Just because a child goes one or more days without a stool does not mean he is constipated.  Some children will skip days between stools and be perfectly normal.  Constipation occurs when stools are hard and difficult and painful to pass.

Causes of constipation include:

  • Lack of adequate fiber intake
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Excessive intake of dairy products
  • Frequently waiting too long to go to the bathroom


If you think your child is constipated, try the following:

  • Infants less than 4 months: try 1-2 oz of adult prune juice or 1-3 tsp of brown sugar in a bottle
  • Infants 4-12 months: add strained prunes to your baby’s diet
  • For Children 12 months and older:
  • Make sure your child is eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily
  • Add high fiber foods such as whole grains and beans
  • Add some apple, pear, or prune juice to the diet

Call or make an appointment online if:

  • The above measures are unsuccessful
  • Your child is in severe pain
  • Your child has blood in his stool
  • Your child has constipation accompanied by stool accidents

 Return to the Childhood Illness Guide.