What is a normal amount of times for a child to have a bowel movement per day?
What is considered normal is different for every age! Babies often have more than four bowel movements per day, and by age two, most children will have one soft but solid bowel movement per day. Every child is different, some go to the bathroom after every meal, others go at random times throughout the day. As they grow, you will start to recognize their normal bowel habits. It can be perfectly normal for your child to not stool for several days! Yes you heard me right, DAYSSSS!
How will I know if my child is constipated?
- She has fewer than their usual number of bowel movements
- Her bowel movements are hard, or big, or your child is in pain while they go to the bathroom
- Your child starts to avoid going to the bathroom, or seems afraid to go to the bathroom
- If your already toilet-trained child starts to soil her underwear
- If you notice streaks of blood on the toilet paper, underwear, or toilet
So how can I help my child if they are constipated?
- Encourage her to eat foods that are rich in fiber, like fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water – I mean a lot!
- Try a small amount of prune or pear juice
- Encourage your child to sit on the toilet for a few minutes after each meal, to get into a healthy habit and give plenty of positive reinforcement
- Take a break from potty training for a little while
When should I get in touch with my pediatrician?
- Your baby is under a few months old
- This problem happens often
- Your child is in severe pain
There are some medications your pediatrician may recommend to help getting the bowels moving. Some are even over-the-counter, but you’ll need some guidance as to how much and when to give these meds.
Keep in mind – you might notice a change in your child’s bowel habits during potty training or during transition periods, like starting preschool or kindergarten. It can be scary to poop in a new place surrounded by new people. Give them positive reinforcement, talk it out, and prepare them. Talking about poop is fun!