31 answers

Question About Toddler's Poop

I have a question about my son's poop- sorry if this is kind of gross. He'll be two years old next month, and his bm's are still about the same consistency that they were when he was a newborn- I also have a newborn, so it's easy to compare. It isn't quite diarrhea most of the time, but it's still very mushy and without form. I breastfed him until he was 15 months, and he eats a very healthy diet now- I try to keep sweets and anything processed out of our house, though I don't become the Food Police about it. He eats a lot of fruits and veggies (more fruit than veggies), and eats a decent amount of potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. He also does not drink juice, and has only recently been able to start drinking milk or eating dairy of any sort.

Is this normal, or is this something I should talk to his pediatrician about? Has anyone else experienced this if it is not normal?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks! There were some good suggestions that I'm going to try. Colin does eat bananas quite a bit- two or three a day if I let him (usually it's his daddy who gives him the second or third!). I'll try the food diary and see if I can find anything that's seeming to cause it, but it's good to know that this is probably normal. It makes me feel a lot better.

Featured Answers

A., you have some great advice already! I just wanted to add that although I agree that it either too much fruit, or possibly lactose intolerance, that wheat (or other grain) allergies are fairly common as well.
Good luck!

If he doesn't seem bothered by it, then its probably fine.
I would lay off the fruit and do more veggies instead. Next time you go to the Dr. try to remember to bring it up and see what they say.

My son will also be 2 next month and I have wondered if this is normal, very rarely will his poop be solid most of the time just squish! Hopefully at some point it will become solid.

More Answers

If he doesn't seem bothered by it, then its probably fine.
I would lay off the fruit and do more veggies instead. Next time you go to the Dr. try to remember to bring it up and see what they say.

You got a lot of good advice and I wouldn't want to tell you not to talk to your doc if you're unsure, by any means!
But my little guy's diapers are often a mess. Not liquidy like diarrhea but more like paste. But think about it, if he has a good amount of fiber in his diet, his poops are going to be on the softer side. (That's healthy) And if you squish a softer poop into a diaper that's pushed up against your bottom, it's going to squish, right? Try to have him poop on the potty once and see what "shape" it is. I bet it'll look like a "normal" poop!:)

Hi A.-it's probably a good idea to bring it up with you pediatrician but with that said I can tell you that we went through the same thing with our 14 month old who also likes his fruits more than veggies. He was eating a lot of mandarin oranges and when we backed off on letting him have them so much, his poops firmed up. Hope this is helpful to you, good luck.

My 2 year, 5 month old daughter has the same type/consistency of poop. The color is still brownish (as opposed to yellow when she was a newborn), and the consistency is usually soft/squishy. She has a similar diet to your son. I too was concerned and asked my pediatrician about it. She said that there is a very wide variety of normal when it comes to BM's, and that many times healthy poop will not be as formed as others. No worries here. Hope this sets your mind at ease.

S. J.

Sometimes a toddlers body has to get adjusted to new foods, or drinks. Since they are small, and their immunes systems are different than ours, that explain it a bit. It would be a good idea to ask the doc if its normal. I never thought anything of it when my boys were small.

My son was the same. He didn't outgrow that until maybe age 3. We had the hardest time finding diapers that didn't leak! In hindsight, we know now that he is lactose intolerant, although I am not sure if that was the problem, as I was breastfeeding the whole first year. He can eat cheese and yogurt, but you could try lactaid milk just to see. My daughter was normal, but my son was first so I did't notice. My son also drank regular milk until he was 4, but then started complaining about his stomach hurting whenever he had milk. I caught it early because my husband had been diagnosed as lactose intolerant not too long before that.

About me: Science teacher, with 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter, married 11 years.

Hi A.!

This is normal in our home. Also my sister's home. All 4 of the boys had this same thing. They are pretty normal now, and are above 3. I wouldn't worry, as long as he's eating and drinking regularly.

:o) N.

I am a pediatric nurse and I don't think your child's bowel movemoments should be that runny at 2 yrs old. It sounds like he is either lactose intolerant or may be allergic to something he is eating. You may want to keep a food journal and note what his BM's are like. Also, keep track of how often he is going to the bathroom, your pediatrician will want to know that. I do think you should talk to your doctor about it.

Hi A.,
Is his poop always been the same or is it recent? My daughter started having loose stool when she started drinking milk. Turns out she is lactose intolerant, like her daddy. Cheeses and yogurt didn't cause a problem and the doc said it was because they are aged with less lactose. If he is having problems like lack of weight gain, I would cut down on fruits like blueberries, pears and plums. Increasing bananas firms poop. My daughter has the opposite problem so I limit things like bananas and rice. Mention it to his doc at his next appointment to be sure.

