Toddler with Constipation

Updated on August 11, 2017
M.C. asks from Las Vegas, NV
51 answers

my toddler has been potty trained for a year now. recently, he has problems with constipation and soiling his underwear. i've tried laxatives and altering his diet but it hasn't worked. do you have any advice for me?

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T.D.

answers from San Diego on

My son went through the same thing. His potty training went along with getting off the bottle. He was only drinking water in bottles at 2, but the decrease in water is what caused it. Even now, as a busy 4 year old, we have problems if he isn't drinking enough water. We bought him some of his favorite sippy cups with McQueen on them and before he gets to play in the morning, he has to sit on the couch and drink one whole cup of water. Then throughout the day, we have a "resting stool" with some favorite books nearby. He may not get up until his water is gone. Some days he chugs and runs, other days he relaxes and looks at books, but he is getting his water! Just keep trying! Good Luck!

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L.E.

answers from Santa Barbara on

You mentioned you alterd his diet, but what does that include?
Does he/she eat lots of fruits and vegetables? If he/she does and it has not worked you might try a pediatric gastrointerologist.

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H.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I feel for you, mine have gone though this too. Have you tried putting flaxseed meal in his food? Or maybe tried the liquid calcium/magesnium (you can get it from health food stores). Raisins always work for us too. Good luck!

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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there! I can definitely relate to your problem! My three year old will wait up to 8 days before she'll poop! She has also been potty trained for a while, but will NOT poop on the toilet. Her Doctor suggested using Miralax. (you can find it with the laxatives). It is a bowel softener that is a powder I put in one drink of hers a day. I use a little less than half a capful everyday and she can't even taste it. It has definitely helped her with painful bowels. Her Doctor said we can use it for as long as it takes for her to start going regularly. We have to be very consistent because I've noticed if we skip a day or two it's a lot more difficult for her to go. I hope this helps for you too!

1 mom found this helpful
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K.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

If your child tummy hurst because of constipation- give he or she one tablespoon of olive oil. and WELLA
it worked for my daughter- age 4- her teacher told me about this .

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A.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.;

I raised four children. I always give them a balance diet of fruits,vegetables,fish,chicken,beef,pork. I don't give them a soft drinks in my house, only water or fruit juices. snacks should be fruits,vegetables. Not too much of carbohydrates. Maybe your toddler does not drink lot of liquid or not eating enough so he/she has a problem to go to the bathroom. Good luck.

A.

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

My toddler girl was so constipated. I tried everything even giving her papaya, prune juice, pear, orange juice, oatmeal, metamucil, lots of water you name it. I had to give her one or two doses sometimes three of Pedialax liquid stool softener. Once I even gave her a suppository which worked, but she cried nonstop for an hour. Until I discovered three wonderful natural products Buddy Bear Digest , Buddy Bear Gentle Lax, and probiotic L. Reuteri. They are Godsend! Worked wonders!! Please try them, no more tears, no more straining, and daily soft bowel movements!!!!

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V.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter erica is 4yrs old she had the same thing put the fact she was holding it before she went to the bathroom because she hated the smell of number 2, its funny but to get her out of this habit i told her is not o.k. holding it and that if she did this she wouldnt be able to do her favoirte things one toy will be taken away from her, that was her spot, no it didnt work a frist so, the diet and taken away tv stop it.

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

Check the amount of water... not milk or juice... that he is drinking. Not enough water = constipation. Plus he needs more fruits, veggies and whole grains. Skip anything prepackaged.

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H.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'd take a look at what's happened in his life recently. Changes? Regression is not uncommon at that age. Ask his dr about the constipation. I'm guessing it's because he's trying to hold it in. Maybe he's developed a fear of the toilet or flushing or something. Check into psychological factors like that before assuming it's physical. it may even be a way to get attention from you.
good luck. keep us posted!!!

