Constipation in children

How often should my child have a bowel movement?

  • In the first week of life, most babies have 4 or more bowel movements each day. Thy are soft or liquid
  • After the first month, some babies have 2 or more bowel movements each day. Others have just 1 each week. It is important they are soft or liquid.
  • By age 2 most kids have 2 or more bowel movements each day. They are soft but solid
  • Every child is different. Some have bowel movements after each meal. Others have bowel movements every other day.

How will I know if my child is constipated?

  • Two or few defecations for week
  • Bowel movements that are hard or bigger than normal
  • History of pain when having a bowel movement
  • Volitional stool retention
  • Leak small amounts of bowel movement into the underwear (if toilet trained)

What if my child is constipated?

  • The best treatment is prevention by eating more fruit, vegetables, cereal, and other foods with fibers
  • Drink some sorbitol containing juice (prune, apple, pear)
  • Don’t drink excessive cow’s milk and other dairy foods
  • Sit on the toilet for 5 to 10 minutes after meals if toilet trained. Offer rewards just for sitting there
  • Stop potty training for a while if you are working on it.

When should I take my child to the doctor?

  • If the baby is younger than 4 months
  • If he or she gets constipated often
  • You have been trying the steps listed above, but your child has still not had regular bowel movements
  • There is blood in the bowel movement or on the diaper or underwear
  • The child is in serious pain.