Constipated toddlers typically poop less than two times a week. Their poop is hard, dry and painful to pass. Constipation most frequently occurs due to a low-fiber diet, dehydration, changes in routine or resistance to toilet training. Treatment usually includes home remedies such as diet changes or changes to their routine.
Constipation in toddlers is very common. Toddlers who are constipated poop (have a bowel movement) less frequently than usual. Every toddler is different, but this usually means they poop less than two times a week. When they do go, their poop (stool) is hard, dry and large in size. Their poop may be difficult or painful to pass.
Toddler constipation usually doesn’t last long. It’s typically not something to worry about. Only rarely, is it a symptom of an underlying health condition.
Up to 20% of toddlers will experience constipation at any given time. Constipation is more common in toddlers:
Your toddler may not be able to tell you they’re constipated. Look for symptoms of constipation in your toddler, including:
Toddlers often become constipated because they hold in their stool. As a result, their colon absorbs too much fluid and their poop becomes dry and hard to pass. Toddlers may hold in their stool because they:
Other causes of constipation in toddlers include:
To diagnose constipation, your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination. They’ll ask you about your child’s:
During the physical exam, your child’s healthcare provider will check your child’s belly. They’ll want to see if it’s swollen, tender or has any masses or lumps. They may also examine your child’s rectum to look for blood or a blockage.
Your child probably won’t need any tests to diagnose their condition. Your child’s healthcare provider may order tests if their constipation is caused by an underlying health condition. Tests they may order include:
Constipation in toddlers usually doesn’t last for long. But avoiding pooping can lead to:
If your toddler is constipated, you can often help them with home remedies. Home treatments for relief from constipation may include:
Toddlers who are constipated should avoid eating foods with little or no fiber, such as:
Check with your child’s healthcare provider before giving your child any medicines to help with constipation. Under their direction, they may advise the use of:
The following measures may help prevent constipation in your toddler:
Constipation is usually temporary and treatable. With the proper diet and fluid intake, your child can have more regular bowel movements.
If it’s not treated, constipation can become worse. If your toddler’s poop stays inside of their colon, it keeps getting larger, firmer and drier. This makes it more painful to pass, and your child will be more likely to hold back their poop.
Take your child to their healthcare provider if their constipation lasts for more than two weeks and home remedies aren’t helping. Your child may need additional treatment.
If your toddler has a fever along with constipation, contact their healthcare provider right away. Also, call their provider if they have any of the following symptoms:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be hard to watch your toddler deal with constipation. But thankfully, constipation is usually temporary. With some changes to their diet and routine, your toddler should be passing poops smoothly in no time. But if home remedies don’t help, call your child’s healthcare provider. If constipation lasts longer than two weeks, your child may need additional treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/23/2022.
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