What to Do When Your Toddler Can’t Poop

Stop Sign that Says Poop

Toddler constipation and withholding stools is a common problem. Fear of using the toilet, saying “It hurts when I go potty”, and straining or pushing hard during bowel movements are all indications of toddler constipation.

What is Toddler Constipation?

Signs of toddler constipation include:

  • Stools are hard and compact (like “like rocks”)
  • Infrequent bowel movements; pooping every three or four days
  • Tummy pains after having a large bowel movement
  • Pain when going potty, or blood in or on the outside of the stools

Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned that your toddler is constipated.
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Tips for Easing Toddler Constipation

  • Healthy Foods: Provide toddlers with healthy choices of fruits and vegetables. Dried fruits, like apricots or plums, raw celery and carrots, and whole-grain, high-fiber breads all support healthy digestion. Cutback on foods like rice, bananas, and low-fiber cereals and breads which may actually increase your toddler’s constipation.
  • More Liquids: Staying hydrated is the easiest way to minimize toddler constipation. Provide your child lots of water throughout the day.
  • Fiber Gummies: Talk to your pediatrician about adding fiber supplements to your child’s diet, like Fiber Gummies. This is particularly helpful for children with naturally hard stools.
  • Diaper Cream: It’s not just for babies. Help ease painful stools by applying diaper cream after bathing and before your child goes potty.
  • Less Pressure: Many toddlers withhold stools because they are scared about going to the bathroom and worried about upsetting parents. Their fear of disappointing you may actually increase the problem of constipation. Sometimes taking a break from potty training can help relieve a child’s constipation.
  • Distraction: Sometimes reading a book, taking a hot bath, and just relaxing can help your child feel more comfortable about going potty.
  • Exercise: Being active is a healthy part of digestion. Encourage your toddler to be physically active, take them on a walk , play at the playground, and let them run around to get their bodies (and bowels) moving.
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