You may decide he doesn't want milk. It is not formed for people, it is formed for baby cattle. Most people have an allergy to it, and it doesn't digest. It makes me have diarrhea. See what happens if he has more veggies and less fruit. Fruit is very cleansing and good for you, but if there is too much, he's still getting a lot of sugar even if it's from a natural source. Too much fruit will loosen the bowels.

Love, L.

My 2 1/2 year old son is the same way. He has never had formed poop and never been constipated. Some of his friends have problems with constipation, so I figure this is better. He also eats a fair amount of fruit. But I also think that it may have to do with the amount of soy milk he drinks. I have never been concerned about it, but I am wondering if it will make potty training a pain when he has accidents. If you are concerned there is nothing wrong with calling the pediatrician.

My 2 year old usually has very soft mush for poops (It does not make cloth diapering fun!), so I've also been wondering if it is normal. It's not runny though, so I haven't asked his doctor about it. I know that eating lots of fruit can make it worse. Some days his poops do have enough shape to readily fall off the diaper, so now I'm wondering if those might be low dairy days. I don't think I am quite fascinated enough by poop (I have two in diapers too) to keep track.

My son is four and has always had very soft stools. After talking with the doctor they did an allergy panel and it all came back negative. They also had us bring a stool sample to the lab (fun trying to collect from a four year old) and that all came back negative too. He does eat his fair share of fruits, but he eats veggies too and a pretty healthy diet other than that. We never have juice in our house, and when he has it occasionally at friends, we dilute it 3 parts water, one part juice. He has an occasional formed poop, but for the most part they are soft. We tried eliminating dairy and it didn't work, but what the doctor suggested and it helped a little bit, was switch back to whole milk from skim. They are still soft, but not quite as soft if that makes any sense. We tried doing the food journal, but couldn't really find anything that was causing it. We have just been dealing with it. He has been potty trained for over a year and very rarely has problems. He has accidentally pooped on the floor once while standing to pee, but I think he thought it was just gas, and was suprised when it wasn't. Anyways, definitely talk to your doctor, but they still haven't been able to find any cause for us.

Hi A.,
Like another mom, I have a son who is lactose intolerant. Two or three bites of yogurt (or any other dairy product) turns his poop "mushy and without form."

After having dairy, it usually takes three or four days of no dairy before everything is back to "normal." If you still want to give him milk, try Lactaid brand milk. Crystal also makes a lactose free milk, but I can't buy it at my local store.

I would suggest keeping a food journal before your visit to the pediatrician. That way you'll be one step ahead.

This may sound odd... if you're going to eliminate dairy for a week, consider everything your son eats. Recently my best friend cut dairy out of her kids' diet temporarily to get over a tummy bug. She refused to give them milk, cheese or yogurt. We ALL ate lasagne for dinner...

Good luck.

My son's poop was quite mushy and I was concerned when we started thinking about potty training - I thought maybe it was so soft that he didn't even know when he was pooping! But it all worked out! He has always eaten fairly well too, and I'd definitely rather have it mushy than have problems with constipation.

Haha. You're probably not even reading this anymore. But others are. Like M.. I actually just googled, "Why is my toddler's poop still soft" and this was the first entry. haha!

Judging by the number of answers it seems pretty common. Some folks think its fruit, some think it's dairy and some think it's normal. Ima go with the normal group. My kid eats Lots of bananas, no milk, little yogurt, fruit, yes, but veggies, too. I thought maybe it was lack of meat, but he eats that now, too.

I think on eof the above posters was spot on when she said a soft poop pushed against a diaper would squish. Maybe we should all try crapping our pants and seeing what happens. If it Doesn't squish you may need more water! hahahaha!

Dear A. R,
It's sounds like too much fruit. Try cutting back a little on the fruit and see if that helps. It could also be the kind of fruit your child is eating. He might have an allergy to it. Try these few ideas and see if they work. If not contact your doctor for a check up. good luck, and congrats on the new baby. M. petersen

Hi A.,
I believe your son's poop problem could stem from the amount of fruit he eats. My 27 month old son has the same, or similar, issue. He drinks no juice but eats lots of fruit and veggies (as well as everything else). I find that a whole banana a few times a week will bind up his bowel movements, which helps since we're working on the potty thing. Do talk to your pediatrician, though, because he/she may have more dietary solutions for you. Good luck!

