Toddler Won't "Poop"

Updated on February 22, 2011
D.T. asks from Wesley Chapel, FL
22 answers

Hi again everyone. well, the diaper rash went away, but now my almost 3 year old is having trouble having a bowel movement. I don't know if it is mental or if he is having a bowel or constipation issue? We had him on the toilet today for literally an hour and a half and he just wouldn't go. He went in his diaper very little, just a skidmark! Could it be something he is eating. When he was a baby, he had constipation issues and we went through all the formula to try to get it better and by 3-4 months he was fine. I just feel bad for the little guy, he just squeezed and seems like he is holding it. Could something be causing it to hurt him? Any advise would help.

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V.

answers from Orlando on

Try Fletcher's laxative for kids. It works and very gentle!
You can buy them at any drug store. I got mine at Publix.

Good luck!

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C.E.

answers from Houston on

my son seemed to have the same problem when he was an infant. Remarkably enough his pediatrition recommended prune juice. As far as I know, there is no prune juice especially for children so she recommended the one you find on the grocery shelf. So for every 4 or 8 ounces of juice or milk you give half the amount in prune juice. So you give 2 ounces of prune juice and 2 ounces of milk mixed together. You will only do this ONE time a day. I would highly recommend that you give this to him before bed time. This way his body will have time to digest it and in the morning he should go with ease.
You could also try going to a vitamin store and buy a vegetable supplement. I usually buy it in powder form and mix it with his milk (they sell it in flavors). Or you could also try Danimals milk supplement. You can buy this at the grocery store in the baby section.
Hope something works for him
C.

More Answers

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B.G.

answers from Ocala on

fleets enema works wonders my 6 yr old is autistic and has impacted bowels, we have tried everything including prescriptions and nada when she gets bad we use an enema it allows us to help her and her enough time to get on the potty, shw won't eat or drink anything new so this works well,

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E.S.

answers from Tampa on

There are also suppositories that help almost immediately, ask the pharmisist or ped. Sound gross or wierd, but they are easy to use and very effictive.
The problem gets worse if not dealt with...
Check into food allergies as well, this can be a factor (My son can't drink milk because it consipates him)
Good Luck!

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T.W.

answers from Orlando on

Ask your pediatrician about a child safe laxative. Otherwise, a very new almost green at least with a lot of green on it banana that should do the trick pretty quickly.

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H.I.

answers from Orlando on

oh my gosh - my friend is in the middle of your same crisis. hopefully i'll be able to explain enough...her daughter, just turned 3, had a rash, and didn't want to poop...so, she got constipated, couldn't poop - didn't want to. eventually she took her to the doctor, and they gave her milk of magnesia - in a small dose...that helped her poop, but of course was runny and couldn't control it - so she was wearing pull-ups again. she still would pee on the potty, but couldn't/wouldn't poop...she's been going through this for about 2 months. and, unfortunately, is still in it, so i don't have a solution for you! it's like the whole thing started a regression and a cycle that can't be broken? maybe a day outside naked or something where the poop has to go in the potty even through a nervous breakdown? i don't know. but my friend is even putting her in panties to see if that helps - not wanting to poop in panties theory - but it doesn't work...i was over for 3 hours the other day and she went through 3 outfits due to poop. i'm curious myself for a solution to pass on to her!! good luck and let me know!

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G.G.

answers from Orlando on

Constipation is a sign of dehydration. Give him water in place of other beverages, since water hydrates better.

G. G.,
Certified Health Educator

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M.B.

answers from Sarasota on

There is a condition called "fecal hoarding" and it is actually very common in toddlers. Sometimes it is due to the child be afraid of a part of "them" being flushed down the toilet and sometimes it is because the child may have at one time had a bowel movement was painful to them and so now they relate "pooping" to pain. I see a lot of advice for over the counter treatments which I am not putting down (please check with your pediatrician first though), however the best treatment for my daughter was prune juice. With my daughter it works in about 10-15 minutes and softens the stool so she doesn't have to push so hard. Gerber has a juice that is a mixture of apple and prune juice so it's not quite as hard to get them to drink it because it does taste a little better (I taste EVERYTHING that goes in my children's mouths, trust me!!). Another thing that helped was to put a foot stool in front of her so she could brace against something. I hope this helps!

