1. Alisha, I really appreciate this post! My son is also 4.5 and he has been dealing with constipation issues since he was about 10 months old. Though we try to maintain a diet mostly of whole grains, fruits, and veggies, we often fall short and are inconsistent. He is completely dependent on Miralax once, sometimes more a day. We’ve had him tested for food sensitivities, celiac disease, Hirschprungs disease and more, of which he has none. When he turned four it finally dawned on me that he could be withholding much more that we have been aware of. We are still working with him to sit on the toilet. He gets backed up and its as if he simply can’t hold it in any longer and then it comes out, often without his control, so it seems. He has a lot of accidents and I think he gets frustrated. Sometimes he insists on wearing a diaper still. He is suppose to start Kindergarten in the fall, but I get really discouraged that he may not be able to participate for 3.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Anyway, thanks for your post! I’m definitely going to try having him go after breakfast every morning. Thanks for the fiber supplement recommendations too. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    • Hi Brittany, thank you so much for that comment, I really appreciate it. Our stories are so similar, I just added a few more products that were recommended by other readers, you will see the bold UPDATE above, if you are interested. Sitting him on the toilet regularly was a huge success for us, although we admittedly don’t always follow through. I have ordered the tummy fiber and am really hoping for success with that- I will update that too! The accidents have been an issue here to and I think that is where the miralax doesn’t allow them to hold it anymore. Best of luck to you to, I hope some of these strategies are helpful!

  2. My daughter (now nearly 4) started having issues with constipation when I began introducing solids. It didn’t matter what she ate, she was constantly constipated. I don’t know if she was holding it in (at ~1 year old?) or what, but I tried everything. Asked my doctor for help, and he told us to use PEG. It just gave her a massive diaper rash and diarrhea. Finally I brought her to my chiropractor, and he found that her spine was out of alignment down where it is connected to nerves in the intestines. He also suggested aloe vera juice. There was not an immediate change, but after several visits she was pooping regularly and not long after we ditched the aloe entirely. She still goes regularly for wellness visits, but hasn’t had problems since. She can eat tons of cheese and bread and is still fine. I literally credit my chiropractor with saving her life, because otherwise I have no idea how she would have been able to eat properly.

  3. I have a daughter and she has had the abdominal pain off and on for about a year now. We’ve been in and out of her doctor’s clinic. The doctor ordered for an x-ray then said it’s just poop while I know for a fact that my daughter is not constipated because she regularly moves her bowel. We’ve also done ultrasound, stool test, etc. All tests came clean. But she is still in pain.

    • I’m sorry Brandy, that is so frustrating. Sometimes you have to keep going to different docs until someone finds a solution. It might be helpful to try a natropathic dr- they look at problems through a different lens. Good Luck!

    • If a child is pooping that doesn’t mean they are not constipated or blocked further up. My daughter was pooping every day, but it’s the type of poop that makes the difference (ie hard pebbles, softer stools). Also they can be impacted further up but some can get through to give a regular poop. If the dr saw poop in the xray then it is most likely there. They also should have followed it up, because impaction is very painful for kids and can cause problems. I know as my 2 have had them. My youngest has been on a stool softener for 12 months. When constipated the bowel stretches. Once going regularly, with the correct poop consistency they need to stay on the stool softener for twice the length of time they were constipated; as it takes the bowels this long to go back into shape. I know this as my childrens bowel issues are hereditary and have been extensively researched by paediatricians, gastroenterologists and other specialists. Impaction can also mimic signs of recurrent UTI’s as the bowel compresses the bladder; causing frequent urination, pain when weeing etc. I would go to another gp, get an xray and if there is still too much build up then ask them to follow it up ASAP. Good Luck.

  4. I’m a PNP and I second absolutely everything you said in this post!! My recommendation usually is for a big initial clean out with miralax, then starting to do the dietary stuff along with fiber and probiotic supplements (I like florajen and culturelle) but like you said one of the most important things is to have a scheduled bathroom time. I like your idea of reading books but one thing I have found very helpful is blowing balloons!!!! Sounds crazy. But of course it forces them to valsalva without even knowing they’re doing it. Works like a charm and makes bathroom time fun. Give it a try sometime!! Thanks for sharing your tips. I often send my mommy friends to your blog. You’re one of the few mommy blogs I feel like I can trust to give evidence-based advice!

  5. My 6 year old has chronic constipation (since at least age 2). She struggled with daytime wetting (and had daily BMs – but her insides were full of stool pushing on her bladder). I wanted to add that too much fiber can also be constipating when not balanced with liquid.
    Daily fiber should be the child’s age + 5g with minimum fluid being total fiber x 3oz. (For example my 6 year old needs 11g of fiber at at least 33oz fluid daily.) If she eats more fiber than that she needs to drink more water, etc. this info is from our GI clinic. All the best you all the moms & kiddos dealing with this!

