Toddler Diarrhea

Updated on June 25, 2008
L.K. asks from Hilton Head Island, SC
19 answers

My 20 mth. old has had diarrhea now for almost two weeks. She shows no signs of being sick in any way except her BMs are loose. Her pediatrician has her on the BRAT diet for 5 days to see if it will help the situation - so far no change. Any advice?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for all the advice on dealing w/my daughter's diarrhea ! Things are looking much better now & I didn't have to take her in to peds office. This was son nice to be able to correspond w/others who have had the same problem.

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answers from Macon on

My niece had this problem when was 2, and it drove my brohther and sister-in-law crazy because it lasted for a month. She finally was sent to a pediatric gastroentologist, and he put her on a high fat diet instead of the brat. She got well quickly after that.


answers from Atlanta on

Try giving her rice, crakers, bread (toasted) jello, no milk if posible for a few days, no candies or chocolate, no eggs, bake or boil potatos, chicken (no read meat) apple sauce, jello, nothing fried and hope this helps

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answers from Charleston on

Hey L.,

I keep going back to this book b/c it's wonderful!! It has been guiding me to help my 4 yr old with her eczema and it's working when nothing else has! "Perfect Health for Kids--Ten Ayurvedic Secrets Every Parent Must Know" by Dr. John Douillard.

If you aren't familiar with Ayurveda, it is India's 5,000 year old medical tradition; it means "the science of life" and studies life, not disease, like modern medicine.

To me, chronic diarrhea means chronic inflammation of the intestines and turmeric would be the first herb to try. You can buy the powdered spice in the grocery store and mix about 1/4 tsp with a little honey and give this on a spoon to your daughter. Do this 3 or 4 times per day for a week and see if it begins to help. Turmeric is one of the most herbs used in Ayurveda and it's the one we use most often for inflammation, fighting colds, etc even for sore back muscles!

Once you get the inflammation in the intestines down, you can try some herbs to increase absorption of the small intestine. Nutmeg is the most potent for this task. Small amounts of nutmeg can be mixed with other digestive herbs like ginger and cumin to enhance absorption. You can cook with these herbs, or give them to her with a cup of warmed milk or buttermilk. Cold milk is very hard to digest, so warm some on the stove and add a few pinches of these digestive herbs and a little honey if you like, and she'll be in for a yummy treat while you are treating her diarrhea.

Probiotics!! I would start her on a course of probiotics immediately to help build up the health intestinal flora "good bacteria".




answers from Atlanta on

I had the same problem with my daughter when she was younger and I was told by the Dr to take her off of all dairy products and than give herone dairy product one at a time.Has she eaten something new



answers from Atlanta on

My son had what we thought was chronic diarrhea, but it was the result of two things. One, he can't tolerate apple juice (which took a while to figure out -- it's in EVERYTHING). Once that was eliminated, he was much better. But then he picked up a parasite in his daycare and his stomach has been messed up since. He can't eat dairy anymore, and we limit his sugar (including fruit). It's been almost a year since the parasite, and he still is on Lactaid.

Has your daughter had a GI infection recently? If so, it just may take a while for her to recover....



answers from Savannah on

When my son had bad diarrhea for almost a week, his Ped recommended a starchy/faty/fiber diet would do the opposite and help firm his stools up a bit. She he got to eat french fries adn tatter tots for a few days!! (that's a treat in my house!!) And some pastas. She also had him drinking nothing but pedilite the whole time as well to make sure he didn't get dehyrdrated. Other than plenty of TLC and Balmex, I wouldn't give her anything OTC that and adult would take for diarrhea.

Has her Ped said why she might be having the problem??

Good luck!



answers from Athens on

Give her some probiotics. You can find children's formulas at any health food store. My philosophy is to avoid anti-diarrhea medication - for any age - because if there's something bad, it needs to come out. But, the probiotics help the digestive system to balance, and it works every time. My babysitter gave me this advice, and I've been amazed.



answers from Columbia on

Following your doctor is the safest way for you to handle the diarrhea problem. It's nothing to mess with.
Daycares are not like home where you have just your own family and its usual germs. Your child is getting exposed to all the other families as she interracts with their children, as well as the workers. She plays with community toys and puts them in her mouth, her hands get dirty from the floor etc., so she will probably be experiencing more illness in these situations. There is no way around it as long as you have her there. I would watch what hygiene practices they follow, rather than question, just watch and observe.



answers from Augusta on

I honestly would do the brat diet but take out the A, and I would also give her a tiny piece of imodium. When my daughter has had diarrhea which isnt very often , I give her a tiny piece of imodium , per a suggestion from a nurse on the nurses line from a ped we had once, and it clears right up. and make sure she's drinking enough.



answers from Atlanta on

L., personally I wouldn't change the diet exactly, but would look at one thing at a time. First thing, what is she drinking? I know with me, one day all of a sudden Cow's milk does this to me. It didn't use to, but now it does. Normally, it makes children constipated. Another thing to think about this may sound weird, but sometimes when people have diarrhea, it's actually a symptom of being constipated. Go figure!

