Constipation in Toddlers

Constipation in Toddlers

Constipation in Toddlers & Children

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a typical toddler or child should have the following Bowel Movements per day and week.

Child's Age

Avg BMs / Day

# of BMS / Wk

1 - 3 YRS


4 - 21

Over 3 YRS


3 - 14

Constipation refers to infrequent (less than 3 BMs per week) or incomplete bowel movements. The term is also used to refer to stools that are hard or difficult to pass.

Bear in mind, the consistency and frequency of stools changes day to day as these are directly dependent on what we eat.

The information presented here are general guidelines and are meant to provide you the parent with some knowledge and information, so that you can have a more informed conversation with your physician or your child's pediatrician.

How do you know if your child / Toddler is constipated?

Because each child is different and hardness is a relative term, the easiest way to know if your child / toddler is constipated is to look for the following symptoms:

To be certain about whether your child is constipated or not, it is best to consult with your pediatrician.

How does constipation get started?

Constipation can result after a major event or a significant change in a child's / toddler's life such as:

Any of the above can lead to withholding or delaying the BM. When a child / toddler decides to hold back on the urge to have a BM, the stool sits in the colon. When stool sits in the colon, the water in the stool is reabsorbed back by the body and the stool tends to become hard. When the stool becomes hard, it can be very painful to pass.

When the child / toddler decides to go ahead and have the BM, or can no longer hold it, it ends up being a painful --- a negative experience. Therefore, the next time the child / toddler has to urge to have a BM, he withholds, and the cycle starts again, leading to constipation and other problems related to issues of resistance to BM training, even potentially bed wetting.

We have many other potty training tips to help parents with their potty training questions.

Need more potty training tips and advice on potty training problems or just general advice, check out all of our Potty Training Articles!

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