I can't bear to see my kids in pain, and when that pain also involves them struggling (or refusing) to use the bathroom, it's the worst — maybe even the hardest — part of parenting. When my kids were constipated, I was willing to try pretty much anything to help. I know how horrible constipation can be and didn't want to see them suffer. So, I asked about it on social media, hoping other moms would share what actually worked for their constipated toddlers. As a result, you don't have to post the same poop-involved question on your social media page. You're welcome.
Turns out, when you ask about poop on the internet you should be prepared to hear a wide range of advice. It seemed like everyone had a super secret trip or trick for me to try. I heard practical advice — like adding fiber to your little one's diet, increasing non-dairy fluids, and asking your doctor about laxatives — but I also received some pretty bizarre suggestions, like taking a rectal temperature. Yikes. By far my favorite (and most effective) advice is that "P" foods help kids poop. So, if my kids are constipated, I give them pears, peaches, or prunes. It pretty much works about as well as cheap coffee works for me. My number two fail-safe solution is also pretty simple, but not for the weak of heart. I discovered — the hard way — that a warm bath has a laxative effect on toddlers. It did the job, but it was absolutely disgusting, you guys. I was able to scrub the tub clean, but I will never scrub that image from my mind.
So, if you have a constipated toddler and need some ideas on how to help them out, read on for the best advice moms had to offer. Sure, motherhood is gross, but moms really know their sh*t. Yes, pun intended.
"Prunes. My son thought they were delish."
"As my kid refuses juice and fruit, medicine is what works for us."
"Pear juice. I tried a cup of it once after my daughter didn’t need anymore, and I didn’t want to just toss it. Let me just say, that stuff works."
"Stool softener and lots of water, followed by a laxative a few hours later. Adding a crapton of blueberries/prunes,to her diet helped, too. More than anything, getting ahead of the problem was better than trying to help after she was already in pain."
"Mine hasn't been constipated, but when I give him quinoa and get all excited that he eats it, because he's not a spectacular eater, OMG watch out."
"I mix one teaspoon of Miralax in a sippy cup of whole milk. We called it 'cherry milk.' My oldest loved it and thought she was getting a treat. If it got too bad, a glycerin suppository did the trick. Not fun for either of us, but it got the job done, that's for sure."
"Ground flax seed. Sprinkle a little on whatever. Works like a charm."
"When my child was 18-months-old, she would get constipated all the time. We asked our pediatrician and he told us to give her a cup of juice each day. We started giving her a cup of apple juice each day. I've noticed (just an observation, so it could be coincidence) that she gets constipated if she has more milk than juice in a day, so I give her one cup of juice and one cup of milk each day (the milk for the calcium she still needs). If she wants more than that, I tell her to drink water. She only gets constipated when she has too much milk or not enough juice now."
"Blueberries work for my 2-year-old picky-eating son. And substituting some of his milk for water. Those blueberry poops, though, are the worst."
"Coconut milk yogurt. We call it the poop maker."
"My son had sensory-feeding issues. He refused solids or juice for the longest time. Our pediatrician recommended Milk of Magnesia and it really helped. When his constipation got super bad, we used glycerin suppositories."
"My son is 4 and struggles with chronic constipation due to cerebral palsy. I push tons of water, but when the occasional bad episode does happen, we will use a glycerin suppository as a last ditch effort."
"Lots of fiber and water. Prune juice. Somehow the kid can still get backed up even while eating half a cup of blueberries a day, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal. So right now he's having raisin bran to get his bowels moving. Yes, I give my toddler bran, and since when did I care so much about a person's bowel habits? This is hardcore momming when I'm researching fiber biscuits."
"With my eldest, fruit always did the trick because he would eat it or drink it. So, smoothies a couple of times a day, straight fruit juice, or leaving out berries for him to snack on worked well. My youngest is a fruit dodger. So, no deal with him. And he holds in his poop, so we get bad constipation issues. Medication is the only thing that gets things moving. He has a dose when he gets up in the morning and a dose when he goes to bed, and will continue to do so until he stops holding. Sometimes you need meds. Sometimes a little bit of fruit works. Same for adults, too."
"For one, staying attentive of how often he was pooping. If I noticed more than two or three days passed, I knew it was time to spring into action, so to speak. I increased how much water he was drinking by offering him lots of it. I would fill multiple sippy cups and have them all around the house and offer it maybe once an hour. If he was being reluctant about water, I offered some juice (though he doesn't drink juice often). Prune puree and/or prune juice. He was usually reluctant to drink the juice though, so more often than not a can or two of prunes helped. Rubbing his tummy so that I could help the poop slowly move down and out, as well as kinda 'running' his legs (basically put him on his back and pedal his legs so that the motion pushes into his belly), and changing his diet around. I'd reduce his dairy and meats, increased veggies and fruits, with some high-fiber breads. He'd pretty much always poop about the next day, two days max.
"Toddler life includes so much poop talk! I’m lucky to have a very regular kiddo, but a tiny dose of Miralax or some pear juice always helps if things get a bit backed up. And, most importantly, plenty of water."
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.