*We’re partnering with DocuSol® Kids to inform parents about childhood constipation and ways they can help kids have good digestive health.
When my son was three years old, he would sit on the toilet, screaming in pain. I went through a lot of heartache as a mom, wondering what was wrong with my little boy and grasping at anything I could do to help him. While potty training, he was so scared to poop that he would rock back and forth, trying to hold it in, clutching his tummy in pain. He’d get constipated for days on end and every time he had to go #2, it was a traumatic experience.
Childhood constipation is no joke. It’s no fun for parents and it’s definitely no fun for kids. In fact, constipation is a serious medical condition that can have long-term complications if ignored, and 25-30% of young children to struggle with it. I’ve got five children ages 3-12 and all of them have struggled with constipation from time to time.
So how can you tell if your child is constipated and how can you help? Here are some tips I wish I had known as a young parent.
7 Signs Your Child Is Constipated
Constipation can be defined as stool that is hard to pass, pain associated with pooping, and/or three or less stools per week. Since a lot of young children can’t vocalize that they are constipated, here are some signs to look for.
1. Frequency of poop
Infants poop a lot more than older kids, averaging around four times per day. By two years of age, kids should be pooping 1.7 times per day (Source 1). It’s a good idea to monitor your kids’ pooping schedule to make sure they are staying regular.
Since it’s not the funnest thing for kids to talk about, we have something in our house called the “Poop club.” I simply ask my kids each day, “Have you joined the poop club today?” Meaning, did you go poop today? It’s a simple yes or no question that they can answer easily and I can keep tabs on their digestive health.
2. Consistency of poop
I appreciated the above chart that put stool consistency in relatable food terms. Basically, if your kids have poop that is hard, like pebbles or nuts, that’s a good clue that they are constipated. BMs that are extremely soft, like frosting or milkshakes, are diarrhea.
3. They are more moody or irritable than usual.
It’s sometimes hard to tell with erratic toddler mood swings, but if your child seems more irritable than usual and you’ve noticed them pooping less or having hard poops, he or she may be struggling with constipation.
4. Rocking back and forth.
For some kids, pooping is scary. They may wiggle or become excessively fidgety. Some children who don’t want to poop will contort their bodies into unusual positions (Source 1). This isn’t an attempt to go #2, but rather to keep from going #2.
5. They get full after small meals, or eat much less than usual.
Because of fecal accumulation in the intestines, many kids who are constipated demonstrate early fullness at meal times (Source 1). You may also notice them eating less in general.
6. Complaints of abdominal pain
Spasms in the intestines often occur because of constipation. If your child is complaining of tummy pain, and you can confirm other signs of constipation, that may be the culprit.
7. Rectal bleeding
In some cases, you may notice rectal bleeding. This is a sign that your child has been trying to pass a very large, hard stool.
3 Ways You Can Treat Constipation at Home
Good news! There are plenty of ways you can treat your child’s constipation at home, starting with these three.
1. Total clean out.
It’s important to fully empty the intestines of all waste that has built up (Source 2). The fastest, easiest, gentlest way I’ve found to do this for my kiddos is by using a mini-enema like DocuSol® Kids. It usually works in 2-15 minutes, it’s easy to use, and has a soft, flexible tip that is more comfortable for kids.
DocuSol® Kids functions as a stool softening, mini-enema made for kids ages 2-12. I love it because it works fast, and my kids don’t have to suffer overnight (you know nights like that—no fun for anyone!). Why wait overnight when you can have relief within 15 minutes?
You can find DocuSol® Kids at your local retail store or pharmacy.
2. Encourage a high fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and be active.
Kids are picky eaters, I get it. I have five kids who on any given day refuse to eat something. That being said, you’ll do your child a huge favor by introducing high-fiber foods gradually into their diet, like:
- fruits and fruit juices
- whole grains
- sweet potatoes
To help ease constipation and prevent it, make sure your child is drinking plenty if water. If it helps, add a low-calorie flavor packet to their water. And most importantly, stay active! Instead of screen time, take your child to a park or initiate a playdate where they can be active and have fun.
3. Reduce/eliminate constipating foods.
Here are some foods that can cause constipation in kids. Try toning down on them (or eliminating them entirely), especially if you child is prone to constipation.
- excess meat (especially red meat)
- fried foods
- dairy products like cheese and milk
- processed foods
- sugary foods
Childhood constipation is no fun, but you can treat it effectively at home with a mini-enema like DocuSol® Kids. It’s so nice to have in your back pocket. I keep DocuSol® Kids stocked in my medicine cabinet because if there’s one thing I absolutely know about raising kids, it’s that every day is unpredictable.
*Source 1: Blackmer, A., Farrington, E. “Constipation in the Pediatric Patient: An Overview and Pharmacologic Considerations.” www.ipedhc.org. November/December 2010.
*Source 2: Tobias, N., Mason, D., Lutkenhoff, M. Stoops, M. Ferguson, D. “Management Principles of Organic Causes of Childhood Constipation.” Journal of Pediatric Health Care. https://www.jpedhc.org/Volume 22. Number 1. 2008.
Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Alliance Labs, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2019 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Alliance Labs LLC. (2.26.19)
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DocuSol® Kids.