There is no worse feeling as a parent or guardian than watching your precious bundle of joy suffering through a case of constipation and feeling helpless that there is little that you can do to ease their pain. Thankfully, most cases of toddler constipation can be successfully treated by instituting changes in diet and lifestyle without having to use medication, having your toddler back to their happy selves in no time.

Constipation Causes and Remedies

The digestive systems of toddlers and infants are not as mature as adults or even older children, making toddlers far more susceptible to digestive system ailments including constipation and diarrhea. The delicate balance maintained by digestive bacteria can be easily knocked out of balance by seemingly innocent changes to diet, exercise and even lifestyle factors that you wouldn't necessarily associate with children such as stress.


Short term changes in diet, especially a sudden increase in processed or fatty foods, can lead to sudden short term constipation in toddlers. Toddler's digestive systems can struggle to process food that does not typically constitute a large part of their regular diet so parents should be careful to keep the majority of meals for their little ones consistent to their regular diet. This can be difficult especially while travelling or over the Christmas period when the natural inclination is to spoil children.

A long term poor diet can also contribute to toddler constipation. Just like adults and older children, toddlers need a diet rich in fiber and water to help maintain regular bowel movements. A diet high in processed sugar including soft drinks, white bread, chips and sweets can lead to long term poor digestive system health and constipation. Ensuring your toddler has a diet full of high fiber items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and water while not depriving your special little boy or girl of the occasional treat is the best long term plan to eliminate constipation from your toddler's life.


Physical activity is an essential ingredient to maintain a healthy digestive system. Toddlers need 30 – 60 minutes of physical activity and play a day to help eliminate constipation symptoms. Small 15 minute bocks of play 3 or 4 times a day can make a massive difference to the health and well being of your child and is a terrific way to not only naturally eliminate medical problems such as constipation but it is also a wonderful way to bond with your child.

Lifestyle Factors

Toddlers are often more aware of changes in their surrounding environment than parents will give them credit for. It has been shown that young children can detect stress in the important people in their life which in turn can make them stressful. Moving environments such as to a new house or a holiday to unfamiliar surroundings can stress toddlers making them much more susceptible to short term ailments such as constipation.


Constipation can be a symptom of other underlying medical problems though generally it is from rather benign ailments such as short term gastro viruses or bacteria infections. A bout of digestive system illness will seriously impact the delicate balance of digestive system bacteria naturally found inside the human body and there is a high likelihood of short term digestive problems, including diarrhea, constipation or flatulence until this balance is corrected. Expert medical advice should always be sought if the symptoms do not improve quickly after your child has endured illness.


In most circumstances, constipation in toddlers can be cured naturally and safely with common sense diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. If these changes do not relieve constipation symptoms or if your toddler's constipation symptoms worsen than seek expert medical advice immediately.

Explaining constipation to children can be difficult. One terrific resource that can help your child understand what is happening to them and why they do not feel well is It Hurts When I Poop! By Dr Howard Bennett. This fun and informative book could help your child overcome their constipation and toilet problems.

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