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HealthInfo Canterbury

About constipation in children

Children's bowel habits vary, but they will usually poo at least every two to three days. No matter how often your child passes a poo, it should never hurt.

If your child is over 1 year old and has not had a poo for four days or more, or has firm poos that are hard to pass, they are probably constipated.

Constipation is a very common problem for children. For most children, constipation means passing hard stools (poo), with difficulty, less frequently than normal.

Soiling (also known as faecal soiling or encopresis) is also a common problem that affects many children. Soiling is when a child poos in their pants after the age when you would expect them to be toilet trained. It can happen in any child, toddler, or teenager.

Does my child have constipation?

If you think your child is constipated, or if you are worried about any aspects of your child's health, make an appointment with your general practice team. Your child may be constipated if:

This video talks about why constipation happens to children and what you can do to fix it.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Causes of constipation in children

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2017.

See also:

Constipation in adults

Constipation in babies

Page reference: 394427

Review key: HICOC-14683