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K.R.

answers from San Diego on

Dear,M. C
My daughter is 3 1/2 yrs old. She also has this problem I started using Benefiber 1 tsp 1 time a day I use it at night mainly. IT WORKS. She would hold her poop in till she could no longer . Then when she would go after much crying It would be Bloody. The Doctor said prunes. lol I had already tryed that. No luck. Try it give him a week to adjust to it then see if it helps. Best of luck Krissy

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C.A.

answers from San Diego on

Canned pumpkin! Or prune juice or prunes since they are kinda sweet, even put them in some cookies if you have too. :) I know those worked for my kiddo and real milk did the trick too! She cant handle that stuff. And lastly more water. My toddlers drink water and chew ice all day and have little juice and little milk so they dont get constipated now that I enforce the water and ice more. Other wise my kids would want juice and choc. milk all day. And it does do wonders. And with pumpkin use very little if that doesn't work use a little more. It even works for cats and dogs and adults. :)

Good luck.

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L.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would carefully check this with his doctor, informing him of any unusual behavior your son may have. My daughter had a similar issue. She was potty trained for a year then began having serious constipation and soiling issues. It turned out to be an intestinal blockage. We had to use enimas, mineral oil and a daily dose of Senekot to get regulated again. Sometimes constipation is a prelude to a mental health issue. My daughter was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had no idea at the time that constipation was an early symptom.

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J.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

If the problem is consitent- try a product (now available over the counter) called Miralax.

It doesn't work immediately- but it will definitly regulate the problem.

-J.

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T.S.

answers from Reno on

16 years ago my daughter had a problem - she would not go poop at all and we took to dr., etc. could find no problems. She would go days without going. I ran into another Mom who had had the same problem - she said her son couldn't stand the smell when he pooped so she made the bathroom into a scent haven - I tried it and it worked. Worth a try.

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R.J.

answers from San Diego on

he needs more water, not laxatives.
are you feeding him meat and processed foods? These things are difficult for anyone to digest. Is he living in a stressful environment? This can also be a factor, as your child may not feel relaxed enough to "let go" of what is inside of him.

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C.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

My Toddler has the same problem. My Doctor gave me several remedies to try. You can give him Gerber's apple prune juice(The one for babies that comes in a four pack or make your own)every morning. He also recommended to mix one teaspoon of mineral oil with orange juice. I put it in a blender and tell him it is an "orange whip" The drawback to this is that he may have an oily residue when he has a bowel movement. Lately we have resorted to Babylax by Fleet when he has not gone in four days. It works within one minute! It is for children ages 2-5. It is a rectal applicator made of liquid glycerin. We just try to have him drink a lot of water too. That seems to help him as well. I feel your pain! Good luck!!!

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A.Q.

answers from Honolulu on

You should try magnesium citrate, I used it for constpation during pregnancy from my nautropathic physician and it may work for you little one. It comes in capsules usually so just open it and mix into applesauce or something he likes. Good luck!

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C.A.

answers from San Diego on

Have you tried Acidophilus? They work great for my daughters. You can find them at Henry's or other places where natural foods are sold. Even yogurt might work, and they are not harsh as laxatives can be.

Good luck!

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L.O.

answers from San Diego on

My toddler is 3 with consitpation problems because I can't get him to eat vegetables. I give him an ounce of prune juice every morning and that keeps things moving. Sometimes it can take a few days to get going but once it does, it's all good. Hope that helps!

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H.M.

answers from Springfield on

I have used Toddler magic tea for my constipated toddler that helped with his bowel movement and settled his digestion system.

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L.Z.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a child that has had a similar problem since he was younger. He would be constipated so long he would be afraid to go because he knew it would be painful or uncomfortable when he did go. We took him to the pediatrician and she did give us a powder to add to his juice to help him out. That did work but its also hard sometimes to get small child to drink things that taste funny. So something else she recommended that has worked like a charm ever since and I use it with my other two kids is popcorn. Seems to work like roughage and it makes it easier for them to go. Usually they will get the urge to go within a couple hours. Kids love popcorn anyway, so that has been the easiest fix for this occasionally reoccuring problem.