    • Thank you so much for that very helpful comment Cathryn. I haven’t heard that before but it makes a lot of sense and I will be figuring out the calculation for my kids!

  6. My third child is a holder and it upsets the entire family because she night wakes in pain 🙁 She is almost 2 and is still nursing. If we give her a “pooper” (enema) she can hold it still until the next day. Sometimes she even vomits when she tries to poop. It’s really awful. She doesn’t get much dairy except yobaby (with probotics). I would really like to be done nursing so I plan to switch to the Silk until we get this figured out. She doesn’t seem to be allergic to anything and she’s overall pretty happy. I just think she hates to poop. We tried miralax and she started throwing up.
    Things we have done that DO help:
    She does great with adding mineral oil to her yogurt.. She also seems better with some fiber bars and lots of water. I saw a stool suggested on Amazon…

    and Magnesium lotion:

    I hope this helps!! Poor Babies!!

  7. My daughter has struggled with this since she was just over a year old. she would have tears everyone she had a bowel movement from the pain. she still eats dairy products, but I switched her to almond milk. There is also a great juice called “plum smart”that works wonders! It is good tasting prune juice that she willing asks for. Might be something others want to look into as well!

  8. We have had the same issue from 6 months and after being told by a pediatrician to use actalax/lactolose whih is also not intended for long term use-our chiropractor recommended Metagenics fibroplex for kids. We are in Australia not sure about worldwide but it is a magnesium powder for kids. I’m my gosh worked from day one-AMAZING. Our boy at 1 1/2 has gone from pooing every 4-7 days to every day if not every 2 days. Magnesium is apparently to drug that doctors will not prescribe as it does every thing from lowering blood pressure to depression to helping autistic kids and constipation as it relaxes the muscles. Please try it it is natural and we are in the process of increasing our sons intake of magnesium rich foods. We are so thankful to our chiropractor as our son would still be being dosed up with artificial stuff to make him poo wen he went to school

  9. Thanks so much everyone for all the amazing tips and advice you are sharing. That is exactly what I was hoping for! I can tell you that the more my kids drink a lot of water the better off they are!

  10. You might need a stool softener, not a laxative. I had oral surgery and was prescribed amoxicillin (antibiotic) and endocet (pain reliever containing acetaminophen and oxycodone). In the patient prescription information for endocet it lists constipation as a possible side effect, and goes on to say “To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise.” I had not had side effects from medication before that I can remember, and unfortunately, I did not read all of this prior to using this medication. After the surgery I became severely constipated.

    I had not eaten anything for several days, so when my bowl movements stopped I did not notice. Rarely in my life have I been constipated. Once I started eating again, I became uncomfortable within a few days and realized that I was constipated. I tried prune juice, laxatives such as Ex-Lax, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, SenokotXtra, and a self-administered rectal suppository. Nothing worked. Days were going by and I was becoming extremely uncomfortable and was very close to going to the emergency room for a rectal water enema. I decided to call my doctor (general practitioner) first to ask his advice, but he was on vacation so I spoke to another doctor in the office. I related the story above. Although I was seeking advice on what over the counter medication I should take, I was advised instead to go to the emergency room and have an x-ray because I might have a tumor. Of course, I thought that was ridiculous. I did not suddenly develop a tumor. Although I had not read it, it seemed to me my problem was the result of taking pills for several days while not eating much of anything. Then I called a pharmacist, who then recommended medications that I had already taken. No new ideas there either. Finally I called the oral surgeon who operated on me. This seemed at the time to be an odd question for him, but I was getting desperate.

    He immediately said I needed a stool softener and recommended Colace. He said such problems were common in hospitals and this is what patients were often given. I bought it, took it, went for a long walk around the neighborhood and periodically walked around the perimeter of the backyard for 15 minutes at a time, and in 12-18 hours began to have relief. The stool came out in hard compact clay-like nuggets. It was difficult and a bit painful to pass and I squatted in the shower to do it, but once the process started I experienced relief in increments over the next 12 hours.

  11. Oh man – I wish I would have seen this a year ago! My guy is about to turn 4 and we are still using miralax several times a week and still having potty training problems. We did figure out the dairy component about six months ago, and that made a huge difference for us. We have also found popcorn to be a great source of fiber that both my boys love! Thank you so much for sharing your story – at least it is so nice to know we are not alone, and it’s great to have a few more ideas to try!

  12. Oh man – I wish I would have seen this a year ago! My guy is about to turn 4 and we are still using miralax several times a week and still having potty training problems. We did figure out the dairy component about six months ago, and that made a huge difference for us. We have also found popcorn to be a great source of fiber that both my boys love! Thank you so much for sharing your story – at least it is so nice to know we are not alone, and it’s great to have a few more ideas to try!

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