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T.F.

answers from Orlando on

Please, please, please google "Encopresis", which can occur from prolonged bowel withholding that causes a cycle where the poop gets really big and strecthes out the colon. Call the pediatrician, which will tell you what to do based on how long he's been holding it. Could be just add more fiber, could be he has a fissure that needs vaseline on it, could be he needs a laxative...etc

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A.I.

answers from Pensacola on

Hello D., well I have experienced the same issues with my daughter who is now 13 months old. We haven't started potty training yet but she has had some constipation issues. I try to alter her diet when she is having issues. Include more fiber rich foods that will help her digestive system catch up. You can always try a suppository laxative. Although I am not so sure how a three year old would respond to that. Try feeding him a prune or two that usually does the trick within a few hours. and make sure he has enough water in his system the lack of it can also increase constipation. Water acts as a moisturized you would say for poo and helps it pass a little more easily at least with my experience it helps ha ha. I hope all works out well

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J.C.

answers from Rochester on

Going thru the same situation with our 3 year old. Heres what works, but you have to be consistent! Go to your local drug store and buy a large bottle of Miralax or the generic equivelent(make sure it has the same active ingredient). Start by giving him a half a capful in his favorite morning sippy cup, and a half a capful in his nighttime sippy. Do this everyday for a week and BE PATIENT! When he goes, hes gonna poop the motherload. You must keep him on this regimen for awhile, even if hes passing diarrhea so that his bowels flush themselves. A lot of times the diarrhea being passed is the fecal matter surrounding the plug, which is what we're trying to flush out. If he does not go after 3 days, increase the dose to a capful morning and night. Als make sure he drinks all of it. You can mix Miralax with anything so you should'nt have much trouble. This is what we are giving our 3 year old daughter, and if we miss a dose, she gets bound up. So you must be consistent. The idea is to keep their little bowels moving. Toddlers have a hard time pooping because when they finally do go, it hurts and sometimes they're embarrassed. Just keep encouraging him to go on the potty and try the Miralax, its gentle on their bowels and I guarantee it will work. You just HAVE to be consistent and patient. You'll be surprised how much poop a 3 year old can store. Good luck!

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S.B.

answers from Tampa on

i just went through this with my 6 year old daughter.My daughter has this problem since July. I took her to her doctor and they put her on Miralax. She is on this now. It works. It is a powder and mix it with juice or anything that she likes to drink. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. I would take her to her doctor and get some advice. With my daughter she ended up being backed up into her colon. Because it had taken so long and because she had been backed up for so long, We ended up in the hospital to have her cleaned out. No surgery required , It was an over night stay, She has been moving her bowles perfectly with no problem. if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

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M.H.

answers from Tampa on

You might want to get him on Miralax, which is a stool softener they now sell over the counter. But if he's anything like my daughter, he may be holding it in. Once they have a painful bowel movement they will hold it in out of fear. So once they do go, it comes all at once and it REALLY hurts. It could be a mix of both so I'd check w/ his pediatrician & go from there. Good luck!

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A.F.

answers from Tampa on

i had potty issues with my daughter. my daughter's doctor originally recommended kayro syrup - for some children, it works. not for my daughter - it only made it worse. then she recommended we try mineral oil to soften the stool. I would put it on black olives - my daughter's favorite food. she could potty easier within 24 hours.

since he is so little, you could give him 2 teaspoons of mineral oil. i would not try making him swallow it off the teaspoon. put it in/on his favorite fruit. the fructose helps makes it taste better.

my daughter and son both have problems when they eat too much sugar (sucrose, glucose, and dextrose) they do okay with fructose - but only in moderate amounts. too much and they have problems.

have you thought about lactose intolerance? my daughter has it - my son is fine. he just has a bad tolerance to the sugars dextrose, sucrose, and glucose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and intolerance to in children is common.

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K.W.

answers from Tampa on

I say go natural and use prune juice. It does wonders. I could take 24 hours but give it a try. If needed dulute it with water.

