Extreme Difficulty Pooping for 2.5 Year Old

Updated on May 19, 2008
C. asks from West Chicago, IL
7 answers

Sorry for the gross nature of the request, but wondering if anyone has dealt with this, as I'm paranoid about damage being done to his intestines. The doctor so far has not been real concerned, but did say I could try Miralax to train him to not hold it in at least. But his trouble is all the time whether he's held it in or not and I don't think he intentionally holds it in as he grunts to try to go about every day often without success. My son recently turned 2.5. He's been on Miralax for a while now, though it doesn't seem to be helping much at all anymore. He was on a 1/2 capful and last week I upped it to almost a full cap and it STILL took over 24 hours for him to poop after not going for 4 days. From infancy, he's had trouble pooping, not even with it being that hard all the time (he was breastfed through about 10 months so even while breastfed), but just struggles and struggles to get anything out. Then at times he will try but not be able to go for days and then it is harder making the problem worse. I'm going to call back the pediatrician today as it's gotten worse this week with the Miralax not helping him and such, but wondering if anyone else has had this where it's so hard for them to go ALL the time. Everybody hears when the poor kid is trying to poop (even when his poop is nice and soft) with his loud grunts...the poor guy! He's a very picky eater, but I introduced prunes to him again yesterday and he liked them this time, so hopefully that might help as well. Anybody dealt with something like this??

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So What Happened?

THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE GREAT IDEAS AND ENCOURAGEMENT!! After half a box of prunes yesterday (about 3 oz.) since he loves them now and it's novel to him since he used to not like them, he actually went without grunting this morning! So even though it's not hard when it comes out normally, maybe trying different dietary will help with difficulty anyway. Good to know he's likely not messing up his intestines with all this. We did flaxseed oil when he was a baby and I had forgotten about it as it got a little better for a bit when he was on baby food, so we'll do that instead of Miralax now. I'll get apple juice to water down for him too (even though I often stay away from juice because of the teeth) as that is what the doctor suggested to try too, and I'll try the YoPlus probiotic yogurt (we tried a different brand and he didn't like it at all, but maybe he will YoPlus as he really likes regular yogurt). We already do a lot of whole grains and fruit and whatever veggies I can get into him. So a lot of great new ideas to add in, hopefully getting him on track quick as he's wanting to potty train now. Thanks!!

More Answers



answers from Chicago on


First, I think the frequent use of Miralax is compounding his problem. laxatives can cause dependence, and it's possible that you are medicating him to the point where he is not capable of going on his own, without the assitance of a laxative.

If I were you, at this juncture, I would bring him to a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist to figure out if you can retrain his body to go on it's own without the use of laxatives.

Miralax also can take up to 4 days to really work, it's not a fast acting laxative.

Seriously, I would stop the laxatives - today - and figure out what is causing his chronic constipation with the help of some professionals. And, most importantly, if your pediatrician actually recommended that you use Miralax as a long term solution, get a new pediatrician. he is far too young to consider his pooping-problem as requiring assistance from OTC drugs... it's not working anymore because his body has become used to the dose, and now it needs more to do the job. That's how addictions suck you in, and right now, it sounds to me like his bowels are addicted to laxatives.

Good luck... I hope he finds relief.

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answers from Chicago on

Clearly a lot of us are struggling with the same issue. My 3 1/2 year old has struggled forever and it's now becoming a more intense problem as it's keeping him from being completely potty trained. We did the miralax for a while and never really found that it helped. We recently starting trying the probiotic yogurts that are new on the market and that has helped more than anything else. (My guy likes the Yo Plus variety) He calls it his "poopy yogurt" and eats some every day. Be careful when you first start...we gave him a whole container and let's just say that was a bit of an "over-correction." Now he has about 1/2 a container every day and it has helped a bit. We still have some struggles, but it's improving.

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answers from Chicago on

my son has the same problem and has had it since he was born. he is 4yo now. it's gotten a bit better, but i found that the problem was that it was a vicious cycle. he was holding out, because when he did poop it took so long and probably had to hurt a bit cuz it was so hard...and it was this hard because he was holding it for a while. my son is not very picky when it comes to eating and will basically try anything once. i have found the mixed raisins to be his favorite and very helpful. i give him them everyday and he likes them cuz they are sweet. they have the yellow and black raisins and also have some cranberries mixed in. his bm are still very hard but he goes everyday at least once. almost like little rabbit pellets. i don't hear him grunting and he doesn't seem bothered by it at all. it's definately a diet thing....you have to try all kinds of things until you find what your little guy will eat that will help him. maybe also try different kinds of food.....like mexican, italian or somekinds of spicy foods.

good luck
oh yeah and i also took him to the doctor a few times when he was younger and they weren't concerned with it either......

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answers from Springfield on

My daughter (2yo) also has this problem and I put mineral oil in her juice cup. She can't taste it and if she asks what I'm doing I just tell her it is to help her poo. No big deal! The flaxseed also helps.
Good Luck!

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answers from Peoria on

my son had bm problems every since he was a baby doctors have giving me many sugestions to help him but nothing rellally worked sometimes he will go days without going and have extreme stomach cramps in between. For a while the the only time he would go would after a couple a days of warm showers. I just had to find a way to help him so I look in to ways to change his diet since he is not a vegggie eater I started adding extra fruit and bran but most importantly I agree with Tricia Flaxseed ground up oil of any form can be added in almost any food daily and will help that little one go regurlay with out any pain or side effects .My son is almost 12 years old now and has a bm every day. one more thing wholegrains are helpful too.

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answers from Pocatello on

Dear C.,

It looks like you have received wonderful advice already. Several of my children have struggled in this area so I have lots of ideas. Details can get a bit overwhelming so I would be happy to share one on one.

One thing that was not mentioned so far, but was helpful for us was chiropractic adjustments. If the spine is out of alignment, it can pinch a nerve that sends signals to the intestines. This can slow down the process. The slower the process, the more water it absorbs from the body; thus leading to greater constipation. Ugh!

I am a HUGE proponent of teaching people about bowel movements. If a person, child or adult, does not have a bowel movement at LEAST 2 times per day, then he/she is constipated. Unfortunately, constipation is so common, that doctors consider it NORMAL for people to go every couple of days. Tis can lead to severe problems with toxicity and sickness.

Here is everything you wanted to know about poop, but were too embarrassed to ask. (from Why do I feel this Way by Gaber and Day)
1. About 10 in. long
2. 1 ½ in. in diameter (like the size of a healthy colon)
3. Forms one long coil (no blockage interruptions)
4. Consistency similar to toothpaste (almost spongy looking)
5. Floats midway in the toilet (Sinkers may be due to too little fiber. Floaters may be due to too much fiber.)
6. Be golden brown in color (depending on dietary choices)
7. Requires no straining or strenuous pushing
8. Has no foul odor
9. Doesn’t require any toilet paper (healthy animals don’t need any)
10. Should only take a minute or two
11. Should eliminate about 2 lbs of stool each day (depending on intake)

I would be happy to help in any way.


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answers from Chicago on

My son has had BM issues too. At times he would go six days and only pass a pebble. My doctor told me to give him Benefiber, it's a fiber powder you mix into a liquid that doesn't have any grit. I however did not use this. I began giving my son more flaxseed. I put it in most of his food. And he now goes everyday like clockwork. You can get flaxseed meal and flax seed oil, I use both it just depends on what I'm making. Also try increasing his whole grain intake and fruit. My son won't drink juice, but I think prune juice it yummy. If he will drink a smoothy you can use the prune juice with blueberries and flaxseed oil. That should help get everything moving. Good luck!

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