Constipation in Children

The Gut Health Doctor Icon

By Chloe Elliott

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Constipation can be very common in childhood, often affecting children when they are being potty trained. This can be troublesome for all, so it’s often best to tackle symptoms when they first appear!

What is constipation?

There are many different symptoms of constipation, which may include the following:

  • Irregular bowel movements with less than 3 per week
  • Small, hard pellet-like stools
  • Hard and large poo which can sometimes cause bleeding
  • Pain during bowel movement or having to strain

How common is constipation in children?

We can see symptoms of constipation quite often throughout childhood, affecting 5-30% of all children.

What causes symptoms of constipation?

  • Reduced intake of fibre including fruits and vegetables
  • Reduced fluid intake
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Occasionally related to delayed (non-IgE mediated) allergy

Unfortunately discomfort or pain when pooing may exacerbate symptoms further so trying to reduce these as soon as noted may help.

How can we minimise symptoms of constipation?

Encourage daily activity:

It is recommended that all toddlers and children under 5 years  have 180 minutes of activity per day. This may include vigorous activity, but also activities like walking, tummy time and active play like hide and seek.

Regular fluid as a drink including between meals:

Aim to give water or milk only to encourage good dental health.

Encourage a varied diet:

Try aiming for 30 different plants per week – think of gut health ?

Normalise pooing:

It may help to read books about toilet training with your little one, let them watch you and encourage the “perfect poop position”.

A final note

Should constipation symptoms persist in your child, it would always be advised to speak with your GP or health care professional who may be able to review your little one’s symptoms and action an appropriate plan for your family.

If you have any questions regarding the above, or would like to discuss your child’s diet, please book here for an initial appointment with myself or one of our expert team.




Related articles

Follow us

The Gut Health newsletter shown on an iPad

Sign up for our free newsletter & gut health guide

Not sure where to start on your gut health transformation? Sign up for free and we’ll empower you every month with the latest educational blogs, gut-loving recipes, research updates and helpful resources delivered straight to your inbox. You’ll also receive a downloadable guide with an intro to gut science, practical advice and exclusive recipes. Lots of support and no spam.