I have this problem with my daughter – we have had to manage this since she was only 10 months old unfortunately. At the moment she is pooing 4 to 5 days out of every 7, and whilst I would love it to be every day, it is significantly better than the every 3 or 4 days that it could be.
How we got to here: First thing I did was get a calendar and some really pretty shiny stickers, and hang both in the toilet. Every day that she did a poo she got a pretty shiny sticker of her choice on the calendar. It encouraged her to try pushing, and also was a ‘pride chart’ for her to see what she had achieved (because when your child is constipated doing a poo is an achievement!), plus it is an easy reference for you to see how you are progressing.
Next step was drinking lots of water during the day. I would say remind her that drinking lots of water made it easy to poo, which meant she would get another sticker. The added benefit is she would urinate more, which meant sitting on the toilet more, and hopefully encouraging her to poo. We also added a morning and afternoon walk to the routine – the walking helps stimulate bowel motions. Sometimes she wouldn’t want to walk, so I would say we had to collect leaves, or find sticks or something like that (count the number of birds we saw etc) to get her interested in walking.
I also sneak fruit and vegies into her food if she won’t eat them herself (grated up in meat, plus add in lentils / kidney beans to meat sauce). Thankfully she does like to eat prunes, fresh dates etc. Cut back on ALL dairy products, limit the amount of bread. And avoid the enemas – they can affect the muscles in the bowels, leading to constipation being a lifelong problem unfortunately. I did use them too, but was warned off them by a paediatrician. Ducolac drops are a better alternative – take 5 drops before bed, and it will happen the next morning. We used these then weaned the number of drops down, but I only use if it has been 2 days since she passed a bowel motion.
Good luck – I know how distressing it is for you, and your daughter, and I hope my experience can offer some help for you.
Published 18th July 2019