Tips for Kids Who are Constipated

Here are a few things I have learned about kids and constipation.

What is causing/contributing to the constipation?

In our experience:

  • Diet - My youngest especially is not a lover of fibrous foods. He eats too much candy (though we have gotten a lot better). And he wasn’t drinking enough water. We are doing better with that, too.
  • Fear Factor - There is definitely a fear factor. WARNING! It’s about to get graphic, so skip this section if you need to. Okay, after one particularly bad (pardon me) ass-ripper, my child became very afraid of pooping. As in, he would hold it in until it was like a freight train with no brakes. And I can’t even blame him. I don’t know why, but some kids can produce a man-sized turd. I kid you not, every time he poops he clogs the toilet, hence his quote: “Is it plogged? Get the klunger!”
During one of his bouts, Molly (7) wrote Charlie (4) this note of encouragement.

Tips for Little Kids Who are Constipated

  • Improve their Diet
    My son likes Wheat Chex® (with sugar, but, hey, it gets it in his body!). So we try to give him that more often, and it seems to help. I also push the water more. Just keeping a thermos with us in the car really helps. Healthy snacks help, too. Tip: make them the only ones you have in the car. When they are hungry, and it’s all I’ve got, they totally eat it. When we are at home, there are more options, so it’s harder.
  • Suppositories (I know…)
    I’m gonna shoot you straight here, this is not a picnic, but when your baby is crying on the toilet and looking at you for help, you can muster the courage to use a suppository. The ones we use are by Pedia-Lax®. It is not a pill, it is a bulb of liquid you shoot up their hiney. If you have a second person that’s helpful, but it’s not required if your child is small. Every kid is different, but I’m pretty sure once they have had a suppository they will resist it if they what’s coming. So there can be NO hesitation! We have found the best thing to do is: one grabs and holds, the other goes does the job. Then it’s over before they no what hit ‘em and the relief is VERY quick. Or at least that has been our experience. He poops and then we get the “klunger.”

  • Preemptive Strike
    My friend Beth and I were talking about this problem at dinner (because moms totally tell poop stories while eating and it’s all good). She asked me if I had ever given him MiraLax®. I hadn’t, but weirdly enough another friend named Beth also suggested MiraLax® to me.  We got some at the store and tried it. I put 1/2 of a teaspoon in some  milk before bed and gave it to him every other day for a week. It totally worked! Now, I just give it to him once in a while as a preemptive strike. Disclaimer: consult your pediatrician before giving your child any of these things (I am not a doctor). This advice is not meant to replace that of your pediatrician, or your own best judgement. 

Hey – Heads up, Moms! There are concerns about regular use of MiraLAX for extended periods of time. Check out this New York Times article!

Hope this is helpful. If you know of another mom dealing with this, please pass it on. And I would love to know what you guys do to help your little ones with this.

Well, we’ve had our share of pooptastic adventures. Here are a few winners in case you missed them: Surely Hard Liquor and Wine Were Invented by Moms; It’s Not Me, it’s Poo; and And the Turds Rained Down.

3 Responses to Tips for Kids Who are Constipated

  1. Gail Yongue June 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I rececently attended a Pediatric Hospice Conference which included a discussion given by an MD from the University of South Alabama regarding constipation among other things. There were some interesting points. I won’t go into detail, but here is some food for thought.

    1. Approximately 30% of the US population is constipated – pretty amazing if you ask me.

    2. The schools in the US are not conducive to giving a child privacy when using the restrooms and not allowing them to go when their body tells them they should do so. Due to the lack of privacy the kids will hold it all day long. We all know if you don’t poop when your body tells you to and you wait you may have a difficult time doing so later. Some schools also do not have doors on the bathroom stalls. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to poop in public even with the door on the stall. What has our world come to that our children are unable to void and defecate in private!?!

    All the mothers and fathers out there might want to consider advocating for their children’s rights to privacy when using the restroom!

    • Heather June 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks for this feedback, Gail!. To point #1 – well, that would explain a lot of road rage. #2 – All the bathrooms at our school have doors, but you make a good point that the kids are shuttled in groups to the restrooms and that puts them on someone else’s schedule. There is one single unit girls and boys restroom attached to the kids’ classroom (or at least that was the case for 2nd grade). So my daughter did have access to a restroom at any time, but you raise a really good point for schools that don’t have that luxury.

      Very interesting, Gail! Thanks so much!

  2. melissa June 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    I agree with Gail about privacy and it being awkard to go with kids being noisy in hall or outside of stall. Good point there.

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