off of these over the summer due to their ingredients and inability to work). A friend recommend oxypowder/oxycleanse so i am going to get those. My question to you is, is Tiny in school? We start school on Monday and I am in a panic…considering homeschooling bc i don’t know how to get him on track and not cause an accident at school? I have had a discussion with our amazing guidance counselor and she has said she will make sure he is taken care of at school which is great but i still fear for his embarrassment. Do you homeschool Tiny? If not, how did you deal with her frequent pooping while on the oxypowder?
Hi Jo! I am woefully behind in comments. My daughter just started school and it was pretty busy up until then. I no longer homeschool and Tiny is MUCH better in the pooping department now. She only needs a low dose of oxy in the evening and it keeps things moving without the diarrhea occurring. My only advice is to make sure that the school is aware and on board with your son’s needs which it sounds like they are. Unfortunately, the embarrassment is inevitable and all you can do is give your son love and encouragement to get through this. Honestly, he will probably bounce back from this and be able to be on a maintenance dose which won’t cause the runs.
Angela Cameron says
My niece was once super constipated as a baby and my Mom gave her Toddlers magic tea. It got things moving! It was quite messy but effective. I also recommend white grape juice as grapes always help me when I’m constipated.
White grape juice works for a lot of people! Good suggestion. 🙂
Probiotic is very helful for constipation in children. I alway supplement it in my son’s dairy diet. He rarely is constipated.
How often do you give the oxy-powder to your daughter for maintenance? Every few nights? Also, when you were trying to get rid of impacted stool, how often did you give oxy-powder? Just curious as my son is moderately impacted based on x-rays.
Hi Kerry! My daughter only needs it 1-2 times per week. She is ten now so she can tell me when things are slowing down. When we were battling constipation, I gave it to her nightly until things began to come out a little “too soft.” Then I simply lowered the daily amount until she was going daily and the consistency was soft-serve like or slightly more firm. Then it is a matter of just testing out how often your son will need a dose to keep regular.
Some people do not absorb magnesium well and require daily oxy-powder or natural calm to keep things moving. It is fine if that is what needs to happen. Let me know if you have any other questions!
My little girl has been having horrible constipation due to emotional (the pain) as well as a firm rigid sphincter of steel! As well as mold exposure in our windowless bathroom. I just read this extremely helpful post (thank you so much for this! Finally someone who gets it!) and I ordered the Oxy powder. My question is how much did you start your little girl with? Did you do the fully recommended adult about or did you start off slow? She’s 2.
Hi Denise! I am so sorry the two of you are dealing with this. It’s just awful! I would start with 1/2 tsp and then work up from there. Since the Oxy Powder can build up, I would stay at the same amount for 3-5 days and then increase in 1/4 teaspoon increments until you find the sweet spot. She may need more for a while but once she clears out you should be able to keep her on a lower daily maintenance amount.