S.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Flax seed oil, on the bread that you're making into a tuna fish sandwich. Worked for us!

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C.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

I am a Home Child Care Provider and I potty train the children. We begin at about 2 years old when the child shows readiness. They can verbalize their needs, understand the toilet process and they can do some things independently such as pulling off their pants, telling me they have to go potty, etc.
Constipation is an issue for some little ones. They do not want to go in their "special panties" (chonies or whatever they are calling them). They try to hold it.
The other thing I have noticed is they do not quite understand what is coming out of thier body. Is it a body part? Remember they have only been here for a very short time. They don't have all the information. We have to explain it.
Also, some children I worked with as a preschool teacher were afraid of a spanking if they soiled their undies, which is not a respectful way to teach a little one to potty on the toilet. (Rewards work wonders, such as one m&m or a special sticker, or something funny...at our daycare, we all do the "potty dance" when one of the little ones goes on the toilet. Lots of singing and clapping and dancing. They love it!) We had to reassure the kids who were toilet trained with spankings that "accidents happen". One little guy got so worried & constipated he had to go to the doctor and it made matters worse! He had to get a suppository! Yuck!
My suggestion would be to relax the toileting focus a bit, get rid of the "white bread" stuff like donuts, cookies, white bread, processed mac & cheese, and make sure your child has plenty of vegies.
Make sure your child is getting enough water to drink.
We tend to forget the water!
Prunes, raisins, craisins, good whole wheat bread, and other fruits and high fiber foods should help. If not, your pediatrician should be able to see if there is a medical issue keeping him from going.
I am sure your little guy is miserable when this happens and you must be, too. When he does need to go it probably is uncomfortable so he tries to avoid going.
A vicious circle but one that can be fixed.
Hope this helps a little!
C.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Very often dairy can be the culprit, especially with certain ethnic groups. I have found that PB8 (a really good probiotic) can help normalize the bowels. We give one to our son every night and it keeps him regular without constipation. He's 5 and so we just open the capsule in his mouth. Our 22 months old gets it every few days and we mix it in with a liquid cal/mag. Probiotics also help keep their immune systems up, so my kids are rarely, if ever, sick.

You should be able to find it out there in Vegas at a local healthfood store. It's not specifically for kids, but it doesn't need to be...and this one had 8 different probiotics in it, rather than just 1 or 2. www.nutritionnow.com

Laxatives and Benefiber can be really hard on their intestines...especially at that age.

Water is also key.

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M.E.

answers from Honolulu on

Have you tried eliminating dairy from his diet? My daughter had constipation from toddlerhood up to about age 7. I tried more veggies, fruits, suppositories, wheat bran, etc. Skin tests didn't detect any allergies. I was at a loss. I finally conceded to it being "normal" for her...until we discovered that she is allergic to dairy. We had to completely eliminate dairy to get her system healthy again.

Just an idea.

Good luck!
M.

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L.L.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi M.,
It is very painful to see your child suffer from constipation...I know cuz my son had the same problem....Check with your pediatrician first, but Benefiber is excellent....when put into food and drink, it dissolves and cannot be detected. If you can add it to baby's juice, milk and other food, you should be able to get sufficient fiber into his system...You just don't want to get too much or he may become bloated and gassy....Good luck

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Two things a child has full control of is going number two, and eating habits, your son might be holding his poo, because it hurt... once when going or... the fact is kids sometimes gain this fear of somthing that belongs to the body leaves the body... or it takes to much time to sit and go. I urge you not to give him laxatives unless under doctor supervision.. it can be very dangerous to a young child, there is a mild lazative that helps soften the stool called miralax, the body does not become addictive to it... it is not an over night relief.. more importantly contact your childs doctor and discuss this with them.