Also, if she is drinking juice of any kind (which is really of no nutritional value)..that too isn't good for her either.

Another thing is wheat...allergies to food can all of a sudden pop up.

I asked a few of my friends and I'll post them here but in different paragraphs:

My son went through this at about the same age. My dr had his stool tested but was pretty certain that it was the rotavirus. She said it could be picked up anywhere and just to make sure he was hydrated. He had it for about 2 weeks before I took him in. From what I remember he then still had it for at least another week, maybe 2. Also, I remember hearing something once about modifications to the BRAT diet in that it was important to consume foods with lots of fiber and fat. Something about absorbing the excess moisture in the guy. I don't remember changing my son's diet...I just had to let it run its course. I believe the tests did come back positive for rotavirus.

If this was my child, I would give her acidophilus (a lot) to make sure that the probiotics in the intestines were doing well and then I would also make sure she wasn't constipated. I know that sounds the opposite, but sometimes
when people are constipated they get "diarrhea" because that is all that can get past. My kids enjoy dates and dried prunes, they are delicious! Along with that, they eat all kinds of other fibers. These are just some ideas I
would try.

My 23 month old has several allergies with staggeringly different symptoms. For corn, it's diarrhea. Oats is a 12+ hour tantrum, food color is general crankiness. Haven't discovered what's causing the recurrent eczema on her legs.

Well that's about all of the suggestions right now. I hope this has helped a bit. I would definitely get some probiotics into her body and just resume a normal diet. I would keep away from cow's milk and juice for now and just give her good water to drink, which is the best for her anyway. But as you reintroduce other foods back to her, notice how each food product affects her.

Also, did the doc test her for a virus? Just curious. HTH!



answers from Atlanta on

Hmmmm... five days on only BRAT diet and still no change? Are you giving her juice? That may cause diarrhea... She's not showing signs of dehydration? hmmm... I guess I'd just take her back to the ped.

The BRAT diet is all about feeding binding agents and keeping hydration and electrolytes in check. If your daughter is still having diarrhea despite the diet, I'd take her back to figure out what's going on.



answers from Atlanta on

I just went thru something similar, when I had called the peds office and asked the nurse, they said get pedialyte and stop juice and do brat diet. After like 5 days I called back and they said I don't have to stop juice. It lasted about 2 weeks and on my second call they related it to the 2 year molars coming in. My son just turned 2 on the 10th and still no molars and at his 2 yr appt the doc said it was prob a stomach virus. We just let it runs it course but we modified the diet a little like no spicy or greasy foods. But through the whole thing my son ate like a champion like normal and played like normal and now he is ok. In the end not sure of the actual cause but he is better. It just depends who you talk to and how they understand the symptoms I guess. Your little one should be ok but after 2 weeks I would take her in if its still going on.



answers from Athens on

Don't give her fruit juice and try giving her crackers. Hope she is getting to feeling better.



answers from Atlanta on

My son had something just like this in Feb. No other signs of anythiing except the diarrhea. My Dr. said it was viral and she told me to get a probiotic to help. You can purchase from behind the prescription counter. You don't need a prescription, but just need to ask the pharmacist to get it for you. His diarrhea lasted about 2 weeks in total, but the Dr. had said it could take 3-4 weeks too. Hope this helps.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi My 14 mo old had a virus last month. She got it from her cousin, also a toddler. Her symtoms were vomiting for one or two days, followed by diarrhea for 2 or 3 days. However, her cousin had diarhea for 9 days. Doctor claimed it was a virus.

I still nurse my 14 mo so I think that was the reason for her abbreviated diarrhea.



answers from Atlanta on

I wish my toddler's stools would be looser! He's been constipated for 2 months now! But anyway, my son went through a loose stool phase and it was suggested to me that it was from teething. If they are cutting teeth they are drooling a lot and rather than let it fall out of their mouths as much as when they were infants they swallow this saliva making their stools very loose. Especially if that is the only symptom and she doesn't seem to be in pain. If she is crampy and gassy I would look into a milk allergy. Hope she gets through this quickly for you!



answers from Atlanta on


We have dealt with that occasionally with our 4-year old. Mia was a real juice fanatic and we noticed that this would occasionally loosen her stool. He had to really limit that. Also, dairy is a good addition to your little one's diet. I'm sure others have told you the same.

Good luck!




answers from Spartanburg on

My daughter had diarrhea off and on for 2-3 weeks when she was 18 months old. the md office said it was common in toddlers and that if she wasn't showing any other signs of illness than she was fine. They called it "toddler's diarrhea" she didn't seem to have any problems or discomfort, the only problem was not being able to be in daycare for 24 hours after diarrhea episodes. i did feed her lots of bananas and tried to limit peaches and watermelon.



answers from Spartanburg on

look up mercola .com in the search area for diarrhea it may give you some helpful doctor's advice. Also, look at the babies diet has it changed? If so omit the new food and see if a change takes place in 3-5 days. Lastly do you have an animal with worms that may be the culprit and the baby may need it's stolls checked.

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