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Naturally Easing Constipation in Toddlers

Constipation in toddlers is a common issue, but many parents struggle with how to help their little ones feel better. Here’s a collection of suggestions from real parents broken down into three major categories.

Reviewed by Sheila Kilbane, MD

Naturally Easing constipation in toddlers, reviewed by Sheila Kilbane, MD

I am not sure I’ll ever forget the televised image of Jon from the TLC show “Jon and Kate Plus 8” where Jon proved his Super Dad status: he pulled poop from his constipated child’s behind, in the vehicle, while the family was out shopping. Awesome stuff.

Although I have recently turned to a bunch of natural home remedies for constipation myself, I’ve been lucky enough not to have constipated toddlers or young children, but I know a lot of families struggle with this issue.

I interviewed Dr Sheila Kilbane, MD and we talked about what the root causes of constipation are, and what you are able to do to help kids overcome it.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Sheila Kilbane, M.D. of Infinite Health in Charlotte, NC, and founder of Healthy Kids, Happy Moms.

I also turned to the awesome Facebook community at KS with the question: what’s the best way to help constipated toddlers? 

Here is an incredible collection from real parents of how they’ve helped relieve constipation in their little ones with (mostly) natural home remedies:

RELATED: 5 Reasons for Toddler Tantrums (that you don’t already know!) & Cell Phones for Toddlers

Foods Helpful for Toddler Constipation

Bowl of antioxidant-rich blueberries on an outside table
  • Drink more water (no sugary beverages)
  • Coconut Oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP to get 10% off)  l (add 1-2 tsp. to a smoothie, oatmeal or toast, drink coconut water)
  • Eat real fruits and vegetables (pears, peaches, blueberries, kiwi, dandelion greens, chickweed, real sourdough, kefir, pineapple)
  • Juices (plum juice which is less harsh compared to prune, fresh squeezed orange juice, kraut juice, pickle juice, pineapple juice, white grape juice)
  • Aloe juice – 1 tsp. with water daily
  • Coffee (many people say a few sips is all it takes)
  • Cooked steel cut oats (add fruits to flavor)
  • Black Strap Molasses (add 1 Tbs. to warm water daily)
  • Fermented foods with every meal to have good gut health
  • Kombucha
  • Ground flax in yogurt or smoothie
  • Drinking raw milk
  • Popcorn (as an unexpected food – helps to move things along)

Constipation Supplements Helpful for Children

RELATED: Why I don’t use Miralax for kids

Note: As always, this is a great time to remind you that I have no credentials other than “Dr. Mom,” certified only by my four children. I can’t vouch for the safety or efficacy of any of these remedies; they’re just suggestions from the community. Use at your own risk after doing your own follow-up research, please. 

Other Ideas for that Poor Constipated Little One

  • Lots of exercise (Rebounding, a fancy word for jumping around on a trampoline, is a way to get the lymphatic system moving which apparently also gets the bowels moving quite efficiently. This is the tramp we have at home)
  • Good gut health
  • Provide a step stool to allow for “squatting position” (or the official “Squatty Potty“) (And team member jumping in here – I not only have a Squatty Potty for every bathroom in my house (and my parents’, I just learned they have a travel version! My child is going to be so happy!)
  • Figure out food sensitivities (dairy, gluten, etc.) and eliminate those problem foods
  • Nursing Moms – note what you have changed in your own diet that could be affecting baby
  • Chiropractic Care – time for an adjustment?
  • It’s No Accident” – book and Facebook group with great ideas, the link also has a children’s book version
  • Buy a ‘special’ water bottle of their very own to encourage drinking
  • Epsom Salt baths (1 cup Espom salt added to bath water)
  • Cut out sugar and sugary beverages
  • Watch their diet (are they becoming redundant eaters?)
  • Homeopathic Remedy (Nux Vomica)
  • I love you belly rubs (I’m guessing this is just a fun way of saying you’ll give them a belly massage – I am pretty sure a rainbow arc from left to right as you’re facing the child and then a swipe in the same direction across the bottom is the proper direction to assist the colon, but again, you may want to seek further advice on the best way to do the belly rub)
  • Avoid dry snacks (crunchy grain-based stuff!)
  • Veriditas Botanicals – Digestive Massage Tonic (for cramping relief)

Wish You Knew All the Answers to Keep Your Family Healthy?

How about a crash course?