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T.M.

answers from Las Vegas on

M..i watch my grandson 3 days a week. he's 3years. he is potty trained. he too, started to get constipated. but the problem was he was holding it in.maybe thats whats happening when they play, they don't want to miss the fun.they ,hold it rose

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S.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

First and foremost you ought to take him to his pediatrician and explain his issues, how long, how severe, etc...I suggest not giving a toddler any laxatives or major changes in his diet without the consent of a Dr. It could be anything from allergies to an infection...please take the little guy to the Dr. All the best :) S.

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M.O.

answers from San Diego on

Please take your child to his Pediatrician. Constipation can lead to other serious health issues just like Diarrhea. This can be more serious than you think. Please do not wait any longer. Get him in ASAP! Take care of yourselves and right now he needs you to do the right thing by him.

Respectfully,
Mimi

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

It sounds like he has Encopresis. Don't use laxatives. I recommend seeing a Dr. so they can get you on their "clean out" regimen and get your little guy back to pooping on a regular basis. If left untreated, he will get worse, a lot worse. My daughter was "constipated" for about 4 years and we just learned in Dec. (after an ER visit, X-ray and CT Scan) that she had Encopresis and after seeing a specialist she was all better in a week!

It took so long to get a proper diagnosis because everyone focuses on diet only. My daughter was drinking plenty of water and eating great (whole foods, veggies, fruits, flax oil) you name it she was on it! She was making the poop and it was soft, it just wasn't coming out! When a child has encopresis, they will get to a point that they cannot poop because their colon is stretched. It takes about 3-6 mos to shrink back to normal.

Email me directly if you have any specific questions,
M.
[email protected]____.com

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R.G.

answers from Visalia on

Try adding fiber in your childs diet like cream of wheat, oatmeal, corn bran, that should help him with his constipation, lay off the whole milk that could be causing his constipation....let me know how it works, sincerely R...

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B.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi
I have a 3 yr old daughter with the same problem. She will hold it for 4 or more days until it almost makes her sick. Then when it does come it is soooo large that it would hurt a grown person. The only thing that has helped and it is a daily thing is to put 5 ml of mineral oil in her drink. It doesn't have a taste or smell and it does work. Believe me I have tried everything.

Make sure that he is drinking plenty of water not juice. If he will not drink water there is a juice called plumsmart that works slowly but does work. Taste better than prune juice.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My toddler has had constipation problems since she started eating food at six months. It took until she was about 14 months for me to realize it was rice that was causing most of the problems. Once I took her off rice (I was giving her organic brown rice) she was regular in about 1.5 weeks. We still battle constipation problems today at 30 months, though I can control it with her diet.

She drinks prune juice about every three days to maintain and if she gets really constipated I only offer prune juice until she goes. I keep her off bananas and only give her one if I know for sure she's gone "potty" and it appears soft (sorry for the description...) I also cut prunes up the size of raisins and she will eat them on occasion. Organic unfiltered apple juice works too. She also drinks Organic pear juice.

My toddler isn't potty trained yet and I plan to start the process in April. I am worried it might cause a problem with constipation. Right now I know if she feels the urge to go, she can work on it throughout the day in her diaper. But if she has to sit down I wonder if she will have the patience needed...

R.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,
You might try the tips at:
http://www.gomommygo.com/pottytraining.html
He may just have a problem with shame, holding it in, and then not be able to hold it any longer. Your acceptance of him and the loving suggestions that he'll do better next time will ease the way, I'm sure!
Let me know if that helps!
Sincerely,
R.

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S.T.

answers from San Diego on

I would not use laxatives or anything like that. My daughter periodically goes through bouts of constipation and I cut back on certain foods and juices. It sometimes takes awhile but she always gets over it. I give her extra salad servings and red grapes seem to help.

