Skip to content

    First Aid & Emergencies

    Font Size

    Treating Constipation in Children

    Call 911 if your child is constipated and: 

    • Has severe abdominal pain
    • Has fever
    • Is vomiting
    • Has a swollen abdomen
    • Is listless

    Constipation, or passing hard, painful stools, is a common problem in young children. Mild cases can be treated at home.

    Call Doctor If:

    1. Increase Fluids

    • For infants 4 months or older: add small amounts of fruit juice, such as prune, pear, or apple juices.
    • For children 1 year or older: offer fruit juices and more water.

    2. Increase Fiber

    • For infants 4 months or older: add baby foods such as peas, beans, prunes, peaches, plums, and apricots.
    • For children 1 year or older: add fruits, vegetables such as peas, beans, and broccoli, and whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, graham crackers. Four to five prunes a day is also a very good source of fiber.
    • Cut down on candies and sweets. Limit milk and cheese to 16-20 ounces.

    3. Encourage Good Habits

    • Get your toddler to sit on the potty or toilet after meals.
    • Have your toddler stay on the potty or toilet for 10 minutes each time.
    • Have your toddler keep her feet on the floor when she's on the potty. Use a foot stool if she is on the toilet.
    • Reward your child for having a bowel movement.
    • If anxiety about toilet training is playing a role in constipation, switch back to diapers temporarily.

    4. See Your Pediatrician

    • If symptoms continue, there is blood in the stool, or continued abdominal pain even after a bowel movement, call your pediatrician.
    • Never give a laxative to an infant or child without talking to a pediatrician first.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 11, 2015

    First Aid A-Z

    • There are no topics that begin with 'O'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Q'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'U'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'X'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Y'
    • There are no topics that begin with 'Z'

    Today on WebMD

    blue flames
    The right way to treat them.
    Wound paste into a cross
    8 essentials for car or purse.
    cpr demonstration
    4 steps for adults.
    bagged salad
    Learn when to call a doctor.
    sniffling child
    wound care true or false
    caring for wounds
    Harvest mite

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    WebMD the app

    Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

    Find Out More