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Ages & Stages

My son, who was recently toilet-trained, often goes two or three days in a row without a bowel movement. Is this normal, or might he be withholding stool?

The frequency of children’s bowel movements varies widely, and it can be difficult for parents to know what is normal. Some children move their bowels two or three times a day, while others may go two or three days between movements.

The frequency of children’s bowel movements varies widely, and it can be difficult for parents to know what is normal. Some children move their bowels two or three times a day, while others may go two or three days between movements.

In general, a marked change in your child’s stooling pattern is more important to note than a regular infrequency of bowel movements. If you notice such a change or if your child becomes uncomfortable, talk with your pediatrician.

Do not give your child laxatives, suppositories, stool softeners, or enemas unless your pediatrician recommends them. A well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit, fiber, and liquids is the best way to create soft, comfortable stools and regular bowel movements.

 

Last Updated
7/9/2013
Source
Guide to Toilet Training (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.