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T.K.

answers from San Diego on

Get your child to a good naturopath

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C.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Miralax is now available OTC. It can be mixed w/ milk or soft foods. It can been given for extended periods if necessary. Sometimes the constipation is recurrent because kids remember passing hard stool was painful, so some become anal retentive and try to pretend they don't have to poop -- making the constipation worse.

I had to resort to paying my daughter "Disney" dollars everytime she pooped in the potty w/o soiling her self -- I printed my own play $ that resembled real money but with Mickey mouse on it -- when she earned enough we went to disneyland. It wasn't an overnight solution -- I was giving her Miralax everynight for months. (Not to mention carrying extra underwear in my purse)

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Z.P.

answers from San Diego on

Hi M.,

I would recommend that you do not give him laxatives. They are very damaging to a body, especially a young child. What is his diet like now? What do you give him for fluids and how much? Constipation is a sign that things are not right in the bowels. A person, whether they are a child or adult, should have a bowel movement for every meal they have. If you eat three big meals a day, you should be going three times a day. I know many doctors will say that every person is different and going even once a week is ok. This couldn't be further from the truth.

I would suggest the following: Limit the consumption of refined/processed/junk food and increase in fruits and veg. and plenty of water, fresh squeezed/made fruit and veg. juices, smoothies with rice/soy/water only and rice/soy milk to drink. Limit or exclude dairy which is also extremely damaging to the body.

Have your child take a probiotic. Probiotics are the good bacteria that occur naturally within our bodies. When these get out of whack, the bad bacteria take over and cause a host of issues as constipation. (www.renewedbynature.com (check out Fast Track of In-Liven)they are absolutely the best on the market in my opinion.

Adding about a teaspoon of flax seed or flax meal to a smoothie will also help alleviate short term constipation as does prune juice. Look for juice that is 100% juice with not a lot of sugar.

One other important aspect to consider is to monitor your child for allergies. Wheat/Gluten allergies can start to manifest as constipation. If you would like to discuss any of these things further please contact me. All this is based on our own real life experiences and lots of research I have done to cure my then two year old son and own self from years of suffering. Good luck and the best of health. Z.
You may contact me at [email protected]____.com

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N.S.

answers from San Diego on

giving my son regular amounts of a fiber source, like benefiber, that i just stir into his water or milk helped a TON with his constipation. it kept him really regular as long as i did it every day, once a day. you could try that. also, pear juice or if he'll drink prune juice helps a lot, too. you can also ask your pediatrician about over the counter drugs you can use (like miralax -- but get a dr. recommendation first before you use it). the benefiber really works well for us.

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C.C.

answers from San Diego on

Dear M.,

I am a little confused by your request, he is constipated AND soils his underwear?? Has he been checked for blockage by a doctor? If constipation is your worry then...

If he is eating a lot of dairy, take him off of it. You can also get children's probiotics at health food stores that will help with this problem. (Probiotics are healthy bacteria needed in the colon to assist in the breakdown of food.) Raisens or even some prune juice watered down are good but stay away from too much sugar as sugar may contribute to the problem. Stay away from processed foods.

I have a great fiber shake you could add to his oatmeal that may be helpful for this problem but if you used it, you would want him to drink lots of water. Water consumption is an important piece for this as well, regardless of what you do. If you can get him to drink more water, try some warm lemon water with a couple drops of agave syrup for sweetening (very light on the syrup). Warm water, if drunk early in the morning, is really good for loosening the bowel.

If he soils because the remedies are overworking, then it is important for you to find a balance in his diet so his body can find balance internally. Hard to do with a toddler but in his case, very, very worth the effort.

Hope some of these ideas work.

C.

About me:

I am a mother of four children ranging in ages from 23 to 36. I am self-educated in nutrition and currently represent a 28 year old health and wellness company that distributes pure, safe, and beneficial products internationally. Our focus is broad based and includes inner and outer health (skin care, hormone balancing, weight management, and supplementation with whole food vitamins – for children to mature individuals).

