Why can infants and children face occasional constipation?

When it comes to occasional constipation in children, or pediatric constipation, everything relies on spotting the signs and symptoms of constipation yourself.

The good news is that in 90 to 95% of children affected by constipation there is no reason for concern because for this type of “functional” constipation, no single mechanism or organic disease can be found to cause it.


  • At least four soft, grainy, yellow discharges are considered normal per day. Breastfed babies have a higher frequency of bowel movements than those fed formula milk.
  • With the start of weaning, the evacuation may become less frequent, however the stools remain soft.
  • After one year of age, most babies produce soft but formed stools once or twice a day.


Kids can get constipated when they're anxious about something, like starting at a new school or problems at home. Another cause may be a diet not rich enough in fiber. Some children avoid going to the bathroom, even when they really have the urge to go. Sometimes, medicines like antidepressants and those used to treat iron deficiencies can cause constipation.

Spotting the symptoms of constipation

Kids have different bathroom habits. If children do not pass stool every day it does not necessarily mean that they are constipated. Some children go three times a day, while others go once every 1–2 days. But there are several clear signs you could notice, e.g. that your child goes less than usual, has trouble or pain when going to the bathroom, you see staining of the underwear with bits of stool or a little blood on the toilet paper3.

Children might have constipation if they have4:

Fewer than three bowel movements in a week

Gassiness and Flatulence

Stool (poop) that's hard, dry, and unusually large

Feeling of bloatedness

If your child has a hard stool consistency and often suffers from straining to poop, pain with passing stool or even withholding of bowel movements, we would recommend you consult your pediatrician5,4.

What could be causing discomfort?

Most of the time, functional constipation in children is caused by painful bowel movements which results in voluntary withholding of stool passing by a child who wants to avoid unpleasant defecation (toilet training, changes in routine or diet, stressful events, intercurrent illness, unavailability of toilets, or the child’s postponing defecation, etc.)6.

How to prevent occasional constipation in children?

Once constipation has been diagnosed in a child (with the help of a pediatrician), there are a few steps you can help them take towards feeling better and developing helpful habits. Children tend to imitate adults. Setting the right example and habits can have a long-term effect on their diet (and yours!).

Dulco® range of solutions

Talk with the doctor before giving your child any kind of over-the-counter medicine for constipation4. However, it is often necessary to use laxative medication to help constipated children achieve regular bowel movements. Discover Dulcolax® range of solutions.

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Learn more about occasional constipation

Here you find answers to some of the most common questions about it. We offer guidance to you on how to get rid of constipation and how to maintain regularity.