It’s something every mom dreads, when your little one just won’t poop. If you’re looking for toddler constipation remedies that don’t require heading to the hospital or doctor’s, I’ve compiles a bunch of the most effective home remedies for consipation right here. Keep in mind that if your child is in distress or has gone more than 4-5 days without a bowel movement, you need to see that doctor.
First, is your toddler really constipated? What are the symptoms of constipation in toddlers? Obviously, not pooping much is a good indication something isn’t right, but according to the Mayo Clinic, the official signs of toddler constipation include:
- Dry, hard stools that tend to block the toilet because they’re so big
- Less than 3 bowel movements per week
- Really big bowel movements, with or without blood on the outside
- Lower belly pain
- Pain while pooping
- Stained underwear
If your little one is dealing with any of these, but especially more than one symptom, they are probably constipated. It happens to everyone, but it’s especially difficult when your toddler can’t really tell you what is going on or gets upset about using the toilet.
Toddler Constipation Remedies
Now that you know what to watch for, here are some excellent ways to get things moving again. Each of these toddler constipation remedies is something you can do at home easily.
Keep Your Toddler Hydrated
As your food moves through the large intestine, your body pulls out the water. This results in thicker, sturdier stool . . . but if the transit is too slow, or if you’re dehydrated, the amount of water your body removes could stop things up entirely. Drinking more water is the obvious way to increase hydration, but toddlers can be picky about what they drink. Check out our previous article on getting your child to drink more water.
In addition to regular liquids to rehydrate and keep that body waste moving smoothly, you may want to try a little Gatorade. This is what I always recommend to worried parents, since we’ve found that it helps replenish the lost minerals. Did you know that low potassium can cause constipation? The longer your toddler is unable to have a bowel movement, the more potassium is pulled from the stool and the worse the constipation gets. Gatorade or similar sports drinks can help put that back into your little one’s body and most kids won’t resist drinking it.
Just Add Exercise
Exercise is a terrific way to get things moving. My oldest son has chronic constipation due to a birth defect, but we’ve learned that getting him moving is a good way to help his intestines move. Studies show that the vast majority of children don’t get enough exercise these days. Instead, they’re watching TV and playing video games (which I personally have nothing against, but they do need to exercise, too). Ideally, your children need 60 minutes of active play, preferably outside, per day.
How do you get them moving? The best way is to move yourself. Head outside and run races, kick a ball around or climb some trees with your kids. Hit the beach or pool, or invite some friends over and have them play kickball in the back yard. More exercise is good even if it doesn’t loosen the bowels, after all, so there’s no wrong way to do this. It’s also one of the simplest toddler constipation remedies you’ll find, since your little one is not likely to protest a day at the park.
Try These Constipation Busting Foods
Diet is an important part of relieving constipation in toddlers, so the following foods are a good idea to include in their diet.
- Peas and beans
- Peanut butter (or peanuts)
Have a picky eater? No worries! Try whole grain toast strips with avocado or peanut butter on them, make a berry smoothie and mix with gelatin to create a jelly treat, or offer dried fruits instead of fresh. Juice can also be beneficial and if all else fails, add olive oil to your child’s favorite meals.
Green Smoothies to Go
Eating plenty of raw greens can help keep stool fluffy and soft and is one of my favorite constipation prevention tools. Chance are, though, your toddler won’t be scarfing down a bowl or two of spinach and chard every day, so these smoothies are a super simple way to get those greens in. Just blend a cup of baby spinach or chard, some water or nut milk, and a cup of fruit. You can add a bit of honey if need be and if your child hates green, just put a little cocoa powder in to make it a chocolate drink.
You can also freeze smoothies and give them to your child as a popsicle, which may be a more acceptable form for them. There are actually a number of delicious smoothie pops you can make for your kids to help keep them healthy . . . and they’ll never guess it’s a toddler constipation remedy.
Massage the Poo Away
A simple massage can help break up lumps of harder feces in the intestines and get things moving again. All you need is some lotion or oil. Spread a little on your child’s lower abdomen and rub gently, but firmly, in clockwise motion. This will help move the feces down to the rectum.
Don’t run . . . but I do love essential oils for toddler constipation remedies (and for bigger folks, too!). Fennel, digestive blends, and lavender can all be wonderful for little tummies and help get things moving. They can be applied (diluted for tots!) on the soles of the feet or on the belly. In fact, I like to add a few drops to the oil I use for the tummy massages above.
Do you have any toddler constipation remedies you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.
Note: I’m not a doctor and this post should not be construed as medical advice. Check with your doctor before using any home remedies.