I am also the author of “Diamond Moms, A Mother’s Guide to Raising a Baseball Player” available on Amazon. While it educates mothers about the sport, it is also a book on parenting and the importance of being a strong, disciplined, and loving mother. Don’t ever leave yourself out of the picture!!

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M.

answers from Las Vegas on

more juices, milk, fruits and vegetables, and soup every day. Warm meals, not cold meals. Avoid any kind of stress. Good luck

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M.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
My now 5 year old son had the same problem. We did it all, pills, powders, stool softeners, enemas. Nothing worked! We were finally refered to a GI specialist. The moment he looked at him he knew he had a dairy allergy!! What happened to my son and is now happening w/ my 2 1/2 as well. The allergy is that their bodies have a hard time breaking down the protein in dairy. After much research online and advice form our specialists we found out the cows milk is overated in the US. Thera so many other milks that have no hormones in it and are safer and have more nutrients than cows milk. Both my kids are on almond milk and some rice milk. Almond milk especially have a high count of good fats and proteins. Do not do soy milk as a suppliment. The protein in soy is similar to the cows milk protein, so their bodies will react the same to it. Once we saw that everything was getting better we slowly started intoducing some dairy products into their diet. But only cheeses, yogurts, spreads. Never liquids. That seems to really agrivate their symptoms!
We also did chiropratic/energy medicine care and noticed a huge difference in their bowl movements.We definatley wanted to stay away from any prescription laxatives since we had tried tht it really only became a temporary solution anyway. We saw a fabulous chiropractor in Sierra Madre, and she really helped us with other herbal ways to treat their symptoms when they flared up. Well good luck! Feel free to contact me if need any other info.

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B.M.

answers from Providence on

My 14 months old son had constipation and tummy ache and the only thing helped with his constipation was Toddler magic tea.

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L.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Don't use laxatives! One tablespoon of mineral oil in his juice for a couple of days will help. Watch the dairy intake to much will constipate your child.

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C.K.

answers from San Diego on

Put a diaper on him again until he has more control. It'll come; I've gone through that too. I used one tbsp of mineral oil per day until he had more control. We never have a problem now.
Good luck

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C.A.

answers from San Diego on

M.,

My son also had this issue. Boy's are much more sensative about #2. What I found was the more emphasis I put on it the worse things got. They become so self concious that it makes matters worse. The best parenting advise that I was given and live by is "pick your battles". With that being said there is an over the counter powder that works better then a laxative and is much less embarrasing. it disolves in anything and does not have a taste. It is called Myrlax. I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.
C. A

J.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello. I am a holistic nutritionist/basically a naturopath. Please DO NOT give your child laxatives!!!!!!!
There is likely a nutritional deficiency or perhaps what is called an 'interference field' (IF) is an injury site, either a fall or boo boo or perhaps a vaccination site, or if your child was delivered with forceps.... these all create an IF, which may reflex to the large intestine, causing a blockage. Remedies that work are often topical castor oil, or medi body pack treatment and/or some internal nutrients, most often minerals, which kids are deficient in most of the time. You can visit our website for more information on how our services can help you, or you can hopefully find someone that uses premier research products, which are the best especially to use for children, as they are natural, free of toxins and other pesticides.

Good luck!

Namaste,
J. Eltman, MPH, RD
Preventive & Therapeutic Holistic Health
www.CreativeNutrition.com
1.877.5.EATWELL
Author: The NO DIET Diet: Healthy Meals in 5 Minutes

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A.U.

answers from Los Angeles on

Apple juice has always worked for my kids. Another thing you need to check on is that amount of fluids he is intaking. When they get a little older and are playing a lot they tend to not get enough. Have a sippy cup with water aviable to him at all hours.

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C.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Before you give him drugs, try applesauce! Feed it to him a few times a day, it should take care of the problem in no time. Hopefully, it will do the trick and not be a more serious problem.

Good luck!

C.

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