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L.K.

answers from Orlando on

Hi D.,
I have been there with my now almost 4 year old daughter. Fleets Babylax! It is a glycerine suppository with a little vial and a tube you insert in their bottom. This usually works fast so diaper him or put him on the potty quickly. If they can hold it for 5 seconds it really helps. It is non-habit forming, causes an immediate urge to push, and lubricates the way to make it easier on their little bottoms. Only one time did it take two to get my daughter unclogged. They worked everytime. It can be a bit tramatic, especially if they are really bound up. I tried everything else including natural baby laxative drops and this really is the best thing going. My sister also used it on her son and had the same quick results. Just be quick about getting him where he can poop because it works really fast.
Ah, the joys of mothering!

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L.C.

answers from Tallahassee on

My daughter went through the same withholding thing as your son. Once I realized that's what she was doing, I talked to her about letting the poop come out as that was good for her body and it was what she should be doing. When she finally did poop in the potty, we gave her lots of praises! Then we had no more trouble. Unlike your son, however, she never had an issue with constipation, so you might want to keep track of when he had his last bowel movement and contact his doctor if you're concerned there might be a greater issue involved. And remember to be patient!

M.S.

answers from Ocala on

Hello D.,

I just went through this with my daughter about a week ago and she is 7 and she was unable to go #2 for about 3 days and she was hurting so bad. She was screaming and she couldn't walk. We had to keep her home from school. We rushed her to her Dr. and he said that she is going to be fine and that we needed to give her Magnesium Citrate Oral Solution,

http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100156&a...

it only cost about $2.00 or less. He said give her 1/2 of the bottle to drink (TODAY) mix it with sprite because it taste (((REAL BAD)))! If nothing happens then give her the other half of the bottle tomorrow -- mixed with sprite.

So I left the Dr.'s office and I went to Publix and I got 1 bottle. We went home and the bottle says that it is 10 FL oz.'s so I put (5 oz.) in a measuring cup.
Then I poured a little bit in a cup and I added sprite (the same amount).

I ONLY HAD TO GIVE HER ABOUT 1/2 OF THE 5oz. IT ONLY TOOK 20 MINUTES AND SHE WAS ON THE POTTY GOING.

She did have a hard time because it was alot and it was hard from not being able to go for the last 3 days.

Right after that she was GREAT!!!!!!

She had a few loose stools through out the rest of the day but it was not alot.

I thank the LORD for helping her go because I was very worried for her and her health.

You should take her to the Dr. and see what they have to say, I am sharing this with you as a mother NOT AS A Dr.

I wish you all the best with this and GOD BLESS.

From one mother to another.

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M.H.

answers from Sarasota on

denfinately try some of these suggestions, but also don't wait to take him to the doctor. There can be major health consequences to this if he is holding it in a purpose. If it is food constipation, it should work itself out. If he is holding it in, which isn't uncommon if there is some fear behind going, then he will need medication ASAP. I don't know very many people with kids and out of that group, two boys had this problem (they were holding it) and had to get on medication to make them go.

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M.M.

answers from Tampa on

OK...for all you moms out there, may gonna call me bananas , crazy, outta my mind but it works.

My Mother, Grand-Mother, and Great Grands did this to all of us.
take the child into a very warm bath to relax and settle the stomach then once in there play for about 10 minutes then cut off a little slice of your BAR soap and use it in the rectum.
Believe me it works.
He'll be in the Bath and you won't have nothing to worry about if he does decide to let it all out.

you can also ask the dr. about this but i am not sure what your dr. will say but this has been the way for many many years in our family and others that i know.
very inexpensive and easiest way that i know as well.
take care and hope it gets better!

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C.E.

answers from Tampa on

This is something u may need to address soon it could be dangerous for him to be backing up. Have u tried a baby enema this wouldn't give him a choice if he is purposly holding it and u'll be able to see if it is painful to poop. In any case u shouls have his ped take a look. Good luck

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J.C.

answers from Fort Myers on

I know this sounds funny but whenever my children (Age 7 and 2) won't poop I give them chocolate milk and it goes right through them. My kids don't eat a lot of candy so when they do have chocolate it has a great effect on their system. What also works well and I use this for my 11 mo. old is multi-grain cheerios, lots of fiber and a great snack! I hesitate to medicate my children unless there is no other alternative. If your child drinks a lot of juice or sugary foods that will definitely constipate him. I went through this with my now 2 year old for a couple of months. We cut back on the amount of juice she drinks and she doesn't seem to be having the problem anymore.

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