I’d love to send you a 7-day “Quick Start Guide” email mini-course to give you Health Agency! When something goes wrong in your family, YOU can be the agent of healing and not allllllways have to call a doctor for every little thing.

Imagine this email series as a virtual chat over the backyard fence with your own neighbor, a wise older mom who’s raising 4 kids with intention, trying to avoid unnecessary medication and being kind to the earth.

Looking forward to connecting to help you learn EXACTLY what you need to know to stock your natural remedies “medicine cabinet,” deal with normal childhood ailments, and even the dreaded, “What’s that on my skin?” issue! 🙂

And finally, definitely check out my other post on naturally relieving constipation in people of all ages and note the “poop early, poop often” section at the end.

I’m thinking that for little ones in particular, making time and space for a good bowel movement first thing in the morning is a really important tip. I always try to get my little 2yo on the potty first thing and then (when I’m smart) again after breakfast. I’m usually not quick enough though, and then I have to change a poopy diaper!

I HOPE no one needs this post! But unfortunately I know many toddlers suffer from constipation – if I had to guess, I’d say their guts weren’t ready for grains yet and they’re rebelling, but each human body is so different, I’m sure there’s not just one answer for everyone.

Let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions I can add!
Naturally Easing constipation in toddlers

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

10 thoughts on “Naturally Easing Constipation in Toddlers”

  1. Can magnesium supplements be helpful for a constipated 15-month-old? We’ve tried the increased water intake and fiber and juice to no avail. Only thing left unfortunately recommended by the pediatrician is MiraLAX so I am of course looking for other options.

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Yes, magnesium would be a good thing to try for a 15-month-old. I’ve also used ascorbic acid for my son around that age. I cut up an apple and then sprinkle the powder over the apple pieces. He’s more willing to eat that than drink it in water. Hope you’re able to find a solution!

  2. Magnesium is the remedy for constipation. There are so many kinds of magnesium it has become difficult to figure out which types are best for children. I had finally decided on magnesium oxide and then an article stated not for under 6 years old. Calm for Kids broke my 5 year old out in a hot red bumpy scaley facial cheeks, around and on lips and mouth and back of hands rash. I think its the high vitamin b content?… I have gone back to regular Calm unflavored until I find a childrens brand for constipation. Please help me understand which magnesium type is best and possibly a few products to read about. Thank you!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Maria, Katie recommends the product MagGo which is magnesium oxide, and says that it’s for kids ages 5 and up. You can check it out here: https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/maggo If you want to read more about magnesium Katie has two other articles about it. I’ll link them here in case you haven’t already seen them: https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/magnesium-for-kids/ https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/best-form-of-magnesium/ I hope that helps and you’re able to find something that works for you guys!

  3. Bethel Madison

    Maybe you’ve already tried this, but when my kids stopped up a little I just gave them toddler magic tea. It worked like magic. And to keep them regular, I’d mix this tea in their bottles every day once or twice.

  4. Beth Ann Schad

    I would add to this list (for any age) of those able to tolerate it, yogurt and cheese. Oddly, the oatmeal seems to have the opposite effect on me. Great list, though.

  5. I saw the “I love you” tummy rub on The Doctors(I think) a long time ago. It’s where you make an I by going up the child’s RIGHT side of the abdomen (parent’s left side when you’re facing them) a few times, then make an L by going up the right side then across the belly to the left side a few times, then making a U by rubbing up the right side, across the belly, and then down the left side a few times. I hope that helps!

    We occasionally have to deal with constipation in our house, so this is a good list to have! Thanks!

  6. To fight constipation…peaches, pears, plums, prunes (Although I am not big on using juices because the sugar is high without the benefit of fiber, they have their place for constipation problems…includes apple juice & prune juice – which if disliked a little 7-up can be added to make a “prune juice fizzer”), apples can help (but peelings removed or they have the opposite effect), vitamin C can help, just watch so you get a C that is not irritating to the stomach. Now for the toddlers who are too loose….bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, toast, Saccharomyces boulardii probiotics. Bananas might need a trial run…they work well for some, but not for others.

  7. This is a great list! Unfortunately, we tend to have the opposite problem with our toddler, as do several other moms I know. Do you have suggestions on this side of things?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      Good question! I’m just shooting from the hip here, but if they’re drinking juice or eating a lot of fruit, I’d cut juice out 100% and decrease the fruit a lot, except bananas. You might find some other good nuggets in this post: https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/is-the-braty-diet-compatible-with-real-food/
      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

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