How To Help Relieve Constipation for Toddlers and Children
The number one issue our children have had is going number two.
It’s been a struggle keeping our children regular and we’ve tried so many different things.
When kids aren’t a fan of green vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich foods, it becomes even more difficult.
When our daughter was little, she had issues with chronic constipation, and she would scream. The number of things we tried was such a long list.
Now at almost 6 years old, her issues are completely gone. She may not remember, but the rest of us sure do.
Our son is going through a similar issue now with toddler constipation and we take the same advice from the pediatrician to no avail.
That’s why we have come up with our own remedies to help the situation.
Check out many tips to try to help your constipated toddler, so they can start having regular bowel movements again.
This list is not from a medical professional. Please make sure to consult your doctor or medical professional before trying any home remedies. Make sure to take your child to their pediatrician or your child's healthcare provider if their constipation does not improve or gets worse because they could have a medical problem that needs to be addressed.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Constipation in children is a common problem. A constipated child has infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools.”
If your child is not yet toilet training, you may see them squat on the floor and turn red-faced. They may start screaming and crying as well.
You may find they don’t want you to touch them or change their position on the floor. Some children may even have a designated poop spot in the house they always go to.
This can be hard to watch, and you just want to take their pain and discomfort away.
We’ve been there and know exactly what you and your little one are going through.
There are many ways to help your child when they are struggling to go potty.
1. Liquid Multivitamin
There are so many multivitamins on the market for children, but should your child be taking them? If so, which one should they take?
WebMD states that the children who will benefit most from taking multivitamins are “Kids with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or digestive problems, especially if they're taking medications. (Be sure to talk with your child's doctor before starting a supplement if your child is on medication.)”
With our daughter’s severe digestive issues, our pediatrician recommended liquid multivitamins. We would mix it in her milk every morning to help her.
This helped her get the proper vitamins she was lacking since she was such a picky eater when it came to solid foods.
Luckily, she has expanded her palate, made some diet changes, and doesn’t require the multivitamin anymore.
If your child is not getting the proper vitamins from food alone, consult your pediatrician to see if they would benefit from a multivitamin.
2. Liquid Calcium and Magnesium
Another addition to our daughter’s diet to help with digestion was liquid calcium and magnesium.
The pediatrician originally recommended natural laxatives like prunes, prune juice, and other fruit juice, but this escalated the pain in her stomach. The problem with prunes is they are a stool softener for the new stool, but the older hard stools were still having trouble coming out.
The prunes would give her the urge to go more frequently, but she still couldn’t always get it out. It broke this mama’s heart to see her with such painful bowel movements.
After a bit of research, liquid calcium and magnesium was recommended to help her constipation. While this still worked like the prunes, it wasn’t causing such an extreme tummy ache for her, and it helped prevent anal fissures.
3. Healthy Diet
I would love to tell you the solution was to only give her extremely healthy meals and to stick to a special meal plan, but that was unrealistic for us.
When I tell you we had tried every vegetable, fruit, and whole grains for her, I really think we did. We would continue to introduce new foods to try to get her used to them.
This did eventually work, but it took years, maturity, and understanding of why she should eat those things. She does eat better than she did as a toddler, but it took a while to make those lifestyle changes.
I also understand many will say we could have started by giving her only healthy food from the beginning, but we did. Puréed avocado also isn’t helping her diet when she’s spitting it all out.
We typically like to hide healthy foods in foods our children like, so they are getting some of the proper nutrition they need.
Check out my list of 20 Fun Ways to Eat Veggies For Kids to see some ways you can sneak foods into your child's diet.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Many of the things you’ll find on this list are also great for adults.
We cannot survive without enough water. Water makes up a large percentage of our body, and we need it to survive. You can go weeks without food, but only a few days without water to survive.
Water is great for the digestive system, and it helps keep everything inside moving along like it’s supposed to.
The Mayo Clinic tells us, “Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water 1. Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, 2. Keeps your temperature normal, 3. Lubricates and cushions joints, and 4. Protects sensitive tissues.”
So be sure to keep a bottle of water near your child to remind them to stay hydrated. There are so many options of cups for kids that can prevent spills.
This way your child can be sure to drink enough fluids and you know your home is safe from spills.
5. Pediatric Chiropractor
Our favorite and the most effective way to help with constipation in children is taking them to a pediatric chiropractor.
I was hesitant for a long time and pushed the idea aside due to everything I was told about chiropractors growing up.
I thought they only cracked your body and I had been taught not to crack my body, so how would they possibly be safe?
After exhausting every option and having issues breastfeeding our son, I reached out to a lactation consultant who specializes in breastfed babies to seek some advice. I thought she would just tell me a few tips and move on, but I was wrong.
My lactation consultant was a local woman who wanted to help me find a solution. She started following symptoms I gave her and decided to put me in contact with a local pediatric chiropractor who she works closely with.
The pediatric chiropractor was a life-changer and was nothing like I was taught. She uses safe methods and pressure points for children and does not crack their backs.
Our favorite is when she activates the “poop button” to get them to have to go sometimes before we get home.
A few appointments in and our children were finally going regularly and years later, they continue to do well.
6. Rub Their Stomach
A few techniques the pediatric chiropractor taught me are helpful to get the digestive tract moving.
While I’m not administering chiropractic care, I’m just lightly massaging the belly to help everything continue to flow down.
You may find having your child lay on their back in a comfortable place like a bed or couch will keep them still longer for you.
Just like physical activity, the movement can help keep everything moving along.
You can find many techniques for stomach massaging to help keep the digestive tract moving.
7. Insert Rectal Thermometer
This tip came directly from the pediatrician, and it does work.
You can add some Vaseline or Aquaphor to the end of the rectal thermometer and insert it into your child’s rectum.
Your child might have some discomfort, but hopefully not pain.
Slide it in quickly and carefully to get their bowels moving.
You should see this technique take effect rather quickly.
8. Potty Train
If all else fails and they are showing signs of readiness, potty training might be your best option.
It’s not good to push your child to potty train, but if they’re struggling to go in diapers, it might be time to ditch them.
With our daughter, she struggled all the way up to the day we took the diapers away. Being able to sit her on the potty in a comfortable way and having nothing constricting her body really helped her go on the potty.
We saw the light bulb go off for both our kids when they learned they could go on the potty and not have a diaper pushing against them. They also like how much easier clean-up is after.
If you are looking to potty train your child, head on over to my post on How We Tackled the 3 Day Potty Training Method. You can see how to get rid of the diapers quickly.
Constipation can be so hard on children since it is not something they can always control.
I really hated seeing my children cry in abdominal pain while trying to go number two.
I really hope some of these tips can help your child if they are showing symptoms of constipation and lead them down a road of healthy bowel habits.
What ways work best for your child when they are showing signs of constipation?
What other ways do you help your child have normal bowel movements?
Please let me know in the comments below!