A., you have some great advice already! I just wanted to add that although I agree that it either too much fruit, or possibly lactose intolerance, that wheat (or other grain) allergies are fairly common as well.
Good luck!

Just word of advice, fruit is full of water and healthy sugars, but non the less, sugar.

The water in the fruit and the sugar can be causing him to have looser stools.

Maybe cut down on some of the fruits and give more veggies and see if this doesn't help have more formed stool.


I think it is normal just for the simple fact that he does eat his fruits and veggies. It is the same in our home. I think because of the natural fiber, vitamins, and sugars that are found in fruits and veggies the poo tends to be more runny. As long as he doesn't have any pain and is keeping up with his normal eating habits he is fine. If you still feel uncomfortable about it though contact his pediatrician.

I have a 3 1/2 y/o that has had the same issue. I notice that when she has milk products her stools are less formed (diarrhea-like). I know it is not diarrhea though because she doesn't have accidents, increased frequency, or stomach ache & she knows when she needs to go. I manage it by removing the milk from her diet. I try to make up for it with yogurt & cheese so she gets her calcium. She seems to do ok with those.

I have a child (she is 7) that has Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS). her poops have always been very loose. not runny like diarrhea. there is nothing that can be done about it. It is just how her body works. But in discovering that this is what she had. we had to eliminate all dairy from her diet to see if she was lactose in tolerant. Her pediatrician said we should feed her peanut butter and bananas as they are a poop bulking food. Nothing worked.

My suggestion is to talk with your pediatrician about lactose intolerance or to talk to them about IBS.

Did any of us really ever believe that poop (and that of someone else) would be an important topic in our lives? And it just gets better (worse?)! Next thing you know you'll be talking to your parents (in their senior years) about how their poop is! OY!

I am not a dr. or anything , But I believe that is very healthy poo. My son has about the same except when he comes home from grandmas, mcdonalds and sugar, then it is harder. I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, i THINK THAT is good lots of fiber.

My son will also be 2 next month and I have wondered if this is normal, very rarely will his poop be solid most of the time just squish! Hopefully at some point it will become solid.

Hi A.,

I don't have a medical background, but one thing that comes to mind is that a looser stool is usually a sign of a healthier diet - the foods he's eating are being easily digested. From what you're describing, his diet sounds great!
If you're concerned, by all means bring him to your pediatrician so they can rule out problems but it really sounds like your boy is doing very well.
Keep it up!

My son is 12 mo, he is vegetarian thus far, does not get sweets/junk food, and only drinks water or whole milk. His poops have always had a soft consistency. (not formed, but not diarrhea) Occassionally he would have a harder, formed stool when we were giving him baby food. Now he eats 95% finger foods or whatever we eat and has regular BMs that are soft. This is his norm. Go with your gut feelings if you think there is a problem. The pediatrician won't laugh at you if you ask them about stools.

You may want to mention it to your pediatrician, but I had a similar experience with my daughter who is 2 years nine months. It wasn't until she started drinking more milk that I noticed her bowel movements were less mushy. I also am really into healthy foods and try to avoid processed items. Maybe that's part of it. Friends who do more traditional foods have not had the mushy problem. I would continue with his diet as is and make sure the softness of his stools is not causing any rash issues.

-C. V. 37 year old widow, single mom of almost 3 year old girl.

I just took my 21-mth old son to the ped for this same issue & it isn't necessarily "normal" at this age & beyond to have looser poops. He asked me several questions about his diet, what the poop does when I flush it (my son is in cloth diapers - does the poop sink or float), etc. My son never has juice & has a very similar diet to your son, only he eats more veggies than fruit. The ped tested him for anemia, which came back fine, then I had to get his poop tested to see if he may have some sort of bug or something. Never heard back on that. So - I just wanted to be sure it was the way it's supposed to be for MY KID & not assume that ALL KIDS are like that, because the majority AREN'T. I'm not worrying about it so much now, but I notice a HUGE difference when I can get him to eat a banana, as well as when I put fiber in his foods - just sprinkled in his cereal, or over fruit or anything like that. It's a natural way to get those poops to firm up!!

My best suggestion: consult your ped, go through the necessary tests, & add banana & fiber to his diet.

Hope it helps!!

My daughter is 28 months old and well her poop is still mushy too. She breastfed until she was 22 months old and I thought it would change when she stopped, but it hasn't. I have spoken to her pediatrician and a dietician about it and both told me not to worry, so I really haven't. Good luck, I hope you get the same response from your doctor! D. M.

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